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July 2014 Pathways Newsletter
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A warm winter welcome from Pathways!


Hello and welcome to the mid-year edition of the South Australian Family Law Pathways Newsletter. 

There are number of topical articles for you in this edition, including a powerful article written by Tom Meagher, husband of murdered Melbourne woman, Jill Meagher about the endemic nature of violence against women in Australia. We hope you find this article as articulate and enriching as we did. We have also included an article with some alarming findings about violence perpertrated on women with disabilities, recently conducted in Victoria.

We also showcase the new Relationships Australia (SA) site at Port Adelaide, as well as profile Aboriginal Liaison Officer Rodney Welch who works out of this office, about his role in building relationships with the Aboriginal community in the outer western suburbs.

The end of the financial year spells the beginning of some new initiatives, such as the 12 month relationship counselling and education subsidy trial, Stronger Relationships, of which we provide some important information. It is also a time to ensure that people check eligibility for other payments, such as Child Support and Centrelink. 

There are a number of valuable conferences and events occurring within the family law sector over the next few months. In this edition, we provide links to a few of the upcoming conferences and forums being held here and interstate which may be of interest, including a public forum and workshop being held for the prevention of family and domestic violence, hosted by White Ribbon Australia.

As you may be aware, SA Pathways is also currently running an survey about the Pathways Kiosk, located at the Family Law Courts. We hope to gain some important information about the Kiosk as a result of the survey. 

An updated Service Directory for the new round of services, resources and events which occur in South Australia offered in Term 3 is also provided.

Finally, please note that Pathways is presently in the final stages of preparing the SA Family Law Pathways Network website. We hope to have this finished by the next edition of the newsletter, so watch this space! SA Pathways is also available via LinkedIn if you want to connect.

If you would like to contribute to this newsletter or should you wish to profile a new or existing service or a professional in the family law services sector, please contact the South Australian Family Law Pathways Project Officer, Rene Earles on 8419 2000 or via email r.earles@rasa.org.au. We welcome any suggestions!

In this issue:

The Danger of the Monster Myth

17 April 2014 | Tom Meagher

One of the most disturbing moments of the past eighteen months of my life was hearing my wife’s killer form a coherent sentence in court. Jill had been murdered almost six months earlier, and Adrian Bayley’s defence team were presenting a rather feeble case for a four-week adjournment of his committal hearing. Bayley appeared via video-link as I sat flanked by two friends and a detective. The screen was to my right, mounted high up and tilted slightly towards the bench. It was uncomfortably silent apart from the occasional paper shuffle or short flurry of keyboard clicks. I anticipated, and prepared for the most difficult moment of the day when Bayley’s face appeared on the big-screen TV, looming over the seat I then occupied. When that moment arrived, a jolt of nausea came and went, but the worst was to come, made all the more horrifying because it was unexpected. The judge asked Bayley whether he could see the courtroom. I don’t remember his exact words, but he replied that he was able to see his lawyer and half of the bench. I had come face to face with him before in court, but vocally, I never heard him manage more than a monosyllabic mumble into his chest. This was different. There was a clarity of communication, sentence structure, and proper articulation. It was chilling. I had formed an image that this man was not human, that he existed as a singular force of pure evil who somehow emerged from the ether. Something about his ability to weave together nouns, verbs and pronouns to form real, intelligible sentences forced a re-focus, one that required a look at the spectrum of men’s violence against women, and its relation to Bayley and the society from which he came. By insulating myself with the intellectually evasive dismissal of violent men as psychotic or sociopathic aberrations, I self-comforted by avoiding the more terrifying concept that violent men are socialised by the ingrained sexism and entrenched masculinity that permeates everything from our daily interactions all the way up to our highest institutions. Bayley’s appeal was dismissed, but I left court that day in a perpetual trauma-loop, knowing I needed to re-imagine the social, institutional and cultural context in which a man like Adrian Bayley exists.*

