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Welcome to our fortnightly eNews

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  
This fortnight we have really enjoyed some rich collaborations around Victoria and beyond.

In Melbourne we completed our Peer Education Program, 'Our Right to Respect', with women who are clients of Yooralla. While in Geelong we began a 'Gender and Disability Workforce Development Program' with Gatweays. Through partnerships with these disability services we are promoting gender awareness to the disability sector and to women with disabilities.

In Central Victoria we have teamed up with Shepparton access to run a reference group and an Enabling Women Program - more on that follows in this eNews.

WDV presented Voices Against Violence findings at the first ever Asia Pacific Conference on Gendered Violence and Violations. We presented alongside fellow researchers from the University of New South Wales who presented findings from Women with Disabilities Australia's Stop the Violence project. It was powerful to see the two projects presented together, as the findings were so compatible - they highlight the urgent need for the National Disability Insurance Scheme to get set to respond to women with disabilities experiencing violence.

PHOTO: Aminath Didi, Karen Soldatic, Leanne Dowse (UNSW), Lucy Healey (The University of Melbourne / WDV member), Keran Howe (WDV)

The WDV Board are currently reviewing our Occupational Health and Safety polices and have identified an improvement we can make. In the future, WDV board members and staff will be required to get a police check prior to their appointment. As WDV grows and provides more training accross Victoria, this will mean stronger safeguards in our recruitment processes.
Are you interested in improving access to the NDIS for women with disabilities?
Women with Disabilities Victoria wants to ensure women with disabilities understand how the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can improve their lives, how to get the maximum benefit out of a package, and what to look for in a gender sensitive quality service.
We have engaged Liz Kelly and Tom Pagonis from TL Consultants to develop fact sheets and a checklist for us.
WDV now invites women with disabilities to participate in a group to share experiences about the NDIS, what we should include in the fact sheets and any other ideas you may have. This could be things like
  • What information about the NDIS is important to you as a woman with a disability?
  • What do you want to know?
  • What do you think you will need to ensure you can make good choices?
  • What do you need to know before you make a plan?
  • How do you feel safe?
  • If you have had some experience with the NDIS (you are a participant) what would you recommend women do to be prepared to make the most of the NDIS?
This will help us to ensure the fact sheets contains the information you need to know.

Women with disabilities are invited to attend one of two sessions:
CBD  Focus Group
Venue: Level 8/255 Bourke St Melbourne
Date:    Thursday 5th March
Time:   10:00am to 12:00pm

Barwon Focus Group
Venue:  Multipurpose Room at the Deakin Cats Community Centre  370 Moorabool Street, South Geelong VIC 3220
Date:     Tuesday 10th March
Time:    10:00am to 12:00pm

Participants will receive a gift voucher for their time and involvement.
If you would like to participate in a focus group or want more information contact Liz Kelly by Monday March 2nd with your preferred location and any support you may need.
Phone: 0409 543 433                 
Create the Barwon Leadership Network of women with disabilities

Do you aspire to be a leader?

Are you one already?

The Leadership Network for Women with a Disability is currently forming with the support of Women with Disabilities Victoria.
Interest has been expressed in forming a Barwon branch.

If you live in the Barwon area and are a woman with a disability please come and play a part in forming the Barwon Branch.

Come along:
Tuesday the 10th March
Simmonds Stadium
Guest speaker TBC

RSVP and questions:
Deb Haygarth
P. 0402 355 217

Please note a focus group will be held in the morning at the same location as our NDIS focus group (for details see the eNews item above this one, "Are you interested in improving access to the NDIS for women with disabilities?").
Lunch will be provided for those attending both events.

PHOTO: Enabling women graduates.

