FRSA eBulletin, No. 6, 2024

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No. 6, 2024 | 24 April 2024

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From FRSA's Executive Director

Last Friday, I attended a National Family Violence Symposium in Melbourne, hosted by the Chief Justice of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA), the Hon. William Alstergren AO. When the Chief Justice spoke at our Conference about two years ago he made it clear he has a deep and personal commitment to doing all he can to stop family violence. Around 80 people joined the symposium from around the country and from across sectors – all working in different ways to support those experiencing family violence and to find ways to prevent family violence from occurring. I was pleased to be part of this important initiative last week.

The Attorney General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus, KC, MP addressed the Symposium and noted: “This event takes place against the backdrop of shocking acts of violence against women in recent months, weeks and days”. He offered much hope, however, as he outlined the many government reforms that are in play to help end violence against women and children.

Reading the news before bed on Monday night – when I saw the face of a woman, identified as Molly Ticehurst, smiling at me as part of the headline news article – my heart sank. My immediate reaction was ‘Oh no, not another one!’ And indeed, it was news of another woman killed at the hands of her ex-partner. I express my condolences to her family, friends and community as they grieve her loss.

My team and I often reflect on the work our sector is doing, day-in, day-out, with families experiencing or at risk of family violence. I am reminded of how important it is to keep working to find and highlight approaches to prevent and respond to family violence – people’s lives depend on it.

As always, we have a strong line-up of presentations at our upcoming Conference in Melbourne. Given the nature of the sector’s work, a sub-theme in the Conference emerged around family violence in its many manifestations – young people using violence in the home and elder abuse, as well as violence towards children and in intimate partner relationships. We know there will be much to learn from these, and all our conference presentations.

On the topic of the Conference, I am delighted to announce our keynote speaker line-up: Julia Baird, Journalist, broadcaster and author; Tania Farha, CEO, Safe and Equal; and Grace Tame, 2021 Australian of the Year. As our Conference coincides with a parliamentary sitting week, we are grateful that the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Amanda Rishworth, and Attorney-General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus KC will be contributing to the Conference with pre-recorded messages to delegates as part of the Conference program.

With the Conference only two and half weeks away, we are feeling very excited here at the FRSA Office. There is still time to register – we would love to see you there!

Kind regards,
Jackie Brady
FRSA Executive Director

Jackie Brady and the Hon. William Alstergren AO

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REGISTER TODAY!

Just over two weeks until the FRSA National Conference 2024! Day rates are now available, don’t miss out on the highlight event for the Family and Relationship Services network register today!

Standard Registration Fee

Member Rates Non-Member Rates
Complete Conference Experience – Including dinner $1,295.00 $1,595.00
Conference Only – No dinner $1,220.00 $1,520.00

 

Day Rates

Rate
Tuesday & Wednesday $515.00
Thursday $415.00

 

Pre-Conference Workshops – FRSA MEMBERS ONLY

Member Rates
Dadirri – Ancient Aboriginal Mindfulness Traditions
(Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Workshop)
$175.00
Family Law Workshop $175.00
LGBTIQA+ Family Practice Workshop
Presented by Drummond Street Services
$175.00
Using evidence to paint a picture: Finding opportunities for learning, growth and sharing the success of child and family services
Presented by the Australian Institute of Family Studies
$175.00
Communities for Children Facilitating Partners (CfC FP) Workshop $175.00

*Please note if not pre-registered for the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Workshop you will NOT be able to register or attend on the day – due to limited spaces

Keynote lineup!

FRSA is thrilled to welcome Keynote speakers for the FRSA National Conference:

Day 1 – Tuesday, 14 May:

  • The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, Minister for Social Services (Pre-recorded)
  • Julia Baird, Journalist, broadcaster and author

Day 2 – Wednesday, 15 May:

  • Attorney-General, The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP (Pre-recorded)
  • Tania Farha, CEO, Safe and Equal

Day 3 – Thursday, 16 May:

  • Grace Tame, 2021 Australian of the Year
L-R: The Hon Amanda Rishworth, Julia Baird, The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP, Tania Farha & Grace Tame
L-R: The Hon Amanda Rishworth, Julia Baird, The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP, Tania Farha & Grace Tame
Day 2 Panellists announced!

