For more information about Women with Disabilities Victoria please visit our website at
Violence & Disability Quarterly


The quarterly publication highlighting projects, resources and research responding to violence against women with disabilities. For more information or to contribute, please contact Jen Hargrave, Policy Officer – Violence Against Women with Disabilities.

In this Issue:  
Intersectional group established for Family Violence Royal Commission implementation

Implementation of the Royal Commission on Family Violence's 227 recommendations is running at a fast pace. With multiple projects underway a number of organisations representing high risk populations, including Women with Disabilities Victoria, were concerned to ensure that these initiative keep high risk communities at the centre of reforms. The Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) responded to this need and established a Diverse Communities and Intersectionality Working Group. The working group reports to the Family Violence Steering Committee which advises on all service reforms being considered under the Ten Year Action Plan on Family Violence.

The Working Group represents over 15 organisations and statutory bodies representing diverse populations as well as relevant government department representatives. The committee is formalising its terms of reference and is expected to focus its advice on ensuring access and inclusion for all Victorians in the context of Royal Commission Family Violence recommendations, family violence and social service reform. Also DPC is seeking the Group's advice on a framework that captures the intersectionalty for people who experience discrimination and family violence risk.

WDV are pleased to be working with DPC and the other working group members on this intersectional approach to governance. Jane Sweeney (DPC) co-chairs the new committee alongside Keran Howe (WDV). The group had their first meeting in September and will meet regularly.

While each group experiences discrimination in different ways, many of the barriers and issues of marginalisation are common. This combined approach of considering discrimination jointly represents an exciting new way forward, putting diversity at the centre of reforms.

Intersectionality at the Centre of the AWAVA / Our Watch conference

In late September Our Watch and AWAVA co-hosted the Prevalent and Preventable conference in Adelaide. They report that, "We know that one size does not fit all when it comes to preventing violence against women and the conference explored the tailored actions that can help address the inequality, disadvantage and violence faced by women with disabilities, women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and the LGBTIQ community."

Jen from WDV joined a number of women with disabilities who attended the conference, speaking on two panels - one looking at 'intersectionality' and the other looking at running programs in under-resourced areas. One of the most important things about the conference for WDV was the way it brought different groups together - allowing us to be different and to explore what we have in common in ending violence.

Disability services - your invitation to be part of preventing violence against women with disabilities in Barwon (Colac, 8th Nov)

The scale of discrimination and violence experienced by women with disabilities has been highlighted in the recent findings of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence and the Parliamentary Inquiry into Abuse in Disability Services. Disability organisations are critical in addressing gender and disability inequality and preventing violence against women before it occurs.

In Barwon’s Month of Action, Women with Disabilities Victoria invite leaders and managers of disability organisations to find out more about:
  • What the recommendations from the Royal Commission and Parliamentary Inquiry mean for you and your organisation
  • What difference your organisation can make to support women, prevent abuse and manage risk
  • What WDVs Workforce Development Program on Gender and Disability can offer your organisation to strengthen the rights, choices and improve the status and quality of life of women with disabilities
  • How your organisation can differentiate itself as an NDIS provider who delivers gender sensitive and responsive services and is active in preventing violence against women.
Organisational leaders and managers are encouraged to attend this timely workshop.

When: 9:30am-1:30pm, Tuesday 8th November 2016
Where: Crowe Horwath, 175 Bromfield Street, Colac
Cost: $25 (Lunch and refreshments will be provided)
RSVP: By 28 October 2016 to Bianca Evans, or T: (03) 9286 7809.

Victoria's family violence risk assessment framework under review

Monash University has published a review of the Family Violence Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) after conducting consultations earlier in the year. The review found there is strong support for the CRAF but some challenges in using it across the range of sectors who do use it (including Police, Maternal Child Health Nurses, Housing and Family Violence services).

The report has 27 recommendations with 2 significant recommendations regarding women with disabilities:

Recommendation 20 In order to address this significant gap in identifying, assessing and managing the risks posed by different forms of family violence in diverse communities the redevelopment of the CRAF should:

• Include research to develop or build an evidence base on risks factors specific to diverse populations including ATSI, CALD and LGBTIQ, children, adolescents, older people and people with disability.

• Proceed in close consultation with specialists that address the risks and needs of diverse communities in order to capture emerging knowledge about specific risk factors for diverse communities.

Recommendation 22 The additional vulnerability of those with disability to particular forms of coercion and control was recognised as well as barriers to accessing services. The redeveloped CRAF should:

• Include specific and targeted questions for people with disability.
• Include specific risk factors for people with disability.

WDV supports the report's recommendations for a redeveloped CRAF which ensures a more inclusive CRAF while continuing to adhere to a shared framework. We recommend that a revised CRAF considers disability discrimination and power imbalances as systemic risk factors rather than inherent vulnerabilities.

The report found "cautious support for a weighted actuarial (score-based) tool." WDV shares this tentative approach to actuarial risk assessment with consideration for the ways that assessments can overlook risks experienced by marginailised groups.
Scope launches resources and training

The new Speak up and be safe from abuse site has been launched by Scope’s Communication and Inclusion Resource Centre with support from the Victorian Government. The site hosts a toolkit to support identification of violence and abuse against people with communication difficulties.

It compliments training for disability support workers running across Victoria in 2016-17. Fifteen training sessions will be held and the first two dates have been confirmed for Shepparton on 9 November 2016 and Geelong on 8 December 2016 – for more information contact Scope.

A research project will be undertaken to explore staff experiences with the toolkit and to explore the views of people with communication difficulties and their support people about what strategies are needed, including the idea of peer support groups/networks.


Call for female-only mental health wards - upcoming forum

The University of Melbourne's Social Equity Institute is hosting this free forum at 6pm on November 7 featuring Tricia Malowney and Dr Sabin Fernbacher.

Counsellor / advocate position advertised at SE CASA to work with people with disabilities

Applications to South Eastern CASA close 2nd November. See the details.
More ways to keep connected with Women with Disabilities Victoria

If you would like more news from WDV's other priority areas you might like to subscribe to our fortnightly eNews, or for current updates find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Copyright © 2016 Women with Disabilities Victoria, All rights reserved.

All of our contact information can further be found at

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp