Update on AWAVA's work
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Quarterly Update 
April to June 2020 

Since the first edition of our Quarterly report this year in March, the year continued to be challenging with an escalating pandemic that has also resulted in the increase of incidence and intensity of different forms of violence against women. As an organisation we remain committed to working for the safety of women and their children. We have been collating the data as well as advising the government of needed responses.
 
This update brings together some of the highlights from our work between April and June 2020.

AWAVA's Team Update
At the beginning of July, we’ve said goodbye to Dr Merrindahl Andrew who stepped down from the role of Program Manager.
We wish Merrindahl all the best with her future endeavours and are so excited to see what she does next - our workplace, our colleagues throughout the gender-based violence sector and our community will all dearly miss her! We are thankful for her tireless advocacy, and know we'll be in safe hands with the amazing Tina taking over the reigns.
A final message from Merrindahl: "Thank-you to all who are part of AWAVA and to everyone I've had the chance to work with in this role. I am continually uplifted by your strength of commitment and incredible hard work to create justice and safety for women."
Tina Dixson is now AWAVA’s Acting Program Manager.


(Image Description: Three women dressed in office attire stand smiling in an office. From left to right - Merrindahl Andrew, Mali Hermans, Tina Dixson).
We have welcomed Pam Rughkla, our new Policy Officer to the team.

Pam Rugkhla is a gender and public health specialist with over fifteen years of experience in Australia and overseas. Pam's mission is to use her skills to amplify women’s voices and create an enabling society where all girls and women can live free from violence and discrimination. At UN Women, Pam coordinated the Asia-Pacific regional and later the global UN Secretary General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign, galvanizing over six hundred activists across eighty-six countries.
Previously, Pam was the Health Promotion Officer at Women’s Health Victoria, specialisng in violence against women and mental health. Pam holds a Masters degree in Women’s Health from the University of Melbourne and a Double Bachelor degree with majors in Psychology and Development Studies from the Australian National University.

1. STRATEGIC ENGAGEMENT AND REPRESENTATION
NATSIWA / AWAVA Framework

We are proud to have a Framework developed between AWAVA and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance. This framework guides NATSIWA’s and AWAVA’s work together on issues relating to violence against women. It builds on the positive relationship between the two Alliances and lays the foundations for constructive work together over the coming years. Access it here.
COVID-19 and increase in the incidence of domestic and family violence
AWAVA together with key family violence experts issued a joint warning that the impacts of COVID-19 on women’s safety are only just beginning to be felt and will compound the risks women face from abusive partners or family members for months and potentially years after isolation measures are lifted. Continue reading here.
AWAVA has collated a list of resources on COVID-19 through a gender and family violence lens and with a focus on the needs of different communities. You can access them here.

AWAVA will continue to update this page as more resources become available. If you or your organisation have a resource you would like to share, please email it to admin@awava.org.au.
Annual meeting with AWAVA Advisory Group Members

Every year AWAVA holds a two-day meeting with our Advisory Group members.
During the May meeting, we discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on incidence and intensity of violence against women and how services across Australia have been responding. We have also finalised our work plan for the next 9 months.

2. ENHANCE EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Appearance before the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System
AWAVA’s team has appeared before the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System. We’ve given evidence that any reforms within the family law system must prioritise safety of victims/survivors of violence. You can get the hearing transcript here.
National Advocacy Group on Women on Temporary Visas Experiencing Violence Updates
Our website has now a dedicated page to the work of the National Advocacy Group on Women on Temporary Visas Experiencing Violence. Visit it to learn more. 

3. PROMOTE EFFECTIVE RESPONSES TO IMPROVE WOMEN'S SAFETY AND RECOVERY
Report: Experiences of service use for people who’ve been subjected to gender-based violence  
We thank all who shared their experiences with us and participated in the survey. The survey asked victims/survivors to rate their experiences with both/either specialist women’s services or generalist services based on a set of guiding principles. The results confirm the unique and vital role that specialist women’s services play in supporting women subjected to violence. Read the report here.

New blog post ‘Equipped to act’
This blog post lists some resources that can help individuals and organisations equip themselves to intervene safely and help prevent and stop violence, abuse, and harassment. Continue reading here.

Brochures
  • Download 'Stop Violence Against Women Poster' here
  • Download our Brochure ‘The Unique Role of Specialist Women’s Services in Ending Violence against Women’ here.
  • Download our Resource 'Steps You Can Take to Help End Violence against Women' here

4. PRIMARY PREVENTION AND INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE
AWAVA continued to support the primary prevention work of organisations such as Our Watch and to work alongside the other National Women’s Alliances to advance gender equality as the key step to preventing gender-based violence against women. You may recall that we’ve published a report on the primary prevention activities currently run around Australia. You can find it here

5. DEVELOPMENT OF AN INTERNATIONAL AGENDA
Joint National Women’s Alliances webinar “International Engagement on Women’s Human Rights and Gender Equality”
This webinar introduced the main current processes (the Commission on the Status of Women, the Beijing Platform for Action 25 year review and Generation Equality) and updated participants on where these processes are up to, as well as opportunities to get involved. Watch the recording here.

SUBMISSIONS

Between April and June 2020, we’ve made the following submissions:

  • Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women on the COVID-19 and family violence.
  • Submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs on Homelessness in Australia
  • Submission to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Bill 2019 [Provisions] and Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2019 [Provisions].

 

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Don’t forget, you can view our most recent updates and other relevant information in our Weekly News Round-Ups and social media (follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram).


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Contact us! If you have ideas or feedback about our work, please email info@awava.org.au Visit our website at www.awava.org.au
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