FRSA is pleased to announce the panellists of our Day 2 Panel Discussion on Wednesday, 15 May at the FRSA National Conference, titled How early intervention can ‘change the trajectory’ for individuals and families at risk of family violence.

Panellists:

  • Judge Alexandra Harland, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia
  • Karen Bevan, Full Stop Australia
  • Phillip Ripper, No to Violence
  • Allison Wainwright, Family Life
L-R: Judge Alexandra Harland, Karen Bevan, Phillip Ripper & Allison Wainwright
L-R: Judge Alexandra Harland, Karen Bevan, Phillip Ripper & Allison Wainwright
Welcome new sponsors!

We’re thrilled to welcome the following sponsors who will join us in Melbourne for this year’s National Conference.

  • CatholicCare Sydney as a Silver Sponsor
  • Data Spark Analytics as an Exhibitor
  • DV-alert Lifeline Australia as an Exhibitor
Gold Sponsor: Uniting Counselling and Mediation

Uniting – Enhancing the safety and wellbeing of children and families

Most people experience challenges in their personal relationships, especially during separation and divorce. Uniting’s specialist family law and family relationship services support people to foster healthy thinking and behaviour while improving the ways they communicate and connect with others.

Uniting counsellors are professionally trained trauma-informed family therapists, with the skills necessary to help people improve relationship habits, manage conflict and share positive communication.

Uniting mediators are accredited by the Attorney-General’s Department and are professionally trained to conduct parenting and property mediation.

Our counselling and mediation services encompass child-inclusive-practice to ensure children’s experiences and voices are heard and relayed by a trained child consultant.

We offer in-person, online and telephone appointments to provide:

  • Family law mediation, including parenting plans and property agreements
  • Family law counselling
  • Individual, couple and family therapy
  • Therapy and groups to support children after separation
  • Court-ordered counselling and mediation

No matter what personal relationship challenges you may find yourself dealing with, we’re ready and able to help. Uniting values diversity and we always welcome everyone, exactly as they are.

Gold Sponsor: UnitingCare

Since 2008 UnitingCare has been providing support to families impacted by parental separation which can be complicated, confusing and painful, especially for children. UnitingCare Family Law Services aim to support parents by providing information and strategies to reduce the impact of parental conflict on children through the development of child-focused parenting skills. Ensuring children feel safe, heard and loved throughout parental separation is at the heart of what we do – children’s well-being is always our priority.

UnitingCare’s Parenting Orders Program offers a post separation co-operative parenting course called Business of Parenting, which is a six-module course designed to equip parents with strategies to communicate respectfully with a focus on the children’s best interests and to co-parent proactively for the well-being of children into the future.

UnitingCare is committed to providing services based on high quality research that supports our mission to improve the health and well-being of families and children. The Business of Parenting is revised periodically to maintain contemporary content and ensure learning objectives meet the needs of First Nations and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse families and is inclusive of gender diverse parents and families living with disabilities.

Our post-separation parenting services include working in collaboration with Family Dispute Resolution services and Supporting Children After Separation services to ensure the safety and the best interests of children are met. Parents may also be referred to targeted services including Specialised Family Violence Service, or behaviour change programs such as Men Choosing Change to increase family safety.

Individualised case management plans are developed collaboratively with parents to identify goals specific to their family’s circumstances and outcomes achieved are recorded through a validated outcomes tool.

UnitingCare’s Parenting Orders Program is open to all separated parents and carers and is offered in a variety of modalities and locations across Queensland. The service is recommended for parents involved in the Family Law System. We accept self-referrals and referrals from community organisations through our dedicated Intake Service 1300 761 842 or familylawservices@uccommunity.org.au.

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Rental Affordability Snapshot 2024

Anglicare Australia released the Rental Affordability Snapshot on 23 April 2024, with Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers stating that “The housing crisis is the worst it’s ever been.”

Every year, Anglicare Australia measures if Australians on low incomes are able to rent a home in the private market.

The 15th edition of the Snapshot surveyed 45,115 rental listings across Australia and found that:

  • 289 rentals (0.6%) were affordable for a person earning a full-time minimum wage
  • 89 rentals (0.2%) were affordable for a person on the Age Pension
  • 31 rentals (0.1%) were affordable for a person on the Disability Support Pension
  • 3 rentals, (0%) all sharehouses, were affordable for a person on JobSeeker
  • 0 rentals (0%) were affordable for a person on Youth Allowance.

