No. 5, 2022 | 20 April 2022
From FRSA's Executive Director
I trust you all got some down time with family and friends over the Easter break. It was glorious weather here in Canberra and I do hope that sunshine and warmth reached those of you who have endured relentless rain and flooding over the past few months.
A lot has happened since the last issue of this eBulletin. The announcement of the Federal election, set to be held on 21 May, has of course, dominated news headlines over the past 10 days.
As parties and candidates jostle to outdo each other on the election campaign trail there was a lot of focus in week 1 about the economy and in particular, gaffes about the rate of unemployment and the value of the Newstart allowance. Both leaders of the main parties have shown they don’t have all the figures in their respective heads at all times.
One set of figures that hasn’t achieved any national debate at the moment is the one that denotes disadvantage and vulnerability in its rawest sense. As ACOSS repeatedly identifies, every day in Australia over 3.2 million people including 774,000 children across the country experience poverty and inequality. As a member of ACOSS we certainly support their call for a permanent increase to the rate of income support payments to at least $70 a day, and to invest in 25,000 social and affordable housing units each year.
I find it difficult to understand how children and families are supposed to survive, let alone thrive, without safe, secure housing and an income that keeps them above the poverty line. How can the family and relationship services sector work effectively with children, adults and families to support positive parenting and strong relationships when basic needs (and basic human rights) are not being met? I hope that whatever shape the new Government takes, there is true political will and courage to govern in the interests of all and offer meaningful support to those who are currently ignored or marginalised.
Only 26 days until the FRSA National Conference! Here at the FRSA office we are feeling incredibly excited – and just a wee bit frantic! More announcements on the conference below but I would like to take this opportunity to remind readers that applications for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Conference Bursary close Wednesday 27 April. The bursaries are generously sponsored by Relationships Australia and will support five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the sector to attend the Conference.
FRSA Executive Director
Australia’s first National Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner
Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston has announced Catherine Fitzpatrick as Australia’s first National Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner.
Ms Fitzpatrick has 30 years’ experience across private, public and not-for-profit sectors, including as the Director of Customer Vulnerability and Financial Resilience at Westpac and Chair of the National Women’s Safety Alliance Policy and Advocacy Advisory Committee.
“Through Ms Fitzpatrick’s leadership, the Commission will oversee the implementation of the next National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children and support the Government in providing policy leadership, developing and fostering relationships across the sector and ensuring greater cooperation between the Commonwealth, states and territories in delivering the targets and objectives of the next National Plan,” said Minister Ruston.
Ms Fitzpatrick’s appointment will commence from 1 July 2022 for five years.
New report shares voices of children and families
The Australian Human Rights Commission highlights how important it is for governments to listen to children and families when making decisions about services and government policies that affect them.
The Keeping kids safe and well – your voices report, led by National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds, looks into out what children and their families think would help keep children safe.
In the report, the top three things children, young people and families said they need to feel safe are:
- help with housing
- mental health services
- help with basic needs, like food, clothing, transport and school supplies.
The findings of the report will inform the first five-year Action Plans under Safe and Supported: The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021–2031 and will help to ensure the collaborative approach of Safe and Supported will drive change and deliver evidence based policy to improve outcomes for children and young people in Australia.
Becoming a new parent in the COVID-19 pandemic: Insights on the Australian family experience
A new report from the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows the importance of help, support and connection from family at the time of pregnancy and new parenthood. This includes the family you live with as well as family living elsewhere.
The Becoming a new parent in the COVID-19 Pandemic is the seventh report from the Families in Australia survey. In the November-December 2020 survey, the 520 participants who were pregnant (including partners) or new parents were asked How would you describe the experience of pregnancy [and/or new parenthood], given the impacts of COVID‑19?
Report author Dr Jennifer Baxter said the findings are a reminder of the deep emotional connections with family that pregnancy and new parenting entail and provide valuable learnings to help support those going through the experience moving forward. Read the report.
FRSA National Conference 2022 - More Keynotes announced and Bursary Program
FRSA is excited to welcome Keynote speakers for Day 1 and Day 3 of the FRSA National Conference:
- Senator Jenny McAllister, Shadow Assistant Minister for Communities and the Prevention of Family Violence
- The Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO, Age Discrimination Commissioner, Detecting, dissecting and dealing with elder abuse
- Dr Rae Kaspiew, Research Director, Systems and Services, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Help seeking for elder abuse: Insights from the National Elder Abuse Prevalence Study
The Conference will be one of the first major opportunities for practitioners to come together as a network and swap stories in person. The three day event aims to deliver the knowledge, insights and the unique learnings and adaption brought from the COVID-19 pandemic experience over the last two years.
