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Welcome to our eNews
This fortnightly email is to keep you updated on Women with Disabilities Victoria's work and news in our priority areas.

It’s that time again – the Brenda Gabe Leadership Awards will be opening for nominations very soon! If you know a great woman with disability who leads in her community, you can find out how to nominate her later in the e-News. We have some great examples of leadership in this edition of the E-News, including women speaking out in the media and women working to make their own communities more accessible.
As always, you can find many other ways to speak up in this edition. Brave the cold weather and along to one of our events. We also have a few opportunities for you to talk to researchers and policy advocates to tell your story. If you’re taking steps to speak up in your community, don’t forget that you can contact us to share your story with others through this newsletter. As women with disabilities, it can feel like our stories aren’t ‘good enough’ to tell – but we want to know what you’re doing, great or small.


Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

Women with Disabilities Victoria would like to understand how members and women with disabilities would prefer to inform WDV's written submission for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

To let us know your thoughts, please answer our survey

Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System
The Victoria Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC) will be offering peer support to consumers/survivors of mental health services to make personal submissions to the Royal Commission into Mental Health. You can register here on the VMIAC website.

VMIAC’s service won't start until June, but you can register today. It will include one-on-one sessions and small group sessions with flexibility in how you want to make your submission.
You don't need to use VMIAC’s support to make a submission, but the support will be available if you are interested. Anyone can now make a submission or provide brief comments to the Royal Commission’s website.


NDIS and Women with Disabilities forums

  • Do you identify as a woman with disability living in Moreland, Maribyrnong, Whitehorse or Bairnsdale, or areas nearby?
  • Would you like to hear from other women sharing their experiences of the NDIS?
  • Do you have questions about your plan that you would like answers for?
  • Are services that understand the needs of women with disabilities important to you?

                                     Maribyrnong – Thursday 20 June 2019 

                                      Whitehorse – Monday 24 June 2019

                                      Bairnsdale – Friday 28 June 2019

Time:  10:00am – 2:00pm

Lunch is provided

These forums are for anyone who identifies as a woman with disability

If you would like:

  • to contact someone for more information
  • to discuss access or dietary requirements, or
  • assistance to register please contact Jane Oldfield at or on 9286 7800.

 If needing an interpreter please register as soon as possible.


The Brenda Gabe Leadership Award is a biennial award which recognises the contribution women with disabilities in Victoria have made which has either directly benefited women with disabilities, or ensured a more inclusive community.

We encourage the nomination of women with diverse backgrounds and/or life experiences.
The award recipient will be announced at WDV’s Annual General Meeting on 21 November 2019, and receives $2,000 towards a capacity-building project or professional development. 

Nominations are now open!

To find out more about the Brenda Gabe Leadership Award, including details about previous nominees and winners, please contact Elyse Cox:
P  (03) 9286 7800

Alternatively, refer to our website at


Communication in a Crisis: WarrnamboolVicki Kearney, the Here We Are Community Capacity Builder in Warrnambool has joined with a local woman living with cerebral palsy in assisting women with disabilities who may not have independent access to support or emergency first-responder type services.
They began overseeing the development of agency-specific communication boards.
The major contributors were:

  • Warrnambool branch, Victoria Police, Family Violence Unit
  • South West District Health Service
  • SWDH Adult Mental Health Unit
  • All abilities Advocacy and
  • Everybody’s Business Working Group
The major partners in this project were a speech pathologist representative from SCOPE (Aust), the Communications Access Network and a local woman with disabilities.
Results of the project to date confirm the production and use of an Individual Safety Lanyard (ISL). 

The ISL has allowed for localised information to be added in the form of icons to make the card specific and relevant to each person.

The cards can be worn, attached to mobility equipment or carried in personal baggage.  The goal, however, is for the card to help the user and the person in times of worry or distress better communicate needs and intention.
The second stage of the project in planning for future launch is to develop two ‘support service specific’ communication boards:
  1. The hospital emergency department and
  2. The Victoria Police Department

When the boards are ready for distribution, SCOPE representatives will provide further training in the use of the Communication Assistive Equipment, as requested by the support services.

