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Welcome to our eNews

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

In this Issue:


A Message from our Executive Director

Photo of Keran Howe, Executive Director

A very happy new year, from all at WDV.
We hope that the festive season has left you relaxed and refreshed.

We understand that the festive season can be a busy time for everyone, so this edition of our enewsletter is mainly to remind you of some of the highlights of November and Decembe, in case you missed them.

2014 is shaping up to be an exciting year at WDV, and next on our agenda is launching the next stage of our Gender and Disability Workforce Development Program.

WDV have been funded under Victoria’s Action Plan to Address Violence Against Women & Children 2012-2015 to deliver a Gender and Disability Workforce Development Program, and are currently seeking applications from professional trainers and women with disabilities to undertake a train the trainer package as part of this innovative project aimed at preventing violence against women with disabilities.

There will be 20 trainers in total: 10 professional trainers (both men and women with or without a disability), and 10 women with disabilities who will be selected to undertake the train the trainer Gender Equity and Disability package.

More information about this can be found further down this enewsletter.

Voices against Violence is our two-year major research project, which commenced in 2011. The research papers will be launched in 2014, when we host a major symposium in April to release and discuss the findings of the Voices against Violence research. Natasha Stott Despoja AM, Chair of the Foundation to Prevent Violence against Women and Children, will be the keynote speaker and will launch the Voices against Violence research papers. Stay tuned for more information about that in future issues.
We also appreciate that the festive season is a very busy time for everyone, and that our late December enews may have been missed. So we have included some of the highlights of that edition below.
2013 was a time for us to re-align our organisational structure to ensure we are in a position to respond to the growing demands on the organisation.

We have a new strategic plan to be launched in 2014 that will reflect this.

A full house of over 120 members, organisational representatives and supporters attended our AGM on November 28th.  We’ve had wonderful feedback from a number of those present that the meeting was the best AGM they had ever attended.
Our AGM guest speaker, Stella Young presented a keynote address at the meeting “What can the NDIS do for women with disabilities?”
Stella stated: “For too long we’ve lived with an unfair system that has fed a culture of  ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ We are on the verge of great change, and change is actually here. There are people already receiving support from the NDIS in Victoria.”
She highlighted the fact that there are more than 2 million women with disabilities living in Australia today, and that we experience a double disadvantage.
Stella also highlighted that women with disabilities have a lower employment rate and experience a significantly higher rate of violence than disabled men.  If you would like to watch Stella’s speech, you can view it online here: Stella Young: What the NDIS can do for WWD
Stella was also recently recognized as one of Daily Life’s Top 20 Women of 2013


Photo of Annual ReportWDV Annual Report 2012/13 - Now Available!Women with Disabilities Victoria is pleased to announce the release of our Annual Report for the 2012/13 financial year. 
The Report summarises the major events, projects and highlights of the past year, as well as communicating our strategic goals and priorities. 

Download an accessible PDF of our 2012/13 Annual Report

If you require our annual report in an alternative format, please email


Workforce Development Program on Gender and Disability
Train the Trainer Expression of Interest

Are you committed to gender equity and preventing violence against women with disabilities?

Would you like to be part of an innovative organisational cultural change program that aims to improve the delivery of disability services to women with disabilities?

Interested in learning how to provide training to disability service organisations about how to deliver gender sensitive and equitable services?

We are pleased to announce that Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV) have been funded under Victoria’s Action Plan to Address Violence Against Women & Children 2012-2015to deliver a Gender and Disability Workforce Development Program, and are seeking applications from professional trainers and women with disabilities to undertake a train the trainer package as part of this innovative project aimed at preventing violence against women with disabilities.

Ten professional trainers (both men and women with or without a disability), and ten women with disabilities will be selected to undertake train the trainer Gender Equity and Disability package.

Professional trainers and women with disabilities together as co-facilitators will be trained to facilitate the delivery of the Gender and Disability learning package, which will be delivered to support workers and CEO’s and Managers from disability services organisations. This package will be piloted in two pilot sites, Melbourne and Geelong.

Professional development opportunity
Successful candidates will be able to apply for roles in the delivery of the training in the pilot sites. Future opportunities for delivery of the training packages beyond the pilot sites will be subject to WDV gaining funding for state-wide roll out of the training.


