Welcome to the February In Good Faith Foundation newsletter!
With recent changes, and a huge growth in our services, IGFF continues to provide leading recovery services to Survivors, families and communities impacted by institutional abuse. In recent months, we have expanded our team and welcomed four new highly skilled and experienced Case Workers, who will each bring their specialised knowledge to support our wide client base.
Just a few of the things IGFF consulted on, participated in and attended during February.
As always, IGFF has been undertaking a wide range of systemic advocacy through the start of the year. Over the past month, our work included submitting to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.
Over 80% of our clients identify as living with disability, and our submission detailed some of their stories and experiences, along with the systemic changes urgently needed, particularly in ensuring access to resources and services are trauma-informed and not re-traumatising and doing further harm.
The two pie charts above map client demographic data around disability status.
We hope that the Royal Commission will work as a catalyst to major changes in the provision of disability and trauma-informed services in Australia. IGFF will be watching its reports and hearings closely over the coming months, along with the reports of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and other state and federal inquiries into disability services.
IGFF’s systemic advocacy complements our services provided to clients, as a way of working towards wider societal and political change for Survivors and communities affected by institutional abuse. It is a key part of our wrap-around case management services (or ‘one stop shop’ approach) that means we can meet and respond to the complex range of needs Survivors of institutional abuse may have.
Welcoming new staff to IGFF!
We are excited to be able to announce our amazing new Case Workers, who will be able to supplement and strengthen IGFF’s services into the future. The four new people on the case management team are as follows:
After completing her BA/LLB(Hons), Hannah worked as a judges’ associate and legal researcher at the Victorian Court of Appeal and the Family Court of Australia before completing her Masters in Social Work. She is passionate about the pursuit of individual and communal justice and wellbeing. Hannah has experience in roles focused on advocacy, education design and delivery, counselling, and service reform, with a particular specialisation in disability. Hannah is also a Board Member of Pathways Melbourne, an organisation which provides peer support and practical resources to people leaving or changing their relationship with their personal Jewish faith or religious community, and one of the few non-autistic Co-Directors of A_tistic, a majority neurodivergent-led arts, education and consultancy collective dedicated to spreading understanding of autism and neurodiversity. She is dedicated to supporting Survivors with a focus on collaborative, accessible approaches adapted to each person.
Danni has worked within the community services sector for the last 13 years, with experience in family services, child protection, immigration detention centres and domestic violence. She is extremely passionate about her work and is very grateful and privileged to be able to support Survivors and make a positive change in people’s lives in the field of institutional abuse.
Ruairi is a social worker with over 20 years of experience in community services, having worked in urban and regional areas in Australia, the UK and Canada. He has a diverse history, having worked in youth and homelessness services, disability support and addictions recovery services. He has also been active in human rights campaigns, particularly around gender-violence and sex-worker rights. Over the last five years his practice has focussed specifically on counselling and advocacy for Survivors of sexual assault. Ruairi is pleased to be welcomed in to the IGFF team and is excited to be putting his skills as a trauma-informed practitioner to good use in a case work context.
Ingrid recently joined the IGFF team in December 2019. She has an interest in mental health, and providing advocacy and support for our most vulnerable people within the community. She has a Diploma of Community Services, and has been actively involved with school community committee groups while her children attended school. Ingrid has housed exchange students, volunteered at centres for the poor, and most recently volunteers at a retreat, helping children from disadvantaged countries that require life saving medical treatment. She also has experience in family health support.
Recent Australian news on institutional abuse:
Ten percent of redress applications are being put on hold because of organisations who have yet to sign onto the scheme leaving too many Survivors behind.
Following recommendations from the parliamentary committee, like penalising institutions that failed to sign up by stripping them of their charitable status and suspending tax concessions could provide a way of moving this forward by June 30.
Furthermore, with Anne Ruston’s comments on potentially penalising organisations that refuse to sign onto Redress Scheme by June, IGFF would like to question current child safety standards within institutions that are refusing.
These groups may run children’s activities – will they be able to pass Working with Children Check processes and be seen as safe places to work with children?
This article discusses institutional grooming – as seen in this month’s news – as well as what to do if you suspect something is going on. While anyone can be a target, children who are already socially vulnerable through discrimination, isolation and racism can often be singled out by abusers.
Wider education and resourcing of parents and education workers about grooming, abuse and open communication is essential to building a safer, more just future – for children, but also adult Survivors and vulnerable people seeking justice and healing.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, present and emerging.