Three days after Jill’s body was found, 30,000 people marched respectfully down Sydney Road. I watched on TV as the long parade of people reacted to their anger at what happened to Jill with love and compassion, the very opposite of everything Bayley represents. I remember my sister’s voice from behind me as I fixed my eyes on the images saying, “wow, people really care about this.” After the court date where I heard Bayley speak, that infinite conveyor belt of the compassionate replayed in my mind. People did care about this, and for whatever reason people identified with this particular case, it was something that I hoped could be universalised, not localised to this case, but for every instance of men’s violence against women. The major difficulties in mobilising this kind of outrage on a regular basis is that most cases of men’s violence against women:

1) Lack the ingredients of an archetypal villain and a relatable victim,

2) Are perpetrated and suffered in silence and

3) Are perpetrated by somebody known to the victim.

The more I felt the incredible support from the community, the more difficult it was to ignore of the silent majority whose tormentors are not monsters lurking on busy streets, but their friends, acquaintances, husbands, lovers, brothers and fathers.

Since Jill died, my inbox overflowed with messages from thousands of women who shared with me their stories of sexual and physical abuse. Some were prostitutes who felt it pointless to report sexual assault because of perceived deficiencies in the justice system, some were women whose tormentors received suspended sentences, and felt too frightened to stay in their home town. These are the prevalent, and ongoing stories that too often remain unchallenged in male company.

While the vast majority of men abhor violence against women, those dissenting male voices are rarely heard in our public discourse, outside of the monster-rapist narrative. Indeed, the agency of male perpetrators disappears from the discussion, discouraging male involvement and even knowledge of the prevalence and diversity of male violence against women. Even the term ‘violence against women’ sounds like a standalone force of nature, with no subject, whereas ‘men’s violence against women’ is used far less frequently. While not attempting to broad-brush or essentialise the all too abstracted notion of ‘masculinity’, male invisibility in the language of the conversation can be compounded by masculine posturing, various ‘bro-codes’ of silence, and a belief, through the monster myth, in the intrinsic otherness of violent men. The Canadian feminist and anti-violence educator Lee Lakeman argued that, “Violent men, and men in authority over violent men, and the broader public that authorises those men, are not yet shamed by the harm of coercive control over women…..Maybe we can rest some hope on the growing activity of men of goodwill calling on each other to change. When that group hits a critical mass, the majority of men will be more likely to want to change.” According to an EU wide study conducted in 2010, one person in five knows of someone who commits domestic violence in their circle of friends and family (Special Eurobarometer 344, Domestic Violence Against Women Report, September 2010). Perhaps it’s time we, as non-violent men, attempted to hit this critical mass.

One of the most dangerous things about the media saturation of this crime was that Bayley is in fact the archetypal monster. Bayley feeds into a commonly held social myth that most men who commit rape are like him, violent strangers who stalk their victims and strike at the opportune moment. It gives a disproportionate focus to the rarest of rapes, ignoring the catalogue of non-consensual sex happening on a daily basis everywhere on the planet. It validates a limitation of the freedom of women, by persisting with an obsession with a victim’s movements rather than the vile actions of the perpetrator, while simultaneously creating a ‘canary down the mine’ scenario. Men who may feel uncomfortable by a peer’s behaviour towards women, may absolve themselves from interfering with male group norms, or breaking ranks with the boys by normalising that conduct in relation to ‘the rapist’. In other words he can justify his friend’s behaviour by comparison – “he may be a ___, but he’s not Adrian Bayley.”

The monster myth allows us to see public infractions on women’s sovereignty as minor, because the man committing the infraction is not a monster like Bayley. We see instances of this occur in bars when men become furious and verbally abusive to, or about, women who decline their attention. We see it on the street as groups of men shout comments, grab, grope and intimidate women with friends either ignoring or getting involved in the activity. We see it in male peer groups where rape-jokes and disrespectful attitudes towards women go uncontested. The monster myth creates the illusion that this is simply banter, and sexist horseplay. While most of us would never abide racist comments among a male peer-group, the trivialisation of men’s violence against women often remains a staple, invidious, and rather boring subject of mirth. We can either examine this by setting our standards against the monster-rapist, or by accepting that this behaviour intrinsically contributes to a culture in which rape and violence are allowed to exist.