Thanks to the generous support of Relationships Australia – this year’s Ochre Conference Sponsor – FRSA is pleased to announce that five bursaries are available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are attending or intending to attend the 2022 Family & Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) National Conference, Together we can: Connect, Innovate, Transform.
Bursaries are provided to assist with covering the cost of conference registration, and travel & accommodation to an amount of $500 per recipient. To be eligible you must be an employee of a fully financial FRSA member organisation.
To apply download the application form below and submit the form to Robyn Clough at email@example.com or you can complete the form online. The applications close Wednesday, 27 April 2022.
Please note, this Bursary Program is open to people who are yet to register and those who are already registered.
Stay up to date on Conference news by subscribing to our Conference and Forum Updates.
Methodology to select locations for new Children’s Contact Services released
The Attorney-General’s Department has released the methodology to select locations for additional Children’s Contact Services (CCS).
In the 2021-22 Federal Budget, the Australian Government provided additional funding of $101.4 million for CCSs, including:
- ongoing funding of $68.8 million over four years from 2021-22 to enhance the 64 existing CCSs
- ongoing funding of $27.5 million over three years from 2022-23 to establish 20 new CCSs.
The Department undertook a consultation in late 2021 on their proposed methodology to identify the locations where 20 new CCSs are most needed. The 20 locations were announced in March 2022 and applications to operate CCS in these locations were invited via an open competitive process, closing 12 April 2022.
Faster and fairer spilt of superannuation in family law proceedings
On 1 April, the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash and the Minister for Superannuation and for Women’s Economic Security, Senator the Hon Jane Hume, announced that the Government is improving the visibility of superannuation assets in family law proceedings, making it harder for parties to hide or under-disclose their superannuation assets.
Parties to family law property proceedings can now apply to family law court registries to request their former partner’s superannuation information, held by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The ATO has been working closely with the courts to ensure the appropriate integrity measures are in place for the information to be disclosed securely.
This follows from a consultation undertaken by Treasury in 2021 on improving the visibility of Superannuation assets, to which FRSA made a short submission.
Superannuation is one of the most significant assets for Australian Families (and for some families, the only asset). Improving accessibility to superannuation information will better support separated couples to divide their property on a just and equitable basis. This will help alleviate the disproportionate financial hardship and negative impact on retirement incomes that women can experience after separation.
New National Specialist Family & Domestic Violence Financial Counselling Service
On 3 April, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, announced the Government is providing $5.5 million to the Zahra Foundation Australia for a national expansion of its South Australian-based confidential telephone and online service. The Zahra Foundation has been delivering specialist family and domestic violence financial counselling in SA since 2015.
Improving justice and policing responses for victim-survivors
Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, Minister for Families and Social Services and Minister for Women’s Safety, and The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Home Affairs, recently announced the policing package, which is funded under the Morrison Government’s $1.3 billion women’s safety package as part of the 2022-23 Budget.
The Government will provide $4.1 million over four years to develop and deliver a dedicated training program for law enforcement across Australia to effectively identify and support victim-survivors of all forms of family, domestic and sexual violence including coercive control and technology facilitated abuse.
A total of $3.3 million has been allocated to uplift criminal justice responses for victim survivors of gendered violence including conducting a scoping study to develop an alternative reporting mechanism for victim-survivors of sexual assault and violence.
Appointments to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia
On 4 April, the Attorney-General announced six new judicial appointments to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2). This includes five women, which means that 51 per cent of current sitting judges in the Court (Division 2) are now female.
Appointments commenced on 6 April and include:
- Ms Natasha Laing, appointed to the Sydney Registry
- Ms Gillian Eldershaw, appointed to the Sydney Registry
- Ms Amanda Mansini ,appointed to the Melbourne Registry
- Ms Alison Burt, appointed to the Melbourne Registry
- Mr Paul Glass, appointed to the Melbourne Registry.
Funding for Specialised Family Violence Services
The Department of Social Services has advised that additional funding for Specialised Family Violence Services (SFVS) was included in the 2022 Federal Budget Women’s Safety package, which provides a total of $1.3 billion over 6 years from 2021-22. Initiatives under this package form the first phase of the Commonwealth’s contribution to the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022‑2032.
SFVS providers who received their sole funding for SFVS under the fourth National Plan and whose grants were due to cease on 30 June 2022, have had their grants extended to 30 June 2027. Funding will be at existing levels (plus indexation).
