No. 13, 2021 | 19 August 2021
From FRSA's Executive Director
My kids love history. Can’t say that I was the same as them when I was at school. My eldest daughter is currently studying tragic events during history (natural and person made) and right now her focus is on the bubonic plague which I am so totally across now that we are in school@home mode! However, I am not going to launch into a history lesson on the bubonic plague. Rather, a reflection on the current pandemic that has spread across the world with the Delta wave currently making its way through Australia.
My curiosity lends itself to the history lessons that will be taught in centuries to come, about the Coronavirus Pandemic. Researchers across numerous fields today and into the future are and will continue to carefully capture and analyse all elements of the experience: health, political, social, educational, technological (the list could go on).
In the social sciences field we are beginning to see the frontline anecdotal observations during the beginning of the pandemic and throughout begin to take more shape in the development of and publication of research results. That research is being informed by quantitative data and/or qualitative data that will no doubt build a picture of the events at this point in time for future generations.
Today, I participated in a Webinar convened by ANROWS and the University of Melbourne providing some initial insights into the DAHLIA-19 project, which looks at family violence during COVID-19 across four continents including Australia. This research won’t be published for a number of months yet and findings won’t come as a surprise to anyone in this audience.
I know too that many of our member organisations are also working on research projects documenting the experience of COVID-19 as well.
Here at FRSA, we are aiming to play our part in analysing the impacts of the pandemic as we finalise some work looking at demand for services in the sector during COVID-19. In addition, our commissioning of AIFS to look at the use of telepractice during COVID-19 by the family and relationship services sector is another opportunity to provide an evidence informed picture of this time in our existence. My sincere thanks to all our members who participated in these endeavours, whether that be through advisory groups and/or completion of surveys. In doing so you are leaving a legacy that others will draw on in the future. We are also looking at other key areas of research to be explored further and will once again draw on the expertise in our membership to assist us with those processes.
Living in the here and now, I certainly appreciate the significant challenges and hardships that many services, their staff and their clients are experiencing. Hearing today that Victoria is in its 200th day of lockdown is a stark reminder of the significantly different journey Victoria (and Melbourne in particular) has been experiencing. NSW now finds itself in an extremely volatile situation. Even with the short lockdowns in other states and territories this way of living is unnatural in modern society.
Once again, as I have done before, I sincerely thank all of you for the role you play in helping children, men, women, families and communities to live, thrive and survive through these unprecedented times. We need to be looking out for each other as well – so, do take care and don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at FRSA if we can support you in any way.
FRSA Executive Director
COVID-19 vaccinations: workplace rights and obligations update
Fair Work Ombudsman has released the latest guidance on workplace vaccination. With Australia’s vaccine rollout continuing and the increasing availability of COVID-19 vaccinations, employers and employees are encouraged to work together to find solutions that suit their individual needs and workplaces.
Employers can support their employees by:
- providing leave or paid time off for employees to get vaccinated
- helping to ensure employees have access to reliable and up-to-date information about the effectiveness of vaccinations – Learn about COVID-19 vaccines on the Department of Health’s website
- where employees do not wish to be vaccinated, or don’t yet have access to vaccinations, exploring other options including alternative work arrangements.
Find more information about these topics on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
Family and Federal Circuit Courts introduce list for non-compliance with court orders
With the commencement of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australi (FCFCOA) is set to begin on 1 September 2021. The FCFCOA have created a national electronic court list to address a long-standing issue of non-compliance with court orders that are made in family law proceedings. The new National Contravention List will deal, consistently and responsively, with contravention applications. Applications will be given a first return court date within 14 days of filing.
The creation of the List follows a recommendation by the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System in its Second Interim Report released in March 2021 for such a List to be implemented in the Courts. The new National Contravention List will commence on 1 September 2021.
For more information visit the Family Court website.
