WDV eNewsletter
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WDV Updates

On October 7 WDV hosted three women from the Pacific region for a day in our office as part of their visit to Melbourne through the UN Women Ending Violence Against Women Knowledge & Learning Exchange.

   Image of WDV staff members and Pacific Island women, Executive Director Keran Howe and •	Naomi Navoce from Pacific Disability Forum are at the front of the group holding a traditional Fijian gift.
The women represented three organisations , Pacific Disability Forum, Fiji Talitha Projects, Tonga and UN Women, Fiji.
The purpose of their visit was to gain an overview of what, how and why we do things as an organisation for women with disabilities, to strengthen their understanding of preventing and responding to violence against women and girls with disabilities in a broader context, and for us to learn what the situation is for women  in the Pacific region and what  work they undertake with their organisations.
As part of their visit we attended the launch of the NDIS Rights fact sheets developed by Fitzroy Legal Service, Hobart Community Legal Service and Redfern Legal Centre where we learnt about our legal rights under the NDIS and what to do if our rights are not recognised. The launch was also an opportunity for our guests to meet Stella Young who launched the fact sheets.


Are you interested in improving access to health care for women with disabilities?

In 2010 Women with Disabilities Victoria  carried out a review of women with disabilities experiences when visiting health care services. The review highlighted the disadvantage experienced by many of these women. In response we then undertook a community development project to begin addressing the problem.
In partnership with Disability Media Australia (formerly Grit Media) and the Royal Women’s Hospital, a group of young women with disabilities came together, wrote the script and ‘starred’ in a DVD outlining the barriers faced by women with disabilities.
Now, thanks to a grant from the Ian Potter Foundation we have engaged Jackie Moden and Tania Phillips to write a learning package to accompany the DVD. The funding allows us to trial the package in a hospital setting and develop a train-the-trainer program for women with disabilities who will deliver the package.
Jackie and Tania will be undertaking a consultation process shortly and are keen to hear for Women with Disabilities Victoria members about your experiences when visiting a health care service and any  ideas you have for what we should include in the learning package.

This could be things like:
  • Why it is important to talk to me, not the person who brought me to the centre
  • How to make information accessible for everyone
  • Developing a checklist for accessibility.

This will help to ensure the package contains the right kind of information and addresses the key elements that you identify. 

Date: Friday November 7, 2014
Time: 1:30pm to 3:00pm  
The focus group will immediately follow our AGM and lunch - Level 3, NAB Building, 700 Bourke Street, Docklands
** Participants will be paid a small fee for their time.
If you would like to participate in the focus group or want more information contact Sharon Granek at WDV by Monday 27 October on
Phone: 9286 7802


Dan Shearin bombards girlfriend, Breeana Robinson, with 1439 text messages in the month before she took her life.

ON stage and online, Dan Shearin was charming, interesting and talented — but it was a different show when the curtain went down.
Southport Magistrates Court yesterday heard the story of a cruel and obsessive man who sent his decades-younger, legally-blind girlfriend 1439 text messages in the month before she took her own life from their Southport balcony.

Shearin pleaded guilty to the single charge of using a carriage service to menace or harass 21-year-old Breeana Robinson.

ON stage and online, Dan Shearin was charming, interesting and talented — but it was a different show when the curtain went down.
Southport Magistrates Court yesterday heard the story of a cruel and obsessive man who sent his decades-younger, legally-blind girlfriend 1439 text messages in the month before she took her own life from their Southport balcony.

Shearin pleaded guilty to the single charge of using a carriage service to menace or harass 21-year-old Breeana Robinson.

Read full story:


Invitation to participate in research: Implementing rape law reform.

This research seeks to understand law reform processes and your responses will help improve understanding of how people interpret a legal definition of rape and apply it to factual scenarios. 

Participants will be asked to complete an online survey, join in a small-group discussion and fill out a feedback form.

Findings will be published in academic journals and reports and presented at conferences.

For registration or details call Dr Anastasia Powell 9925 3566 or email



Media Release: Online NDIS Rights Resource Launched

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Three Community Legal Centres from across Australia have joined forces to develop a comprehensive online rights resource for people accessing or wishing to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme or NDIS.

