Women with Disabilities Victoria eNewsletter
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In this issue...


Image of Keran HoweIntroduction from Executive Director Keran Howe

Hello and welcome to our eNewsletter.

We've seen a lot of media lately around family violence. I spoke with the Victorian Disability Advisory Council earlier this week about this issue. There was vibrant discussion about violence against women with disabilities and ways we as a society can prevent violence.

It is heartening to see media responding on this issue, sending a clear message that violence against women is unacceptable.

Women with disabilities experience higher rates of violence than women in the general community, they also encounter significant barriers to accessing appropriate support services and justice outcomes.
In spite of this, there is a lack of data about the nature and extent of violence against women with disabilities in Victoria. We will be launching our Voices Against Violence Research Papers in two weeks and I look forward to sharing the findings with you all from May 15th.

WDV Updates

Reminder: Voices Against Violence Research Project launch May 15th

The Voices Against Violence Research Project was a cross-sectoral partnership, between Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV), the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) and the Domestic Violence Resource centre Victoria (DVRCV).

The project investigated the circumstances of women with disabilities who had experienced violence. 

There was a need for this research to be undertaken as no evidence based data existed about the nature and extent of violence against women with disabilities in Victoria, nor what an appropriate response should look like.

 The project involved:

  • Engaging with the disability, mental health, family violence, sexual assault, legal and other service sectors regarding their current practices
  • Carrying out a review of OPA files
  • Interviewing OPA staff and volunteers
  • Reviewing legislation here and overseas
  • Interviewing women with disabilities who had been victims of violence and were willing to share their stories.
  • Developing evidence-based recommendations for legal, policy and service sector reform.                     

The project was funded by Gandel Philanthropy and a research grant from the Legal Services Board Grants Program. We are grateful to these organisations for their generous support of the project.

This journey has taken us 2 years.

There are 7 individual papers in the suite, including an Easy English version and a Summary Report and Recommendations

 A launch is being held on May 15th for organisations to hear from the authors of the papers. Natasha Stott Despoja, Chairperson of the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children and Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls will be launching the research papers.

Watch this space to find out how you can purchase hard copies of the suite or individual papers or to download from our website.

For media enquiries please email

For more information about the launch contact the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria on 9486 9866 or email 


Enabling Women Leadership Program

A leadership program for women with disabilities.

Image of graduates from 2013 Enabling Women Program

A meeting for potential reference group members in the Geelong area.
We (WDV) are looking to run our successful 4 day leadership program in Geelong.  

A secret to the success of the program is the support of enthusiastic and diverse reference group members from the local area who in other areas have come together 5 times. Importantly they have ensured the participants received the support they needed to make the program and their next steps a success.
The purpose of this meeting is to establish the level of interest in supporting this program to run in Geelong. Come along meet some of the graduates, hear about the program and find out what’s involved. 

We will open with an introduction to Women with Disabilities Victoria by our Executive Director, Keran Howe. 

The meeting for potential reference group holders will be held:
Where: Level 2 Conference Room
131 Myers Street, Geelong 3220
(Blue Barwon Medicare Local Building)

When:  Tuesday May 20th
Time:    1.30 am – 3.00m.
Enquiries and RSVP: Jane Oldfield
Partnerships and Leadership Development Officer
Ph: 9286 7807

Reminder: Dandenong information session!

We (WDV) are offering a 4 day leadership program to women who wish to lead in their own communities.
The leadership program is offered in easy English for those who have difficulty reading or remembering written information.  

Topics covered include:
  • Getting to know you
  • The Social Model of Disability
  • Self-Identity                                   
  • Human Rights
  • Communication
  • Advocacy (speaking up for your rights)
  • Leadership                                           
The program provides opportunity for women from diverse backgrounds with disabilities to come together. Woman will share their mutual experience of disability and find solutions together to the problems of social disadvantage.  

Join the program and rise to your true leadership potential!
Where: City of Greater Dandenong Council Offices,
              225 Lonsdale Street, Dandenong
When:   Friday 13, 20, 27 June and Friday 4 July 2014
Time:    10:00am -3:00pm
Your contribution: Just your time and your commitment.
To know more attend our information session Friday 9th May 11.30-12.30
City of Greater Dandenong, Council Office 225 Lonsdale St Dandenong
Enquiries:  Jane Oldfield | Ph. 9286 7807 | Email
Partnerships and Leadership Development Officer, WDV

Get involved, become a member!

“I'm on this path but I've been a bit lost. I felt like I was a solo singer but now I feel like I've got a choir.”  WDV member

What does it mean to become a member of WDV?

