FRSA eBulletin, No. 15, 2023

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No. 15, 2023 | 10 November 2023

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From FRSA's Executive Director

It’s that time of year when AGMs and Annual Reports are coming in thick and fast! I am always grateful to be invited to the AGMs of FRSA Members and get to hear firsthand a review of all the fabulous work that’s happened though the year. I can’t make it to every AGM but having the opportunity to read through the Annual Reports of Member organisations is a good second option. It is so important to take the time to reflect on all that has been achieved and to be reminded that at the heart of those achievements are the children, adults and families our Members work with day in and day out. FRSA’s AGM will be held virtually for the first time on 29 November. Members can register here.

Speaking of things coming in thick and fast, the call for abstracts for the FRSA 2024 Conference closes COB this coming Monday 13 November. It’s exciting seeing the abstract numbers coming through each day and so far, there is a good spread across all conference streams. We have our abstract review panel lined up and ready to go. If you’ve been wavering about whether to submit an abstract, we encourage you to bite the bullet and take these last few days to get one in. You can find out more about the abstract process and submit your abstract here.

Children’s Week was on 21 October – 29 October 2023. Children’s Week celebrates the right of children to enjoy childhood. It is also a time for children to demonstrate their talents, skills and abilities. As always, FRSA Members celebrated the week with great enthusiasm and joy. We’ve captured some of their activities below.

Kind regards,
Jackie Brady
FRSA Executive Director

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FRSA National Conference 2024 - Call for Abstracts CLOSING SOON!

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to showcase your work at the FRSA National Conference 2024. The call for abstracts is closing soon –  COB MONDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2023.

FRSA and the sector has been investing time and energy in successfully painting a picture of the ‘value’ of our services. We welcome abstracts that speak to the conference theme – Family & Relationship Services – Valued now and into the future – in one of the six conference streams.

We are a rich and diverse society, and FRSA encourages presentations that show our sector’s work with different cohorts and communities – First Nations peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse peoples, people with disability and LGBTQI+ people – and other cohorts who may face particular challenges in accessing safe and appropriate services.

For more information, or to submit your Abstract, please visit the FRSA National Conference website here.

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Review of family and relationship services – surveys are open!

There are two government reviews underway in the family and relationship services space and the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is supporting these reviews. AIFS has a couple of surveys out in the field and if you are delivering any of the services under review, we encourage you and your colleagues to take part.

Families and Children Activity Review: Service Provider Survey

AIFS is working with the Department of Social Services (DSS) to undertake a review of the services for children and young people delivered under the Families and Children (FaC) Activity. As part of this review, they are inviting practitioners and program managers working in the following services to complete this survey:

  • Children and Parenting Support (CaPS; including Budget Based Funded)
  • Communities for Children Facilitating Partners (CfC FP)
  • Communities for Children Community Partners (CfC CP)
  • Family Mental Health Support Service (FMHSS)

The survey will take around 20 minutes to complete. It asks about your perspectives and experiences delivering FaC Activity services, about the organisation you work for and the types of families who access your program or service, and about what you see as the barriers and challenges in delivering services to families and children.

Participation in the survey is voluntary and your individual participation is confidential.

If you have any questions about the survey or the DSS review, please contact the AIFS project team at FaC-evidence-evaluation@aifs.gov.au

The survey is open until 13 November 2023.

FRSP Review Professionals Survey is open

AIFS has been commissioned by the Attorney-General’s Department to undertake research that will inform the review of Review of the Family Relationship Services Program (FRSP).

If you provide family relationship services (including under the Family Relationship Services Program) to separating or separated clients or you are a family law system professional providing services to these clients, AIFS want to hear from you. This research aims to help understand the needs of separated and separating families.

The survey takes 30 minutes to complete and closes 1 January 2024Click here to complete the survey.

Joint Statement: Organisations reject calls for Royal Commission into Aboriginal Children

SNAICC has released a joint statement rejecting a Royal Commission into the sexual abuse of Aboriginal children and supporting calls for a National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children.