Shepparton Adviser report; WDV's Enabling Women Program to provide a voice for women with disability

The Shepparton Advisor reports:

A PROGRAM designed to provide women who have a disability with a voice is set to kick off in June this year, after an Enabling Women Leadership Program Reference Group was established during a meeting with Women With Disabilities Victoria at Shepparton Access last week.
Women with Disabilities Victoria Partnership and Leadership Development Officer, Jane Oldfield said,

“We were looking for six to eight people to create a reference group to advise the Enabling Women Leadership Program locally. It’s incredibly important to run this program in regional and rural areas and is important to focus on women with disabilities who are mostly marginalised and disadvantaged. It’s about supporting them and enabling them to have a voice. The reference group will be able to continue the program locally once we have left.”

For further information, contact Jane on (03)9286 7807, at or visit or contact Shepparton Access CEO, Wendy Shanks on 5831 6180.
PHOTO by Alicia Niglia via the Shepparton Adviser: Shepparton Access CEO, Wendy Shanks and Women with Disabilities Victoria Partnership and Leadership Development Officer, Jane Oldfield
Want more women in our local governments?  Let’s make it happen!

In less than two years, Victorian councils will go to elections.

Local elections give you the chance to expand your sphere of influence for the issues you care about – as a candidate yourself, or as a supporter of a woman who would make a great local councillor.

This event is a great opportunity to hear from women about their experience as candidates, councillors and Mayors. Join women from other women’s services and organisations in a dialogue with women councillors discussing a wide range of issues including:

 •       Being a voice for your community
 •       What’s involved in running a campaign
 •       How to be an effective councillor
 •       Applying a feminist framework to the role of councillor

WDV would like to see more women with disabilities in local government too! Consider getting involved.

When: Tuesday 3 March 2015
Lunch, 12noon to 2pm
The Atrium at QVWC
150 Lonsdale Street Melbourne 3000

RSVP by email to<

Enquiries to Linda Bennett at VLGA
T: 9349 7999
Multi cultural youth forums

The Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) is conducting a series of Multicultural Youth Forums at the end February and beginning of March 2015, taking place in Ballarat, Shepparton and Dandenong. The Dandenong forum will be for young women only. Our earlier forums in December were a great success and well attended.

Your voice is important because you can tell the VMC what the real issues are.

The Commission invites young people (16-25 years) from all cultural backgrounds to share their experiences, opinions and ideas about multiculturalism so they can tell the Victorian Government how to make it work better.

BALLARAT - Ballarat Library, 178 Doveton Street North, Ballarat
Monday, 23 February 2015 3.30pm-6.00pm

SHEPPARTON - Shepparton Youth Club Hall, Vaughan Street, Shepparton
Wednesday, 25 February 2015, 3.30pm-6.00pm

DANDENONG (Forum for young women only)
Council Chamber, Dandenong Civic Centre, 225 Lonsdale Street, DANDENONG
4.30pm-7.00pm Wednesday, 4 March 2015

RSVP to Elizabeth:
t. (03) 9651 0605
If you need transport tell Elizabeth when you RSVP
Refreshments will be served.
Door prize on the day.

Seminar on Understanding MyGov to access Medicare, Child Support & Centrelink

Do you use Medicare, Child Support or Centrelink?
Want to avoid queues at the centre or on the phone?

Come to this free seminar and learn how to:
  • Get your personal information from Centrelink, Child Support & Medicare online
  • Use online tools to find payments & services
  • Lodge your documents online
  • Use Centrelink’s phone self-service and be called back instead of being put on hold
  • Use Express Plus apps on your mobile device

The MyGov website brings together all government services in Australia and lets you access all services in one online place. Josick Duhau, Families Stakeholder Coordinator, Department of Human Services, will show you how you can access Medicare, Centrelink or Child Support online straight away!

When: 1pm - 2.30 pm Thursday 26 March

Where: WIRE 372 Spencer Street, West Melbourne
Bookings essential! Book online.
For enquiries or help with bookings, call (03) 9348 9416 (Option 2) or email
This seminar is kindly sponsored by Nicholes Family Lawyers.

