Latest News, Media & Events

 

 

Statement: Why we need an inquiry into violence against people with disabilities

 
The ABC Four Corners program “In Our Care” has generated significant media and community response. Women with Disabilities Victoria takes the following position regarding violence against women with disabilities in disability services.
 
Women with disabilities are strong.

Much of the conversation about abuse of women with disabilities has centred on our vulnerability.  This so called ‘vulnerability’ is not a characteristic of being a woman with a disability. To the contrary, Jules Anderson and Milly Parker demonstrated their strength and resilience when speaking about their experiences leading up to and during their interviews with 4 Corners.
 
Our 'vulnerability' comes from broader community attitudes that degrade people with disabilities and degrade women. Gender inequality is reflected in sexist jokes and sexual harassment, as well as the appallingly low levels of women in senior management. Gender inequality has been found to be the fundamental driver of violence against women.
 
Community attitudes empower perpetrators.

Discrimination against people with disabilities is reflected in low levels of employment, bullying at school, ableist jokes and stereotypical representations in the media. This discrimination leaves us seriously disadvantaged socially, politically and economically.
 
The issues raised in the Fairfax/ABC investigation highlight the prevalence of violence in the lives of women with disabilities. Gender-based violence and disability-based violence combine to significantly increase the risk of perpetrators targeting women with disabilities.
 
These social conditions allow perpetrators to use violence against women disabilities with impunity. Our research project, Voices Against Violence, indicated that perpetrators believe they can get away with it and women fear they won't be believed if they report assault. Sadly, in many instances, both of these assumptions are correct.

Tailored violence prevention programs are needed.
Women with Disabilities Victoria has focused on approaches to prevention that address both gender inequality and disability discrimination. Women with Disabilities Victoria’s pilot violence prevention training program involves women with disabilities co-facilitating groups of disability service staff. The women work alongside trainers with experience in violence prevention and response.
 
A strength of this training is that it builds relationships between disability services and women’s services who have expertise in responding to violence. This is exactly what is needed across services and government departments. Only with leadership in this direction can we really address violence against women with disabilities. 
 
Government must take leadership.
It would be a mistake to think we can address this issue by investigating the events of one organization. Violence against women with disabilities is present across disability, aged care, mental health and other health services. This issue must be recognised as a major community concern, requiring leadership and coordination by government. As Senator Rachel Siewart stated in the Australian parliament yesterday, to think that the issues are only limited to Victoria would be a grave mistake.
 
Women with Disabilities Victoria supports the calls for inquiries into violence in settings where disability services are delivered, at both a state and national level. We are heartened by the responses of all Victorian political parties. We endorse the call by Women With Disabilities Australia and the former Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, that the Australian Government undertake an inquiry. This inquiry is of critical importance to ensure our right to safety in the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
 
Contacts for support and information:

People who have experienced sexual assault:
Sexual Assault Crisis Line (24 hour)
Phone: 1800 806 292 
Email: ahcasa@thewomens.org.au 
Website:  http://www.sacl.com.au
 
Men concerned about their behaviour at home:
Men’s Referral Service
Phone: 1300 766 491
Website: http://mrs.org.au/
 
Enquiries:

Jen Hargrave
Policy Officer
Women with Disabilities Victoria
Level 9, 255 Bourke Street, Melbourne
email jen.hargrave@wdv.org.au
website www.wdv.org.au
 

MEDIA RELEASE:
For Immediate release:                                                              Contact: Simone Flanagan
24/11/2014                                                                                                       

SYSTEMIC ISSUES THE CAUSE OF RECENT FAILURES IN THE DISABILITY SECTOR

Women with Disabilities Victoria strongly supports the commitment from both Liberal and Labor Parties for a parliamentary inquiry into the serious issue of violence against women with disability.


The issues raised in today’s Fairfax and ABC investigation highlights the prevalence of violence in the lives of women with disabilities.  Violence against women and disability-based violence combine to increase the risk of violence against women with disabilities.


It is timely that these issued have been brought to media attention on the eve of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.