Members can contribute to Women with Disabilities Victoria in the following ways:
  • Become involved in one of our leadership programs designed to promote sharing leadership skills.
  • Sharing information with other women through our e-newsletter and email bulletins.
  • Representing women with disabilities on Boards, Committees and forums. These opportunities are circulated to members who have an interest in a particular field.
  • Contributing to government submissions, representations to government and organisations and presentation of conference papers.

There are two types of membership:

Full membership is available to women with disabilities in Victoria. Full membership is free.

Associate membership is open to individuals and/or organisations supportive of the aims of Women with Disabilities Victoria and enables exchange of knowledge, and participation with Women with Disabilities Victoria and its members. Associate membership is $20 for individuals and $50 for organisations (this includes GST).
For more information about membership, visit our website or email



How many more murders in Victoria before the Government acts? 

In the wake of the horrendous murder of a mother of four in Sunshine yesterday, Victoria’s peak and state-wide family violence bodies call for an urgent minimum investment of $16 million into the family violence system, to tighten the net so that men who are a danger to Victorian women and children no longer go undetected. 

Critically, this will enable the statewide roll-out of multi- agency high risk task forces as the first step in a system-wide approach to holding violent perpetrators accountable for their behaviour. These programs operate regionally, but they will require central coordination to monitor women and children’s safety and men’s use of violence across the state. 

There were 29 family violence related deaths in Victoria last year. Of these murders, not all of the victims were women but all of the perpetrators were male. Family violence was a factor in 80% of child deaths known to Child Protection and the numbers are already stacking up this year. Police responded to over 60,000 family violence incidents last year alone. 
We're calling on the Victorian government to commit to a meaningful investment in the family 
violence system until women and children are safe from the risk of harm and death at the hands of violence partners and fathers. 

We’re also calling on the Victorian government to invest into the court system so that wherever 
family violence victims seek help they can expect to be safe and supported. 

It is also critical that the Victorian government restore funding to the Coroner’s Court Family 
Violence Death Reviews process, so that we learn from these family violence homicides. 
Would we would be as complacent if people in the community were being terrorised and murdered by strangers as opposed to family members? 

Some men choose to use violence because they think they have the right to use power and control in this way, and can get away with it. Thousands of Victorian men indeed are getting away with it.. 

The behaviour of this group of men is costing the Victorian economy $3.4 billion every year; it is 
driving 35% of our homelessness and over half of substantiated child protection cases; and clogging up our courts, police and community services. 

It's time for the government to step up and make these men accountable for their actions.

For comment on what these proposals mean for monitoring and responding to perpetrators, contact:
Rodney Vlais, Acting CEO, No To Violence, 0433 040 398 
Fiona McCormack, CEO Domestic Violence Victoria, 0409 937 800 
Annette Gillespie, CEO Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service, 0487 970 019 
Chris Atmore, Senior Policy Advisor, Federation of Community Legal Centres, 0425 796 434


The Lookout: Your Place for Family Violence Information

As many of you are aware, a new website aimed at family violence workers was launched late last year, called The Lookout: your place for family violence information.

The Lookout is a joint project between the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV) and Domestic Violence Victoria (DVVic), with funding from the Victorian Government.
So far there has been notable engagement in the site and we are very heartened by the encouraging feedback we have received.

The value and success of the site depends wholly on engagement - the more people use it, the more valuable it becomes.
What is The Lookout?
The Lookout is a comprehensive ‘one stop shop’ for all family violence information in Victoria. It is targeted towards Victorian family violence workers and women experiencing violence (as well as those who support them).
It is a centralised hub of information, resources and an online community for the sector.
The Lookout offers a host of information and resources, including:
  • FAQs & Fact sheets
  • Practice guidelines
  • Victoria’s family violence service system
  • Online learning eCRAF (in the future)
  • Communities of Practice
  • Referral services
  • Resources, research & media
Want to get involved?
Workers from DVVic member organisations are invited to join our online Community of Practice, to share resources and discuss issues relating to their work.
Please see the attached information sheet on how to sign up or visit:
Want more information on The Lookout? They can come to you!
The Communications Team at DVRCV are currently running Roadshows to introduce the site to family violence workers and organisations. If you would like to discuss the Communications Team coming along to your forum, group or organisation, you can contact Online Communications Officer, Jen Kingwell, on 9486 9866 or at

Promotion - how you can help!
We are asking for support from organisations that engage with Victorian family violence practitioners and professionals by linking The Lookout on e-newsletters, websites and other communications (including Facebook and Twitter).

The Danger of the Monster Myth

Posted on April 17, 2014 via whiteribbonireland and thedrum

We must not forget that most violence against women is perpetrated not by a stranger, but by men they know, writes Tom Meagher, husband of the murdered Jill Meagher.