Information Sessions and Application

To apply to undertake this training please submit your application form, key selection criteria and a current resume by the close of business on Friday the 7th of February 2014.

WDV will be holding two information session about the train the trainer program, application requirements and application process. Sessions will be held in the Melbourne CBD onWednesday the 22nd of January 2014 at 10:30 – 1:00 pm or 6:00 – 7:30 pm.

To RSVP to an information session or ask any questions regarding the training please email Pip or phone (03) 9286 7809.

Please refer to the Expression of Interest Application and Key Selection criteria in English and Easy English on our website at

The media release from the Victoria Government is available here -


Disability Support for Women and Children with Disabilities Escaping Family Violence:
This ground-breaking program for women and children with disabilities has passed its pilot stage and will receive ongoing funding.
This is a Statewide initiative that assists Victorian women and children with disabilities experiencing family violence who require immediate disability support.
Funding is available to meet immediate disability-related support needs for a period of up to 12 weeks to a maximum value of $9,000 per person.
Requests for funds over $9,000 will be managed on a case-by-case basis.
The program is designed to complement existing specialist family violence services and supports.
For more information during business hours, contact Disability Family Violence Liaison Officer during:
T: (03) 9843 6312
For information after hours, contact Woman’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service:
T: (03) 9322 3555 or 1800 015 188 (toll free for country callers)

Would you know how to respond to an older person experiencing abuse?

The Practice Forum will include presentations on key support services and relevant legislative requirements, followed by a panel discus-sion with cross-sector experts.
The panel will explore the issues of elder abuse; and discuss how to provide a timely, effective and respectful response to older persons experiencing abuse.

When: Thursday, 20th February, 2014
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Where: Function Room 4Civic Centre, Knox City Council 511 Burwood Highway, Wantirna South
RSVP by 7th February 2014 to
When confirming your attendance, please advise whether you have any special needs or dietary requirements.

Regrettably, due to the fact that they have limited numbers, if you register to attend the forum but are not present on the day, and your organisation does not send an alternate representative, your organisation will be invoiced a $100 fee.

NEW REPORT: Whatever happened to the village? The removal of children from parents with a disability

Little is known about the circumstances under which children are removed from the care of parents with a disability through the family law system. It is largely hidden from public and government scrutiny because it is viewed as a private, civil matter within a family. In addition, many children of parents with disabilities are raised by wider family members under informal arrangements. Little, if anything, is known about these arrangements and whether they are freely entered into by the parent with a disability. 

This report focuses on those interventions that result in the removal of a child from the home of their parent or parents 
against their will under the family law system. The report draws on the experience of the Public Advocate and other disability advocacy organizations in recent years. 

This Report was published by the Victorian Office of the Public Advocate in December 2013. 

The Report can be downloaded in PDF from:


Celebrating the 21st anniversary of International Day of People with a Disability, YouTube clips featuring 21 year olds from across Australia who have a disability speaking about their life experiences have recently been launched. ‘Enabling Women’ graduate Tess has contributed a clip and this can be found at: 


Inquiry into Social Inclusion for People with Disability

Social inclusion is a goal of the Victorian State Disability Plan 2013-12016 that the Coalition Government released last year.

This parliamentary inquiry will give us greater insight into where as a state and community we currently are sitting in terms of social inclusion for people with disability, and how we can improve.

The Committee is to report by 6 August 2014. Specifically, it has been asked to:

 a) define social inclusion for Victorians with a disability;

b) identify the nature and scale of relative inclusion (exclusion) and participation of Victorians with a disability in the economic, social and civil dimensions of society;

(c) understand the impact of Victorian government services and initiatives aimed at improving inclusion and participation;

(d) identify examples of good practice on inclusion and participation driven by local government and the community sector;

(e) assess how the Disability Act 2006 has impacted on the social inclusion of people with a disability with respect to Victorian government services; and

(f) recommend ways to increase social inclusion, including the roles of and collaboration between local, state and federal governments, the community sector, individuals with a disability and their carers.

To find out about the progress of the inquiry and opportunities to contribute, email the Committee administrator at

Awards, Funding & Grants

Inaugural Winner of Brenda Gabe Award Announced.


The Brenda Gabe Award recognises and rewards women with disabilities and/or groups who have made a significant contribution to improve the status of women with disabilities in Victoria.