Keran Howe, Executive Director of Women with Disabilities Victoria said today:


“It would be a mistake to think we can address this issue by investigating the events of one organization. Violence against women with disabilities is present across disability, aged care, mental health and other health services. This issue must be recognized as a major community concern, requiring leadership and coordination by government.”


Our research project Voices Against Violence indicated that women with disabilities can face a range of severe barriers to reporting violence and receiving help.


One of the research participants, Michelle shared her experience of violence from a man who also supported some of her disability requirements:


“...as my ‘carer’ they’d look to him, and he’d discredit me and then they’d not believe what I’d say. ‘Oh, she’s just making this up’. The whole community could not believe that this person could do this. It makes it so much harder for the victim to voice something ‘cause they know nobody’s going to believe them!”
Ms Howe notes:


“Michelle’s experience is too common. Services ignore the signs that women with disabilities are experiencing violence. Simply because they have no training or systems for recognising the risks. Our research shows that it is tailored programs and well trained individuals who offer them help.”


A violence prevention training program being piloted by Women with Disabilities Victoria involves women with disabilities co-facilitating groups of disability service staff. The women work alongside trainers with experience in violence prevention and response.


A strength of this training is that it brings disability and other services into contact with women’s services who have expertise in responding to violence. This is exactly what is needed across services and government departments. Only with leadership in this direction we can really address violence against women with disabilities. 


WDV calls on all parties to support the continuance of this violence prevention program.


While family violence has become a top election issue this year, responding to women with disabilities who experience violence has not made the 2014 State Election promise list.


All major parties have stepped up with various funding commitments to address family violence, the biggest cause of death, disease and disability in women aged under 45. The alliance of advocates and services behind the No More Deaths Campaign welcome these promises, but ask for clarity on how initiatives will reach many of Victoria’s most targeted women, those with disabilities.


Women with Disabilities Victoria calls upon the three major parties to commit to investing in information and education for women with disabilities about how to recognise when violence is happening and where to get help
Women with Disabilities Victoria supports a parliamentary inquiry into the serious issue of violence against women with disability.


Media Enquiries: simone.flanagan@wdv.org.au or 03 92867804 / 0403292180    


Contacts for support and information:

People who have experienced sexual assault:
Sexual Assault Crisis Line (24 hour)
Phone: 1800 806 292     Email: ahcasa@thewomens.org.au  Website:  http://www.sacl.com.au
Men concerned about their behaviour:
Men’s Referral Service
Phone: 1300 766 491 Website: http://mrs.org.au/


Election Forum – the issues for women with disabilities


In the lead up to the Victorian election we are holding an election forum to enable our members to be better informed about each party’s policies regarding women with disabilities.

We are interested in any questions our members may have about the policies of the major parties - regarding health, violence prevention and the social participation of women with disabilities.

A representative from each major political party will respond to our questions.

SPEAKERS:
Andrea Coote Parliamentary Secretary for Families & Community Services
Danielle Green Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Women
and Health Promotion

Colleen Hartland Victorian Greens’ spokesperson for Health, Community  Services, Women’s and Multicultural Affairs.

Date: Tuesday 30 September 2014 
Time: 10:30am to 12:30pm
Venue: Level 8/255 Bourke St Melbourne

You can also view our 2014 State Election Statement

Please send us any questions you may have and we will select three questions to present to the politicians to answer.

Please RSVP letting us know of any access requirements by September 22nd via wdv@wdv.org.au


Enabling Women Program

A leadership program for women with disabilities

Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV) is offering a 4 day leadership program to women who wish to lead in their own communities, Enabling Women.

The Enabling Women program aims to deepen women’s understanding of issues affecting women with disabilities, to empower women to lead and advocate in their own community, and to empower women to advocate as members of Women with Disabilities Victoria.


The leadership program is offered in easy English for those who have difficulty reading or remembering written information.

This program recognizes that women learn in different ways and in different places. As such a variety of learning styles are offered with a key focus being on learning from each other.


DSCF2759Topics 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!

Your contribution: Just your time and your commitment. The program is free!

