No. 6, 2022 | 27 May 2022
From FRSA's Executive Director
I wish I could have bottled up all the positive energy and network connectedness that was experienced at the FRSA National Conference held in Adelaide last week. After so many years of being unable to meet together, it was wonderful to be back! Engaging, listening, learning, sharing, crying and laughing. The FRSA Conference had it all. We don’t want to reserve all that goodness only for the 500 people in attendance – we want to be able to share it. You will find more detailed information about the Conference below. In addition, we do work with all our presenters to obtain their permission to share slides with you – we are working hard on those and will populate that content on our website over the coming week.
You will also see below the link to two FRSA publications launched at the Conference – the FRSA Conference 2022 e-Journal and the report, The use of Telepractice in Family and Relationship Services: A Focus Group Exploration, launched by FRSA’s very own Manager of Policy and Research, Dr Robyn Clough, in her joint presentation with AIFS.
The Conference moved to National Families Week this year and it is great to be able to make our own contribution to this important event in the annual calendar. The week is an initiative of Families Australia and is held to celebrate the vital role that families play in Australian society. We look forward to continuing to mark this week as the FRSA National Conference week in the years ahead – starting with 15-18 May 2023 – be sure to save that date in your diary! You can also see some of the member’s local events in the member news section below.
Even though it was a busy week – I was not one of the million plus Australians who pre-polled my vote in the Federal Election. Personally, I thoroughly enjoy the experience of the Democracy Sausage purchase that is steeped in my memory and recollections of Election Day. The queue is totally worth it! And I love being able to chat to the people in my local area and neighbourhood about what their hopes and aspirations of a future Australia looks like. Yes! This is an additional benefit of a long line!
Whilst we are not entirely sure what the newly formed Government will look like, we do know that the Australian voting populace has spoken, and we have a new Prime Minister in the Hon. Anthony Albanese – head of the Australian Labor Party. The Australian Labor Party will take the lead in the 47th Parliament of Australia – whether by majority in the lower house is yet to be determined.
FRSA is, and always has been, prepared to work with all people in leadership, regardless of affiliation, to ensure that we are doing our best for children, women, men, families and communities in Australia. This is a pursuit that never seems to end, and we look forward to working with Prime Minister Albanese, his Ministry, his party and all Federal MPs and Senators to bring about positive change.
Yesterday was National Sorry Day. In his victory speech on Saturday night, Prime Minister Albanese did begin with an Acknowledgement of Country and on behalf of the Australian Labor Party committed to the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full. I am looking forward to seeing the words given life.
FRSA Executive Director
Together we can at the FRSA National Conference 2022
After two years, FRSA was thrilled to finally bring the sector together for our National Conference. More than 500 delegates gathered face-to-face in Adelaide from 16-19 May, to share research, practice learnings and insights.
The FRSA National Conference is heralded as a highlight event for the Family and Relationship Services network and is one of the largest annual gatherings of practitioners, academics and policy makers working to support children, families and communities. The 2022 Conference did not disappoint.
Since 2020, the sector’s ability to adapt and respond was tested like never before. Alongside the ‘usual’ challenges of life, the sector found itself actively responding to bushfires, floods and the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 and the resulting period of ongoing social/physical distancing. This year’s Conference provided an opportunity to take stock of all that had been achieved in that time and to reflect and learn.
The week started with four well subscribed pre-Conference workshops:
- Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Workshop – Trauma Informed Care and Practice – an Indigenous approach to developing worker skills presented by We Al-li
- Communities for Children Facilitating Partner (CfC FP) Workshop
- Family Law Workshop
- Making the most of your data to better understand your program facilitated by the Evidence and Evaluation Support team at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
On Tuesday 17 May, day one of the Conference commenced with a strong plenary session that included pre-recorded presentations from the former Minister for Families and Social Services and Minister for Women’s Safety, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, and former Shadow Assistant Minister for Communities and the Prevention of Family Violence, Senator Jenny McAllister.