The Fitzroy Legal Service, Hobart Community Legal Service and the Redfern Legal Centre partnered together to develop the new NDIS Rights resource to assist people to know their rights and reduce legal uncertainty when dealing with the new scheme.

The new NDIS Rights website and fact sheets have been developed to address community need for rights based legal information when accessing the NDIS and the various agencies involved with the NDIS. They have been developed following an extensive consultation process through consumer and advocacy groups in Tasmania, New South Wales, and Victoria.

‘The new online NDIS Rights resource will help people know where they legally stand when accessing or
contemplating accessing the NDIS,
’ said Claudia Fatone, EO of the Fitzroy Legal Service.

‘These freely available resources have been developed in a range of accessible formats to encourage
greater understanding of what your rights are as a person currently using the NDIS or as a person who is
contemplating accessing the NDIS,

‘The new NDIS Rights website and fact sheets are intended to provide basic information about what rights a
person has under the NDIS, and what they can do if they feel their rights are not being recognized. Of
course they do not replace formal legal advice or advocacy where needed.

‘These new resources are a welcome new development in what is more than 40 years of promoting legal
rights advocacy and community development by the Fitzroy Legal Service and our community legal partners
in Redern and Hobart,
’ said Ms Fatone.

The new fact sheets cover a wide range of topics including:
· An Easy English Guide for Consumers – Your Rights under the NDIS
· Advocacy rights as a person using the NDIS
· Your right to make complaints
· Contracts
· Dealing with Service Providers
· Decision Making
· Discrimination
· Eligibility for support through the NDIS
· Access to information
· Needs assessment
· When the supports you need are not available
· Negotiating who provides services

The new resource has been made possible by a grant from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s

NDIS Rights can now be accessed by visiting The site includes information in a range of formats including HTML, PDF in Easy English, and as audible MP3s.

For further information please contact:
Claudia Fatone, Executive Officer, Fitzroy Legal Service,
Phone: 9419 3744, Mobile: 0403 234 156

Election and Politics

                  Image of the word "vote" where the letter o is a wheelchair

Voting is for Everyone electoral program to support people with a disability.


The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has partnered with Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) to support electoral participation for residents with a disability living in group homes.

The Voting is for Everyone initiative provides practical tools to assist people with a disability to vote, encourages a community-wide conversation about democracy and dispels myths and misconceptions around voting and disability.

To support this resource, the VEC is offering face-to-face information sessions for disability groups throughout Victoria. If you would like to organise a session for your area please contact Matthew Potocnik, on (03) 8620 1197 or email

The Victorian State Election will be held on Saturday 29 November.


A Woman’s Place is in the House (and in the Senate)


Current UN data shows that equal representation in parliaments worldwide will take at least two decades, if current growth is maintained. But here in Australia, the numbers don’t look good. There’s just one woman in the federal cabinet, Julie Bishop – and one female state or territory leader (Katy Gallagher).

When Julia Gillard left as prime minister, she said she was confident that it would be ‘easier for the next woman and the woman after that and the woman after that’.

More than a year on, what is it like for women in Australian politics now?

EMILY’s List, an organisation that supports the advancement of progressive female politicians, will bring together an experienced panel to diagnose the status quo of women in Australian politics – and debate possible prescriptions for a healthy future to ensure equal gender representation in politics.

When: 6:15pm - 7:15pm Wednesday 29 Oct
Venue: The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Book online or visit Wheeler Centre's website for details.


The Victorian Government wants to know what you think.

You can help the Victorian Government to do a better job for people with a disability.

The government wants to improve the lives of people with a disability so that they have the same choices and opportunities as everyone in our community.

The implementation plan (the plan) of the Victorian state disability plan 2013-2016 tells you what the government is doing in 2013 and 2014 to do this.

If you want to read a copy of the state disability plan visit There are accessible versions of the state disability plan including easy read and large print.

You know what works best.