 

We are currently taking applications for two programs, one in Barwon and one in Gippsland:

GIPPSLAND PROGRAM:

When: Wednesday the 8th,15th, 22nd and  29th October

Time: 10.30 – 3.30pm

Where: Venue TBC but will be Sale

Information sessions:

Traralgon

When Wednesday 10th September

Time: 10:30 am -11:30 am

Where: Latrobe City Service Centre, Macfarlane Burnet Room, 34 Kay Street, Traralgon


Sale

When: Wednesday 10th September

Time: 1.30 pm – 2.30pm

Where: Guyatt Room, Wellington Shire Civic Centre, 70 Foster Street, Sale

Download the Gippsland Enabling Women Application

Applications for the Gippsland Program close on Monday the 15th September 2014

 

BARWON PROGRAM:


Where: Surf Coast Shire Council Offices – 1 Merrijig Dve Torquay
When:   Wednesdays from Oct 22nd – November 12th
Time:    10:00am -3:00pm

Information sessions for the Barwon Program are being held on Wednesday 3rd September:

Where: Simonds Stadium Kardinia Pk, Latrobe Terrace off Kilgour St, Geelong
Deakin Cats Community Centre
When Wednesday 3rd September

Time: 11:30am-12:30pm

Or
Where: Surf Coast Shire Council Offices – 1 Merrijig Dve Torquay
When: Wednesday 3rd September

Time: 2.30 pm – 3.30pm

For information on getting to Torquay by public transport:

http://ptv.vic.gov.au/timetables/line/7091
http://www.mcharrys.com.au/service_74.html#outward

To apply, please download the Barwon Application Form and return to Jane Oldfield.

Applications close Monday 22nd September

Jane Oldfield | Ph. 9286 7807 | Email jane.oldfield@wdv.org.au
Partnerships and Leadership Development Officer, WDV


No More Deaths Campaign

 

Women with Disabilities Victoria joins Victoria’s leading family violence organisations to put family violence at the top of the 2014 state election agenda. The No More Deaths campaign was launched on Monday, August 25. The campaign was launched with a memorial to the women and children killed through family violence this year, with 29 red roses and eight white rosebuds laid on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne.

Our alliance is calling on the state’s political parties to commit to wide-ranging policies across housing, justice, police, disability, health, education and other portfolios to keep women and children safe in Victoria.

"Our hearts have been torn by the horrific violence we see devastating the lives of everyday Victorians,"
said Fiona McCormack, Chief Executive Officer of Domestic Violence Victoria.
"Sometimes the issue can seem so big and complex that we despair about being able to do anything effective. But the reality is we can absolutely make a difference."

The organisations have called on the state’s political parties to commit to wide-ranging policies across housing, justice, police, health, education and other portfolios and has put forward 25 Priority Actions to promote the safety of women and children safe in Victoria. The event attracted strong media attention and was attended by representatives of each of the major parties. The state election will be held on the 29th November.

The No More Deaths election platform outlines 25 priority actions to:

  • Keep women and children safe and housed.

  • Make the justice system safe and supportive.

  • Hold violent perpetrators to account.

  • Break down the service silos that endanger women and children.

  • Prevent violence against women and children.

“Throughout the election campaign we will assess commitments on family violence for how they compare to other public safety and justice promises,” Ms McCormack said.

What we don’t want are promises of quick fixes or a focus on just one part of the problem.
Our political leaders have to stand up and be counted, to see where failure by governments to act – on safe housing, in the courts, on the status of women and across other areas of policy and practice – puts women and children at risk of family violence.
We are not just asking for money. We are asking for leadership and accountability"


Media Release
MEDIA RELEASE: Stopping family violence must be state election priority 25/08/14(PDF | 2.4MB)

Key Asks
KEY ASKS: No More Deaths campaign (PDF | 1MB)

Campaign Fact Sheets
(All Fact Sheets are approximately 1MB PDF)
FACT SHEET 1: Keep women and children safe and housed
FACT SHEET 2: Make the justice system safe and supportive
FACT SHEET 3: Hold violent perpetrators to account
FACT SHEET 4: Break down the system silos that endanger women and children
FACT SHEET 5: Preventing violence against women and children
 


National inquiry into domestic violence focuses on women with disabilities

 

Women with Disabilities Victoria have made a submission to the Australian Senate’s Inquiry into Domestic Violence. The terms of reference for this inquiry have a particular focus on women with disabilities and Aboriginal women.
 
