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February 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to this month’s newsletter

We hope that this email finds you well, particularly given how inescapable public discussions of sexual violence have been recently. While we will share some tips our team have found helpful below, we would like to take this opportunity to emphasise that our team of caseworkers can provide support and advocacy to Survivors nation-wide.

If you’re not sure how we can help, or if you want to talk about what has been going on for you, you can get in touch with our Casework Team on (03) 9940 1533 and leave a voicemail for us to reply to, or email igff@igff.org.au.

If you are seeking urgent counselling, support or assistance outside of office hours, we have a list of useful 24/7 community helplines on our website. If you or someone you care about is ever in immediate danger, please call Emergency 000.

This newsletter provides a broad overview of some of our recent activities. As always, we do recommend reading it with care.

As usual, the start of 2021 has been incredibly busy. The IGFF office has had a packed schedule, holding events, expanding our team, providing feedback to the Joint Select Committee on the National Redress Scheme and other key policy-makers, and providing our crucial support and advocacy services.

We have welcomed new staff, some of whom will be introduced below. We’re particularly excited to have a number of new Caseworkers come onboard, whose experience and strengths – particularly in trauma-informed case management, crisis support and counselling – have already begun to support IGFF’s ability to respond to our clients and community.

As our office is located in Victoria, our team have also slowly begun to return to working face-to-face. This has been exciting, particularly as we plan for in person events and meetings, but the ongoing easing of restrictions can also be confronting.

Our team provide services remotely, so if you ever want to talk about what’s happening for you – or anything we cover in this newsletter – please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

Introducing some of our new team members!

We are delighted to be able to announce some of the staff who recently joined IGFF, supplementing and strengthening our services into the future.


Vanessa Blazey, Caseworker

Vanessa comes from a counselling background, and has also worked with children and in the aged and disability sector. Her case management style is one of a collaborative, goal focused and practical welfare style. She is an empathetic caseworker who very interested in human rights, and ensuring the client is equipped and informed to make the best decisions to suit them. Vanessa is highly knowledgeable in suicide crisis support, and drug and alcohol work. She has been involved in the social work field as a volunteer and employee. She enjoys baking, creative writing, dogs and being in nature.


Julie Butler, Caseworker

Julie has worked in the family violence and sexual assault sector for 18 years, with particular experience in case management and therapeutic counselling.


Shyamala Benakovic, Senior Administrative Officer 

Shyamala joined the In Good Faith Foundation team in February as our administrative officer. She comes to IGFF with experience in not-for-profit organisations, governance, office management, operations and administration. She current looks after all the administration needs of the organisation and supports management and staff with IT and administration.

Watch the Armies of Enablers Book Launch Online 

At the start of this month, IGFF held the Australian book launch for Armies of Enablers: Survivor Stories of Complicity and Betrayal in Sexual Assaults by Professor Amos N. Guiora.

By talking about the stories of Survivors from USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, Penn State University, The Ohio State University, and the Catholic Church, the book focuses on how the institutions and individuals allowed the abuse to happen. The event was able to speak about the shared experiences in American and Australian contexts, and how enabler-bystanders fail Survivors. As Professor Guiora writes:

 

Behind every high-profile sexual assault scandal, there’s an army of people whose decisions helped perpetuate the abuse
At the webinar, Professor Guiora discussed and read extracts from his book, and then participated in a discussion and Q&A session with our CEO Clare Leaney. We’re particularly grateful to everyone who participated, and the insightful questions that audience members shared and sent in.

You can find out more about the book here

In Recent News…


A Message from IGFF Caseworker Ingrid

Given the constant coverage of sexual violence in the news, we thought it might be a good time to again share a message from one of our caseworkers, Ingrid.

With such a stressful time ahead, we would like to remind you all that you are not alone on this journey.

Self-care is very important to all of us in society, particularly for the vulnerable.

We as a team are here for anyone that might need support during this time. If you would like to talk to any one of us about what self-care options there are, please contact us on (03) 9940 1533, so that we can provide some information on what you may feel would suit your individual needs.

 

If you are looking to find out more about caring for yourself when there are triggering topics in the media, ABC Life has provided a good overview with some key tips. These include checking in with yourself, using resources like support lines whenever you feel that you might need it, and limiting your media consumption.


National Redress Scheme Updates

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have announced that they will join the National Redress Scheme. This is the result of the announcement that they would lose their charity status if they continued to refuse – which in turn is the result of lobbying and community education.

We applaud and stand in solidarity with all the community members and Survivors who have worked hard for this change.

As Social Services Minister Anne Ruston’s office stated:

 

It is disappointing Survivors who have named the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been forced to have their application for redress on hold this long while the organisation has been unwilling to join.

Fairbridge Farm School and Kenja Communications have continued to refuse to sign onto the scheme, while other organisations like Australian Indigenous Ministries, who are willing to join the scheme, cannot do so without a funder of last resort.

Our thoughts are especially with Survivors seeking redress who have been unable to do so, or had their applications put on hold due to institutional refusals and avoidance.


Grace Tame’s Address to the National Press Club

If you can, we recommend watching or reading Grace Tame’s powerful address to the National Press Club in full. As she said:

When we share, we heal, reconnect, and grow, both as individuals and as a united strengthened collective. History, lived experience, the whole truth, unsanitised and unedited is our greatest learning resource. It is what informs social and structural change.

Invitation to the De La Salle Dedication and Memorial Commemoration 

On behalf of ourselves and De La Salle College Malvern, we would like to invite those interested to attend a Dedication and Memorial Commemoration.

The event is to commemorate the Survivors of historic abuse and to advocate for transparency and child safety for all future generations of De La Salle students.

 

DATE: Sunday 21 March at 10.30am

VENUE: Kinnoull Campus Courtyard

 

Please make sure to RSVP via Eventbrite here:
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/de-la-salle-college-memorial-to-survivors-commemoration-registration-137510753365

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If you have any more questions about what we’ve been up to, how we can support Survivors, or any of our services, you can leave a message for us to call back at (03) 9940 1533 or email igff@igff.org.au.


Donate now to support the work of the Foundation


IGFF is committed to achieving justice for Survivors of institutional abuse. We acknowledge the strength, courage and sacrifices of all on the journey to recovery.

IGFF would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respect to Elders past and present.

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