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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:
Happy International Women's Day 2015 to all.

This year's theme is 'Make it happen.' Here at WDV we are making change happen for women with disabilities, here are some of the ways.

Our Workforce Development Program at the Royal Women's Hospital, "Healthy Services: Healthy Women" is about to start as a pilot. This program will have women with disabilities training staff alongside professional trainers. The program covers how to provide an accessible, appropriate health service for women with disabilities.

I am really excited to see the Victorian Enabling Women Leadership Network developing. This will be driven by women with disabilities and create a space for peer support and mentoring on things that interest them - this might include organising events and doing advocacy. The Network shares the vision of Women with Disabilities Victoria which is: A world where all women are respected and can fully experience life.

Through our high level representation we are working with fantastic allies like Women with Disabilities Australia and the No More Deaths campaigners to see the rights of women with disabilities included in key initiatives like the NDIS and the Family Violence Royal Commission. We are also speaking for our rights every day, through forums like the Victoria Police Disability Portfolio Reference Group and the Magistrates' Court Family Violence Taskforce.

For International Women's Day I was delighted to join Women's Health Goulburn North East in Wangaratta for their breakfast celebration. The breakfast was really well attended with nearly 70 women coming from all across the North East to progress the empowerment of all women. The event will be covered in tomorrow's Wangaratta Chronicle - a fantastic profile for women's rights in the region.

IMAGE: International Women's Day symbol / PHOTO: Keran Howe, Executive Director

PHOTO: International Women's Day celebrations at Women's Health Goulburn North East
Invitation to quote to develop a leadership Program for young women with disabilities

To further develop our Leadership Program, WDV have secured funding from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation’s Youth in Philanthropy program and the Portland House Foundation to develop an educational program for young women with disabilities to develop their leadership, knowledge and advocacy skills in their transition from secondary education.
The program will be delivered to female students with disabilities in senior secondary school, specialist schools or other training and support programs so that young women with disabilities are better equipped to make the transition into vocational training, tertiary education and/or employment and their communities. It is envisaged the program will be delivered by a young woman with disabilities in conjunction with a skilled facilitator.  
We invite you to provide a quotation to adapt the current Enabling Women Learning Package to ensure it is appropriate for the target audience and VCAL learning objectives. This is a time limited contract commencing late March to May. The available budget is $3,000 excl GST .
The expected deliverable is a learning package based on the existing Enabling Women Package which includes   
Facilitator notes.
Workbook for course participants
Closing date: 9-00 a.m. Wednesday 18 March 2015

Jane Oldfield, Partnership and Leadership Development Officer, p. 92867807,
Maria Burchell, Office Manager, p. 92867800, e.

Create the Barwon Leadership Network of women with disabilities

Do you aspire to be a leader?
Are you one already?

The Leadership Network for Women with a Disability is currently forming with the support of Women with Disabilities Victoria.
Interest has been expressed in forming a Barwon branch.

If you live in the Barwon area and are a woman with a disability please come and play a part in forming the Barwon Branch.

Come along:
Tuesday the 10th March
Simmonds Stadium
Guest speaker TBC

RSVP and questions:
Deb Haygarth
P. 0402 355 217
Opening doors in Melbourne's East

The Opening Doors Program is currently seeking community members from Monash, Boroondara, Whitehorse and Manningham who are passionate about their local area, and would like to make a difference in the lives of people who may be socially isolated. Women with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
The 2015 Program will run for 6 months with a graduation ceremony to be held in December. Over the course of the program, you will meet and work with a passionate group of like-minded people, learn about your own talents as a community member and leader, and develop the skills to make a real and lasting difference in your local community.
The program is provided FREE to community members in the Inner-East of Melbourne. It is open to people of all ages, cultures, backgrounds and abilities.
Places in the 2015 Program are limited, so if you would like to apply, find out more, or know someone who may be interested, please don’t hesitate to contact Project Officer, Alex Mills on 8822 8489 or at Alex is always happy to discuss ways we can support you to get involved, or answer any questions you might have!

Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’s Health Conference

This year's Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’s Health Conference will be held in Melbourne.