This was followed by keynote addresses from Anne Hollonds, National Children’s Commissioner and April Lawrie, Commissioner for Aboriginal Children & Young People, South Australia. Both Anne and April spoke passionately about the rights of children to live safe, meaningful and engaged lives.
It would be an understatement to say it has been a tough few years, and FRSA was keen to ensure that delegates spent a bit of time thinking about self-care. We were joined by joy expert, Amanda Gore as a keynote speaker who brought smiles and laughter to delegates!
Day two of the Conference opened with another great plenary line-up. The Hon Deputy Justice Robert McClelland, Chair of the Family Law Council spoke to the topic Litigation as the last resort: Resolving conflict arising from family breakdown. This was followed by a keynote address by Patty Kinnersly, Chief Executive Officer, Our Watch who talked about preventing violence against women. Patty’s address, which reflected on the systemic changes needed to prevent family violence was complemented by an address from Dr Ann O’Neill – an inspiring speaker, an award-winning humanitarian, victimologist, educator, activist, volunteer, researcher and a survivor of family violence.
The Conference closed with a thought-provoking and passionate plenary session, which looked at ageing and relationships with a focus on the issue of elder abuse and neglect. Age Discrimination Commissioner, the Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO, spoke to the topic, Detecting, dissecting and dealing with elder abuse. This was followed by Dr Rae Kaspiew, Australian Institute of Family Studies, who led the team that completed the National Elder Abuse Prevalence Study in 2021. Rae talked the audience through key insights from the study on help seeking for elder abuse. Next on the plenary program was a panel discussion with representatives of the FRSA membership, Anna Gillbard, UnitingCare, Queensland, Jenni Dickson, Better Place Australia, Victoria, Mary Sophou, PRONIA, Victoria and Susan Cochrane, Relationships Australia. They each responded to the question: What role do you see for the family and relationship services sector over the next 5 years in responding to the issue of elder abuse and neglect and supporting healthy, happy relationships for older Australians?
The session concluded with all six speakers in a rousing discussion on what needs to be done to respond to elder abuse and support respectful relationships for older Australians.
One of the networking highlights was the FRSA Conference Gala Dinner in the elegant Auditorium at the Adelaide Town Hall, which included a fun performance from the Tal-Kin-Jeri dance group and delegates were able to dance the night away.
The great richness and diversity of the sector was showcased each and every day in the concurrent session program. With over 70 presentations and five symposiums, we felt privileged to bring this part of the program to delegates, sourced from our network and related stakeholders. Slides from these presentations will be made available via the FRSA Conference page subject to author permission. Keynote presentations and the Panel Discussion will be uploaded to FRSA’s YouTube channel in the coming weeks.
FRSA gratefully acknowledges all Conference presenters for making the time to share their work and insights with others. We also thank our partners, sponsors and exhibitors for their generous support of the Conference and the Conference Reference Committee and FRSA Board for helping make this Conference happen.
Watch this space for details for next year’s FRSA National Conference.
FRSA National Conference 2022 e-Journal
FRSA was pleased to release the FRSA National Conference 2022 e-Journal on 19 May .
This e-Journal showcases a breadth of practice wisdom, research evidence and insights that reflect the sector’s capacity to adapt to, and innovate, in the COVID environment as well as respond to other environmental challenges and changes.
The e-Journal presents eight papers covering diverse topics that sit across the following conference themes: Across the lifecourse , Ageing, Family violence, First 1000 days, Relationship breakdown, and Telepractice.
We invited all our concurrent session and symposium presenters to consider submitting a paper to the e-Journal. The e-Journal papers go through two rounds of peer review and an editing process to ensure they meet our publication standards.
We commend this e-Journal to our readers and encourage you to share it widely with your colleagues and contacts.
FRSA National Conference Diamond Sponsor: Bonterra
In March 2022, the technology and people behind Social Solutions, along with CyberGrants, EveryAction, Network for Good, and their respective entities, came together as Bonterra. Bonterra, which stems from the French word for “good” (bon) and the Latin word for “land” (terra) represents the exponential good that can be accomplished with the right foundation and supports the company’s purpose to power those who power social impact.