You can read the Rental Affordability Snapshot here.

People with disability in Australia – AIHW Report

The AIHW has released its report, People with disability in Australis 2024. The report uses the AIHW’s ‘Person-centred reporting framework’ to present information about experiences and outcomes for people with disability across various aspects of life.

Findings from the report include:

  • 31% of adults with disability experience very good or excellent health, compared with 68% without disability
  • 33% of adults with disability experience high or very high psychological distress, compared with12% without disability
  • 94% of people with disability said they have been treated with respect when accessing key mainstream services
  • 48% of people aged 15–64 with disability are employed, compared with 80% of those without disability.

You can access the report here.

2024 data collection – Footprints in time: the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children

Footprints in Time: The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC) is an initiative of the Australian Government. The study is guided by a majority Indigenous Steering Committee chaired by Associate Professor Kalinda Griffiths. LSIC aims to provide quality quantitative and qualitative data that can give insights into how a child’s early years affect their development over the life course.

Wave 17 data collection is taking place over February December this year. The Study’s Research Administration Officers (RAOs) will visit Footprints in Time families to conduct interviews. The study covers a wide variety of topics including health, learning and development, Culture, identity, Country, and language; experiences of racism, schooling (engagement, outcomes), family and community housing, computer and internet use, values and aspirations, work and further education.

You can find out more about the study and download the 2022 Footprints in time report here.

Wealth gap widening

New research by ACOSS and UNSW Sydney reveals the widening wealth gap between people with the most and least, even as income inequality slows.

The latest report from the Poverty and Inequality Partnership, Inequality in Australia 2024: Who is affected and how? shows the average household wealth of Australia’s highest 10% growing much faster than the lowest 60%, from $2.8 million to $5.2 million (an 84% increase) over the past 20 years. Meanwhile, the average wealth of the lowest 60% has risen from $222,000 to $343,000 (a 55% per cent increase).

Reflecting on the findings, ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie observed that: “the fastest and most efficient way to support those worst affected by income inequality is by raising the rate of JobSeeker to at least the pension rate of $80 a day”.

Scientia Professor Carla Treloar from UNSW Sydney said: “The answers are clear – full employment reduces inequality. Increasing income support payments reduces inequality. Reducing those tax concessions that disproportionately benefit those with the most reduces inequality.”

The full report is available here.

Government commitment to community sector organisations – announcement on indexation

Today the Albanese Government announced  that it will mandate that government agencies pass on indexation to grant recipients where grant programs are linked to one of the wage cost indexes.

Despite government applying indexation to many grant programs, not all agencies currently pass this onto grant recipients, or pass it on in full. What this means is that community sector funding does not necessarily keep pace with the real costs of service delivery. Over time, the cumulative impact is significant. This was starkly represented in a report FRSA Commissioned back in 2020, undertaken by the Centre for International Economics, which found that baseline funding for family and relationship services had remained the same over multiple years, in real terms, while the cost of delivering services had increased. The government’s announcement is therefore welcomed. The community sector has long advocated for greater fairness and greater transparency in the indexation process.

The Government further announced that it will work with the sector to develop a Community Sector Partnership Framework. The Framework will drive administrative and cultural change across government agencies, to deliver grants that are designed to better serve the sustainability of community sector organisations and ensure better outcomes are achieved in delivering government policy. The Framework will be developed in partnership with the Community Services Advisory Group – and advisory group to the Department of Social Services – over 2024. As a member of this advisory group, FRSA looks forward to contributing to this process.

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Draft National Autism Strategy 2024 – released for feedback

The Australian government has released its draft National Autism Strategy. The draft strategy includes a vision, guiding principles, outcome areas and commitments and aims to power a “coordinated national approach, supporting Autistic people at each stage of life”.

The draft strategy is a framework for improving life outcomes for autistic people. It helps guide a coordinated national approach, supporting autistic people at each stage of life. Underneath the strategy, there will be action plans, an evaluation framework and a plan for how the government will continue to involve autistic people and the autism community.

The strategy was co-designed after consultation with more than 2,000 autistic people, families, carers and researchers across Australia. The strategy is open for public feedback until the 31 of May 2024.

