DV-alert 2022 National Meeting: Facilitating invaluable conversations.
Published on 1st August 2022
For the first time since 2019, the dedicated team behind the DV-alert program participated in the recent DV-alert National Meeting held in Sydney on 22 – 24 June 2022. With an impressive line-up of speakers, the 140 participants made up of DV-alert trainers, administrators and managers attended the annual event over the three days to contribute to the collective’s professional development.
Lifeline Australia welcomed the confirmation within this year’s Federal Budget that DV-alert would continue to play a key role within the new National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032, with Lifeline assured funding for a further 5 years to deliver this critical program. This provided an appreciative energy for the DV-alert National Meeting where DV-alert’s role in early intervention and prevention for domestic and family violence was centre stage.
The National Meeting program fostered valuable conversations that both impact and inform the DV-alert training material including concepts around intersectionality, domestic and family violence within LGBTQI+ communities, homelessness, technology facilitated abuse, women with disability, and trauma-informed approaches.
The program began with a presentation by MC, Tasneem Chopra OAM, on why an intersectional lens is an inclusive one in the domestic and family violence context. As a cross cultural consultant, Tasneem assists clients to apply an intersectional lens in their work praxis towards greater cultural competence, innovation, and profitability. Tasneem discussed the factors of diversity, inclusivity and why these should become an integral part of how any progressive organisation does business.
As the introduction of the speakers continued throughout the conference, participants, and trainers alike enjoyed presentations from experienced sector specialists including Parramatta Women’s Shelter Manager, Tania Smith, Drummond Street Services Queerspace GM, Dr. Paula Fernandez Arias, and Professor Manjula O'Connor, Consultant Psychiatrist, who authored the recently publish book ‘Daughters of Durga’.
We had the privilege of welcoming Amber Shuhyta, Branch Manager, Response and Behaviour Change, Women’s Safety Group from the Department of Social Services, who presented on the history and evolution of DV-alert. Amber highlighted how critically important the DV-alert program has been throughout the previous National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010‐2022 and thanked all DV-alert trainers and staff for their dedication to stopping violence against women and children.
During the program, we were also proud to introduce Nicole Lee as our inaugural DV-alert Ambassador and hear her very generously shared stories of domestic and family violence through her lived experience. As a family violence, mental health, and disability activist, Nicole is using her lived experience of family violence to speak out for those who don’t yet have a voice.
Encouraging a confronting conversation around “seeing, hearing and believing” the voices of women with disability who experience domestic and family violence was transformational, noting that women like Nicole who are regaining control of their own narrative further facilitates the prevention and awareness of abuse.
When asked how she thinks her role as ambassador will support the work to end domestic and family violence, she summarised:
“When you look in the DV sector or sexual violence sector, how many disabled people and disabled women do you see as ambassadors? Outside of sport or product ambassadorship there’s not that many. There should be multiple of us for multiple organisations as ambassadors and spokespeople that bring that uncomfortable conversation to the table and force people to realise and recognise the rates of violence that we experience – they can’t turn a blind eye and instead should be allies with us and not for us.”
Practical takeaways from research such as the “Chuck her on a lie detector” paper presented by ANROWS Senior Research Officer, Dr. Erin Carlisle, challenged the myths surrounding victims and survivors whilst keeping the conversation current and relevant.
Karen Bentley, WESNET CEO, provided a space to explore technology facilitated abuse and how survivors can be referred to accessible assistance whilst staying safe online. Sessions led by Full Stop Australia CEO, Hayley Foster and Head of 1800RESPECT, Dr Jennifer Beer were very informative providing further referral resources.
Other speakers included Juliana Nkrumah AM on the human rights and cultural rights conundrum unveiled in diaspora; Carmel O’Brien, Psychologist and Author, presenting on court focused survivor experiences; Yemi Penn, Engineer, Entrepreneur and Mindset Transformation Leader presenting on concepts around trauma recovery; Dr Hayley Boxall, Research Manager from the Australian Institute of Criminology presenting on a research project on intimate partner homicide; and Antoinette Gentile, Deputy CEO at Djirra on the work Djirra does supporting Aboriginal women experiencing domestic and family violence.
Response from the Trainers
What presented itself as an opportunity to network, connect and participate in peer support, the DV-alert National Meeting also gave trainers the opportunity to learn about the latest research and resources which will directly benefit their ongoing delivery of DV-alert workshops under the new National Plan.
With feedback responses from trainers welcoming “the opportunity to listen to knowledgeable and inspirational speakers” and recognising the “effort taken to put this incredible event together”, hosting such a relevant and necessary conference was a wonderful way to round out the financial year.
Thank you to everyone who contributed and made the DV-alert National Meeting 2022 so incredibly inspiring and compelling for our dedicated trainers.
Additionally, we would like to acknowledge the Australian Government Department of Social Services for funding the DV-alert program and supporting this important professional development conference for the DV-alert trainers.