They want to make sure that the plan is on the right track and is making the changes that matter to people with a disability. That’s why they are asking people with a disability who are over 18 and who live in Victoria to answer some questions in a questionnaire:

* The questions will take about 5 to 15 minutes to answer and the questionnaire will be open until 3 November 2014.
* You can contact the Office for Disability if you want to take the questionnaire over the phone or have a paper copy mailed to you.
* Your answers will be kept private and will only be used for this research. Your name will never be linked with your answers.
* We will write a report to tell you what the questionnaire found out.

To get started just go to

You can call the Office for Disability, Department of Human Services on 1300 880 043 or email to ask for a paper version of the state disability plan or if you have any further questions.

Human Rights 

Poverty: The reality of the DSP

Poverty data contained in a new report released by the Australia Council of Social Services (ACOSS)paints a grim picture for people with disability in Australia.

27.4% of people with disability are at risk of poverty (compared to 12.8% for the general population). When housing costs are taken into account, the figure increases to 44.5%. The situation is even worse for those dependent on income support. 

"Living on the Disability Support Pension (DSP) is not a life of luxury. 48% of people on the Disability Support Pension live in poverty," said Craig Wallace, President of People with Disability Australia (PWDA).

The ACOSS report shows an overall increase in poverty in Australia, to 2.5 million people.  However we suggest that in reality the poverty rates amongst people with disability living in Australia in 2014 is likely to be even higher.

The most recent data on poverty rates amongst people with disability is from 2009-2010. Since then, employment participation rates for people with disability have fallen; partly due to a lack of genuinely supportive employment initiatives. In addition, social security reforms targeting DSP recipients over the past three years have resulted in 1 in 4 unemployed Newstart recipients having significant disability.
"The economic situation for people with disability in Australia is dire," said Co-CEO Matthew Bowden. "Moreover, this 2009-10 data doesn’t take into account the additional costs of living with disability. The majority of people with disability have little to no savings after paying for, healthcare, transport and housing. These costs exist whether or not a person has a job."
"With welfare cuts targeting DSP recipients, it’s important that government obtains accurate new data about the real nature of poverty that people with disability experience. Policy makers don’t see cost of disability in their bottom lines, but it affects people with disability, particularly those on the DSP, every day.  People are slipping further into poverty," said Mr Bowden.

According to PWDA President Craig Wallace, "It is also problematic that people with disability continue to be targeted by budget measures and proposed welfare changes while the messaging that we are rorters and need to be forced into work is increasingly counterproductive to employers." 

"Referring people to employment services is no guarantee of getting them jobs and we need more responsive employment services especially as we face a hostile employment market, with youth unemployment now around 13%."

"If successive Government policies aimed at increasing employment rates of people with disability were working, this would be reflected in the data, including for Government as an employer," said Mr Wallace.


Introduction to Social Media - Free workshops for women over 60 years

11am - 1pm Thursdays 30 Oct to 4 Dec (6-week course)

Intimidated by Facebook, Skype and other social media? Would you like to try these great new ways of being connected?
  • Learn at your own pace (max 6 participants)
  • Stay connected to friends & family
  • Overcome your fears of social media
  • Learn in a friendly, supportive environment
Venue: WIRE 372 Spencer Street, West Melbourne Map
Bookings essential. Call 9348 9416 (Option 2) or email Visit websiteor read flyer for details.

Free movie ticket offer for WDV members

Image of a woman in an electric wheelchair and a man eating a meal together in a restaurant, it looks like they're on a date.

Do You Believe in Love?

“I don’t believe there is love in the world. If you believe it – good for you.” â€“ Tova Shamsion

Awarded Best Documentary at the 2014 Kracow Film Festival, this charming, irreverent documentary features the irrepressible Tova, a matchmaker who does not believe in love, but who has made more than 550 matches in her career. She specialises in matching people with disabilities and Tova herself is in a wheelchair as a result of muscular dystrophy. But her health problems do nothing to dampen her spirit, quell her cynicism or hold back her caustic wit. Her unique brand of tough love, her approach to her life – which she knows will be cut short – and her commitment to her clients is what drives this funny, heartwarming and endlessly entertaining film. From the producers of Life in Stills (JIFF 2012) and Before The Revolution (JIFF 2013) this is a film about making the most of the time you have.