"One of the most disturbing moments of the past eighteen months of my life was hearing my wife’s killer form a coherent sentence in court. Jill had been murdered almost six months earlier, and Adrian Bayley’s defence team were presenting a rather feeble case for a four-week adjournment of his committal hearing. Bayley appeared via video-link as I sat flanked by two friends and a detective.

The screen was to my right, mounted high up and tilted slightly towards the bench. It was uncomfortably silent apart from the occasional paper shuffle or short flurry of keyboard clicks.

I anticipated, and prepared for the most difficult moment of the day when Bayley’s face appeared on the big-screen TV, looming over the seat I then occupied. When that moment arrived, a jolt of nausea came and went, but the worst was to come, made all the more horrifying because it was unexpected.

The judge asked Bayley whether he could he see the courtroom. I don’t remember his exact words, but he replied that he was able to see his lawyer and half of the bench. I had come face to face with him before in court, but vocally, I never heard him manage more than a monosyllabic mumble into his chest. This was different."

The full article can be viewed here: 


National Disability Insurance Scheme Webinars

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) recently held a webinar titled ‘Meet the Governors of the National Disability Insurance Scheme”. This was the fifth webinar hosted by the NDIA which brought together a panel including Senator Mitch Fifield, Assistant Minister for Social Services, Mr Bruce Bonyhady AM, Chair of the NDIA Board and Dr Rhonda Galbally AO, Principal Member of the NDIS Independent Advisory Council to discuss and answer questions about the NDIS. Further webinars are planned with details to be released.
To stay up to date with upcoming events, visit or call 1800 800 110.

From a tightrope to a flying trapeze with the NDIS

 Image of Jacqui McKim
Jacqui McKim is a participant of the LEAD Barwon project which enables NDIS clients, their carers and families to provide feedback about how the NDIS can best cater for individual needs.

She shares her experience from a recent workshop with other clients, where everyone realised the importance of being open minded about individual requirements. Jacqui is also a graduate of WDV's Enabling Women Program.

Sometimes I feel like I'm walking through life on a tightrope; quite an ironic image for someone with Cerebral Palsy (CP)! Swaying too far one way takes me into a world where disability dominates, and too far the other way is a place where there is almost no consideration of the impact CP has on my life. Balancing on this tightrope is no simple feat. It takes an understanding of my physical needs, a mindfulness of the emotional toll, foreseeing challenges to be overcome and problem-solving on the spot. It is sometimes hard to take the next step.

I am a participant of LEAD Barwon - Leading, Educating, and Advocating for Disability - a project funded by the State Government and implemented by the Committee for Geelong as a means for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) clients, their carers and families to share their needs and provide feedback about how the Scheme works for their individual cases. At a recent workshop, I found myself balancing on my tightrope. Around me, LEAD peers discussed supports that I did not currently need, such as supported accommodation, day programs, support workers: supports essential to their own or their children's daily lives.
Numerous supports were anticipated to come out of our individual NDIS planning, but for me, a lot of them were aboutenriching my life experience rather than being supports that were essential to my day-to-day life. It felt like an injustice to be sitting there, knowing some of my NDIS goals called for supports that were not as clearly reasonable or necessary compared to those of others around me.

This is an extract of an article first published on Ramp Up, to view the full article please visit:

Human Rights 

Delays fuel fears about future of Disability Commissioner

Outgoing Disability Commissioner Graeme Innes has flagged concerns that no public process has begun to find a replacement for him in time for his July departure and that the disability role within the Human Rights Commission may be downgraded when he leaves. 

Mr Innes, who has been Australia's Discrimination Commissioner since December 2005, said that a proper recruitment process - with a public advertisement, interviews and sign-off by government - would take four or five months, while he has only three months left of his term. 

"I've had no information as to the replacement process," he told Fairfax Media. "It's now just three months out and so that is a concern for me because I think the role is a very important one for people with disability." 

Read more:

Reminder: Disability Discrimination Legal Service Outreach Project

Until 30 June 2014
The Disability Discrimination Legal Service Inc (DDLS) is conducting an intensive outreach program to provide targeted community legal education, advice and casework services to people with disabilities, their associates, carers and advocates across Victoria on issues around disability discrimination. The project focuses on
  • People with disabilities in rural and regional communities,
  • People with mental illness, and
  • People with moderate-severe disabilities and communication impairments. 
Community legal education sessions and workshops will look at what the law is, how to identify possibly discrimination and how and where to access support/refer people with a disability in relation to a complaint of disability discrimination. Sessions and workshops can be tailored to suit particular issues and needs. The program will also take place in rural communities to provide face-to-face advice to individuals and organisations. 

