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Welcome to our eNews

This fortnightly email is to keep you updated on the work of Women with Disabilities Victoria, and updated on news related to our priority areas. Contributions to this eNews are welcome, email

In this Issue:
The Victorian Parliamentary report on Abuse in Disability Services has been delivered to Parliament. The Government will consider the report recommendations and respond. It's heartening to see the recommendations recognise the relationship between gender and abuse in disability services. The Royal Commission into Family Violence has also recognised this in their recommendations. I am pleased to have been invited to join the Family Violence Steering Committee which will oversee the Royal Commission recommendations being put into action.

The Victorian Disability State Plan consultations are in progress. One of the themes of the plan will be Rights and Equality. WDV will advocate that this part of the Plan commit to monitoring recommendations from the Disability Abuse Inquiry and from the Family Violence Royal Commission - this is an important way of insuring rights and equality for women with disabilities.

It remains our shared challenge to ensure that we are all around the table talking about how we address these important issues for women with disabilities. If we are going to get this right, these conversations must include services from family violence, sexual assault, disability, aged care and mental health services along with government and women with disabilities.

IMAGE: Keran Howe
Introducing new WDV team members

WDV would like to introduce our new team members, Karen and Mary-Ann.

Karen McKenzie , Project Worker, Women  Leading By Example Program
"I have been legally blind since my teens from a rare genetic condition that results in central vision loss. I use software on my computer that enlarges the text and speaks the words so I can hear them as well as see them magnified. I also read Braille and use a long white cane in unfamiliar places.
My work background includes being a trainer and training coordinator for Vision Australia, and was once the national policy officer for Blind Citizens Australia as well.
I love reading, especially fantasy and crime fiction, and I’ve had many short stories published, several winning awards. When I was doing my  Bachelor of Arts majoring in professional writing and literature, my eyesight took a big dive,  and I had trouble coping. I didn’t know Braille then, and even if I did, a lot of books aren’t available in Braille. I had to read books by audio tape and I kept falling asleep listening to them. Every six weeks we did an exam on six books. I had difficulty keeping up. I worried that listening to books wasn’t reading, and I think I unconsciously thought that my disability might make me dumb. But  I received a high distinction for every exam, and it changed the way I thought about myself and disability. I realized the obvious: that doing something a different way doesn’t make it a worse way.
I love being part of the Women Leading By Example program. Learning from role models  can be hugely valuable. I know it has been in my own life.

Strategic Development Manager, Mary-Ann Robinson
"A bit about me: I completed a PhD on Guardianship and decisions about women’s health in 2000. I’ve also studied criminology and worked in the criminal justice system, working with offenders and their families. I’ve worked in the not for profit sector for 16 years on research and social policy and how these feed into improving systems that need reform.  Along the way, I have developed new programs and worked with government and philanthropists on service trials and improvements. A lot of this work has been about working in partnership to get things done over time.

Over the next 12 months, I will be working with the WDV team to support and build on their work to make sure it continues and grows. We will also be looking at new areas of work coming out of the Family Violence Royal Commission and the roll out of the NDIS. I am really pleased to be working with you all – members, staff and associates - and look forward to hearing what you have to say."

IMAGE: New WDV staff, Mary-Ann Robinson (left) and Karen McKenzie (right)

Call for Expression of Interest to Run a Workshop as Part of a Leadership Program
Would you like to design and facilitate a workshop of up to 90 minutes as part of our 'Women Leading By Example program'?
Participants will be 30 women with disabilities, most under the age of 30, who are commencing or continuing on their leadership journeys.
The program will provide a unique opportunity to present to emerging and established female leaders who have come together to learn from one another, challenge, share ideas and develop strategies for good practice. It will be held on the 20th and 21st September in Melbourne,
We invite workshops that address personal and professional experiences as they relate to leadership, gender and/or disability.
For more details, please click on the Call for Expressions of Interest information and application form.
Submissions close at 9:00 am Monday June 20th.
For more information call Karen McKenzie at WDV on 9286 7802.
The program has been funded by a Melbourne City Council community grant and the Melbourne Women’s Fund, a giving account of the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation.
Voting kit in Plain English for this year's election