The monster myth perpetuates a comforting lack of self-awareness. When I heard Bayley forming sentences in court, I froze because I’d been socialised to believe that men who rape are jabbering madmen, who wear tracksuit bottoms with dress shoes and knee-high socks. The only thing more disturbing than that paradigm is the fact that most rapists are normal guys, guys we might work beside or socialise with, our neighbours or even members of our family. Where men’s violence against women is normalised in our society, often we compartmentalise it to fit our view of the victim. If a prostitute is raped or beaten, we may consider it an awful occupational hazard ‘given her line of work.’ We rarely think ‘she didn't get beaten – somebody (i.e. a man) beat her’. Her line of work is dangerous, but mainly because there are men who want to hurt women. If a husband batters his wife, we often unthinkingly put it down to socio-economic factors or alcohol and drugs rather than how men and boys are taught and socialised to be men and view women.

I wonder at what stage we will stop being shocked by how normal a rapist seemed. Many years ago, two female friends confided in me about past abuses that happened in their lives, both of which had been perpetrated by ‘normal guys’. As I attempted to console them, I mentally comforted myself by reducing it to some, as yet undetected mental illnesses in these men. The cognitive shift is easy to do when we are not knowingly surrounded by men who commit these crimes, but then we rarely need to fear such an attack.

The idea of the lurking monster is no doubt a useful myth, one we can use to defuse any fear of the women we love being hurt, without the need to examine ourselves or our male-dominated society. It is also an excuse to implement a set of rules on women on ‘how not to get raped’, which is a strange cocktail of naiveté and cynicism. It is naïve because it views rapists as a monolithic group of thigh-rubbing predators with a checklist rather than the bloke you just passed in the office, pub or gym,  cynical because these rules allow us to classify victims. If the victim was wearing x or drinking y well then of course the monster is going to attack – didn't she read the rules? I have often come up against people on this point who claim that they’re just being ‘realistic’. While it may come from a place of concern, if we’re being realistic we need to look at how and where rape and violence actually occur, and how troubling it is that we use a nebulous term like ‘reality’ to condone the imposition of dress codes, acceptable behaviours, and living spaces on women to avoid a mythical rape-monster. OK, this rape-monster did exist in the form of Adrian Bayley, but no amount of adherence to these ill-conceived rules could have stopped him from raping somebody that night.

When Bayley was arrested, the nightmare of the lurking evil stranger was realised. It was beamed through every television set and printed on every newspaper headline in the country. It’s was the reminder that there are men out there who are ‘not like us’, men who exist so far outside our social norms that the problem can be solved simply by extinguishing this person. Bayley became a singular evil that stirred our anger, and provoked a backlash so violent that it mirrored the society from which he emerged, that the answer to violence is more violence.

Many comments on facebook pages and memorial sites set up in honour of Jill, often expressed a wish for Bayley to be raped in prison, presumably at the arbitrary whim of other incarcerated men. Putting aside the fact that wishing rape on somebody is the perhaps last thing we do before exiting civilisation entirely, there is a point that these avengers may have missed – somebody has to do the raping. Vengeance by rape, implies that rape is a suitable punishment for certain crimes. In other words, rape is fine as long as it’s used in the service of retributive justice. Indeed, we would be essentially cheering on the rapist who rapes Bayley, for ensuring that justice is done. Or, if we find this rapist just as abhorrent as Bayley, we’ll need another rapist to rape him, to avenge the rape he committed, and this would go on and on in an infinite loop. In essence this ‘rape as retribution’ argument invokes the need for far too many rapists. For people like Bayley, rape is punishment, it’s how he exerts his dominance, and exhibits his deep misogyny through sexual humiliation. If we, as a society then ask for Bayley to be raped as punishment, are we not cementing the validity of this mind-set?