Do You Believe in Love? is screening at Classic Cinemas Elsternwick as part of the Jewish International Film Festival on Sat 8th November and Friday 20th November.

The film is in Hebrew with English subtitles and the cinema is wheelchair accessible.

WDV has two double passes to giveaway to the screening on Sat 8 Nov at 1:45pm.
For your chance to win a double pass, please email by close of business Friday 24th October.
Winners names will be drawn at random and notified via return email on Monday 27th October. 


Image of Jewish Film Festival logo

Mental Health Week

To support Mental Health Week, ABC went Mental As... 

Mental illness affects every Australian. Half of us will experience it directly while the rest - as carers, families, friends and colleagues - will live with or witness its impacts. It is an issue for us all.

Did you know:

  • Nearly 50% of all Australians experience at least one episode of mental ill health in our lives
  • Almost every Australian is affected: as carers, parents, friends, family
  • For 15-44 year olds, mental illness outstrips all other health issues.

To celebrate Mental Health Week ABC brought viewers a week of compelling programming on tv, radio and online.

From comedy to documentary, entertainment to debate, they sought to help join the dots on mental health in Australia.

They encouraged audiences to start talking, seek support and give to mental health research.

Some highlights included:

Felicity's Mental Mission: 
Multi-award winning Aussie comedian Felicity Ward takes up the challenge of breaking down the stigmas around mental health.

AS one of Australia’s most popular comedians, Felicity is used to looking at the lighter side of life. But when it comes to the country’s mental health crisis, the 34-year-old funny woman isn’t laughing.

Changing Minds: 
Filmed inside one of the busiest Psychiatric Units in the country, Changing Minds: the Inside Story uncovers the realities of 21st century mental health treatment as we meet the patients and staff who are challenging, with humour and honesty, the stigma and taboos that exist around mental health. 

Over 12 weeks, a small crew from Northern Pictures filmed inside the locked wards of the Mental Health Unit. From electro convulsive therapy, to modern psychiatric drug regimes, access has been unprecedented. For the first time on Australian television, we film the proceedings of the Mental Health Review Tribunal and see the legal process that allows unwell people be held against their will whilst being treated. 

The series follows the journeys back to health of patients unwell at the time of their admittance. It's raw, funny and sometimes uncomfortable. But the message is clear – help is available.


Leadership, Advocacy and Representation

Reminder: Inner Melbourne Community Legal Women's Clinic

11am - 1pm Thursday 20 November
Need help with a legal matter? Come to WIRE and see one of the women lawyers from  Inner Melbourne Community Legal for free advice and assistance in relation to any of the following matters:
  • Divorce/ separation (property settlements not covered by this clinic)
  • Parenting arrangements
  • Family violence
  • Child protection
  • Criminal law
  • Orders related to mental health
  • Intervention orders
If your matter is not one of the above, but you don’t know where to go for help, come and see us, as we may be able to assist you or we may point you in the right direction.

Venue: WIRE 372 Spencer Street, West Melbourne

Bookings are essential as lawyers have limited ability to attend to drop-ins. To book in your free one-off session or for details, call WIRE (03) 9348 9416 (Option 2). Visit website for details.


Reminder: The future of housing for people with disability

Join Council for a free community forum between specialists and the Moonee Valley disability and housing communities on the future of housing for people with disability.
When: Monday, 27 October, 3pm-5pm
Where: Balcony Room - Clocktower Centre, 750 Mt Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds
The conversation will focus on possible transition pathways for National Disability Insurance Scheme eligible clients and the benefits that may flow in the local community and economy as a result.
Finger food will be provided.
Please RSVP at or call 9243 8748 by Friday, 24 October. A shuttle bus from Moonee Ponds Station is available. If you require this service, or have any dietary or accessibility requirements, please contact 9243 8748 or email

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

Just for fun

The world at my wheelsA wheelchair is just one of the modes of transport available to people with limited mobility, writes intrepid traveller and Paralympian Marayke Jonkers.

Helen Garner's Monkey Grip: Directed by Melbourne woman Fiona Tuomy who is the Write-Ability mentor in residence at the Wheeler Centre. This documentary introduces the audience to the real life people who inspired the characters of Helen Garner's iconic novel.

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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