Increase in children as young as 5 contacting Kids Helpline
Data from the latest report released by Kids Helpline has shown a 200% increase in counselling calls from children as young as five over the first six months of 2021. Children are citing issues such as emotional wellbeing and loss or grief concerns.
“The upheaval and stress Australian children and young people are experiencing from the pandemic is a cause for concern. Over the past six months we have identified that 1,610 contacts to Kids Helpline were from young children aged 5-9 years of age up from 1,588 for the first six months of 2020,” said yourtown CEO Tracy Adams. Read more.
Lockdowns highlight digital divide amongst Australians
Good Things Foundation Australia released a new report examining the state of Australia’s digital divide. The Digital Nation Australia 2021 report highlights overall use of digital technology has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, but not everyone has benefited equally.
The report shows that despite fewer people being completely offline in 2020, less than 40% of people are confident in their ability to keep up with the rapid pace of changes in technology. To add to this, in the era of fake news and growing conspiracy theories, the majority of Australian adults (61%) lack confidence in identifying misinformation online.
The COVID-19 pandemic has particularly highlighted the gap between those with and without affordable access to the internet and the skills and confidence to use it. Overnight, widespread lockdowns meant basic digital skills and affordable access to technology became critical to access services. Read more.
Insights into hardship and disadvantage in Perth, Western Australia: the 100 Families WA report
Disadvantaged Western Australian families are increasingly being trapped in a cycle of poverty and hardship by the same system that is designed to support them in crisis, according to the final report of the 100 Families WA research project.
The 100 Families WA project sought to gain a deep understanding of the lived experience of entrenched disadvantage in Perth, Western Australia.
The project followed 400 families over three years, holding regular fortnightly interviews with 100 of those families, to gain a deep understanding of the lived experience of disadvantage in Western Australia.
The final report has identified the need for broad systemic change from State and Federal Government policy right through to service delivery by the community sector.
100 Families WA is a collaborative study between seven community services, WACOSS, The University of Western Australia and a Community Advisory Group (CAG) comprising people with lived experience. Read the full report.
Growing Up in Australia snapshot: Alcohol use among teens allowed to drink at home
The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has released its second research snapshot, ‘Alcohol use among teens allowed to drink at home’, highlighting data from Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australia Children.
It looks at how many Australian teenagers are allowed to drink at home, whether having permission leads to an increase in drinking and greater risk of experiencing alcohol-related harm, and the characteristics of families in which teens are more likely to be given permission.
The snapshot adds to the mounting evidence pointing to the numerous risks and harms of alcohol use among adolescents, including negative short- and long-term physical, mental, financial and social outcomes
Findings indicated that alcohol use is significantly more common among Australian teens who were allowed to drink alcohol at home. Among teens who had ever drunk alcohol, those with permission to drink at home were significantly more likely to have drunk in the past month (77%, compared to 63%) and in the past week (49%, compared to 34%). Read the full paper.
National Summit on Women’s Safety to go online
The Morrison Government announced on 17 August that the National Summit on Women’s Safety will be delivered virtually as a result of continued COVID-19 restrictions.
The Summit will still be held on 6 and 7 September 2021 and brings together experts, advocates and service providers from across Australia as well as people with lived experience of violence.
Further information on the Summit is available on the official website.
The live-stream will be available to watch on 6 and 7 September 2021 via http://www.womenssafetysummit.com.au
National Strategic Framework for Information Sharing
On 18 August, FRSA lodged a submission to the Attorney-General’s Department consultation – National Strategic Framework for Information Sharing between the Family Law and Family Violence and Child Protection Systems.
In March 2021, the Meeting of Attorneys-General tasked the Family Violence Working Group with developing a final National Framework for consideration by the end of 2021. The National Framework will facilitate the two-way exchange of information between the Family Court of Australia, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Western Australia (the family law courts) on the one hand, and the state and territory courts and government agencies responsible for responding to and managing family safety risk on the other.