SFVS providers who have ongoing funding under the Families and Children Activity for SFVS but received some additional funds, under the Fourth National Plan, over 2020-21 and 2021-22 will have their grants varied to include additional funds. This additional funding will be added to their existing grants which run to 30 June 2026 and:
- funding will essentially maintain the boost the providers received under the Fourth Action Plan, providing additional funding over 2022-23 to 2025-26
- the quantum of funds each provider receives will be an average of the amount over the two years (under the Plan they received a higher amount in the first year and a smaller in the second).
AIFS 2022 Conference - Pre-Conference Workshops
The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) 2022 Conference is on 15-17 June 2022 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. This year’s Conference theme is: Putting families at the centre.
Below are some pre-conference workshops they are running on 14 June 2022, that may be of interest to FRSA members:
- Engaging children and young people to participate in decision making
Time: 12:30 – 5PM (AEST)
Cost: $210 for conference attendees, $260 for non-conference attendees
In this workshop, you will receive an overview of the key principles of evaluation research and you will learn about what the studies in Australia and overseas tell us about facilitating the participation of children and young people in research and program evaluation.
- Supporting children who have experienced trauma
Time: 10AM – 5PM (AEST)
Cost: $310 for conference attendees, $360 for non-conference attendees
This one-day interactive workshop will examine practice strategies for supporting children who have experienced trauma, both to support them to tell their stories, and responding supportively after disclosures.
South Asian DV prevention program for men
Relationship Matters is launching the first South Asian Men’s Behaviour Change Program. The program supports men from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. This is the first such program to be delivered by two multi-lingual Facilitators at Relationship Matters.
The program involves intensive work to enable men to accept responsibility for their choices and behaviour and to handle strong emotion and conflict with understanding, confidence and self-control.
When: June 2022 weekly for 20 sessions
Time: 5.30pm -7.30pm
Where: Delivered online
Cost: $455 or $325 concession
A fee of $50 is applicable for two intake assessments.
Contact Guy Penna on 1300 543 396.
Moo Baulch OAM named new Our Watch chair
Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston announced Moo Baulch OAM as the chair of Australia’s national organisation for the prevention of violence against women and children, Our Watch.
Speaking of her appointment, Ms Baulch said that now is the time to encourage all Australians to engage in the prevention of violence against women.
“There’s never been a better time to do this work. We’re on the eve of a new National Plan to end violence against women, and Australians are ready to actively engage in gender-based violence prevention.
“Educators, business and industry, communities and families all want to be part of the solution, ensuring that this generation of children and young people are supported to meet their potential and live free from violence and abuse,” Ms Baulch said. Read more
Share your story with the Royal Commission
Families, in their broad and diverse make-up, play an important role in supporting serving and ex-serving Defence members, and are often impacted by their experiences and issues. Because of this, the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide wants to hear from the families, friends and communities of serving and ex-serving Defence members.
The Royal Commission is about more than suicide – it is investigating a range of issues relating to serving and ex-serving Defence members, including:
- Mental health
- Families and relationships
- Trauma and abuse
- Transition into civilian life
- Support from government agencies
If you have personal or professional experience relating to serving or ex-serving Defence members and any of these issues, we urge you to share your story with the Royal Commission.
Making a submission is the best way to share your story. So far, the Royal Commission has received over 1,300 submissions from individuals and organisations, with each of these submissions adding to the body of evidence the Commissioners will use to inform their investigation and make recommendations. It is important that each individual story is told – even if your story does not directly relate to Defence and veteran suicide – as every submission adds to the evidence of systemic and structural issues within the Defence forces.
If you would like more information about the Royal Commission, or wish to make a submission, you can visit defenceveteransuicide.royalcommission.gov.au, or call 1800 329 095 (9:00 am to 5:00 pm AEST Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays).
National Families Week
Celebrating the importance of families for 20 Years in 2022! National Families Week is on 15-21 May 2022. The aim of National Families Week is to celebrate the vital role that families play in Australian society.
National Families Week is a time to celebrate with your family, make contact with your extended family and friends, and share in the enjoyment of family activities within the wider community. It is a time to celebrate the meaning of family and to make the most of family life.
Register your Families Week event or download resources via their website.
Mission Australia's Youth Survey 2022 is now open
The 2022 Mission Australia Youth Survey is now open.
Now in its 21st year, the survey is the largest online survey of its kind in Australia and provides an important annual snapshot into the experiences and views of young people aged 15-19.
The survey closes on 12 August 2022, with results to be analysed and released before the end of the year.