'A place to call home' describes the link between housing security and mental health in a prized essay

In her winning entry for the Gavin Mooney Memorial Essay Competition, El Gibbs looks at the link between housing security and mental health. She writes,

"Without a home that is affordable, people with a mental illness can end up in prison, or become homeless. People on low incomes, many of whom have mental health concerns, are being pushed further and further away from services that people on higher incomes take for granted. If people can’t get access to health care, are we permanently consigning them to life at the bottom? How can people recover from mental illness if they don’t have a place to call home?" El Gibbs.

Creating Positive Change for Parents with Intellectual Disabilities, "It can happen if..."
"It can happen if..." is a free Forum organised by Powerful Parents Self Advocacy Group from Reinforce Inc. and supported by Healthy Start.
Guest Speakers:
  • Prof. Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Director, Disability Research and Policy, Sydney University
  • Susan Arthur, leader of Powerful Parents Self Advocacy Group
  • Colleen Pearce, Victoria’s Public Advocate
  • Silvana and David Gant, Parents from Adelaide
  • Sue Smith, Coordinator, Self Advocacy Resource Unit (SARU)

What: A forum presenting information about current research and the lived experience and personal stories of parents with intellectual disabilities. The day will inspire conversations between parents, child protection workers and government and will shed more light on the myths versus facts related to parents with disabilities.
“It can happen if” will look for creative solutions and explore partnership opportunities and best practice solutions for the future.   
When: March 12th 2015, 10.00 to 3.30pm
Where: Hayden Ray Smith Room Ross House Level 4, 247 Flinders Lane Melbourne
Who: Health Professionals, Child Protection Workers, Service providers and Parents with an Intellectual Disability
RSVP: Please Register by March 2nd 2015 by email to
For more information please contact Susan Arthur at Reinforce on 03 9650 7855 or see and

Info sessions for ‘Building Brighter Futures’ employment program

  • Want to give yourself the best possible chance to find work?
  • Are you an Australian citizen/resident?
  • Completed an Australian qualification no higher than a Certificate IV?
  • Have a disability, mental health issue or long-term health condition?

If YES to all the above questions, then come to an info session to see if you are eligible for a government funded place!

WIRE's women-only 26-week Building Brighter Futures employment course is starting late February 2015 at WIRE Women's Information. You are invited to attend a no-obligation info session at WIRE from 10am to 11am on Tuesday 10 Feb 2015 or Monday 16 Feb.

Pam* shares her experience as a participant in 2014:
'I’ve acquired an incredible number of job skills—from writing an excellent resume, having practice interviews and writing cover letters, to learning the art of cold-calling, networking and how to find jobs and training opportunities. All these frightened me before—now I feel confident in pursuing my goals.'

Since WIRE's first program in February 2014, participants like Pam* have reported gaining confidence in their skills as job seekers and employees, with some finding paid work. Women also said that they use the course learnings and skills they have gained in other parts of their lives.

When: 10am – 11am Tuesday 10 February & Monday 16 February
Where: WIRE 372 Spencer Street, West Melbourne
Interested? Please call 9348 9416 (Option 2) or email 

This women-only Certificate I in Work Education program with a 26-week face-to-face course is designed to support women to be Job Ready.

Volunteer opportunity: Disability and Gender program

International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) is the leading Australian agency entirely focused on women’s rights and gender equality in the Asia-Pacific region. IWDA are international, feminist and independent.

IWDA  are inviting applications for a short-term Volunteer position starting in March 2015.

This role will provide support to the Senior Program Manager – Asia and ANCP in the preliminary stages of the development of a tool to assess disabled women’s experience of violence. Key outputs will include a literature review and review of existing tools for assessing risk and protective factors against gender-based violence.

To apply confidentially please email a cover letter and copy of your resume to by 9:00am on Monday 2 March 2015. For enquiries please contact (03) 9650 5574 or the email above.

Indigenous Peoples' Education Fund - applications open

The Australian Disability and Indigenous Peoples' Education Fund is open for applications until 31 March 2015.