Bonterra’s technology collectively helps over 15,000 nonprofit customers connect with donors and volunteers, distribute funds, fundraise, manage casework, and measure impact, and it supports over 50 percent of the Fortune 100’s corporate philanthropy programs. In 2021 alone, Bonterra’s technology solutions were used by more than 19,000 customers to direct giving of over $7.4 billion to more than 225,000 nonprofit organizations.
Our Australia-based team of 14 industry professionals specifically supports agencies in the Australia and New Zealand regions. With 75 years of experience working for or in nonprofits in the Community Services Sector, our ANZ-based team is dedicated to enabling and elevating the hardworking people behind social good organizations by supporting them with best-in-class tools and technology.
We believe that technology and data are simply unmatched in their ability to scale operations quickly and help social good organizations serve more people. Our intuitive technology makes the work behind social good easier, more efficient, and more effective. Learn more at bonterratech.com.
FRSA Telepractice Report released
FRSA released its report, The use of Telepractice in Family and Relationship Services: A Focus Group Exploration, at the FRSA National Conference.
The report builds on earlier work conceptualised by FRSA and the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) and undertaken by AIFS:
- A scoping review of evidence on the use of telepractice in family and relationship services, which was published in May 2021
- A survey undertaken by AIFS with FRSA members, to understand their experience of using telepractice during COVID. The survey report was published in November 2021.
The third piece of work undertaken by FRSA sought to build on the findings of the survey report looking in more detail at the suitability and practice implications of telepractice across the different programs administered under the Department of Social Services Families and Children Activity.
In November-December 2021, we held 12 focus group sessions with a total of 80 participants – program managers and practitioners – from the FRSA membership. Their insights were invaluable, and we are very grateful to all who participated.
Through our focus group exploration, we sought to respond to the question: In what circumstances is telepractice a safe and suitable mode of service delivery?
Of particular note, focus group participants told us that the use of telepractice must be client-led and the client’s suitability to engage in telepractice must be determined through a robust assessment process that includes an appraisal of safety risks. The client’s preference and the client’s best interests should guide the use of telepractice.
Telepractice is perceived to deliver comparable (sometimes better) transactional outcomes – that is, outcomes involving the exchange/transfer of information, knowledge and support and/or the negotiation of tangible outcomes such as property division following separation.
However, telepractice is perceived to deliver transformative outcomes – that is, enduring therapeutic outcomes such as shifts in self-awareness, self-concept and agency – less successfully.
For a full outline of research findings and insights we encourage you to read the report.
Salvation Army Doorways Emergency Relief Survey National Findings 2022
Research undertaken by the Salvation Army found that 97 per cent of Australia’s most vulnerable are struggling below the poverty line.
The research project explored the experiences of financial hardship and deprivation, housing stress and main challenges community members experienced in the past year. A random sample of 10,000 people who had attended The Salvation Army’s Emergency Relief centres in the past twelve months were invited to participate in the survey via text message. The data collection period was open between November to December 2021. Participation was voluntary and responses were confidential. A total of 1,409 respondents completed the online questionnaire.
The research found that the most vulnerable in our society are struggling to make ends meet, with 84% of those surveyed finding it a challenge to meet basic living expenses, including housing, utilities, food and health care, in the past 12 months.
After paying for housing costs, 93% of respondents were living below the poverty line, with 75% saying that managing financial stress was one of their greatest challenges, 65% needing to ask for financial help from family and friends and 56% not being able to afford medical or dental treatment when they need it.
Young people cite social media as main reason for worsening mental health
Data released by headspace on 9 May found more than half of young people (57%) believe their mental health is getting worse, with 42% citing social media as the main reason for the decline in mental wellbeing.
The release of this 2020 data shows a significant increase from the previous 2018 headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey, where 37% of young people named social media as the cause of declining mental health. The second most common response was expectations from school, family and community (20%).
Other reasons young people believed their mental health was deteriorating included: global issues (16%), the COVID-19 pandemic (14%) and work and study pressure (13%). Read more here.