Brenda Gabe was a much loved & respected member of Women with Disabilities Victoria. Brenda played a leading role in gender and disability related campaigns including preventing violence against women with disabilities and making housing and public transport more accessible. 

The Director of Future Leaders Dr Helen Sykes AM made the presentation of the award at WDV’s AGM on Thursday to a full house which included Shadow Minister for Families, Community Services, Indigenous Affairs and Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin.

Helen is the sponsor of the Brenda Gabe Award, generously donating a prize to the Award including professional development to the value of $2000.  This award will be made on an annual basis to recognise a woman or group of women who embody the leadership traits shown by Brenda Gabe.

The Shadow Minister for Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin MP, today congratulated Tricia Malowney on winning the inaugural Brenda Gabe Leadership Award for her outstanding contribution to women with disabilities.

“Through her work as a respected advocate for people with disabilities Tricia has made an enormous contribution to the advancement of women with disability in Victoria. I congratulate her on all she has achieved.

“Women with Disabilities Victoria continues to play an important role in raising the profile of gender within the NDIS, ensuring that the interests of women with disabilities and carers are embedded in the Scheme’s structure. 

“I would also like to thank Keran Howe, Executive Director of Women with Disabilities Victoria, for her continued advocacy on behalf of women with disability and for hosting such an inspiring event."

The award is an opportunity for the communities where women are active to recognize the contribution. Nominations came from hospitals and health services, local government and disability service providers who wanted to recognize women with disabilities in their leadership role.

WDV Executive Director Keran Howe said:

“In nominating women for an award, the nominators were making a public endorsement of the important leadership these women are making on behalf of WWD across the state.”

The winner Tricia Malowney said she hopes to:

Find a leadership program which will not only benefit me personally, but will also enable me to empower other women with disabilities”

Tricia is a highly respected advocate for people with disabilities who has worked at state, national and international levels in this role. She has used her life experience with polio and post-polio syndrome to inform her advocacy in this area. 

Since retiring from a middle management position with Victoria police at age 46, Tricia has led and contributed in a formal capacity to boards, committees and councils championing the rights of people with a disability.

Today’s award particularly looks for the contribution nominees have made to improve the status of women with disabilities in Victoria. The following demonstrates the depth of Tricia’s commitment in this area:

  • Tricia was the convenor and chair of Victorian Women with Disabilities Network during its successful transformation & renaming to Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV)
  • Tricia was the inaugural Chair of the Royal Women’s Hospital Disability Reference Group.
  • Tricia  worked with others to ensure women with disabilities were included in research policy planning and development of  key initiatives including the Family Violence Protection Act 2006
  • Tricia worked with the Cancer Council and other relevant organisations to support better access to Cancer Screening for Victorian women with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Tricia successfully lobbied for women with disabilities to be included in the United Nations Population Health Research.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the other 24 Brenda Gabe nominees. We are delighted to recognise the wonderful contribution of these dedicated women.  Our appreciation and thanks also go to the nominators for their time and effort in putting the nominees forward.

Our nominees are :

Andrea Murphy
Cathy Clark
Colleen Furlanetto
Jennifer Robinson
Jenny Cheng
Jess Kapuscinski-Evans
Judith Hooper
Kim Ling Chua
Joy Clarke
Lisa Davis
Lynn Lancaster
Melissa Lowrie
Melissa Noonan
Michelle Roger
Norma Seip
Peta Ferguson
Renee Biewer
Sally Smith
Shaunagh Stevens
Tricia Malowney
Val Johnstone
Vanessa Robinson

Bendigo Community Health Service Deafblind Victorians Self-Advocacy Group 
Heather Lawson, Trudy Ryall, Michelle Stevens

Peer Educators – Living Safer Sexual Lives 
Rebecca Davie, Yvette Keane, Kathrene Peters.

This award would not have been possible without the generous support of Dr Helen Sykes the Director of Future Leaders.

Jenny Macklin's Media Release about the award can be found here: Tricia Malowney honoured with Disabilities Award
Just for fun!

Our Communications Officer Simone Flanagan is being interviewed on The Project tonight at 6:30pm on Channel 10, about the Hollaback Melbourne organisation working to end street harassment - you can visit their website to report your experiences of street harassment, and they are particularly interested in hearing from women with disabilities: 
You can also follow the conversation online: or @hollaback_melb

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