Unfortunately for many people with disabilities their early years are more about cure and rehabilitation than stable, well-grounded education. The skills to make and retain careers, relationships and friends are developed while they attend school however continuing disruption of this education impacts greatly on this learning.

Education is continuously growing, developing, changing, so many people undertake courses to begin again the education they never completed or to keep abreast with these new developments. With the development of technology, education has become more accessible for people with disabilities leading to people completing higher levels of education which in turn can lead to more complex and skilled work.
For many people with disabilities from both indigenous and non-indigenous backgrounds, education can go a long way to not only developing their skills but also their self-esteem and the pride of their family, friends and community.

For many, a small financial grant will enable them to undertake a course. This education fund is about helping people complete or undertake courses and programs through providing small grants.

This fund is looking to distribute small six monthly grants of up to $2,500 to assist people with disabilities to continue their learning.

Go to to download application.
Contact Frank at for more information.



Human Rights Film Festival seeks volunteers

The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival is seeking volunteers in two roles:

  • Ticketing Coordinator
  • Disability Access Coordinator.
The festival will run in Melbourne in May.

The festival is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, colour, sex, age, national origin or disability.

For more information visit the festival's volunteer page.

Consultations on an Easy English guide to report crime to police

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has contacted us to let us know they are making an Easy English booklet about reporting crime to police.

The Commission would like to hear from individuals and organisations about what could be included in an Easy English guide about reporting crime to police. They will hold interviews and focus groups until mid-March.

There are a number of ways people can participate:

  • attend the Commission for a focus group on on  Wednesday 11 March from 10 - 11am
  • phone the project manager, Julian Alban on (03) 9032 3435 to arrange a phone interview to discuss the resource
  • email Julian to provide your comments at
  • contact Julian to arrange an interview at the Commission or organise an additional focus group.
The Commission would like to hear about some of the following:
  • What do you think should be included in an Easy English guide for people with complex communication disabilities and cognitive disabilities who report crimes to police?
  • What do you think are the major difficulties people with complex communication disabilities and cognitive disabilities experience when they report crimes to police? How could an Easy English guide best address this?
  • What do you think is the best way to implement the resource? (For example: training, a hardcopy resource available to police officers at local stations, an online resource on the Commission and Victoria Police's website; or hardcopy resources available at organisations working with people with disabilities?)
  • What other useful resource/s are you are aware of that can inform the Easy English resource?
  • What other key information should be included in the resource?

This is one of a range of projects the Commission is running following the release of its report Beyond Doubt: the experiences of people with disabilities reporting crime (available in Easy English).

If you are interested, please contact:
Julian Alban
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
Phone: (03) 9032 3435

NDIS consultation of safeguards

A consultation document about the Proposed NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework has recently been released by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). An Easy English version of the consultation paper is now also available. The document reads,

This document is about getting the balance right between offering people with disability more choice and keeping them safe.

Quality is about receiving good services.

Safeguarding is about keeping people safe when they are receiving services.

We’d like to know what you think about these important ideas.

We explain how you can tell us what you think."

The consultation will run until April. There will be information sessions which will be advertised at

WDV will be working with members to make a submission - the contact person is
Invitation to participate in Deakin Uni research on the NDIS

You might be interested in responding to the survey and or participating in the forum outlined below. If you choose to do the forum you might like to consider how services provided under the NDIS cater for you as a woman with a disability e.g. respecting your right to choose the gender of your carer, to have support to fulfil your role as a parent etc..
Deakin University wants to hear from people who receive support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), or will be eligible for funding in the future.
The researchers want to know:
• What goods and services people have bought, or will buy, with support from the
NDIS; and
• How people have made, or will make, decisions about what goods and services to
Information gained through this research will be used to improve services in Victoria, so that they best meet the needs of people who receive NDIS support.
You can participate by completing an online survey.
Deakin also  are also looking for people with intellectual disabilities and people with neurological disabilities to participate in focus groups. People who attend a focus group will receive a $50 gift voucher to contribute to the travel costs and time involved in participating in this study.
Please be aware that participating or not participating in this research will not affect your relationships with the NDIS, disability service providers, nor any other organisation.
 If you are interested please contact Meredith Prain on 92446077 or email​.
Disability Services Commissioner online Survey
Tell The Disability Services Commissioner what you think about their publications. Are they relevant and effective?
This online survey should take 5 minutes.