To find out more or to take part in the survey visit missionaustralia.com.au/youthsurvey
National Reconciliation Week
Reconciliation Australia has announced that this year’s National Reconciliation Week (NRW) will be from 27 May to 3 June 2022. This year’s theme is Be Brave. Make Change. It is a challenge to individuals, families, communities, organisations and government to Be Brave and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation so we can Make Change for the benefit of all Australians.
Find out more and download digital resources here.
National Centre for Place-Based Collaboration (Nexus Centre)
The Department of Social Services is seeking to engage a foundation partner over a two-year period to progress the establishment and early phase work of a Nexus Centre. The foundation partner could be a single entity or a consortium with relevant expertise.
Funding will be available to 30 June 2024 to fund the foundation partner to host the first phase of work to inform the establishment of a National Centre for Place-Based Collaboration (Nexus Centre) and to deliver some key pieces of infrastructure that will inform the implementation of a fully operational Nexus Centre.
The Nexus Centre is envisaged to be an independent non-government entity that will work with and across governments communities and other stakeholders around Australia to amplify the effects of existing and emerging place-based initiatives.
Webinar: Approaches to support child mental health in culturally and linguistically diverse communities | 3 May 2022 | Emerging Minds
Children and families from CALD backgrounds can experience challenges that affect their mental health and wellbeing. They can also face barriers to accessing and engaging with services. This webinar will explore tailoring your approach to work with children and families from CALD communities can help you to better address their mental health and wellbeing needs.
Manager, Family & Relationship Services (FaRS)| Relationships Australia NT
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (Full Time or Part Time) | Relationships Australia NT
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) and Family Law Pathways (FLPN) Project Officer | Relationships Australia NT
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | Relationships Australia NT
Couple & Family Counsellor | Relationships Australia NSW
Adolescent & Family Counsellor | Relationships Australia NSW
Senior Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | Relationships Australia Victoria
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner – Shepparton | Relationships Australia Victoria
Clinical Coordinator – headspace Sale | Relationships Australia Victoria
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that posting onto the FRSA website is reserved for FRSA Members only.
New COVID-19 mentally healthy workplace guides | National Mental Health Commission
The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and the National Mental Health Commission have developed a new set of guides to support workplaces to help address emerging issues related to mentally healthy workplaces during COVID-19.
The guides speak to pressing issues such as navigating the return to workplaces, identifying and managing fatigue and burnout, and creating mentally healthy hybrid teams.
Behind the line: poverty and disadvantage in Australia 2022 | Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre
This report provides the latest examination of the prevalence of poverty within Australia, how this has changed over time, and which groups in society face the greatest risks of financial hardship and material deprivation.
Mapping disability research in Australia 2018-2020 | Centre for Disability Research and Policy (USyd)
This mapping report provides a comprehensive picture of the current state of disability research in Australia in the period since the Audit of Disability Research Update Report was published in 2017.
Using unique nationally representative data on 3,843 Australian adults over the period 6 April 2020 to 10 May 2021, this paper investigates whether the Australian government’s Coronavirus Supplement, a temporary income support payment for unemployed job seekers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, protected mental health by lowering financial stress.
Indirect employment in aged care: issues paper | Productivity Commission
The Productivity Commission has commenced a study into employment models in aged care, and the effects that policies and procedures to preference the direct employment of aged care workers would have on the sector. The Commission has released this issues paper to guide people in preparing a submission. It sets out some of the issues and questions the Commission has identified as relevant at this early stage of the study.
A Fairer Tax and Welfare System | Centre for Social Research and Methods (ANU)
This research paper was commissioned by the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia Inc. as an initiative to help address the growing gap between ‘the haves’ and ‘the have nots’ in Australia. The paper proposes three simple policy proposals designed to improve the financial position of Australians most in need
Connection to community | Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Connections to community are an important source of resilience for Indigenous Australians. This paper discusses several protective factors resulting from community connection that work to prevent suicide by strengthening resilience and increasing social and emotional wellbeing.
Paying what it takes | Social Ventures Australia
Australian charities are being hamstrung by a lack of funding for their core operational needs, severely affecting their ability to deliver frontline services to Australians living with disadvantage. This report finds that the prevailing funding model for not-for-profits is failing to cover indirect operating costs, threatening capability and effectiveness across the sector.
National plan victim-survivor advocates consultation final report | Monash University
Violence against women is a national crisis in Australia. The federal government is presently developing the next national plan to end violence against women and children. This report reveals that systems improvements are needed to appropriately respond to the issue, with many victim-survivors experiencing further harm as a result of system engagement.
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