You can download the draft Strategy and find out more about the consultation process here.

JRSV Issues Paper and call for submissions

The Australian Law Reform Commission is calling for submissions to its inquiry into Justice Responses to Sexual Violence (JRSV Inquiry). Submissions will remain open until Friday, 24 May 2024.

The ALRC has published an Issues Paper containing a number of questions to help guide submissions. The Issues Paper looks at a range of aspects relevant to the Inquiry, such as reporting, the police and prosecution response to sexual violence, the trial process, and civil justice options.

Through the JRSV Inquiry, the ALRC is considering how to harmonise laws about sexual violence across Australia and how to promote just outcomes for people who have experienced sexual violence.

Anyone is welcome to make a submission. Submissions are best made by uploading a PDF document via the submissions webpage. Alternatively, submissions may be made by email to jrsv@alrc.gov.au, ideally attaching a PDF document.

Click here to make a submission.

Financial Services Regulatory Framework in Relation to Financial Abuse – Parliamentary Inquiry

On 2 April 2024, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services resolved to commence an inquiry into financial services regulatory framework in relation to financial abuse.

The committee has called for written submissions by 14 June 2024 and intends to report to the Parliament by October 2024.

More information about the inquiry is available here.

The national trend of school refusal – Australian Government response

The Australian Government has provided its response to the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment report: The national trend of school refusal and related matters, which was tabled in August 2023.

The Government has noted most of the recommendations, only agreeing, in-principle, to two recommendations.

You can read the Government’s response here.

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$13M specialist youth homeless accommodation for Anglicare Southern Queensland

Anglicare Southern Queensland has received Development Approval for a $13 million specialist youth homeless accommodation service in Logan that aims to address the escalating housing crisis.

The modern design and supporting programs will provide an innovative approach to housing and support up to 42 young people aged 16-25 experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

“Sadly, nearly a quarter of Australians experiencing homelessness are aged between 12 and 24,” said Anglicare Southern Queensland Chief Executive Officer, Sue Cooke.

“We are pleased to commit to this significant project, that will support both the immediate need and the long-term success for vulnerable young people.”

The property will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and include 24 studio apartments and six one-bedroom apartments for couples or small families. In addition to accommodation residents will be able to access wrap-around support focused on their social and emotional wellbeing and their journey toward independence. This may include a range of psychological and psychosocial supports, connection to education, training and employment opportunities, relationship building, financial literacy and other forms of counselling, and cultural and spiritual connections.

Construction is due to commence in late 2024, creating several local jobs and an economic boost for the area, and is expected to be completed in late 2025. Read more.

New report: Impact of extreme weather events on young people

Young people in Australia are experiencing first-hand the “profound and distressing” impacts of extreme weather events and six in 10 are worried about climate change, a new Mission Australia and Orygen report has found.

Analysis of data from the 2023 Mission Australia Youth Survey showed that in the past year, more than one in 10  young people in Australia (13 per cent) had been personally impacted by floods, bushfires, landslides, destructive storms or heavy rain, droughts and other extreme events.

The findings were based on the survey responses of 19,501 Australian young people aged 15–19 years.

Young people impacted by extreme weather events reported higher levels of psychological distress, with approximately 30 per cent experiencing such distress, compared to 24 per cent among those not impacted by extreme weather events.

The report’s recommendations were to:

  • engage young people in the development of future disaster recovery strategies, planning and implementation;
  • ensure access to housing and financial supports;
  • increase mental health support for impacted communities;
  • enhance capacity building for trauma-informed responses in local mental health workforce;
  • extend local workforce supporting young people; and
  • enhance of disaster resilience and climate change education.

Read more

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Pledge your support to end child poverty

The Valuing Children Initiative are encouraging people to support the call to End Child Poverty in Australia.

The existence of child poverty in Australia is undeniable with one in six children living below the poverty line. In real numbers, that’s 761,000 individual Australian children living in poverty, and more than 200,000 experiencing severe poverty.

They are calling on support from community, not-for-profit and corporate organisations and elected representatives to help call on the Federal Government to finally end child poverty in Australia.