FRSA is proud to stand with SNAICC – National Voice for our Children and over 120 esteemed organisations and professionals.

Join SNAICC and sign to show your support that policies must be evidence based and community led, and families, parents and carers should be supported to keep their children safe.

Safeguarding Children: A child rights impact assessment tool

The Australian Human Rights Commission has developed and launched a Child Rights Impact Assessment tool, with support from UNICEF Australia, that will help governments and service providers assess how children’s rights and wellbeing will be affected by new laws and policies.

The tool is available in the new report, Safeguarding Children: Using a child rights impact assessment to improve our laws and policies. The tool is an 18-question checklist which can be used to measure the impact of any new laws or policies on the wellbeing of Australian children and families, and to determine whether the proposed laws and policies support their best interests. The report outlines the importance of using human rights principles in legislative and policy development, and includes a case study which applies the tool to the decision-making processes used when closing early childhood education and care (ECEC) centres and school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Intimate partner violence among Australian 18–19 year olds

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AFIS) has released issue #11 in the Growing Up in Australia: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) Snapshot Series, Intimate partner violence among Australian 18–19 year olds.

The snapshot examines the scope of intimate partner violence victimisation among Australian 18–19 year olds. The prevalence of different forms of intimate partner violence victimisation is investigated. The protective role that quality relationships with parents and peers can have against intimate partner violence victimisation is also considered. The research found:

  • Around 3 in 10 adolescents aged 18–19 years reported at least 1 experience of intimate partner violence in the previous year.
  • In the year prior to the survey, 1 in 4 18–19 year olds experienced emotional abuse; 1 in 8 experienced physical violence; and 1 in 12 experienced sexual abuse. Sexual abuse was more prevalent among females aged 18–19 years than males of the same age.
  • Supportive friendships throughout adolescence reduce the risk of later emotional abuse victimisation by 36%.
  • High trust and good communication with parents during adolescence reduce the risk of later emotional abuse victimisation by 39% and sexual abuse victimisation by 77%.

Read the full report

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Not-for-Profit Sector Development Blueprint – Consultation open

On 1 November, the Albanese Government released an Issues Paper – the Not-for-Profit Sector Development Blueprint. The Blueprint will be used to develop a suite of sector-led workable and effective options for reform to strengthen social capital and a vibrant sector.

The Blueprint Expert Reference Group (BERG) was established in October 2022 and is comprises 9 representatives from the Community Services Sector. The BERG is leading the work to develop the Blueprint to deliver advice to Government charting out a better future for the Australian not-for-profit (NFP) and charities sector.

The purpose of the consultation is to invite your feedback on the principles and priorities of a Blueprint for Australia’s not-for-profit (NFP) sector. The NFP Sector Development Blueprint Issues Paper (NFP Blueprint Issues Paper) forms the basis of this consultation.

The Issues Paper explores eight focus areas considered as key priorities for action by the not-for-profit sector and government. These include:

  • measurement, outcomes and quality of services
  • policy, advocacy, communications and engagement
  • philanthropy and volunteering
  • governance, organisation and legal environment
  • leadership and staff development
  • government funding, contracting and tendering
  • Information Technology, communication and marketing, and
  • leveraging assets and social finance.

There is some overlap in focus areas with the Department of Social Services (DSS) consultation on a stronger, more diverse and independent community sector, which closed on 7 November. The DSS Consultation has a narrower focus on the community sector, however, while the Blueprint consultation covers the broader not-for -profit sector including bodies like community sports clubs, local volunteering groups and community radio as well as organisations delivering social services. FRSA will be developing a submission to this consultation over the next six weeks.

More information about the consultation can be found on the DSS Engage website. Submissions close 20 December.

COVID-19 Royal Commission – inquiry into terms of reference

On 19 October 2023, the Senate referred an inquiry into the appropriate terms of reference for a COVID-19 Royal Commission that would allow all affected stakeholders to be heard to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 31 March 2024.

