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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:
Here we are, in the midst of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gendered Violence, Human Rights Day and the International Day of People with Disability activities. This is a rich time to bring gender equality and disability equality to community attention.

We have seen some excellent examples of media reports showing positive leadership of women and people with disabilities. In itself, positive representation of women with disabilities is empowering, and it is a strategy to reduce violence against women with disabilities.

In the near future WDV will be meeting with the EVA Media Action Group to talk about media representation of women with disabilities. This group is chaired by Domestic Violence Victoria and has representation from relevant workforces, including the media.

The National Disability Awards recognised a range of wonderful women with disabilities and others working hard towards gender equality and social change. This reflect positively on the place of Australian women with disabilities as advocates. We undertake this work around Australia and women with disabilities are a growing force around the world.

Congratulations to the Victorian Women's Trust who this week celebrated 30 years supporting the causes of women's rights in Victoria. WDV salutes you.

On the 25th of November, two WDV were recognised at the National Disability Awards Ceremony in Candberra. Co-founder of Deaf - Blind Victorians Self Advocacy Group and WDV Board Member, Trudy Ryall, was nominated for her outstanding advocacy. Congratulations Trudy!

IMAGE: outstanding advocate, Trudy Ryall

Keran Howe was awarded the Lesley Hall Award for Lifetime Achievement in Disability. Given the landmark work Lesley has done on rights for women with disabilities, this award is especially significant. Keran's recognition has brought media attention to women with disabilities' rights through interviews with Sky News, ABC Local Radio Melbourne 774, and brief pieces on Radio National and ABC online. There was also a incisive piece by Miki Perkins in The Age which is well worth a look.

Congratulations to other fantastic Victorian finalists; Cashelle Dunn (Women with Disabilities Australia), Julie Phillips (Disability Discrimination Legal Service), Chris Varney, Maurice Gleeson OAM (Blind Sports and Recreation Vic), Alex Miller (Western Health), Sam Almaliki (Cricket Australia), Kidney Health Australia Big Red Kidney Bus Holiday Dialysis Project, Mind Recovery College, and Parks Victoria. A list of finalists is available on the awards' page.

IMAGE: Keran Howe on International Day of People with Disability

YWCA mentoring program

Transitions is a new program YWCA created with CAE. This program is for women who would like to return to a learning environment but need support to do so because they feel disadvantaged. A learning mentor can help learners stay focused and positive about learning. Contact: Tracie Wilson, YWCA Program Facilitator, 03 8341 8700.
Australian Women's Donors Network factsheets and grant guides now available

Facts and stats are always useful for advocacy. If you are looking for these for your advocacy, see the new factsheets by the Australian Women's Donors Network on themes including Women with Disabilities, Women and Aging, Women and the Arts, Women and Homelessness. Their site also has guides for grant applicants and grant makers.

IMAGE: Extract, Australian Women Donors Network Factsheet on Women with Disabilities: "Open employment and disabilty employment services in Australia assist twice as many men with disabilities as they do women with disabilities. Men with disabilities are also twice as likely to be in paid employment as women with disabilities."

Victorian Women’s Benevolent Trust – General Grants open for application - close Feb 1st

The Victorian Women’s Benevolent Trust supports innovative projects that advance the rights and opportunities of Victorian women and girls. VWT welcome applications for projects that assist women and girls to live safely, achieve their potential and enjoy full participation in the community, within a framework of promoting social justice and systemic change.

In 2016, VWT have a special focus on initiatives that promote the social inclusion of women and girls living in and / or experiencing isolation - due to geography, culture, limited resources, disability or illness.
Applications close Monday 1st February 2016. For details see grants guidelines and application form
Public Transport Access Committee: Expression-of-Interest for Committee Membership - Close Dec 5

The Public Transport Access Committee (PTAC) provides independent strategic advice to the Minister for Public Transport and Public Transport Victoria (PTV) with the aim of creating a public transport system that is accessible to all Victorians. The committee has 11 positions vacant, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, see the Information Pack. Applications close 5:00pm, Sunday 20 December 2015.