Dr Ruth McNair will provide a keynote address on her work with the beyondblue funded ALICE study, a research project exploring alcohol and other drug use by lesbian, bisexual and same-sex attracted women.
Special guest MC Kelly Parry (comedian, writer, performer and creative strategist).
 Other speakers include:
Georgie Harman CEO, beyondblue
Simon Ruth CEO, Victorian AIDS Council (VAC)
Liam Leonard Director, Gay & Lesbian Health Victoria (GLHV)
A panel of speakers will apply best practice considerations to a hypothetical case scenario:
Tarnia Thompson from QLife
Ren Grayson from YSAS
Nadia Gavin from Harm Reduction Victoria
Wendy Brokenshire from VAC
The afternoon will have sessions on:
• Affirming the lived experience of lesbian, bisexual and other queer women who use.
• Inclusive practice and service provision
• Consumer led action and change
A WDV member has put in a proposal to run a session! The afternoon program is to be confirmed.

Visit Eventbrite for information and registration.

Exhibition to share the stories of women with disabilities experiences of violence: you can tell your story

About the artist
Belinda Mason is a renowned photographer dedicated to getting the images and stories of people with disabilities out there. Her projects include:
Intimate Encounters - represents the experiences of Australians with disabilities
Unfinished Business - stories from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with disabilities
Outing Disability - studies images of Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Intersex Australians with disabilities.

Belinda's next exhibition, Silent Tears, will focus on women with disabilities who have experienced violence. Belinda invites women to share their stories and images as a way of breaking down the silence around this issue.

Who can get involved
Women with disability who experience violence and women who acquired their disability as a result of violence are invited to tell their story. Belinda would like to involve women from all over Australia.

What is the consent process
A consent form will be provided, but you can take back consent at any point if you no longer wish to participate. Every participant will approve the recording filming and photography before any artworks are displayed.

What it involves
The process involves telling your story which will be recorded as an audio. This will be transcribed so that your edited words will appear beside your portrait. The portrait is taken through a glass screen that is covered in water droplets. This allows the person to obscure their identity as much or as little as they wish. There is  the option to have a self narrative video, once again their identity can be obscured as much or as little as they want. The audio recording is played across footage of the person, rather than a straight interview to camera. This allows their identity to be revealed or observed as much as they are comfortable. There is a third option to be photographed in a documentary style by Margherita Coppolino, who will capture elements of the persons everyday life. 

What will happen to the photos
Photos will be be displayed at the Ballarat Foto Biennale in September 2015. From November 2015, the work will be expanded to include further Australian participants and international participants and will be showcased in other venues both in Australia and overseas. 
Contact information
Belinda Mason
Email -
Phone - 0414787788

PHOTO by Belinda Mason.
Victorian Ombudsman investigation into reporting of abuse in disability services

The Victorian Ombudsman recently consulted on how to scope her investigation into reporting of abuse in disability services. WDV made a submission to this consultation which you can access by emailing Shortly after closing this consultation, The Ombudsman has released the terms of reference for her investigation.

The investigation will study the management of incidents that occur in registered disability services including:
  • Accommodation
  • Day service programs
  • Respite
  • Advocacy
  • and Individual support.
Phase 1 of the investigation will consider the effectiveness of the statutory bodies in reviewing incidents and handling reports of abuse. This includes the work of -
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Disability Services Commission
  • Office of Professional Practice (Senior Practitioner - Disability)
  • OPA and Community Visitors
  • Authorised Officers (under the Supported Residential Services (Private Proprietors) Act 2010)
  • Transport Accident Commission
  • and will look for any gaps in statutory oversight.
Phase 2 of the investigation will look at incident reporting under relevant legislation including:
  • Disability Act 2006
  • Supported Residential Services (Private Proprietors) Act 2010
  • Transport Accident Act 1986 and
  • Workplace Injury, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013.
The report on Phase 1 will be released in the first half of this year to inform the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Framework, and the final report covering Phase 2 will be tabled in the second half of the year.
Daisy phone app launched to connect women with services

1800Respect's Daisy phone app was launched on International Women's Day by Rosie Battie (Australian of the Year) and Micalea Cash (Minister Assisting the Minister for Women). Daisy is an app to connect women experiencing family violence with services.
Daisy has text-to-voice functionality and ‘Scaleable’ text on Android and iPhone. The App store will have Daisy available for iPhone later today. On iPhone Daisy has a greyscale for colour blindness. Daisy is already available on Android, but it’s accessibility is somewhat limited by the platform’s accessibility. 1800Respect is keen to hear feedback from women with disabilities on Daisy’s accessibility through the feedback form.
It is great to see Government taking a stand on men's violence against women, and supporting initiatives like this. Jen from WDV had a great conversation with Minister Cash about the importance of linking this work with the National Disability Insurance scheme and the work of Minister Fifield's office.
Minister Cash is about to head to New York to join Women with Disabilities Australia representatives at the UN's meeting on the Convention on the Status of Women. This is another good opportunity to see links made between gender based violence and disability based violence, in this instance, on an international level.