For more information contact:  

Employment and Training 

Write On! Write-ability Advocacy Workshop


Presented by Carly Findlay
A workshop for early and emerging writers

There needs to be more people with disabilities telling our stories across all types of media. Telling our own stories educates, reduces stigma, pity, exploitation and sensationalism, and raises the level of expectation that society has about people with disabilities. Explore the way writing our own story about disability can be empowering, help form networks and create big change.

Carly Findlay will talk about her writing journey – especially the way blogging has given her a voice, and help participants begin their own writing journey.

Carly Findlay is an award-winning writer, speaker and appearance activist – she shares what it’s like to live with a visible difference. Her work has been published in The Guardian, Daily Life, BlogHer, ABC Ramp Up, Mamamia and in Frankie Magazine. She has a Master of Communication from RMIT University, and completed her thesis on the way blogging can give people with a chronic illness a sense of identity.

Carly blogs at

This event is Auslan interpreted

When: Saturday 24 May 2014,
Time: 12:00PM - 3:00PM
Where: Workshop Space (Level 4), The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.
Free for participants with a disability.

These workshops are made possible by the support of the City of Melbourne and are presented in collaboration with Arts Access Victoria and the Emerging Writers' Festival.

To book your place visit:

Advocacy, Leadership and Representation


Image of opening doors flyerOpening Doors Community Leadership Program 

Applications are now open for the 2014 Opening Doors Community Leadership Program!
The Opening Doors Program is currently seeking community members who are passionate about their local area, and would like to make a difference in the lives of people who may be socially isolated.

Opening Doors supports passionate community members to develop their leadership skills, create initiatives, and work towards a more socially inclusive society.
The 2014 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 2014 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

Social Inclusion and Accessibility

Access and Inclusion, Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal Invitation to Engage.

At the beginning of November 2013, the City of Melbourne announced that it will make the largest investment in its history to preserve and renew the Queen Victoria Market.

The second phase of community consultation is now underway until 16 May 2014 and we want to hear people’s feedback on the proposed future market precinct, particularly on key themes such as accessibility; heritage; open space; car parking; attractions; and retail, hospitality and services. 

The site tours will be at 10am and 12.30pm and will be 50 minutes long. If you are interested in coming along, please contact Michelle Weston at Capire Consulting Group on 9285 9007 and

The Engagement Hub: If you are unable to make the site tour, you can visit them at the Queen Victoria Market engagement hub which will be staffed on market days from now until Friday 16 May. The hub is located at Queen Victoria Market, Shop 1, F Shed (Queen Street end) please visit for opening hours.

Please let them know if you have particular access requirements such as a Auslan interpreter or a Support  Worker to fully participate in these community consultations.

Participate Melbourne: You can also help shape the future of the market online by visiting through the feedback form and also sharing your feedback on the forum about the precinct proposals so far.

Reminder: Victorian State Disability Plan Survey

The Victorian Government wants to know whether the Victorian state disability plan 2013-16 is making a difference to the lives of people with a disability.

They have created an online survey to find out.

The survey is open to 16 May 2014, and everyone who completes the survey will be eligible to win two gold class movie tickets.

WDV is aware that this survey doesn’t currently cover all areas of the State Plan, particularly Outcome 5 Improved responses to violence and sexual assault and we are talking with government regarding measures to address how the plan improves access to violence response services for people with disabilities.

The plan is here:  This web page includes a screen reader, large print and Easy Read version. You can also contact the Office for Disability to ask for a paper version or a version in a different format (contact details below). 

If you have any questions about this survey contact the Office for Disability on 1300 880 043.

The survey will ask for your views on things like:
  • Whether public transport is accessible
  • How easy it is for you to pursue your personal goals, such as education or employment   goals
  • How easy it is for you to access services and supports.
The survey will take approximately ten to fifteen minutes to complete and will close on 16 May 2014.

To start the survey simply click on the link below, or copy and paste the entire URL into your browser:

Everyone who completes the survey will be eligible to win two gold class movie tickets.

Out and About - Accessible Events

Reminder: Chezchez la Femme: Feminism and Disability

Cherchez la Femme is Melbourne's monthly feminist talkshow in the pub, covering current affairs and popular culture from a feminist perspective.
Held on the first Tuesday of every month at the Duke of Wellington Level One on the corner of Russell and Flinders Streets, Melbourne. Featuring new perspectives, guests and topics every month. Created and hosted by Karen Pickering.
Chezchez la Femme: Feminism and Disability
What it's like to identify as a woman with disability and a feminist?
Are there particular antagonisms between disability as a political category and feminism as a political project?
What is the social model of disability and what can feminists learn from it?