Non-government stakeholders were invited to respond to a consultation paper about development of the National Framework. FRSA reiterated its support for a National Information Sharing Framework, with the proviso that where confidentiality is paramount, it remains protected. We consider that getting the balance right between client confidentiality and the courts’ need to have relevant information is critical.
Treasury – ACNC Secrecy Provisions – closing soon!
Federal Treasury is seeking feedback from stakeholders on the issues identified in recommendation 17 of the Strengthening for Purpose: Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission Legislation Review 2018 (ACNC Review).
More information, including a consultation paper, are available on the Treasury website. Submissions are due 22 August 2021.
Mental Health Inquiry – hearings continue
Despite the evolving spate of lockdowns, the House Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention announced it would hold its latest public hearing, scheduled for today. The hearing was held via videoconference.
This is the fifth public hearing held in August to-date. Transcripts of these hearings are available on the Committee website.
The Committee is due to report by 1 November 2021.
Uniting Country SA listed as one of Australia's Best Place to Work
Congratulations to Uniting Country SA for being listed as one of Australia’s Best Place to Work by WRK+. They were listed at number 7 in the Over 100 Employees category.
The Best Places to Work are selected and ranked by Australian-based global workplace research and consulting firm, WRK+. Each company participating in the study earns a score based on two factors: employee responses to Engaging People and the WRK+ Culture Insight, an evaluation of the organisation’s policies and procedures in specific people and operations practice areas.
The Y WA welcomes new CEO
The Y WA has welcomed Dr Tim McDonald as their new CEO. Tim is a strategic leader and recognised innovator with over 20 years’ experience leading change in education systems and the philanthropic sector.
Ross Kyrwood is the outgoing CEO who finished up with the organisation in June, after almost ten years at the helm to step into his new role as Executive Director Strategic Projects at Y Australia. Read more.
Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Qld CEO announces retirement
Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Qld CEO, Derek Tuffield OAM has announced his retirement and stepping down from the role. This is after this week he celebrated 34 years of service with the organisation.
“After more than 21 wonderful years in the role, I felt the time had come to hand over the reins to a new leader who can continue to expand Lifeline’s services and deliver support to as many people as possible,” Mr Tuffield said. Read more.
National Child Protection Week 2021
National Child Protection Week 2021 is coming up on 5-11 September. This year’s theme is Every child, in every community, needs a fair go. To treat all of Australia’s children fairly, we need to make sure every family and community has what kids need to thrive and be healthy.
The 2021 theme is all about the importance of the ‘bigger picture’ in addressing child abuse and neglect. Children can thrive and be healthy when they have what they need to develop well. But not every family has these resources. This is why we need to support every child, family and community according to their needs.
Child Protection Week 2021 will be an opportunity to translate this knowledge into action. All skillsets, all people, and all communities are assets in this important endeavour.
AIFS Conference call for abstracts now open
Abstract submissions for the AIFS 2022 Conference are now open. They are looking for abstracts from a range of sectors and professions to fill their three-day program. Submissions can be made in five key sub-themes:
- Family relationships
- Parenting, child development and caring
- Families and financial circumstances
- Family law
- Challenges for families.
You can submit an abstract for an oral presentation, e-poster, roundtable presentation or symposium.
Submissions close on Thursday 14 October 2021. Click here to find out more or to submit an abstract.
Parenting Orders Research Project – Last Chance!
The Australian Institute of Family Studies is researching compliance and enforcement of family law parenting orders and invites parents and carers with parenting orders from the family law courts to participate in a survey. If you live in WA click here. If you live in other parts of Australia click here.
The survey will close 31 August 2021.
Entries now open for Australia’s Best Workplaces to Give Back in 2021
Entries are now open for Australia’s Best Workplaces to Give Back in 2021, pro social organisations are being encouraged to share theirs. Entering the awards provides an opportunity for employers to share how they have supported opportunities for employees to give back over the year.