Anglicare Australia releases Rental Affordability Snapshot
Anglicare Australia released their annual Rental Affordability Snapshot on 28 April.
The Snapshot surveyed 45,992 rental listings across Australia and found that:
- 720 rentals (2%) were affordable for a person earning a full-time minimum wage
- 312 rentals (1%) were affordable for a person on the Age Pension
- 51 rentals (0%) were affordable for a person on the Disability Support Pension
- 7 rentals, (0%) all sharehouses, were affordable for a person on JobSeeker
- 1 sharehouse (0%) was affordable for a person on Youth Allowance.
Results of the Federal Election held 21 May 2022
With the announcement of the election campaign over six weeks ago, Government and Parliamentary news has been in abeyance.
On 21 May, election night, although counting was still underway most media outlets projected that the Australian Labor Party (ALP) was the only party that could realistically form even a minority government. Accordingly, the Hon. Scott Morrison, MP conceded defeat to the Hon. Anthony Albanese, MP late that night. Soon afterward, in accordance with longstanding Australian constitutional practice, the outgoing Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, advised the Governor-General, David Hurley, that he was no longer in a position to govern. ALP leader, Anthony Albanese, was declared the next Prime Minister of Australia.
The Governor-General Hurley swore in the Hon. Anthony Albanese and four senior Labor frontbenchers as an interim five-person ministry on 23 May, two days after the election. Prime Minister Albanese’s frontbench team includes Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Employment. The Hon. Richard Marles, MP, Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers, MP; Finance Minister/Attorney General and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon. Katy Gallagher; and, Foreign Minister, Senator the Hon. Penny Wong.
Machinery of government (MOG) changes will wait until caucus meets on Tuesday 31 May and the full ministry is named. The ministry will be sworn in the next day.
National Families Week
National Families Week was 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.
Check out how FRSA member celebrated Families Week:
- Uniting Country SA held a Party at the Park in Whyalla.
- ac.care’s Communities for Children Murraylands organised a zoo trip for families and celebrated 21 years of operating the Minya Porlar Creche at Murray Bridge on behalf of the community, watch their video:
- Centacare Catholic Country SA created a series of videos asked locals and staff: what they are in their family, how do they show people that they love them, what do they like doing with their family, how big is their family, what does family mean to them (watch the video below)
- Centacare South West NSW held a free online Families Connect seminar and participated in the Connecting Families to Communities Services Expo.
- OzChild asked staff what changes they have seen in the families they work with.
- CatholicCare shared activities for families to do together during the week.
- Tamworth Family Support Services held a Families Week event at Inflatable World Tamworth.
- Livable put together fantastic family fun activity packs.
National Volunteer Week
This year’s National Volunteer Week was on 17-23 May, the week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteers. This year’s theme was Better Together. National Volunteer Week is a chance to celebrate and recognise the vital work of volunteers and to say thank you.
See how FRSA members gave a wave to say thanks to their volunteers and celebrated the week below:
- OzChild thanked their foster carers for their volunteer role in which collectively carers contribute to millions of hours of active caregiving each year.
- QPASTT shared the story of one of their volunteer’s Paul and how important volunteering was in his life.
- Save the Children‘s teams got together for a well deserved cake and a cup of tea.
- EACH staff thanked their more than 200 volunteers who actively engage in their programs across Australia.
- Zoe Support Australia celebrated with volunteers who support young mums at Playgroup.
- Uniting Communities staff thanked their 400+ volunteers with a wave to volunteers.
- Mallee Family Care thanked their volunteers with a wave.
- Marymead highlighted the work of their volunteer Julie.
- Centacare Geraldton thanked their volunteers with flowers and chocolates.
- Anglicare Southern Queensland celebrated some of their volunteers in Toowoomba by hosting a morning tea.
- Anglicare Sydney shared videos of their retirement living volunteers and food and financial assistance volunteers.
- PRONIA celebrated 50 years of volunteering at a reception and presented all volunteers with a Commemorative Book entitled ‘In their Own Words’ together with a Certificate of Appreciation, lapel pin and a wine bottle with the olive leaf symbol of PRONIA’s fifty years.