PHOTO: Rosie Battie (Australian of the Year) and Micalea Cash (Minister Assisting the Minister for Women) launch the Daisy phone app.

Grants from Telematics Trust
Through grant rounds, the Telematics Trust is committed to supporting organisations that seek to use technology to transform lives through learning for the cultural, social and economic benefits of Victorians. The Trust looks for innovative use of technology through education, projects that reach diverse groups, and initiatives that address important practical problems in our community be they social, economic or environmental. These projects should also be able to demonstrate a drive to measurably improve the well-being of their participants.

The Trust generally provides grants of up to $30,000. The Trust can also provide equity and debt of up to $100,000. Further information about the Telematics Trust, the guidelines and the application form can be found at

The Trust meets twice yearly. Applications for the next funding round will close 5pm, Monday, 30 March 2015.

WDV consultation: Are you interested in improving access to the NDIS for women with disabilities?
Women with Disabilities Victoria wants to ensure women with disabilities understand how the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can improve their lives, how to get the maximum benefit out of a package, and what to look for in a gender sensitive quality service.
We have engaged Liz Kelly and Tom Pagonis from TL Consultants to develop fact sheets and a checklist for us.
WDV now invites women with disabilities to participate in a group to share experiences about the NDIS, what we should include in the fact sheets and any other ideas you may have. This could be things like
  • What information about the NDIS is important to you as a woman with a disability?
  • What do you want to know?
  • What do you think you will need to ensure you can make good choices?
  • What do you need to know before you make a plan?
  • How do you feel safe?
  • If you have had some experience with the NDIS (you are a participant) what would you recommend women do to be prepared to make the most of the NDIS?
This will help us to ensure the fact sheets contains the information you need to know.

Barwon Focus Group
Venue:  Multipurpose Room at the Deakin Cats Community Centre  370 Moorabool Street, South Geelong VIC 3220
Date:     Tuesday 10th March
Time:    10:00am to 12:00pm

Participants will receive a gift voucher for their time and involvement.
RSVPs and inquiries:
Phone: 0409 543 433                 
Consultations on an Easy English guide to report crime to police

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has contacted us to let us know they are making an Easy English booklet about reporting crime to police.

The Commission would like to hear from individuals and organisations about what could be included in an Easy English guide about reporting crime to police. They will hold interviews and focus groups until mid-March.

There are a number of ways people can participate:
  • attend the Commission for a focus group on on  Wednesday 11 March from 10 - 11am
  • phone the project manager, Julian Alban on (03) 9032 3435 to arrange a phone interview to discuss the resource
  • email Julian to provide your comments at
  • contact Julian to arrange an interview at the Commission or organise an additional focus group.
The Commission would like to hear about some of the following:
  • What do you think should be included in an Easy English guide for people with complex communication disabilities and cognitive disabilities who report crimes to police?
  • What do you think are the major difficulties people with complex communication disabilities and cognitive disabilities experience when they report crimes to police? How could an Easy English guide best address this?
  • What do you think is the best way to implement the resource? (For example: training, a hardcopy resource available to police officers at local stations, an online resource on the Commission and Victoria Police's website; or hardcopy resources available at organisations working with people with disabilities?)
  • What other useful resource/s are you are aware of that can inform the Easy English resource?
  • What other key information should be included in the resource?
This is one of a range of projects the Commission is running following the release of its report Beyond Doubt: the experiences of people with disabilities reporting crime (available in Easy English).

If you are interested, please contact:
Julian Alban
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
Phone: (03) 9032 3435
How can Moonee Valley get better for young people with disabilities?

Do you have a disability and are aged between 12 and 25 years?
Moonee Valley City Council wants your help!

The Council wants to know your ideas about how to make Moonee Valley better for young people. They are hosting a consultation session with questions about your needs and interests. They are keen to hear your ideas on how to ensure young people with disability are more included in our community.

When: Friday, 6 March, 3.30pm-5.30pm
Where: Youth Centre 34 Wilson St, Moonee Ponds
RSVP by calling 9243 1647 or email

Free pizza and soft drink provided. Transport and direct carer support available on request. Please let them know if you have any additional accessibility requirements.

Can’t make the consultation? Visit before Friday, 27 February to complete a survey and go in the running to win an iPhone 6!
Information, Linkages and Capacity Building Policy Framework (formerly tier 2)

Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) is the new name for “Tier 2” of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

ILC is a key component of the NDIS insurance model and will contribute to the sustainability of the NDIS by building community capacity and inclusion.

This framework was developed by the Commonwealth, states and territories and is intended to guide the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) in developing a transition and implementation strategy for ILC.

Advocacy is not well represented in the Policy Framework. However, many of the activities described in the 13 page document are often performed very effectively by advocacy organisations, including the provision of information, linkages and referrals, building community awareness and individual capacity building.

Your feedback is being sought about the ILC Policy Framework. Key questions have been developed which aim to provide insights into stakeholder expectations, the scope of supports and implementation challenges of ILC:

  • What are the most important elements of ILC?
  • What is missing?
  • How will we know the ILC streams are meeting their objectives/vision?
  • What would be the implementation challenges?
  • Which aspects of a person’s life do you think ILC could have the greatest impact on?
  • What are some of the principles that should guide investment across ILC streams?
  • How do you see the interface between ILC functions and activities and the interaction with the mainstream service system? (housing, education, employment, health, family, accessibility and transport)

You are able to respond to the consultation by writing a submission or using a feedback form.
Alternatively, you can contact Keran Howe to have input into Women with Disabilities Victoria's brief submission.

Thanks to DANA and DARU for this information on the consultation.

How does Australia rate on a worldwide map on implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?

The Zero Project studied how 150 countries rate in aspects of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It measures 30 indicators, for example, accessible buildings, the right to vote, and alternative decision making rights. This data has been transformed into a colour coded map which shows Australia is generally meeting its commitments, but "with qualifications" which limit how our rights are upheld in reality. 

The Zero Project team understood that women with disabilities experience additional human rights violations. For example, on the right to marriage and parenting in Australia the site says that rights exist in theory but there are barriers at all levels of government.

In summary of the right to marriage and parenting worldwide, the site reads, "Answers show that socio-cultural stigma is very common especially among [of] women with physical and/or intellectual disabilities in developing countries, suggesting the importance of considering the relationship between gender and disability. –example: restricted custody of children."

Some sections of the site are a bit tricky to read grammatically, suggesting there were writers from across the world which is great. The map can be challanging to use if you have a print disability. But this is a really interesting resource.

Research was conducted around the world to study data, legislation and on the ground realities - in Australia a fantastic research job was done by the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO).

Why aren't there more women with disabilities on TV?: Melbourne Social Equity Institute hosts a discussion with Prof. Beth Haller

Professor and blogger, Beth Haller presented her findings on media representation of people with disabilities. She found that in the USA we can find a growing number of people with disabilities on TV and creating TV. It was interesting to hear how success is awarded to those who place disability within an entertainment genre, for example Western (Deadwood), Drama/Comedy (Glee), Children's (Pleswick) and Reality (Push Girls).

It was clear how disability access barriers can spark creativity - for example the Deaf actors in Switched at Birth made it abundantly clear that old plot devices like eves dropping were not going to work. The Switched at Birth writers became so into Deaf culture that they created an entire episode in American Sign Language. Beth spoke about the opportunities opening up through internet series, these are cheaper than TV to make, and she pointed to the YouTube comedy success, My Gimpy Life.

IMAGE: Youtube screenshot from My Gimpy Life

Melbourne icon, Cath Duncan (Arts Access, Quippings performer, WDV member) lead a discussion on the dearth of disability representations in Australian media. She asked the audience to call out examples of local actors with disabilities and to our silence she joked, "I can hear crickets." Cath said, "We are all missing Ramp Up since it's demise last year."

One audience member called, "When there is a disabled character in a show they're usually a white male."
Beth responded, "I think that is a big, BIG, BIG problem" which she certainly identified in her research. Women with disabilities were highly represented in this discussion though, and amongst us were many great writers, performers and creators who we should expect to see on our TVs in the not too distant future! This event was hosted by The Melbourne Social Equity Institute. Article by Jen Hargrave, WDV.

PHOTO: Women with disabilities members with speakers at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute: BACK ROW - Carly, Kath (speaker) and Amanda. FRONT ROW - Jax, Beth Haller (speaker) and Jen.

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