E-NEWS APRIL 2017
People with Disability
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Trauma and Recovery
Victims of Crime
New Publication in the VSS Resource Centre
In the Media
Message from the Chair – Valuing our Volunteers
The Victim Support Service simply wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for volunteers.
Our organisation was created by volunteers way back in 1979; Volunteers with harrowing experiences of crime.
They were mothers whose children were victims in the infamous Truro and Family Murders cases. These resilient women banded together to form a self-help group for fellow homicide victims. They reached out to provide the support and understanding they knew was needed at a time of such intense grief, anger and confusion. Initially meeting in the Baptist Church on Flinders Street, the group soon grew and became the Victims of Crime Service – then later the Victim Support Service.
VSS’s founders were its first volunteers. Freely contributing their time, insights and skills for the greater good – the recovery and rights of victims of crime.
These days, volunteers remain the lifeblood of our vital grassroots organisation. Barely a day goes by that a VSS Court Companion isn’t donating their skills and experience in our court houses to assist those trying to navigate the court system – at the same time as their own personal pain.
Working with people in our legal system, the social services sector and the wider community, I often hear great praise for our Court Companions and the work they do. They deserve every ounce of that praise – and a lot more!
But volunteers are contributing in many more ways to VSS. Many give their time in the Resource Centre, as researchers, as public speakers, working on special projects, assisting with administration and even putting together this very publication! The VSS Board are also volunteers – along with the Board's new Secretariat team.
There really isn’t enough recognition we can give to those who give so much and expect nothing in return. But here’s one small way we can show our appreciation – nominate them for the State Volunteer Awards.
Nominations are now being sought for a range of awards – including the Joy Noble Medal – the highest distinction for an individual volunteer in SA.
You can nominate someone you know, someone who has helped you or yourself. Details and nomination forms are here ofv.sa.gov.au or you can call 1300 014 712 . If it all sounds like a bit of effort, feel free to send me your nominees and I’ll happily do the paperwork for you – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nominations close on Friday 21 April and will be announced at the big Volunteers Day event in June.
We need to make sure our volunteers realise we notice them and we recognise the life-changing work they do to help victims of crime cope and recover.
Eight-week facilitated support group for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse
The Survivors and Mates Support Network (SAMSN) runs eight-week groups
, 2hrs a week (6pm to 8pm), for men who were sexually assaulted as young boys or adolescents.
Any male who was sexually assaulted during his childhood can contact SAMSN about joining one of their groups.
Two groups will be held at VSS in Adelaide in 2017
May 9 to Jun 27 (Tuesdays)
Oct 17 to Dec 5 (Tuesdays)
Register your interest here
‘MySafePlace’ is a key component of the Safely Together Program, a new VSS service for children who have experienced family and domestic abuse. MySafePlace turns children’s dream bedroom designs into a reality, helping them to feel safe and secure in their own home and support their recovery from family and domestic abuse.
MySafePlace, along with other components of the Safely Together Program will provide a greater level of support for children to help them feel safer in their own home. Children will have access to counselling and therapeutic interventions to improve their psychological wellbeing and address the impact of family and domestic abuse.
National Day to remember those that have died as a result of domestic violence
Join the Port Pirie Domestic Violence Action Group for afternoon tea to commemorate this important National Day. Special guests: Glyn Scott - author of “Hope was all I had”, and Hip Hop Bounce – stomp out violence. RSVP by 26th April to Trish phone: 8633 8622.
3 May, 2017. 1.30pm. Port Pirie Library and Women’s Keepsake Garden, Port Pirie, SA.
Port Pirie Domestic Violence Action Group
Addressing Violence Alliance 2017 Forum: Interpersonal violence and LGBTIQ communities:
Understanding and responding to the experiences of LGBTIQ clients. A full day forum concerning best practice policies and practice when working with LGBTIQ communities and their experiences of violence. Register here
20 April 2017: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.
Where: Victim Support Services, 33 Franklin Street, Adelaide (level 2)
Addressing Violence Alliance
Victim Support Service CE Update: National Close the Gap Day
The annual awareness event, National Close the Gap Day, which took place on 16th of March, aims to share information and encourage meaningful action in support of achieving Indigenous health equality by 2030. Currently Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live up to between 10 and 17 years less than non-Indigenous Australians.