- AnglicareWA shared the story of one their volunteer Sandra and the work she’s done at their Child and Parent Centre.
Upper Murray Family Care welcomes new CEO
Upper Murray Family Care has welcomed Felicity Williams as their new CEO. Felicity joins the team following the retirement of outgoing CEO, Luke Rumbold, who served as chief executive for nearly 40 years. . Luke was also an FRSA Board Director, from its establishment in March 2007 through until November 2012 and has always been an active and engaged member of FRSA.
Felicity acted as CEO of The Centre for Continuing Education in Wangaratta from 2014 and brings extensive NFP sector experience and business/strategic acumen.
FRSA wishes Luke all the best for the future and congratulates Felicity on the new role.
Employer Survey: Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) concession for PBI entities
The ANU’s Tax and Transfer Policy Institute has commenced work on a policy paper into the effectiveness of the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) concession for Public Benevolent Institutions (PBIs). The purpose of this research is to identify ways to improve the utility and accessibility of the concession for employees of PBI charities. This project is led by Joe Zabar, a Visiting Fellow with the Institute and former deputy CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia.
The project is seeking input from employers and salary sacrifice providers, by way of a short survey, about the administration of the FBT concession including any views about how it might be improved. The survey itself will only take about 10-15 minutes to complete and is targeted at HR directors.
The responses from this survey will be accessed only by the two researchers working on this project, and all data published will be de-identified.
The survey is now live and remains open until 30 May 2022.
This research is timely given some of the workforce issues impacting the sector.
For any queries about the survey or its access, please contact Ben Jefferson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click the following link to access the survey https://anu.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8ozYhym3DHLxDrU
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).
The Volunteering in Australia organisation survey
Volunteering Australia is conducting the largest ever survey of volunteer involving organisations in Australia. If you are a volunteer manager, program leader, CEO, or otherwise represent a group involving volunteers, you are invited to have your say on the future of volunteering. This important research will underpin the National Strategy for Volunteering. The survey is an historic opportunity to capture the current state of volunteering, map trends, and consider how volunteering may evolve into the future.
Click here to complete the survey. The survey closes Thursday, 2 June.
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.
COUNSELLOR/RELATIONSHIP EDUCATOR | Relationships Australia NSW
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
Senior Family Violence Practitioner | Relationships Australia Victoria
Senior Advisor Family Law | Relationships Australia Victoria
Family Violence Pathways Practitioner | Relationships Australia Victoria
Family Violence Pathways Practitioner (Mens) | 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 email@example.com. Please note that posting onto the FRSA website is reserved for FRSA Members only.
Family and domestic violence leave review | Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre
This report outlines the findings of an independent economic analysis of the cost of providing paid family and domestic violence leave to workers on the modern award wage by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), as part of their submission to the Fair Work Commission’s 2021 review of family and domestic violence leave.
The wages crisis: revisited | Centre for Future Work
A comprehensive review of Australian wage trends indicates that wage growth is likely to remain stuck at historically weak levels – despite the dramatic disruptions experienced by the Australian labour market through the COVID-19 pandemic. This report finds that targeted policies to deliberately lift wages are needed to break free of the low-wage trajectory that has become locked in over the past nine years.
Socio-economic background and the incidence of partner violence: evidence from HILDA | Centre for Social Research and Methods (ANU)
Using 14 waves from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics of Australia (HILDA) longitudinal survey, the authors of this paper report extensive analysis of the financial consequences of (apparent) partner violence for Australian women.
Addressing Australia’s critical skill shortages: unlocking women’s economic participation | Chief Executive Women
The analysis undertaken for this report suggests that Australia can address our economy’s current and future skill needs by closing the gap between the number employed and hours worked of men and women across our economy.
Supporting all children to thrive | The Front Project
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated policy responses are likely to alter the global economy in a way that affects its ability to adjust to future shocks and changes. This paper develops a point of reference for thinking about developments which could be deemed long-term.
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