Just some of the areas feminists and disability theorists and activists share space in are: body autonomy, positive difference, reproductive rights, street harassment, sexual assault, sex positivity, sex work and media portrayals of women and disability. There's a lot to talk about!

And just as with feminism, we're seeing more and more public conversations about disability but they're not always positive or helpful. Let's have a look at them together - where they overlap, intersect and sometimes, flat out contradict one another, causing tension, misunderstandings, and sometimes, harm. Disability is certainly a subject that mainstream feminism needs to get a lot more literate around, so this will hopefully make a contribution.

Panellists include:

Dr Shakira Hussein - writer, researcher, academic, feminist

Jax Jacki Brown - perfomer, writer, educator, feminist

Jessica Knight - poet, arts writer, artist, feminist

When:Tuesday 6 May
Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm
Where: The Duke Level One (upstairs via elevator) Cnr Russell & Flinders Sts Melbourne
Tickets: $15 online & $20 on the door*
Book online
Venue is wheelchair accessible.
For more information, visit the Cherchez la Femme Facebook event page

*Really want to come but low on cash? Enquire about the Girl Gang ticket club, where you might be assigned a ticket that's been donated by a generous CLF supporter. More info at under Tickets.


Win FREE Tickets: Accessible screening: Sons and Mothers

Still image from film Sons and Mothers, a man in a green t shirt holding an electric guitar
Film presented with open captioning and audio description
Date: Sat 17 May 3:30 PM
Location: ACMI Cinemas
Filmed with the Men’s Ensemble of the No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability in Adelaide, Sons and Mothers is a behind-the-scenes portrait of male performers as they create a theatrical love letter to their mothers. Avoiding a simple documentation of the creative process, this film is a powerful and intimate portrait of a group of men trying to express the importance of that instinctual, lifelong, maternal bond. Director Christopher Houghton uses a refreshingly simple style moulding liveliness, candour, and impromptu humour into a heart-warming tale that “will leave you rethinking what it means to be disabled, a parent and a son” (Quentin Kenihan, ABC Radio Adelaide).

Are you a WDV Member? 
HRAFF have generously given us some FREE double passes to see Sons and Mothers. For your chance to win tickets, please email
Winners will be notified via email.
Post-film Q&A with AUSLAN interpretation
A panel discussion about representations of disability through creative media with director Christopher Houghton and protagonists, Alirio Zavarce and Kym Mackenzie facilitated by Stella Young, writer, comedian, broadcaster, disability activist and editor of ABC’s Ramp Up website.
All tickets are available through
Tickets to all films and events held at ACMI can be purchased in person or on the phone. Visit the Tickets & Information Desk, accessible from the Main Square, Federation Square, or phone (03) 8663 2583 to book film screenings at ACMI.

For more information visit:
Or email:
Kristina Arnott
Trudy Ryall

SCHIZY WEEK JAM 2014 @ 303 Bar

A much loved Melbourne tradition to celebrate Schizophrenia Awareness Week is on again...

When: Sat 17 May 4:30pm - 6pm
Where: 303 Bar (303 High St Northcote)

This year 'Heidi and Friends' presents an energetic hour and half of totally healthy original acoustic music and fun by HEIDI EVERETT, accompanied by some of her great friends who also happen to be crack musos and yarn tellers.
The show will be opened by the one and only, SANDY JEFFS!
Bring a friend, bring a smile and bring a donation for the 'artist bucket fund' and be lovingly entertained in top style. High St is also a great place to be on a Sat arvo.
See you there!
RSVP via email or just see you there!
ACCESSIBILITY: One step into front bar. Chairs and tables available

Final days: eNews Survey

Have you completed our enews survey yet? Don't miss your chance to have your say in how we communicate with you, and have the chance to win a great prize!

We're currently reviewing our communications strategy and would welcome your input.

We've created a short survey that should only take a few minutes to complete.

All respondents will go in the draw to win a 60 minute one on one digital media training session.

Please click here to take the survey!

Just for fun

With a Little Moxie: Down Syndrome Speech

2014 Telescope Competition for Writers with a Disability

Youth Mental Health: We have the technology

Women on the Line: Hollaback! Melbourne 

The purpose of this e-News is to inform our members, staff and associates about opportunities to advance Women with Disabilities Victoria’s goals. Women with Disabilities Victoria works to address priority issues for women with disabilities in Victoria. These issues include violence; access to health services; reproductive rights and parenting, and; access to employment. We welcome and encourage your feedback and contributions to
Copyright © 2014 Women with Disabilities Victoria, All rights reserved.

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