Contact: Nicolas Olivares, Senior Transport Accessibility Officer, phone 03 9027 4838.
Women on boards: find and share vacancies

The Women on Boards website is the place to go if you would like to apply to join a board, or if you would like to advertise a board vacancy - for women! This site is for the whole of Australia, and it is currently advertising a few Victorian vacancies.

Your pathway to the NDIS explained - Melbourne Forum - Dec 9th

You are invited to an NDIS information forum and Q&A run by Independence Disability Services. This is an opportunity for clients, people with a disability and people working in the disability sector to meet with those in the know, including Tricia Malowney - IDS Chair, David Moody - State Manager, National Disability Services and a representative from the NDIA.

When: Wednesday, 9 December 2015
Time: 2.00 pm - 4.00 pm
Where: Ground Floor, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton 3053

Bookings are essential:
Telephone: 03 9340 5100 or online.
Media release: Organisations run by people with disabilities are critical to the NDIS

Disability Australia welcomes the announcement by the Australian Labor Party on International Day of People with Disability to re-fund people with disability organisations that represent over 200,000 people with disability across Australia.
“We welcome the announcement and call for bi-partisan support for long-term stability and funding for people with disability organisations that were critical in achieving the NDIS”, said Matthew Wright, CEO of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, and spokesperson for Disability Australia. See the full media release.

Help WDV reach 1,000 followers

WDV is proud to say that our Social Media is going strong. We are loving connecting with you on Facebook and Twitter. It has been so wonderful to share our latest news in this way, like pictures from the Brenda Gabe Leadership Award Ceremony and the Enabling Women Program. Our FB page now has 981 likes, and we have 818 Twitter followers. Would you like to help us reach 1,000?

Our research shows that women with disabilities are just as likely to be excluded from Social Media as we are from social events in general. The 2012 research, Your Say, Your Rights, by Christine Jennings, WDV and SARU, found many reasons for this; we are given less access to information about how to use it, we are told that it is dangerous for us, and we have less resources to access it. For this reason, WDV are so happy to be engaging with more women with disabilities via Social Media every day.

Building women’s voices and experiences into the family violence sector: A Victorian Women’s Family Violence Advisory Group

The few lay witnesses at the Royal Commission confirmed what has long been known – women are the experts in their own experience and can provide highly illuminating insights into the family violence system.

DV Vic is calling for a women’s advisory group on family violence (WFVAG). This would be a way Victorian women who have experienced family violence can have a meaningful ongoing voice in the system. The WFVAG will provide feedback, make recommendations and contribute to policy development.

See the draft proposal for details. DV Vic would like a representation of a diversity of women in the group, and women with disabilities are encouraged to be involved.

Join the campaign to build women’s voices and experiences into a stronger family violence system. 
Magistrates' Court of Victoria's Family Violence Website

The Magistrates' Court Family Violence website has been developed to enhance access to information about family violence and intervention orders for both applicants and respondents. The website will soon be translated into multiple languages. If you go to the site and watch the video, 'What is Family Violence?,' look out for Keran Howe speaking.
WDV on the Walk Against Violence

WDV were among the large crowd who joined the 7th annual Walk Against Family Violence through Melbourne City. Because of the large numbers of women with disabilities who experience family violence, we believe it is important to have a presence on the day. WDV calls on everyone who believes in women's right to safety to join in solidarity recogning violence against any woman is intolerable.

IMAGE: Some of the WDV representatives who joined the Walk Against Violence.
National inquiry into disability abuse 

During November an Australian Senate Committee released the report on their inquiry into abuse in disability services. The Committee Chair, Senator Rachel Siewert, said,

"It took a harrowing report on Four Corners last year to raise public attention to this appalling issue and because the Government wouldn’t act the Senate voted to establish an inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability in institutional and residential settings...The committee found that violence, abuse and neglect was so widespread it has called for a Royal Commission and made a number of other recommendations on things that need to change."

Aside from a Royal Commission, the report recommends a national report & investigation system for violence against people with disability.

Easy English resource on reporting crime
See the new Easy English guide to reporting crime by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

Video Remote Captioning Service

A Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) service has begun in Victoria. The VRI service enables communication between people who use English to communicate with people who use Auslan. The service works with all major video conferencing systems and connects to computers and portable devices (such as a laptop or tablet). Vicdeaf was engaged as the provider of the VRI service following an advertised tender process.

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