Read the pledge, download this How to Guide or find out more at www.endchildpoverty.com.au

Examining Adults' Knowledge of Child Mental Health

Researchers at the University of Melbourne are conducting a series of short surveys to find out what Australian adults who work and live with children know about supporting children’s health and mental health. This research will help develop new measures that can tell us what adults know about children’s mental health and wellbeing, and what adults know about supporting children’s health and wellbeing.

The research team are looking for Australian health and mental health professionals who work with children aged 5 to 12 years, and researchers interested in child health and mental health. Professional roles eligible for these studies are broadly defined and include paediatricians, GPs, mental health clinicians, researchers, educational and developmental psychologists, and others.

There are two anonymous online surveys. The surveys will take approximately 20 minutes each to complete. Click the links below to access the surveys:

Families Australia Changing the Balance survey

What are the opportunities and challenges which need to be considered as the non-indigenous NGO sector supports the growth of the ACCO sector?

As part of its Changing the balance research project, Families Australia wants to hear from services about the potential impacts on the non-Indigenous NGO sector including:

  • the impact of the transition on service delivery
  • any organisation and / or operational challenges
  • recommendations and suggestions to ensure service continuity to families, children and young people during a time of change and beyond.

The survey is expected to take 20 minutes to complete and closes Friday 3 May 2024.

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Thu 25

1-2-3 Magic® & Emotion Coaching

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

NSW

Manager Post Separation Services | Relationships Australia Canberra & Region

VIC

Manager – Family Dispute Resolution | Better Place Australia

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | Relationships Australia Victoria

Practice Leader – Kids in Focus | Odyssey House Victoria

WA

Coordinator Family Law Services | Anglicare WA

NT

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | Relationships Australia Northern Territory

Program Manager Early Psychosis | headspace | Anglicare NT

Aboriginal Community Engagement Worker | Anglicare NT

Senior Youth Accommodation Support Housing Options Pathway (YASHOPP) Case Manager | Anglicare NT

Financial Counsellor | Anglicare NT

QLD

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | CatholicCare Central Queensland

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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Police training in responding to family, domestic and sexual violence | Australian Institute of Criminology

Police in Australia are seeing increased reporting of family, domestic and sexual violence, while facing greater pressure to secure positive outcomes for victims. This study reviews published Australian and international research on police training in responding to family, domestic and sexual violence.

Justice responses to sexual violence: issues paper | Australian Law Reform Commission

The Australian Law Reform Commission invites stakeholder submissions in relation to the questions raised in this issues paper. The questions focus on the information, support, and options available to victim survivors following their experience of sexual violence.

Understanding spiritual and religious abuse in the context of intimate partner violence | Australian Institute of Family Studies

This paper provides an overview of the evidence on spiritual and religious abuse in the context of intimate partner violence and its impact on victim-survivors. The paper also provides some considerations for practitioners and other professionals working to support individuals experiencing spiritual and religious abuse.

Redesigning family preservation in NSW: discussion paper | NSW Department of Communities and Justice

The Department of Communities and Justice (NSW) is redesigning the Family Preservation service system in New South Wales to improve the outcomes, experience, suitability, and accessibility for families who want to access and would benefit from working with a Family Preservation service. This discussion paper sets out the vision for the Family Preservation system and seeks feedback on key elements of the proposed design.

Parenting, peer relationships and mental health in the middle years | Australian Institute of Family Studies

This article provides an overview of the research evidence on the association between parenting, peer relationships and mental health in the middle years. Knowledge of the continuing importance of parent–child relationships during this period can help practitioners support parents and young people to navigate changing relationships, which can help promote positive mental health and healthy peer relationships for young people.

Does labelling racism as bullying perpetuate a colour-blind approach when working with culturally diverse families? | Emerging Minds

This paper explores the complexities of racism, emphasising its distinction from bullying and highlighting the profound effects it has on marginalised communities. Practitioners who take a culturally curious approach and practise cultural humility can help children and their families to challenge some of the unhelpful assumptions caused by bullying and racism.

Violence against family animals in the context of intimate partner violence | Australian Institute of Family Studies

This policy and practice paper describes what is known about the relationship between intimate partner violence (IPV) and violence against family animals.

A culturally safe research process in mental health | Emerging Minds

This fact sheet from the University of Western Australia describes how culturally safe research can be conducted to learn about the state of cultural safety in mental health services, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members, mental health service users, Elders, mental health workers, and Cultural Healers.

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