Submission close 12 January 2024. For more information visit the inquiry webpage.

Supporting young men to break cycles of family violence

First Nations boys and men aged 10 to 25 will be supported with an expanded specialist family violence hotline as the latest investment in a rollout of various trial programs across Australia targeted towards innovative perpetrator responses.

The Albanese Labor Government is working in partnership with the Victorian Government to support specialist family violence service Dardi Munwurro to enhance their Brother-to-Brother men’s crisis phone line, as part of a shared objective to end violence against women and children in one generation.

The Brother-to-Brother phone line provides 24/7 support to males who are struggling with relationship issues, family and domestic violence, parenting, drug and alcohol or other issues.

The investment was announced by Federal Ministers Amanda Rishworth and Justine Elliot, and Victorian Minister Vicki Ward.

First Nations-led data research on family, domestic, and sexual violence

The Government has announced a $15 million investment in First Nations-led research on domestic and family violence, which will be delivered over five years.

This investment is the next stage in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan under the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-32.

Target 13 under the National Agreement to Close the Gap is to reduce the rate of all forms of family violence and abuse against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children by 50 per cent by 2031. Current data collection is insufficient to measure progress on this target.

The first step to reducing these disproportionate rates of violence is to fully understand the scope of the problem. Funding First Nations led – data collection processes will strengthen the evidence base and work towards creating a safer future for First Nations women and children.

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RAV celebrates 75 years!

Last week FRSA’s Executive Director Jackie Brady attended Relationship Australia Victoria’s 75th anniversary celebration in Melbourne. The night included a keynote address from Hugh McKay AO, social psychologist and bestselling author.

Relationships Australia Victoria CEO, Dr Andrew Bickerdike said, “Throughout our history, RAV has never stood still. We’ve been shaped by the ever-changing needs of our clients and the community, as well as evidence and research that informs best practice. The organisation has actively stepped forward time and again to meet new challenges head on, resolute in our commitment to the change, improve, adapt and evolve.”

Photo details – L to R: Andrew Bickerdike, CEO, Relationships Australia Victoria; Claire Fisher, National Research and Projects Manager, Relationships Australia National; Jackie Brady; Nick Tebbey, National Executive Officer, Relationships Australia National.

FRSA Members celebrate Children's Week 2023

Children’s Week was on 21 October – 29 October 2023.  This year’s Children’s Week National Theme for 2023 was based on UNCRC Article 31, Children have the right to relax, play and take part in activities they enjoy. See how FRSA Members celebrated the week:

  • CatholicCare Tasmania’s Early Learning & Care team put together some hands on art and craft activities to give other staff a glimpse into their world.
  • Anglicare WA’s Dudley Park Child and Parent Centre held an event for the kids to celebrate the week including Old McDonald’s Farm, a puppet show, free icy-poles and more.
  • CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes had a stall at Broken Hill’s Children’s Day in the park where kids has the chance to decorate native animal magnets.
  • OzChild shared how the week is close to the heart of their community; to celebrate the children and young people they support, care for and engage with.
  • Anglicare SA’s Playford Communities for Children team hosted a teddy bear’s picnic.
  • Centrecare Inc’s Cannington staff had a fun time at their branch meeting, reminiscing about the childhood games they used to play.
  • Meli spoke with children from 3 Meli kindergartens and asked them what they love most about kindergarten.
  • FamilyCare’s Our Place Seymour staff celebrated with the kids.
  • Parkerville Children and Youth Care’s Child and Parent Centres took part in some fun activities during the week and gifted free books to their CPC families for quality reading time at home.
  • PRONIA shared Greek story times that were being held in libraries around Melbourne during the week.
  • Anglicare Southern Queensland shared a video with their staff Michelle and Gloria about why we should celebrate children and what activities they organise to engage children and their families at their weekly playgroup in Lowood.

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National survey of LGBTIQA+ and Brotherboy & Sistergirl experiences of sexual violence

Until now, there has never been national-level research into how LGBTIQA+ and Brotherboy & Sistergirl Australians experience sexual violence.

