Local Community, Respect & Equality Champion set to highlight family violence and women with disability

Local woman, Chris Kerr has joined the Community, Respect & Equality (CRE) champion project to highlight the impact of family violence on women with disability and provide awareness around prevention. Ms. Kerr, a leader in the women’s, education and disability field in the Midwest, is passionate about supporting people with disability. Her community message is “family violence doesn't discriminate - know how, and know where to get help".

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"I became a champion as it felt like the right thing to do,” said Ms. Kerr. 

“I do not condone family violence and being able to be a champion is a way of highlighting the issue of family violence against women with disability which occurs at a higher rate than other women. It is important to me that women with disabilities are provided with education and information that will support them to be empowered to keep themselves and their family’s safe, as well as know where to seek help and support if they are experiencing family violence.”

According to Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) State of Knowledge paper (2015), women with disability are more likely to experience and have an increased risk of violence than women with no disability. Women with disabilities experience the same forms of violence as other women, however the dynamics associated with their experience are complex and they are exposed to more forms of violence across a variety of settings. It is also believed that there is considerable under reporting to police and agencies by women with disability. 

The Doors to Safety Project, run by Women’s Community Health Network (WCHN) will be in Geraldton next week offering workshops that focus on education for women with disability, the disability sector and professionals working in the family violence sector with women and disability. 

“It is also important that the service providers who work with women with disability understand and address the dynamics of violence that affects women with disability,” Ms. Kerr said.

“These workshops provide opportunity for everyone in the disability sector to upskill and look toward preventing violence from happening in the first place. It will enable women with disability to come forward and be appropriately supported if they report family violence,” said Ms. Kerr.

The workshops have been developed by women with disability and will be presented by Zel Iscel, who has expertise in education and training and disability advocacy and is blind. The workshops will be held at Desert Blue Studio, 25 Chapman Road, Geraldton, contact Zel for further information on 0413 813 885 or email ziscel@wchnwa.org.au

The CRE Champions project is a primary prevention initiative managed by local family service organisation Desert Blue Connect. CRE Champions are local leaders who promote messages about family violence in Geraldton by being visible, approachable and attending awareness events and activities. For further information contact Sarah at Desert Blue Connect on 9964 2742 or email saraho@desertblueconnect.org.au

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If you feel unsafe or would like confidential advice please call:

  • WA Police for immediate help 000
  • 1800 respect on 1800 737 732
  • Desert Blue Connect – Geraldton 9964 2472