The Warrnambool HWA local community builder, Vicki Kearney explains:
The ultimate goal for the communications project is to have the communication boards all over Warrnambool and the local area ensuring women with communication difficulties during times of worry or distress can feel safe, knowing they will be understood and helped.”
“At the present time the Lanyards are free and I am truly excited to get them out into the community.”

PHOTO: Individual Safety Lanyard has six boxes. They read: YES, NO, POLICE,AMBULANCE, TAXI, PLEASE CALL_______________________________

PHOTO: Individual Safety Lanyard has four boxes. They read: Hello, my name is; I need your help; My community board is in my bag; I have difficulty speaking


Opportunity to share your story about the cost of disability 
Do you have a personal story about the cost of disability while living on the Disability Support Pension (DSP)? The ‘cost of disability’ means any expenses related to a disability and includes things such as disability aids, equipment or medication.
The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO), are looking for people who are willing to share their experience to be used as case studies for an upcoming report. Your experiences will be handled confidentially and shared in the report in a de-identified (anonymous) way.
If you would like to discuss this opportunity, please contact Patrick McGee at AFDO via email or on 03 9662 3324.

Help shape the National Disability Strategy
From April 2019, the Australian community is invited to take part in national consultations to help shape the future of disability policy for 2020 and beyond. This survey is one of the ways the Australian Government is finding out what is important to people with disability, their families and carers. There are also community workshops and online forums.
Anyone who would like to have their say on the future of disability policy and a new strategy can complete the survey.
The Royal Women's Hospital Disability Action Plan survey 
Royal Women’s Hospital is strengthening their commitment to enhancing the healthcare outcomes of women and babies who have a disability through the development of a Disability Action Plan. 
This plan forms part of their broader approach and commitment to diversity and to ensure access, equity and inclusion for our patients, consumers, volunteers and staff.
The survey forms part of their consultation with patients, consumer and community women with a disability, and those who are a carer of a woman with a disability about services at the Royal Women’s Hospital.

Complete the Royal Women's Hospital survey

Participants needed for research into mobile phone use by women with a disability running small businesses
A Monash university research project needs interviewees for half an hour. The project investigates the use of mobile phones by any small businesswomen with a disability. By 'small', a business with 5 or less staff is envisaged. Often the business is home-based. The interview questions are about the full range of uses of mobiles.
Prior research shows that women with a disability are more likely to manage a small business than women without a disability. It also shows that women uses social media more than men. We also know that women with a disability use their mobiles as much for household management as for business. We aim to increase our understanding of the role of mobiles.
Your participation will be greatly appreciated. You will remain anonymous. You will be able to see the finished results if you want.
Please contact Graeme Johanson on
He can travel to meet you wherever is convenient for you.


Victorian woman with disability speaks on radio about lack of captions in Avengers screening
Victorian woman with disability Alexandra McKenzie was on ABC radio recently speaking about her experience attending a screening of Avengers: Endgame. Despite being advertised as an Open Captions screening, the group of approximately 40 people from the deaf community was surprised and frustrated to see that when the movie began, there were no captions.

Listen to Alexandra's interview with ABC Drive Host Raf Epstein

WDV member's tactile kitchen
WDV member Maribel Steel has been featured in an ABC article. Maribel has written a novel 'Blindness for Beginners: a renewed vision of the possible' and in this article, she shows off the tactile markers of her kitchen, which she uses to guide her when cooking.

Read about Maribel's tactile kitchen

WDV member appears on ABC's 'The Drum'
WDV member Nicole Lee appeared on ABC's 'The Drum' discussing, amongst other things, the influence of women at the recent election.

News or events?
If you wish to contribute to this fortnightly e-news, please contact

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