I dreamed for over a year of how I would like to physically hurt this man, and still often relish the inevitable manner of his death, but wouldn’t it be more beneficial for Jill’s memory, and other women affected by violence to focus on the problems that surround our attitudes, our legal system, our silence rather than focusing on what manner we would like to torture and murder this individual? Adrian Bayley murdered a daughter, a sister, a great friend to so many, and my favourite person. I am the first one who wants to see him vilified and long may he be one of Australia’s most hated people, but it only does any good if this example highlights rather than obscures the social issues that surround men’s violence against women.

What would make this tragedy even more tragic would be if we were to separate what happened to Jill from cases of violence against women where the victim knew, had a sexual past with, talked to the perpetrator in a bar, or went home with him. It would be tragic if we did not recognise that Bayley’s previous crimes were against prostitutes, and that the social normalisation of violence against a woman of a certain profession and our inability to deal with or talk about these issues, socially and legally, resulted in untold horror for those victims, and led to the brutal murder of my wife.  We cannot separate these cases from one another because doing so allows us to ignore the fact that all these crimes have exactly the same cause – violent men, and the silence of non-violent men.  We can only move past violence when we recognise how it is enabled, and by attributing it to the mental illness of a singular human being, we ignore its prevalence, its root causes, and the self-examination required to end the cycle. The paradox, of course is that in our current narrow framework of masculinity, self-examination is almost universally discouraged.

Since Jill died, I wake up every day and read a quote by Maya Angelou – “history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” Male self-examination requires this courage, and we cannot end the pattern of men’s violence against women without consciously breaking our silence.

*Special mention here must be given to Jill Meagher (McKeon), who, many years before she was killed as a result of them, originally introduced me to these issues, to Louise Milligan for her endless support and encouragement to express them, to Clementine Ford, whose personal support, tireless crusade for gender equality and against violence allowed me to organise my thoughts, and to Alan O’Neill and Ben Leonard who have shown me that many men are passionate and serious about ending men’s violence against women.

Important News from Child Support and Centrelink for families

The Child Support Guide (the Guide) is an online legal resource for stakeholders and staff, which sets out government policy regarding the child support scheme and its administration.  

Importantly, in recent times, the Guide has been moved from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Social Services (DSS) website. Please note: DSS has responsibility for child support legislation and policy. There have been no changes to service delivery for child support or how customers access the Department of Human Services to discuss their child support matters. The Guide has been removed from the DHS website. If you use this guide, please update any old links to ensure that you are able to continue to access the Child Support Guide. 

The link to the new Child Support Guide is: http://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide

It is also important to be informed that the amount of time for family assistance customers to lodge a lump sum claim or confirm that their income has changed is now one year instead of two.

This means that customers now have until 30 June 2014 to lodge a lump sum claim for Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit or Single Income Family Supplement for the 2012-13 financial year and so on. Customers also have until 30 June 2014 to confirm their income for Family Tax Benefit and Single Income Family Supplement purposes for the same period.

For more information about this issue, please visit: http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/news/dont-miss-out-on-family-assistance

Voices Against Violence

Women with disabilities experience violence to a higher degree and for longer than women in the general population, with stereotypes of disability contributing to this preventable violence. These are among the key findings of a research project, Voices Against Violence, launched by Natasha Stott Despoja AM Ambassador for Women and Girls and Chair, Foundation to Prevent Violence against Women and their Children.

Ms. Stott Despoja said, “The Voices against Violence research highlights that when sex discrimination is coupled with disability discrimination, women with disabilities are at an incredibly elevated risk of violence. However, this research also holds the promise of what might be done to stop this violence from happening in the first place - otherwise known as primary prevention of violence against women.

Evidence about the drivers of violence against women shows that the answer to preventing this violence lies in addressing the norms and behaviours that support rigid gender roles and gender stereotyping and in gender equality. The good news of the proposition of primary prevention is that the norms and behaviours enabled by gender inequality can be changed.”