Activities that contribute to winning the award include payroll giving, paid volunteer leave, matching donations, fundraising and sponsorships. Regardless of size, businesses large and small are encouraged to enter whether they have 100 or 100,000 employees, the awards are about recognising good practice in the pro social space.
Find out more on how to enter at bestplacetogiveback.com.au
R U OK Day
R U OK Day is coming up on Thursday, 9 September. This year’s message is Are they really OK? Ask them today.
R U OK? has developed free resources to help you encourage everyone in your school, workplace and community to think about who in their world might need to be asked how they’re really going and how to make a moment meaningful by asking “are you OK?” Visit their website to access the resources.
"Systems, access, evidence: migrant and refugee women experiencing domestic and family violence" - ANROWS webinar
ANROWS is hosting a free webinar on Monday, 30 August at 1pm – 2pm (AEST). The webinar will be on the diversity of migrant and refugee women’s experiences of domestic and family violence. The expert panel will discuss the ways in which engagement with various systems is a critical element of addressing DFV in all its forms.
This webinar is designed for policymakers, practice design decision-makers, practitioners and researchers working in domestic and family violence, in particular those working with migrant and refugee women. Click here to register.
Including the interests of children and young people in policy development: current challenges and opportunities - AIFS Webinar
The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, 15 September at 1pm–2pm AEST. The webinar will bring together the National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds, researchers Rachel Carson and Monica Campo and practitioner Heidi Saunders, to discuss the importance of ensuring that policy frameworks respond appropriately to children and young people, considers processes that support this and discusses research on the needs of children and young people affected by family violence and safety concerns.
This webinar will be of interest to professionals working in policy and practice in child protection, family and domestic violence, family law and other allied services including child mental health, law reform, mental health, and other social services. Click here to register.
Services Manager | Relationships Australia QLD
Case Worker | Relationships Australia Queensland
Practice Lead – Counselling | Uniting
Psychologist / Social Worker / Counsellor / Mediator | Centacare Bathurst
Manager – Counselling and Family Services | BaptistCare NSW & ACT
Specialised Foster Carer | OzChild
Senior Family Violence Practitioner – Shepparton | Relationships Australia Victoria
Program Coordinator Therapeutic Services | Relationships Australia Victoria
Intercountry Adoptee and Family Support Service (ICAFSS) Practitioner | Relationships Australia Victoria
Children’s Worker | Centacare Catholic Family Services
The Nine Basic Requirements for Meaningful and Ethical Children’s Participation | Save the Children
A key tool for ensuring quality child participation in any initiative with children. They are built on a foundation of what children have shared with adults over many years and we are truly thrilled to share this latest version with you. Presented in an easy to read colorful format, the resource includes checklists and simple tools for easy access and use.
This e-book cuts through these abstract attempts and instead provides a fundamental understanding of the meaning, use and ever-increasing global role of community engagement in public decision-making. With the rise in deepening and expanding public engagement globally – indeed, with the increasing mandating of public participation around the world – the need for answers to straightforward questions is required.
‘Can I just share my story?’ | Office of the eSafety Commissioner
This research report looks into the experiences of technology-facilitated abuse among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in remote and regional locations, with a particular focus on different types of experiences, cultural sensitivities which surround this abuse, and how women can best be supported.
This guide has been prepared to inform service providers and practitioners about physical punishment research and legislation around Australia.
This paper has been developed to assist policy-makers, education and Indigenous leaders, as well as education practitioners, to better support Indigenous children’s early learning and well-being.
No More Humbug | Kimberley Community Legal Services
This research and toolkit by Kimberley Jiyigas, is the first-ever detailed study of financial elder abuse specifically in remote towns and Aboriginal communities. It is based on extensive interviews across the Kimberley, this work highlights the causes and prevalence of elder financial abuse, and what can be done to change things for our families and communities.
Mental health in rural and remote Australia | National Rural Health Alliance
People in rural areas face a range of stressors unique to living outside major cities. This fact sheet outlines some key statistics regarding mental health in rural and remote communities.
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