Welcome to this month’s newsletter!
March has seen the IGFF team take part in a wide range of events – all while continuing to provide crucial support and advocacy services to our community. This newsletter reflects on some key parts of what we’ve been up to, and introduces a few more members of our team.
Recent months have seen an outpouring of support and public outrage for Survivors of sexual violence Australia-wide. We understand that hearing people call for widespread, systematic change can be affirming, and make for a space where people feel like they can share their stories. At the same time, public discussions of this kind can be re-kindling, triggering and difficult.
We recommend reading this newsletter with care, and to remember to reach out for support if you think you might need it. IGFF provides support and advocacy services to Survivors of institutional abuse 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 email@example.com.
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.
Introducing some more key members of our team
We’re very glad to be introducing you to more key people on the IGFF team – some of whom you might already be familiar with!
Given the wealth of knowledge and experience each staff member, volunteer and ambassador brings to our work, we’re also going to start including little Q&A profiles with different people when we can. Further down in this email, you can read a little more about Thea’s background, and what drives her work for equality and justice for all.
Thea Schroedel, Caseworker
Originally from Germany, Thea has completed her B.A. in Social Work and further education in Trauma Counselling. Managing asylum seeker camps and providing Case Management formed her interested in human rights and social justice and lead to her volunteering for different projects in Latin America and Myanmar, Asia. Since arriving in Australia September 2019, Thea has worked in the youth homeless sector in a crisis accommodation setting and commenced with IGFF on 1 February 2021. Thea enjoys being creative and spending a lot of time in nature.
Srini Vasan, CFO
Srini has recently joined IGFF as a CFO, ensuring finance and finance-related functions are carried out in accordance the IGFF Strategic Plan and further strengthening the Foundation’s governance and helping develop strategies for continuing growth and development. Srini has over 30 years of experience in corporate Australia with global and multinational companies in financial services and retail sectors. His expertise includes providing specialist management services including governance, strategic planning, financial management, risk management and IT and transformation projects. His last assignment has been in a senior management capacity with a national retail chain. He is also involved with an NFP organisation as a member of the Audit committee.
Tamara Kube, Student Volunteer
Tamara is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws at LaTrobe University, and will be working with IGFF to create a glossary of Civil Litigation terms to help clients through the legal process.
De La Salle College Dedication and Memorial Commemoration
On Sunday 21 March 2021, De La Salle College held a Dedication and Memorial Commemoration to acknowledge the Survivors of historic abuse at the school, and advocate for transparency and child safety for all future generations of students.
The school committed to supporting the Survivors and honoured this commitment by unveiling of Memorial Sculptures and Plaques. The Memorial rock can be viewed at Kinnoull near the Peppercorn Tree and the Leaf Installation can be viewed at the garden near the PAC, Tiverton.
the event, we heard from key speakers from the school, IGFF, MPs Katie Allen, Nina Taylor and Georgie Crozier, and Cr Kate Hely, Mayor of Stonnington. Current students presented a Loud Fence box that will go on display in the school.
You can access the booklet from the event, including each memorial’s inscription, online here. We will be able to share the video from the event soon.
Staff profile: Caseworker Thea Schroedel
Thea joined our Casework Team at the start of 2021. With her passion for human rights and social justice, we were interested in learning a little bit more about how she came to this field – and what sustains her work!
I started my Trauma Counselling almost immediately after finishing my Bachelors and commencing a full time position within the refugee sector in Germany as I observed that most of the asylum seekers were in need of support around their trauma and healing in order to achieve trauma integration and a better understanding of themselves.
Very simple question however not so easy to answer. We cannot choose the circumstances we are born into. Working in the social sector and especially travelling in Latin America and Asia made that clear to me every day. We are living in a world that is so connected and I think it is up to us as humans and our responsibility to work towards more equality and justice worldwide.
I highly appreciate that IGFF’s advocacy is not limited to a client’s case. In order to achieve change it is important to support the clients individually as well as being a lobby for them within the political system.
I think it is important to reflect on emotions constantly and identify where they are coming from. I do a lot of sport, yoga and enjoy being creative in form of writing or sewing to free my mind.
I enjoy spending a lot of time with my friends, going to concerts and simply being in nature.
March 4 Justice
On Monday 15 March, thousands of people across Australia marched to demand justice and action on gendered violence. The IGFF team attended, to show our commitment to taking action against gendered violence and standing in solidarity with all Survivors and people impacted by sexual violence.
Image credit: IGFF Executive Manager Survivor Services, Rachel Last
In Recent News…
Intermediaries helping Survivors provide evidence in criminal proceedings
IGFF commends the work of the ACT Intermediary Program, which helps support Survivors and vulnerable witnesses provide evidence in criminal proceedings. With similar programs being established in Tasmania and Queensland, trained intermediaries are able to assist people to safely share their experiences, and be heard.
While this is a great change to the criminal justice system, as our CEO Clare Leaney emphasises in the above article, we hope that similar protections will still extend to civil trials as well:
Without specific protections for these vulnerable witnesses, survivors are unable to access justice on an equal playing field. There is an urgent need to redress this injustice, and make sure that there is true equality for all before the law.
New law to allow unfair child abuse settlements to be overturned in NSW
By allowing abuse Survivors who previously received unfair and unjust settlements to seek further compensation for what happened to them, NSW will be brought further in line with the recommendations from the 2013 Royal Commission.
Governments to fund National Redress Scheme applications from Fairbridge School Survivors
Federal and state governments this month announced that they will step in and fund redress applications for child migrant Survivors from five Fairbridge Farm Schools.
This is a key step, and funders of last resort are a key way that many Survivors are able to access redress. As a Survivor reflected to the ABC:
I cried. The relief! Those children are going to get just financial support at this time in their lives.
Image from the above article: Ric Hinch, president of the Old Fairbridians Association, with other members Mike Baker and Graham Bennett (ABC South West/Georgia Loney)
The Quilt of Hope are holding a fundraiser!
The Quilt of Hope are holding a fundraiser to support publishing their forthcoming book. Completed in 2014, the Quilt is a lasting memorial to Survivors, victims and families impacted by clerical abuse. The book will share some of the stories behind the squares, and be a moving way of reflecting on how the Quilt came into being.
As the fundraiser event will be on April 11 from 12pm onwards, which is very soon, you can get in touch with the organisers to find out if tickets are available – and find out other ways of supporting the project – by emailing Carmel at firstname.lastname@example.org or Adrianne at email@example.com.
In Good Faith has a patch on the quilt, and we recommend attending and supporting this great initiative if you’re able to do so.
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 and present.