Voices Against Violence is an initiative of Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV), in partnership with the Office for the Public Advocate (OPA) and the Domestic Violence Resources Centre Victoria (DVRCV).

“The project has provided a rare and valued opportunity for Victorian women with disabilities to share their experiences of violence, to describe the support they received and to relate their experiences of the justice system. Importantly, women also provided recommendations for changes to the way the family violence service system supports women with disabilities,” said Keran Howe, WDV’s Executive Director.

“These are women’s stories, real stories from real women. They reveal the depth of our failure as a society to provide a safe environment for women with a disability, and when that fails, to provide a just and supportive response so that women are again safe,” she said.

The project reports on the extent and nature of violence against women with disabilities in Victoria. As well as interviews with women with disabilities about their experiences of violence, it includes an overview of current issues, a review of legislative protections, a review of the records of OPA and interviews with its staff and volunteers. The project includes seven individual reports.

The Public Advocate, Colleen Pearce, called for an expansion of the powers of the Public Advocate to investigate allegations of violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect as recommended last year by the Victorian Law Reform Commission. Currently, the Public Advocate only has investigative powers in relation to guardianship and potential guardianship cases.

Many typical situations of risk including in private homes, therefore, can't be investigated. "We get calls every week about abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation relating to people in their own homes or in nursing homes but we can't investigate them," Ms Pearce said. "Women with disabilities and mental illness are, arguably, at even greater risk of violence in their own homes but we are very limited in what we can do."  

The report found that women with disabilities experience higher rates of violence than women in the general community, they also encounter significant barriers to accessing appropriate support services and justice outcomes. In spite of this, there is a lack of data about the nature and extent of violence against women with disabilities in Victoria. There is also a lack of information and knowledge by services about what we can do to respond to this problem and prevent it from occurring.

As a cross-sectoral investigation of the circumstances of women with disabilities who have experienced violence, the project has provided data that has been used to devise evidence-based recommendations for legal, policy and service sector reform. 

The stark findings of this report highlight the need for recognition of the ways that gender norms and stereotypes can perpetuate and uphold men's entitlement to use violence against women with disabilities.

“Recent public discussion about violence against women shows that the community expects governments to take action to protect women and children from violence,” said Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria’s Executive Director, Virginia Geddes.

“This research shows clearly what needs to be done. We call on the Premier Denis Napthine to show leadership in addressing the many barriers to justice and safety faced by women experiencing violence and in particular by women with disabilities,” she said.

The project was funded by Gandel Philanthropy and a research grant from the Legal Services Board Grants Program.  

For more information:
Email: simone.flanagan@wdv.org.au
Phone: 03 92867804  

To order print copies of the seven Voices Against Violence reports ($20 each or $100 for the set):
Download: Voices Against Violence - publication order form
Phone: 03 9286 7800
Email: wdv@wdv.org.au

You can download an electronic version of the reports below. A summary of each of the report is provided.

Voices Against Violence Paper One: Executive Summary
This paper collates the information from the Voices Against Violence Research Project publications and sets out the recommendations arising from the research project.

Voices Against Violence Paper Two: Current Issues in Understanding and Responding to Violence Against Women with Disabilities (PDF 1.1MB)
This paper provides a conceptual starting point for the issues raised throughout the series of papers that make up the Voices Against Violence Research Project. Positioned within a human rights feminist approach, it reviews current knowledge about the nature and extent of violence against women with disabilities; the barriers to services faced by women with disabilities who have experienced violence; and outlines promising initiatives currently underway in Victoria that may help repair the harm and prevent the injustice of violence. In doing so, it examines the challenges in defining what we mean by violence against women with disabilities as opposed to violence against people with disabilities, men with disabilities, or women in general, and why this matters. It highlights the importance of examining disability-based violence and its interrelationship with gender-based violence.