Advocacy for Inclusion has updated their Plain English voting kit for the 2016 Federal Election. The Voting kit includes information to help people with the voting process The kit includes:

. Voting Sheet 1 - What is Important to you?
. Voting Sheet 2 - Who can you vote for?
. Voting Sheet 3 - Deciding who to vote for . Voting Sheet 4 - Go and Vote 
Nominations for the 2016 Victorian Senior of the Year Awards are now open

Do you know a senior who is making a difference in their community through volunteering or an organisation who would not function as well without their volunteers? The Victorian Senior of the Year Awards recognise the valuable contributions of older Victorians to our community. They celebrate the achievements of volunteers who support and encourage others in their community.
Organisations are also invited to nominate for the new Age-Friendly Victoria Award that recognises excellence in creating age-friendly communities, promoting active ageing or improving quality of life and inclusion for older people.

Download nomination forms or for more information contact Seniors Information Victoria on 1300 135 090 or email Nominations close on 30 June 2016. 

Women's mental health network welcomes new Coordinator

Women’s Mental Health Network Victoria welcomes Dr JaneMaree Maher as their new Coordinator. Jane is also Director, Centre for Women's Studies & Gender Research at Monash University.
Royal Women's Hospital- Health Information Survey

The Royal Women's Hospital are continuously looking and listening to how we to improve their services. One of their services is providing accessible and quality health information specific to women’s for both health consumers and health professionals. They are really interested in hearing from lots of different women through their survey.
Relationships & Sexuality Forum for people with intellectual disability and those who support them - June 17, Maidstone

You’re invited to “Let’s Talk About Sex," a half day forum and consultation about sexuality and relationships for people with an intellectual disability and those that support them. Come, learn, discuss and be part of the conversation. 
Maidstone Community Centre, Friday June 17th 2pm – 6pm. This forum is run by Co Health and experiencingCity Council.
  • Talk and learn about relationships, sexuality and rights
  • Talk about how to support your family member with relationships, sexuality and sexual health
  • Learn how a disability service is creating a safe and empowering environment for people with disability to have good relationships
  • Talk about what you would like to see happen in the western region to support people with a disability to have good sexual health and healthy relationships
Presentations from:
  • Family Planning Victoria
  • Living Safer Sexual Lives: Respectful Relationships Peer Educators
  • House With No Steps
RSVP to Co Health or contact, 9680 1136.

Wanting to support a woman who is epxeriencing family violence? 1800respect's video shares some tips

Interested in how to support someone who is experiencing violence? A new 1800RESPECT​ video has some important suggestions on how to go about it.
Premier announces Family Violence Steering Committee with WDV represented

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that Women with Disabilities Victoria will join the committee who will be advising on how recommendations from the Family Violence Royal Commission will be put into action. It is so important that women with disabilities are part of the decision making that will shape our family violence system for the coming years - so that services are accessible and plans are inclusive.

WDV seeks an administrative officer

WDV is looking for an Administration Officer. If you have wide-ranging administration skills, including sound financial and ICT knowledge, and would like to play a pivotal role in a small, friendly team, this could be for you. Please go to our Employment page for the position description. Women with disabilities are encouraged to apply.  The closing date is 9am on Monday 13th June.
DVRCV seeking trainers

Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria are currently recruiting for two new trainers to join a growing workforce development team. The Position Description is available online.

They are also expanding their pool of casual trainers - contact DVRCV for more information.
Why is money the most impolite subject? Melbourne events

Many of us have grown up with the mantra that polite dinner time conversation does not include the three great taboos: money, politics, and religion. Yet money, love it or loathe it, is central to so much of our wellbeing and security. For women especially, it remains difficult to talk openly about their finances among friends and family. When it comes to old attitudes about understanding finances, a cultural shift is needed.

The Queen Victoria Women’s Centre has partnered with 10thousandgirl to bring Melbourne women a series of four workshops, all about money. How to make it, manage it, grow it and invest it.

Register now for the first workshop, 'Money Mindset and Goals', being held on Tuesday 14 June at 5.30pm.
All workshops will be held at Queen Victoria Women's Centre, 210 Lonsdale Street Melbourne.

