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Jen's Story

Jen Hargrave
A good future will be one where we have safe places to learn about our rights, to disclose, and to be supported.

Women with disabilities experience disproportionate rates of family violence but face so many barriers to prevention programs, reporting options and specialist responses that we are under-represented in the service system. This can and needs to change.

The Royal Commissioners listened and understood the systemic barriers to safety for women with disabilities in evidence from organisations and individuals. They accordingly made a number of specific recommendations to improve system access for women with disabilities.

As recommendations are implemented, it is important to see people from high-risk groups put at the centre of all program design with a coordinated, intersectional approach. Resourcing high-risk groups and cross-sector collaboration in design and implementation will underpin the success of Victoria’s reforms.

A good future will be one where we have safe places to learn about our rights, to disclose, and to be supported. We look forward to a future where:

  • a student at a special school will have access to information about respectful relationships
  • a woman in a mental health service will be believed and supported to safety when she discloses experiencing violence
  • a woman’s NDIS planning meeting will include risk assessment, appropriate referral and options in a crisis
  • and a woman will have housing options because there are universal access housing standards

Fundamentally we need a future where all forms of disability discrimination are not tolerated and choosing to use violence against people with disabilities is not considered an option.

Beyond Victoria’s reforms, the role of national programs such as family law, social security, the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness and the NDIS have a huge impact on Victorian women's opportunities to find safety and justice. It will take many minds and much shared will to see these programs become adequately responsive to family violence.

Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV) resources

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