Voices Against Violence Paper Three: A Review of the Legislative Protections Available to Women with Disabilities who have Experienced Violence in Victoria (PDF 1.4MB)
This paper reviews Victorian and Federal legislation and related literature. It also looks at the practical perspectives provided by stakeholders regarding the adequacy of legal protections and barriers to justice for women with disabilities in Victoria who have experienced violence, and presents a clear pathway for future practice, legislative amendment and research. Legislation reviewed includes the:

- Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic)

- Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic)

- Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 (Vic)

- Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

- Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)

Voices Against Violence Paper Four: A Review of the Public Advocate's Records on Violence Against Women with Disabilities (PDF 1.1MB)
This paper is based on a review of OPA’s Advocate/Guardian program files. OPA’s Advocate/Guardian program provides guardianship, investigation and individual advocacy services to Victorians with cognitive impairments and/or mental illness. The aim of the file review was to ascertain how many women who are clients of OPA’s Advocate/Guardian program have reportedly experienced violence. In order to find this out, the project reviewed the first 100 Advocate/Guardian case files involving women that were allocated to OPA in the 2011–12 financial year.

Voices Against Violence Paper Five: Interviews with Staff and Volunteers from the Office of the Public Advocate (PDF 1.8MB)
This paper involved interviews with 25 staff and volunteers from OPA’s major program areas. The interviews explored participants’ experiences in working with women with cognitive impairments and/or mental illnesses who had experienced violence, or who were at risk of experiencing violence. The participants were asked to reflect on the circumstances of the women they had worked with at OPA. They were also asked to talk about the particular challenges for women with disabilities who have experienced violence, and what can be done to address violence and prevent it from reoccurring.

Voices Against Violence Paper Six: Hearing from Women with Disabilities (PDF 1.2MB)
This paper involved in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 20 Victorian women with disabilities who have been subject to violence. The interviews explored women’s experiences of violence, how their disabilities impacted the violence they experienced, whom they went to for support, and their experiences with violence response services (such as police, family violence and sexual assault services). Women also talked about the changes they felt were required to better support women with disabilities who have experienced violence and their suggestions for preventing violence against women with disabilities.

Voices Against Violence Paper Seven: Easy English Summary (PDF 3MB)
This paper summarises the major findings and recommendations of the Voices Against Violence Research Project in Easy English. The paper uses everyday words, simple sentence structure, and pictorials in order to convey the important findings of the research.

These papers have been written by different authors over a period of time, reflecting different language and definitions. In this period, the complexity of dealing with violence in different contexts – which employ different understandings of disability and different understandings of violence – has become evident. Grappling with this complexity has been a valuable learning and the thinking of the project team has evolved through the life of the project. We have endeavoured to standardise the language across papers as far as possible.

Building Stronger Relationships

From 1 July 2014, up to 100,000 couples nationwide will be able to register for a $200 Government-funded subsidy to use towards relationship education or counselling.

These payments can be used by couples to seek help with preparation for committed relationships, intimacy, marriage and relationship milestones such as becoming parents, economic changes and step-parenting.

The subsidy will be open to all couples in a committed relationship, including engaged, married, de‐facto and same‐sex couples.

The subsidy scheme was first announced by Kevin Andrews, Minister for Social Services, in January 2014. A spokesperson for the government said the project aims to help couples achieve a greater degree of happiness and stability and thereby a better environment for their children.

Chair of Relationships Australia’s National Board, Mat Rowell, welcomed the initial announcement saying, “Relationships Australia is supportive of the Government’s commitment to early intervention for couples.”

“Evidence shows there are positive results for couples and families when they have been equipped with the skills to manage difficult times as well as the benefits of help seeking behaviour during difficult periods in relationships, “ Mr Rowell said.

The trial will run initially for 12 months, from 1 July 2014. The subsidy will be capped at 100,000 couples and will cost $20 million over its time span.