Our submission, available via the Finance and Public Administration Committees website, is based on findings and recommendations from the Voices Against Violence Research Project, and those from Women with Disabilities Australia's Stop the Violence Research Project. 

We call on the National Disability Insurance Agency to ensure mechanisms to support women and children to access domestic violence crisis services and accommodation (eg. transportability of support packages, flexible, timely planning, and safe, confidential processes). An example of such a program exists in Victoria, the Victorian Department of Human Services Disability Family Violence Crisis Response Initiative.

Further, in implementing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) ensures that appropriate safeguards, standards and practice guidelines are developed that prioritise and drive responses to violence against people with disabilities, and ensure referral pathways to violence response services. As part of this, the new NDIS workforce must be trained in understanding gendered violence and applying the principles of good practice to uphold the safety of people with disabilities.

You can download our full submission here: WDV DV Senate Inquiry submission 2014 (Accessible PDF)

 


 

WDV"s submission to The Victorian Parliament’s Family and Community Development Committee's

Inquiry into Social Inclusion and Victorians with a Disability.

 

To plan for future policy and funding decisions, the Victorian Parliament’s Family and Community Development Committee asked what is social inclusion, and how can it be supported.

Women with Disabilities Victoria recently wrote a response to these questions, as we believe it is important to highlight the additional barriers to social inclusion for us as women with disabilities.

We did this via a consultation with our members in early February and an online survey.

What is social inclusion?
The Committee have said that they think social inclusion covers what we do in our economic, social and civil lives. This can mean how we are included in our community in through work, education, health, and our social life life. People with disabilities come up against barriers to social inclusion.
 
How can social inclusion be different for women? 
Women with disabilities can come up against additional barriers to social inclusion. Women with disabilities are less likely to be employed, and earn less than men with disabilities. Women with disabilities experience higher rates of family violence than men with disabilities and women without disabilities. All this can impact on our inclusion in economic, social and civil choices.


Barriers to social inclusion can also be created by our roles as mothers and carers, and by attitudes about us as women. 

We developed this submission based on key principles and a range of sources. These included learnings from our primary research, secondary research and experiences as women with disabilities.

In addition, this submission is informed by our research, projects and programs. These include Voices

Against Violence Research Project, the Gender and Disability Workforce Development Program and

the Your Say, Your Rights Research Project.

The full submission can be downloaded here: WDV Submission to the Inquiry into Social Inclusion and Victorian with a Disability (Accessible PDF)

If you have any enquiries about the submission, please email wdv@wdv.org.au

We will update you about the outcome of the submission as it progresses.


 

Newsletters & e-News

The Fortnightly' e-News

The purpose of this regular email news publication is to inform our members, staff and associates about opportunities to advance Women with Disabilities Victoria's goals.

To contribute news, events or other opportunities, please email wdv@wdv.org.au.

WDV eNews Early June 2014

WDV eNews Late May 2014

WDV eNews Mid May 2014

WDV enews Early May 2014

WDV eNews Late April 2014

WDV eNews Early April 2014

WDV eNews March 2014

WDV eNews Late February 2014

WDV eNews Early February 2014

WDV eNews Late January 2014

WDV eNews Early January 2014

WDV eNews December 2013

WDV eNews November 2013

 

You can subscribe to our eNews online here.

Violence and Disability Newsletter

This quarterly publication highlights the links between family violence and disability. The newsletter is a place to share resources, policy updates and practice challenges.

Content is particularly useful for workers from the family violence sector, the disability sector, and researchers of these fields. Readers are invited to contribute.

You can subscribe to our subscribe to our 'Violence & Disability Quarterly' Newsletter here. For further information contact our Policy Officer on Violence Against Women with Disabilities: jen.hargrave@wdv.org.au.

Previous editions (view in browser):

Member Newsletter

The Women with Disabilities Victoria Newsletter is produced quarterly and sent out to members in 12 font or 16 font size.

The newsletter contains information about our activities, and other events, news stories, information resources and opportunities.

The hardcopy newsletter is currently not been circulated, but please below for previous editions.

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which Women with Disabilities Victoria is located - the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation