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A Message from CEO Leah van Poppel
Welcome to another edition of WDV e-News! I'm conscious that right now, our e-News is an extra important way of connecting with women in our network who might be experiencing isolation to a greater degree than usual, or in different ways. Although restrictions are starting to ease for some, we know that women with disabilities sometimes face unique health considerations, and others will have to think carefully about how to practice social distancing and other new safety measures. This is all in addition to being women, which often means we have to think about both our own safety and the safety of the people we're supporting, be that older parents, children or people in our networks. While some of us will be champing at the bit to get back into the world, here at WDV we're being clear with government that the journey for our members might look and feel very different to the one that our broader community is facing.

We know that simply acknowledging that times are tough and making it through each day is the most empowering thing some of us will be able to do -- and it's a fantastic step if you can take no other. If you do need more support, check out some of the links in this edition. We also know that women with disabilities can be incredibly creative and resilient. With that in mind, in this edition we're sharing one member's response to the pandemic - working with her support workers to make protective masks for her local health service.

We're also working to make sure our connection to you adjusts to your needs as time goes on.  Some of you will be talking to your local Hub Liaison Officer by phone, and we've been getting our Experts by Experience group up to speed with video conferencing meetings on Zoom. In this edition of the e-news, you'll find information about how to connect with our Spotlight on "Older" Women project, and ways to keep track of the Disability Royal Commission. Importantly, pandemics don't stop good future planning, and we've given you an update on how your feedback has helped inform the early stages of our strategic planning. I'd like to extend a personal thank you to everyone who participated in our member survey earlier this year. We'll be coming back to you later in the process.

If you have a story you'd like to share about your experiences during restrictions, or you'd like to pass on issues you've faced to us so we can raise them with government, please get in touch. Our office may be closed, but all the usual contact details apply. 

Until next time, stay safe everyone. 
A Note from WDV

To assist in reducing the spread of Coronavirus, the Women with Disabilities Victoria office will not be open to the public until further notice and WDV staff are all working from home.

During this time WDV staff will not be participating in face-to-face meetings, but will maintain contact with key stakeholders and funders, project partners and members, via email, e-newsletters, website, mobile phone, tele- and video-conferencing as needed.  

We will also be monitoring our WDV email address and our office telephone.

WDV remains focused on delivery of advocacy and funded programs on behalf of women with disabilities in Victoria, within present constraints.

WDV and Coronavirus Information
WDV has published a page of resources for Victorian women with disabilities about Coronavirus. We understand that information about the virus and how to stay safe can be overwhelming. This page has tips for looking after your physical and mental health and services you may need during this time.
Read the WDV and Coronavirus page
WIRE is here to help you
Organisations working to support, inform and consult women with disability are under increased pressure at the moment because of the impact of Coronavirus. These organisations are committed to assisting you as much as possible, however there may be delays and restrictions to how the service can be provided.

Remember that Women's Information Referral Exchange are available via email (, web chat ( and phone (1300 134 130) Mon–Fri between 9-5 pm. WIRE offers social inclusion and wellbeing calls two days a week. If you feel this is something you can benefit from please call and leave a message and they will get back to you.  

Need to talk but can't be on the phone? You can talk to a support worker on WIRE's web chat. Just click the orange 'need support?' button on the bottom left of WIRE's website.

Should you be in immediate danger, please call the emergency services on 000.

Domestic and family violence is rising right now. Have you reached out to friends and relatives that may be at risk? Maybe you're feeling a little worried about a loved one whose partner has been acting controlling during lockdown? WIRE can support you to support them with information and referrals.
Visit WIRE'S website
Disability Information Helpline
The Australian Government has funded a dedicated helpline – the Disability Information Helpline – to provide accessible information, counselling and outreach services for people with disability who are concerned or need support because of coronavirus (COVID-19). 
The Helpline can help families, carers, support workers and services, too. The Helpline is free, private and fact-checked.
People can contact the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787 to talk about their concerns in relation to COVID-19. For example, people can call the Helpline if their support worker has not turned up or their provider has stopped services; or if it’s hard to get essential items like food or medications.
The Helpline can provide information, and refer people to advocacy, counselling and other supports.
The Helpline is available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEST) and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm (AEST). It’s not available on national public holidays.
Visit the Disability Information Helpline website
WDV is seeking a voluntary Board Treasurer

We are currently seeking a voluntary Treasurer to join our Board and to Chair the Finance and Risk Committee of the Board.

Board & Committee Meetings (frequency): Every two months
Board & Committee Meetings Held: Usually after working hours
Board & Committee Meetings Held: Melbourne CBD, Victoria

Job Advertisement WDV Board Treasurer

Position Description WDV Board Treasurer 

Applications are ongoing

Be part of our Spotlight on 'Invisible' Women project
Are you a woman with disability aged between 50 – 65 years living in rural, regional or metro Victoria? We would love to hear from you!

The ‘Spotlight on Invisible Women’ project is aimed at engaging with  women in this age group to identify your needs and improve the provision of information. We would like to hear what life is like for you.

A survey has been designed to capture the unique barriers experienced by older women with disability in rural, regional and metro areas across Victoria

Results of the survey and community consultations will be captured in a report designed to influence and inform national and specialist organisations (e.g. disability-specific organisations) and the Victorian government. The final project report will provide feedback and recommendations on the findings of the surveys.


Complete the Spotlight on Invisible Women Survey
WDV are contacting members
We are currently contacting members to make sure the details we have for you are correct. 

If we were unable to contact you by telephone, we have e-mailed or posted you a letter.

Please let us know if the details we have for you in the email or letter we sent you are correct.

This project has been very rewarding; we have loved talking to those of you we have already contacted and look forward to hearing from the rest of you in the coming weeks.                                                                                                          
Share your story at the Disability Royal Commission

The Disability Royal Commission is investigating ways to prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation against people with disability. If you need information in your own language about making a submission, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450. Ask to be connected to 07 3734 1900. 

Here are some methods by which you can share your story.

Visit the official Disability Royal Commission website
View the PDF infographic which explains how to submit a story

Experts by Experience session - advocacy and leadership

 In May, eight members of the Experts by Experience group attended their first training session for the year, exploring advocacy and leadership through a gender and disability lens. Topics discussed included the disability and women’s rights movements, the difference between self-advocacy and systemic advocacy and leadership roles of women with disabilities. Disability rights and inclusion activist Tricia Malowney, spoke about her leadership journey. At the end of training, the group members took a quiz to determine what leadership style suited them, and provided feedback on how to adapt the leadership style quiz for women with disabilities.

Group members agreed that online zoom meetings helped to minimise the impact of fatigue on participants during the pandemic. 

Enabling Women alumni helps healthcare workers

Veronica completed the Enabling Leadership programme in Werribee last year.

She has been sewing to help our hospitals:

"My support worker helped me by ironing the ties for masks and the seams of scrub hats, as ironing is hard on me. I have donated 24 masks with ties to the Joan Kirner Women's and Children’s Hospital at Sunshine; 19 masks with elastic to the Aboriginal Liaison Officer at North Epping Hospital; 6 masks with elastic to my cleaner, support worker, physiotherapist, and massage therapist; and kept a mask each for myself and my housemate.14 scrub hats were picked up to be donated to Western Health, and I’ve given two to my cleaner. I will be sewing some hospital gowns as well, with pieces cut out by Wyndham Park Community Centre, to go to Western Health as well.

PHOTO: The masks Veronica is sewing for healthcare works
Member Survey responses
Thank you to the 130 members who responded to the WDV Member Survey.

It was a great response, with many thoughtful comments that will help us improve planning for our programs and will guide us as we develop WDV's next Strategic Plan.

We heard the following key themes and feedback from you:
  • There is a lot of love for WDV.  Our members know we do positive work for women with disabilities in Victoria, but would like shorter, more accessible descriptions of our purpose and our work, that are easier to share with others
  • Most members joined to be part of a community of women with disability and are eager for more opportunities to network, especially outside of the CBD.
  • Members would like more information sheets, forums and continued E-News, for information, community and connectivity
  •  Members wanted more information about Health Services, Accessible Community Events, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Prevention of Violence Against Women, the Royal Commission, Justice and Employment.
We will keep you updated as we create ways to incorporate your important feedback into our work. Stay tuned for more information about our new Strategic Plan later in 2020!
Impact of JobSeeker on the Disability Support Pension
The Department of Social Services (DSS) has released an Easy Read Fact Sheet about JobKeeper Payment impacts on Disability Support Pension (DSP) Recipients.
Easy Read factsheet (PDF)
COVID-19 Impact on DSP and Carers and JobKeeper Recipients – Fact Sheet (Word)
COVID-19 Impact on DSP and Carers and JobKeeper Recipients – Fact Sheet (PDF)
Easy Read factsheet (Word)
NDIS funds supports for parents and children with disability
  • Disability-specific supports needed because of the impact of a child or parent’s disability.
  • Disability-specific training programs for parents and carers who have a disability themselves, or a child with disability.
  • Disability-related supports for children, teenagers and adults in out-of-home care, including home modifications, equipment, therapies and development of a child’s skills to become more independent.
Read more on the Child Protection and Family Support section of the NDIS website
NDIS and specialised sex therapy
The Federal Court recently ruled that specialised sex therapy can not be excluded from NDIS plans as the NDIA Act does not explicity prohibit using funding for such purposes. The NDIA is yet to release a policy regarding sexuality and what is considered reasonable and necessary supports within that space.
Read more on the ProBono website
'Our Place' is now 'Our Site'
Women with Disabilities Australia's 'Our Place’, has changed its name to ‘Our Site’.The website address has also changed, and you can now find the website at

Our Site continues to be an online resource centre built by and for women and girls with disability.
Visit 'Our Site'
What we are watching: Crip Camp
Executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, Crip Camp tells the story of a summer camp in the 50s and 60s for teens with disabilities. Crip Camp is now streaming on Netflix. 

You can also join Crip Camp: The Official Virtual Experience where all grassroots activists and advocates are invited to join with trailblazing speakers from the disability community.

The sessions are on Zoom and are based in America (so you will need to log on very early in the morning!).

Crip Camp promotional poster
PHOTO: Crip Camp promotional poster
Dulcie Stone Writers Competition
The Dulcie Stone Writers Competition is open to people with intellectual disability. It is designed to showcase the voices of people with intellectual disability and recognises the lifetime contribution of Dulcie Stone to services for people with intellectual disability and writing.

To celebrate 21 years of Having a Say the theme for the 2020 competition is: A Good Life. Are We There Yet?

What does it really mean to live the good life?

Now is the chance to tell your story about what life really means to you.

Competition entries close at 5pm, Friday 24 July, 2020.

Enter the Dulcie Stone Writers Competition

News and Comments

If you have any questions, comments or items to submit to the E-News, please contact Please feel free to send any feedback regarding the new template.
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