National inquiry into disability services abuse

WDV congratulate Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) for their strong advocacy in the lead up to the Australian Senate voting for an inquiry into the abuse of people in disability services. This will provide an opportunity to shine a national spotlight on gender-based and disability-based violence against women with disabilities.
WDV supports a Victorian Ombudsman investigation into how disability services respond to reports of abuse

In December the Victorian Ombudsman called for input into the scope of an inquiry into reporting of abuse in disability services. WDV made a submission to the Ombudsman in February, recommending an investigation take a broad scope that includes special developmental schools and services provided in individuals' homes. Additionally, an investigation of how people who disclose abuse experience the reporting process is needed - as the reporting system really must be built around their requirements. This should include consideration of how the system responds to women, culturally and geographically isolated people. For a copy of our submission, email

I-DECIDE: Volunteers needed for project on safety in relationships

The University of Melbourne is seeking women aged between 16 and 50, who have access to a safe computer and a safe internet connection, to test an online healthy relationship tool and safety decision aid. Volunteering involves doing 3 short surveys over 12 months. Participation is confidential and women will receive up to $150 as a token of appreciation.
More information
Telephone: The University of Melbourne on 8344 4018 or 1800-134-168 toll-free

I-Decide logo
IMAGE: iDecide about my relationship graphic

Seminar on disability in the media

The Disability Research Initiative, in conjunction with the Melbourne Social Equity Institute will be running a number of seminars throughout the year. The first event is a seminar by Professor Beth Haller on ‘Media representation of persons with disabilities’ and will be held on Tuesday 24th February at 6pm. This is a free event, but you do need to reserve a place. For more details or to book your seat visit Eventbrite.
IMAGE: a retro TV from
Celebrate International Women's Day with Women's Health West

You are invited to the Women's Health West International Women’s Day celebration! It’s a fun, free community event showing how human rights apply in our daily lives.
Date: Wednesday 4 March
Time: 3.45 - 6pm
Venue: VU at MetroWest on Nicholson Street, 2-minute walk from Footscray Station
There will be a launch of short human rights films, followed by a Q&A, plus dance performances from India, Africa and Burma.
Please register or call 9689 9588 by 25 February so they can cater for your needs and make sure there are enough child minders for the kids.
Kingston City Council invites you to wear purple by the beach for International Women's Day

Kingston City Council Is holding their annual International Day Women’s Day Event
Wednesday 11 March 2015
Doyle's Bridge Hotel, Function Room, 1 Nepean Highway,  Mordialloc, Vic 3195
10am to 12pm
RSVP and questions:
Deb Webb
P. 9581 4629
Wear something Purple!!!
2015 International Women's Day Address - Reclaiming Cyber Space @ the QV Women's Centre
Reclaiming Cyber Space - how the internet has become the new battleground in the fight for equality for women.
The internet is painted as a place hostile to women, filled with meninists and gamergaters. But for every misogynistic campaign or hashtag, women rise up to defend and make their own spaces in new and hilarious ways. Amy Gray, political and feminist columnist, takes us through how the internet might just be a woman's best ally in the search for equal rights.
Thursday March 5
Time: 6.00pm
Venue: Victoria Room, Queen Victoria Women's Centre, 210 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
RSVP - Essential. Places are limited, get in early via e-mail to by Monday March 2
Phone: 03 8668 8100

IMAGE by QV Women's Cetnre: Amy Gray, political and feminist columnist

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