The subsidy will be open to all couples in a committed relationship, including engaged, married, de‐facto and same‐sex couples, provided they are 18 or over and permanent residents. This is a 12-month trial only at this stage and couples will only be able to redeem the subsidy at an approved provider, such as Relationships Australia (SA).
 
1) To access the subsidy, people need to:

2) Go to the DSS website and register for the subsidy: www.dss.gov.au/strongerrelationships

3) Note their registration number

Contact an approved provider, such as Relationships Australia (SA), to book into a program, quoting their registration number.

A recent story in The Australian provides further information about how the relationship vouchers will work.

Relationships Australia (SA) are offering a number of programs and services, including:

- Pre-marriage counselling (4 hours)

- Couples counselling (2 hours)

- A range of group programs (5 hours each)

Visit the website www.strongerrelationships.org.au for more information and to register interest in these programs.

Professional Profile: Rodney Welch, Aboriginal Liaison Officer


Rodney Welch is an Aboriginal Liaison Officer and Mediator at Relationships Australia (SA). He works primarily in the western suburbs where he is working on a number of significant projects for Aboriginal people in the area, with a specific focus on community development, responding to effective family work, counselling, case management and mediation.

Prior to his role at Relationships Australia (SA), the majority of Rodney’s professional background has been within the justice sector, where he spent 19 years with the Department of Justice. Rodney has multiple qualifications including a Bachelor of Arts (Aboriginal Affairs Administration), an Advanced Diploma of Community Sector Management, Certificate IV of Community Development, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and a Certificate IV in Indigenous Leadership.

This background has allowed Rodney to work within a range of practices and methodologies, where he has gained a vast knowledge of justice and social justice trends. Rodney has worked on many culturally appropriate projects, such as social rehabilitation, assessing individual’s risks, needs, responsiveness and strengths, in a community context. Rodney also has vast experience in working with other groups and committees, such as CAHMS; DPC Social Inclusion; Attorney Generals Department; and Department of Justice. This experience has allowed Rodney to develop approaches to training and education with a cultural focus and the ability to address narrative and therapeutic exhibits of healing within creative conversations with cultural targeted groups.

Rodney also has experience and skills in program development and facilitation, through his current part time business and working in partnership with several Registered Training Organisations.

Rodney is presently working on a number of projects in the western area, including establishing the 'Focus on Mens Group' to connect with Aboriginal men in a safe and culturally appropriate environment. Rodney is also working on setting up a Children's Contact Service specifically for Aboriginal children.

Rodney is interested in developing better relationships with the Family Law Courts and working on ways to better support Aboriginal people who end up in the family law system. 

Should you have any clients which may be assisted by Rodney's expertise, he can be contacted at the Relationships Australia (SA) Port Adelaide office on 08 8340 202 or via mobile 0450 300 299.

From left to right: Kate Brett (Regional Manager West, Relationships Australia (SA)); Rodney Welch (Aboriginal Liaison Officer/Mediator, Family Relationship Centre); Beth Turner (Counsellor, Gambling Help Service).

Relationships Australia (SA) - New Port Adelaide Site

In February 2014, Relationships Australia (SA) opened a new Family Relationship Centre in Port Adelaide. It is located at 8 Bulter Street, Port Adelaide, on the corner of Lispon Street. The office replaces the Relationships Australia (SA) site previously located on Port Road in Hindmarsh.

The Family Relationship Centre at Port Adelaide offers a range of services, including: The site also has a Family Advisor available and runs a number of programs aimed at the demographic in the outer western suburbs, particularly targeting better connections with the Aboriginal community.

To find out more about the services offered at Relationships Australia (SA)'s Port Adelaide site, contact 8340 2022 or visit the Relationships Australia (SA) website www.rasa.org.au

Circle of Security Parenting - Family Zone (Ingle Farm)


In Term 3, Ingle Farm Family Zone are offering the Circle of Security parenting group for families entering the court system whom have been identified as struggling with their roles as parents/caregivers.
 