In a bid to demonstrate just how big the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is, Oxfam highlighted 10 shameful facts. Here are my Top 5:
- Indigenous people are 60 per cent more likely than non-Indigenous people to die from cancer.
- Indigenous people are 64 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to have rheumatic heart disease, and eight times more likely to be hospitalised because of it. In fact it’s been said that when it comes to rheumatic heart disease, it’s unlikely that such a stark contrast between two populations living within the same national barriers exists for any other disease on any other continent in the world.
- Ninety-five per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Australia are affected by a suicide.
- Thirty per cent of adults in Indigenous communities are living with Type 2 diabetes (that is more than 3 times higher than non-indigenous communities.)
- Seventy per cent of people think improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community living conditions should be a high or very high priority for the Australian government. That’s over 16 million people.
Clearly, closing the gap has got a very long way to go.
Julian Roffe, Chief Executive, Victim Support Service, 26 March 2017.
S. Muir, A. Dean, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Child Family Community Australia, 2017
“This practitioner resource outlines some key considerations for community sector organisations and service providers who are thinking about evaluating the outcomes or impact of a program for Indigenous families or communities.” (-AIFS)
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were 7 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to have received child protection services. This report also showed that children from geographically remote areas were more likely to be the subject of a substantiation, or be in out-of-home care than those from major cities.” (-AIHW)
Denise Hatzis [and 3 others] IN Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, 2017
Compromised quality of caregiving is found in high-risk, substance-misusing mothers, emphasising the importance of early intervention that draws from attachment-based interventions.
L. Thomson, M. McArthur, E. Barry, Institute of Child Protection Studies (ACU), 2017
This paper explores “what works to help people make the choice to become a foster carer, and the strategies that can assist in supporting and retaining carers for children in out-of-home care.” (-ICPS)
Gabrielle Appleby, A.J. Brown, Adam Graycar, Grant Hoole, Anthony Whealy, Griffith University, Transparency International Australia, 2017
“This discussion paper is the first in a series to be released to assist public and expert debate on key issues and options for the strengthening of Australia’s systems of integrity, accountability and anti-corruption.” (-TIA)
Kathleen Blair, Kevin Dunn, Alanna Kamp, Oishee Alam, Western Sydney University, 2017
“This project measured the extent and variation of racist attitudes and experiences in Australia. … We examined the different forms racism takes, the various spheres of life in which incidents occur, the frequency of incidents, responses to incidents (undertaken by both bystanders and targets) and the impact of those experiences on victims.” (-WSU)
View the latest ANROWS research on domestic violence
S. Coghlan, M. Millsteed, Crime Statistics Agency (Vic.), 2017
This study examines the recorded family violence incidents and non-family violence offences for a cohort of family violence perpetrators over a five year period from 2012 to 2016.
: read and share stories about surviving domestic violence
University of Melbourne, 2017
A website where women can anonymously read and share stories about experiencing family and domestic violence.
The Australian Department of Social Services, 2017
The Australian Department of Social Services has published an open tender to engage a supplier to develop and promote a local government domestic and family violence prevention toolkit.
The purpose of the toolkit is to provide local governments with practical tools and resources to assist them in partnering with their communities to implement local solutions to prevent domestic and family violence. The tender closing date is 11 April 2017.
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, 2017
This project concentrated on how workers and services listen to Aboriginal women—what they see and hear, what they have learnt, and how they apply this in practice.
This is the summary of the “report of a day-long roundtable of 17 experts and practitioners.… Discussion focused on ways Australia could develop safer and more effective illicit drugs policies.” (-Australia21)
N. Donnelly, S. Poynton, D. Weatherburn, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, 2017.
“Restrictions on the availability of alcohol appear to have reduced non-domestic assault in the target Precincts. Continued research is needed to monitor if displacement of these assaults increases further.” (-BOCSAR)
End Rape on Campus Australia, 2017
This submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s ‘University Sexual Assault and Harassment’ project is the product of extensive advocacy work with survivors and their supporters. It provides detailed analysis of the problem and highlights the vulnerability of international students and lack of university support.
Australian National Audit Office, 2017
This audit examined the effectiveness of the Australian Federal Police’s, the Australian Financial Security Authority’s and the Attorney-General’s Department’s administration of property and funds under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Commissioner for Children and Young People (Vic), 2017
This report reveals young people in Victoria’s youth justice centres are subjected to unacceptable levels of isolation and are routinely locked down due to staffing issues.
Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, 2017
Mentally healthy workplaces work better for everyone, and Heads Up is all about giving individuals and businesses free tools and resources to take action.
People with disability
Sapere Research Group, Ministry of Health (New Zealand), 2017
This report “identifies how the interface between disabled people and support services can be improved to better support people to have a good life.” (-SRG)
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
View all recent news from the Royal Commission here
Inca Consulting for the Royal Commission, 2017
This new research report examines “carer recruitment, training and support policies and processes in place across Australia that aim to enhance the safety of children in out-of-home care and prevent sexual abuse.” (-RCIRCSA)
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, 2017
This report analyses findings from a comprehensive survey of Catholic Church authorities in Australia, which gathered data about the extent of claims of child sexual abuse made against Catholic Church personnel. It provides a detailed statistical breakdown of the claims and compensation provided.
Professor Patrick O'Leary, Emma Koh and Andrew Dare for the Royal Commission, 2017
This research paper “provides an overview of key conceptual issues in understanding grooming and discusses what is known about grooming, particularly as it relates to institutional child sexual abuse.“ (-RCIRCSA)
Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University for the Royal Commission, 2017
This research report “finds there are limited programs and services to help prevent child sexual abuse and those that do exist are not well coordinated.” (-RCIRCSA)
Trauma and Recovery
An important part of the recovery journey is to learn more about our brain and how trauma can affect us. The 3-D Brain app may be helpful. Download free here
Blue Knot Foundation, 2017.
Dr Cathy Kezelman, Pam Stavropoulos, Blue Knot Foundation, 2017
This is a 76 page guide to starting a conversation about trauma in a trauma–informed way. It is the first in a ‘Talking about Trauma’ series which will include publications for different audiences. This one is intended for the general public. You will need to register your details to download the document.
Victims of crime
Georgina Fuller, Simon Ng, Australian Institute of Criminology, 2017
“This research examined a sample of 93 victims of armed robbery in the workplace, from the AIC’s Database of Victimisation Experiences, to determine what helped or hindered their return to work.” (-AIC)
New Publication in the VSS Resource Centre
A longtime trauma worker, Laura offers a deep and empathetic survey of the often-unrecognized toll on those working to make the world a better place. Through Trauma Stewardship, we are called to meet these challenges in an intentional way--not by becoming overwhelmed but by developing a quality of mindful presence. She offers a variety of simple and profound practices that will allow us to restore ourselves. Sw83
Learn more about the Resource Centre and join here
In the Media
Recent ABC media reports on Law, Crime and Justice can be viewed online
Herald newspaper article
6-8 April 2017. Sydney, NSW
The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration.
With the growing number of planned or attempted attacks in Australia, this presents huge challenges for the government and enforcement authorities. Read more information here
19-21 April 2017. Sydney, NSW
10-13th July 2017. Cairns, Queensland.
The Crime and Justice Research Centre (QUT) and the Asian Criminological Society
The conference will explore the rapid expansion of technology-enabled crime and how collaboration can inform technological, legal and policy responses.
16-18 July 2017. Gold Coast, QLD
Australian Institute of Criminology and the Asia Pacific Association of Technology and Society
Forensic and Applied Victimology - Bond University
3-day course covers such topics as; applied crime analysis, victim precipitation, solvability and homicide, and victim motivations. For details or to register, email
28-30 April 2017. Bond University, Robina, QLD
Presented by Dr Christopher Willard who will be sharing proven practices and creative ways that can be used to integrate mindfulness into your clinical and case management work.
5 May 2017. Adelaide, SA
TATRA Corporate & Allied Health Training Services
Supporting resilient workers: addressing vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue and burnout.
One day training for workers in helping roles. For details or to register, contact Fiona Meade on mobile: 0452 040 997 or email
18 May 2017. Kent Town, SA
FIONA MEADE Counselling & Group Work
Introductory Workshop by Dr Russ Harris, developer of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and author of “The happiness trap” and “The reality slap”. Cost: $530 including GST.
24-25 May 2017. Adelaide, SA.
Dr Russ Harris, Psychological Flexibility Pty Ltd