Victorian state disability plan 2017–2020 consultations

The Victorian government is developing a new State Disability Plan for 2017-2020. A State Plan website has been set up so that you can read more about the plan and have your say about what should be in it.
Discussion paper
The discussion paper on the website outlines four themes for the plan.
  • active citizenship
  • rights and equality
  • economic participation
  • making the most of the NDIS.
There is also a section called ‘driving outcomes’ which is about accountability for actions and change. A companion document has more information about each theme. 
WDV’s submission
WDV will be making a written submission to the consultation based on our research and previous member consultations. For information on WDV’s submission or to have input, contact Mary-Ann Robinson, / 92867800.
Ways to have direct input into the consultation
Do you have ideas about what government could do that would make the most difference to you?  If so, the website includes ways that you can respond or share your story. There are also tools like videos and workbooks set up to assist with your response in the discussion toolkit.
The plan is available in a range of different languages and formats, including Easy English, audio and Auslan.
To receive information in an accessible format phone 1300 880 043, using the National Relay Service 13 36 77 if required, or email
Consultation for people with disabilities who are culturally diverse
Margherita consultant and Myriad Consultants have been contracted by the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit of consultat on the requirements of people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in the state plan. For more information on this additional consultation contact Margherita Coppolino at or call / text  0412 854 639.
What makes organisations safe for children with disabilities: Focus group 24th June 

People with Disability Australia will be conducting focus groups to inform their work on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. They are seeking people’s thoughts, opinions and experiences relating to the safety of children with disability in organisational settings, whether or not they have personally experienced child sexual abuse.

The conversation might include discussion of issues such as access to justice, restrictive practices, institutional settings, sex and relationships education and out of home care. The focus groups will help PWDA identify the ways in which institutions – both mainstream and disability specific – can be made safer for all children.

Contact by Friday 24th June, with the subject line: Focus Group. Please include any supports you may need to participate fully.

Where: Level 2, 180 Flinders St, Melbourne
When: Monday 27th June 12.30pm-4.30pm
RSVP: Friday 24th June
The focus group will run for 4 hours, including a break for a provided lunch and afternoon tea.

Access to counselling and individual advocacy will be facilitated through the focus groups. PWDA will be offering participants $50 gift cards to support their participation in these focus groups.

Melbourne forum on medical abortion - 23 June

Please join Family Planning Victoria, the Royal Women’s Hospital and Women’s Health Victoria for a forum that will bring researchers, providers and the women’s health sector together to discuss how the increasing availability of medical abortion has impacted access to abortion in Victoria.
The forum, ‘Is medical abortion increasing access for women in Victoria? New models of care and ongoing challenges’ will be held on 23 June from 4pm-6pm at Women’s Health Victoria.
We are delighted to confirm the following speakers for this event:
·        Dr Paddy Moore, Gynaecologist, Royal Women’s Hospital
·        Dr Susie Allanson, Clinical Psychologist, Fertility Control Clinic
·        Dr Paul Hyland, Medical Director, The Tabbot Foundation
·        Dr Kathy McNamee, Medical Director, Family Planning Victoria
·        Dr Angela Rutherford, GP Clinical Editor, Health Pathways Melbourne
·        Dr Lou Sanderson, Geelong GP
Discussion will be facilitated by Candy Broad, Women’s Health Victoria.
For more information please see the forum flier attached to this email.
RSVPs are essential for this event. Please pass on to your professional networks.

Disability Human Rights webinars running through June

Join the Disability Rights Legal Centre to look at the structures to examine disability rights. This highly interactive webinar takes you through the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and provides practical exercises in using disability rights.
Comment and ask questions, work on exercises at your own pace as you proceed through the webinar as a time that suits you. Come back later, or go right through in a single sitting, it's your choice.
If you want to know the basics of disability rights then this webinar is for you.
Available from Tuesday 14 June to Tuesday 21 June.
Register now!

Strong Aboriginal women taking a stand in art

With her first solo exhibition, artist Boneta-Marie Mabo has been inspired by the State Library of Queensland’s collections to create new works that speak back to colonial representations of Indigenous womanhood.

She found portraits of Indigenous women without any name, or with labels such as “black velvet” or “gin”; objects, rather than women. Men on the frontier sought to control Aboriginal lands as well as women’s bodies – with or without consent. Read more in The Conversation.

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