Circle of Security Parenting is an 8 week group for parents/carers of children 0-12 years. The program is free.

It is running from 30 July to 17 September. A crèche is available. Bookings are essential.
 
The group supports parents/caregivers to gain awareness of their children, read their children’s behaviours and be able to meet their children’s needs to become ‘good enough’ parents and support family functioning.
 
The group will be run by Courtney Weir (Psychotherapist, Lutheran Community Care) and Judit Timar (Social Worker, Relationships Australia (SA)).
 
As per the Circle of Security website describes the program:

“The Circle of Security is a relationship based early intervention program designed to enhance attachment security between parents and children. Decades of university-based research have confirmed that secure children exhibit increased empathy, greater self-esteem, better relationships with parents and peers, enhanced school readiness, and an increased capacity to handle emotions more effectively when compared with children who are not secure."
 
Ingle Farm Family Zone is a Communities for Children Initiative which is supported by the Australian Government.

The attached flyer is suitable for parents regarding the program. Please contact either Courtney or Judit on 8349 6099 for bookings or for more information about the program.

SA Family Law Pathways Network Kiosk Evaluation


As many of you may be aware, the South Australian Family Law Pathways Network is currently conducting an evaluation of the Pathways Kiosk at the Family Law Courts, to assist us provide an efficient and relevant service.
 
The Pathways Kiosk is an information and referral centre located at the Family Law Courts which aims to assist legal professionals, the Court and the general public in accessing appropriate family and parenting services in South Australia. It is open Monday - Wednesday, 9:30am - 1:00pm. 
 
We would appreciate any legal or other professionals who use or can use the Kiosk service to complete a quick survey to help us complete the evaluation. The survey should take only 5 minutes or so to complete. Please see the information sheet for more information about the survey.
 
There are two ways you can complete the survey: if you are a legal (or associated) professional in the family law jurisdiction and you have used the Kiosk in the past, please complete the following evaluation form: https://www.research.net/s/KIOSKevaluation
 
For family lawyers or other associated  professionals who have not used the Kiosk, please complete the following evaluation form: https://www.research.net/s/KIOSKperceptions
 
These forms are also available in hard copy at the Pathways Kiosk, if you prefer.  
 
The survey has been extended until close of business 11 July 2014. We hope to receive as many responses as possible to the survey.
 
If the Kiosk at the Family Law Courts is irrelevant to you or your field of work, it is not necessary for you to complete the survey. However, if you wish to provide feedback in any event, we would invite you to do so by emailing the Project Officer, Rene Earles at r.earles@rasa.org.au.
 
We welcome your feedback about the Kiosk and we look forward to your participation.

Upcoming Conferences and Forums


There are a number of conferences being held in the family law sector in the upcoming months which may be of interest to you. Please find below a snapshot of some of the conferences which you may think about attending:

13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference
30 July – 1 August 2014
Melbourne Convention Centre, Melbourne

National Mediation Conference
9-11 September 2014
Melbourne

16th National Family Law Conference
7-10 October 2014
Sydney 

FRSA Conference 2014
4-6 November 2014
Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide

Family Violence Forum and Workshop
25 July 2014
The White Ribbon Australia (SA Committee) and the School of Social Sciences at Flinders University are hosting a public forum on Friday, 25 July 2014 to enhance efforts in South Australia to prevent family and domestic violence. The forum is entitled 'Mens Violence - Can we end it?' and will be held from 5:30pm at the Flinders University City Campus (Room 2.1, L2, 182 Victoria Square, Adelaide). A number of prominent South Australians, including the Deputy Commissioner of SAPOL, will be presenting.

In addition, there is also a workshop and forum being held on the same day, from 3:00- 5:00pm, entitled 'Bystander Intervention'. This event will discuss the ways in which bystanders can assist in the prevention violence.

The attached flyer has information about both events. For more information and bookings, visit http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/events/adelaide-white-ribbon-night-events

Service Directories: Term 3, 2014


The following service directories may be of interest:
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