- Wednesday, 20 September 2023 at 4:30 am
The 2022 to 2023 Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council (VSAC) celebrated the end of its term with a lunch at Parliament House hosted by the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence.
Seven members concluding their term were acknowledged by Minster Spence, who thanked them for their insights, hard work and achievements including:
- the Family Violence Lived Experience Strategy and the forum in April 2022
- evaluation and continuous improvement of The Orange Door network
- supporting the design and evaluation of the program for serious risk people who use violence and providing insights and considerations into interventions for victim survivors and perpetrators
- elevating and advocating for a greater focus and better responses for children and young people
- building a critical partnership for training and influence with Victoria Police and advocacy to improve court processes.
Ms Spence took the opportunity to acknowledge Kym as Chair and April as Deputy Chair for their guidance and leadership over the last year and acknowledged each member for their unique perspective.
Since its inception in 2016, VSAC has changed the way that government approaches design, delivery and evaluation of programs and policies as a core part of the family violence reforms. Lived experience is essential to making good ideas into great, workable, well-connected policy and that is what is so unique and valuable about the VSAC approach.
New members of the council and the new Chair and Deputy Chair will be announced next month.
Highlights and achievements of departing members include:
Kym – Chair
As Chair, Kym has built a strong foundation for future iterations of VSAC and connected into the many important parts of the system that will be critical for the next phase of family violence reform.
The passion, wisdom and insight Kym has brought to the family violence reforms have changed perspectives, strengthened policy, programs and services and will continue to improve outcomes for people experiencing family and sexual violence.
Representing VSAC on the Family Violence Reform Advisory Group, she brought the authentic voice of people who have experienced family violence to the group, as well as working specifically on the pre-separation tool and the Client Voice Survey at The Orange Door.
April – Deputy
April’s expertise especially influenced the family violence reform program in Victoria centring and articulating with impact the critical need to ensure we engage, understand and act to improve the lived experience of children and young people.
The reason there is such a significant focus on children and young people at the moment is in large part attributed to April’s continued advocacy.
As Deputy Chair, she demonstrated empathetic leadership, awareness of everyone’s needs in the room and always made sure that everyone’s words were heard.
As a strong advocate for people with a disability and people experiencing homelessness in particular, Yara has represented the many intersections that can shape someone’s experience of family violence and that policy makers need to approach their work holistically.
Yara has used her writing and poetry to share her wisdom and the value of self-care for victim survivors. Encouraging other members to support themselves and their loved ones is such an important and unseen part of this work.
Rebecca’s long-term contributions to the Place for Change program include strengthening the evaluation report and ensuring evaluator interview questions were safe and accessible for people using violence and victim survivors.
Rebecca has been dedicated to supporting the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) to be better integrated. She has brought the perspective of people working in the sex industry to this work and provided leadership by supporting members to connect socially.
A strong voice for migrant women and women of colour, Ash has respectfully challenged perceptions and offered her wisdom for policy makers to design for these important perspectives. As a powerful public speaker, Ash shares her expertise in a way that is engaging and thought-provoking.
Her warm, generous nature and ability to support and advocate for others was felt in the Council. Ash is also recognised for supporting the newer members of VSAC to feel comfortable and welcome.
Penny has been a champion and raised awareness around the impacts for older women impacted by family violence. She has strengthened the knowledge of staff at The Orange Door in particular through sharing her reflections during the new staff inductions.
As elder abuse sometimes goes unseen, Penny has generously shared her thoughtful and considered insights to shine a light on this important issue. Penny gained confidence in her voice and provided strong leadership in this space.
Nina has critically reflected on systemic issues, particularly from the perspective of people who have experienced criminalisation and alcohol and other drug treatment, and this has been vital to supporting a truly inclusive service system.
Her intelligent advocacy and ability to influence has left a mark on many important pieces of work, from research, to legislation, to strengthening workforce capability. Nina stepped up seamlessly into a leadership role in the Council as a grounding and supportive presence for other members.