Led by Associate Professor Michael Salter (UNSW), this national survey will be used to make sure that services and support are available to everyone who needs it.

The survey is open to anyone over 18 who identifies as part of the LGBTIQA+ community and/or as a Brotherboy or Sistergirl.

You don’t have to have had an experience of sexual violence to be part of this study; the research team are also interested in attitudes and understanding about sex, consent and being a bystander. Click here to complete the survey.

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Thu 25

1-2-3 Magic® & Emotion Coaching

July 25 @ 9:00 am - 4:30 pm AEST
Fri 26

QLD

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner – FDRP | Relationships Australia Queensland

Local Service Manager | UnitingCare Community

VIC

Team Leader Family Relationship Centre | Mallee Family Care

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) | Mallee Family Care

If you have any events you’d like listed on the FRSA Events and Training Calendar or job vacancies you’d like listed on the FRSA Jobs Board, email Communications Officer, Vanessa Lam at communications@frsa.org.au. Please note that posting onto the FRSA website is reserved for FRSA Members only.

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The low-income families digital divide: digital inclusion is everybody’s business | Digital Media Research Centre

There is no current ‘digital inclusion safety net’ supporting low-income families. Researchers working on this project argue that improving digital inclusion for low-income families requires coordination and collaboration between a variety of stakeholders, including community organisations, schools, universities and local, state and federal governments.

Online mental health peer support forums and rural resilience | Swinburne University of Technology

This research summary looks at the extent to which online peer support mental health forums help to build resilience for the rural people with lived experience of mental ill-health who use them.

Deciding with Support | Flinders University

This toolkit is designed to ensure people with disability are not left out of decision-making that impacts their lives while increasing their quality of life and enabling tailored support by practitioners.

It also provides practical guidance to providers to improve the quality of their support to participants through Supported Decision-Making about behaviour support plans.

Promoting equity for multilingual children in early childhood: research report | Australian Education Research Organisation

Australian early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings are increasingly linguistically diverse. This report uses national early childhood datasets to explore experiences – in ECEC and at home – that appear to contribute to more equitable outcomes for emerging multilingual children.

Poverty and Australian housing: findings from an Investigative Panel | Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute

This research investigates the key links between housing and poverty. Its purpose is to draw together different dimensions of the relationships between housing costs and poverty, including policy settings, tax and transfer systems, housing assistance and place-based dimensions and individual capabilities.

The Valuing Children Initiative Survey 2023 | The University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University and Curtin University

The Exploring Australian Adults’ Attitudes Towards Children for a Better Future 2023 which surveyed 1008 adults across Australia was commissioned by the Valuing Children Initiative and compared results from the same survey conducted in 2016.

The report made six recommendations including new mechanisms to amplify children’s voices, greater support for families to facilitate children’s development, school-based programs that empower children, better advocacy for children’s rights and further research that impact children’s lives.

Win-win solutions for well-being and mental health | OECD Publishing

This paper highlights the main findings from the report How to Make Societies Thrive? Coordinating Approaches to Promote Well-being and Mental Health, that uses the OECD Well-being Framework to review how people’s economic, social, relational, civic and environmental experiences interlink with their mental health, and uses this evidence to identify policies that can jointly improve both mental health and wider well-being outcomes.

Good practice guidelines for engaging with people with disability | Department of Social Services

These guidelines provide governments, the private sector, and the non-government sector, with a practical tool for the engagement and inclusion of people with disability in community consultation, policy development and government decision-making.

The midcareer opportunity: meeting the challenges of an ageing workforce | Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The world of work is getting older in advanced and an increasing number of emerging economies. Two powerful and persistent trends, longer lifespans and lower birth rates, all but guarantee that mid-career and older workers will make up an even larger portion of the future workforce, with profound implications for our economies, businesses and workers.

The evidence presented in this report aims to foster a more inclusive and resilient labour market for workers at all stages of their careers.

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