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Djirra (formerly the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria) is hosting a Sisters Day Out® Workshop for the Aboriginal women of Mildura and surrounding areas this Tuesday 29 May.

The Sisters Day Out workshop is a day that celebrates Aboriginal culture and brings Aboriginal women within the community together for a day of pampering including hairdressing, massage, manicures and more.

“Aboriginal women deal with a lot of stress in their day to day lives. This workshop reminds women to take time out to look after themselves, as well as looking after everyone else,” says Djirra Chief Executive Officer, Antoinette Braybrook.

The Sisters Day Out workshop program, conducted by Djirra, began in 2007. Since then close to 10,000 Aboriginal women have participated in this highly successful program.

As well as pampering, Sisters Day Out features family violence education, including information on how legal and other services can assist women and children to achieve safer outcomes. A Djirra lawyer and a counsellor are available for any women who wish to discuss their situation privately on the day.

“Sisters Day Out breaks down barriers to reporting for Aboriginal victim/survivors of family violence. There is a lot of fear and mistrust about disclosing family violence. At Djirra, we know Aboriginal women experiencing violence won’t just walk through our doors – we need to take our services to the community,” said Ms Braybrook. “Through Sisters Day Out, we provide a culturally safe space in which Aboriginal women can talk about family violence, the impacts on our families and communities, and learn what local supports are available to keep women and their children safe.”

“Tomorrow’s workshop may well be our biggest yet, with more than 300 women
expected to come along,” said Ms Braybrook. “Our numbers at Sisters Day Out are always high but this is a record. There is clearly a strong demand for our critical, culturally safe and specialised supports in this region,” said Ms Braybrook.

This event is funded by the Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation under a four year contract Djirra received to deliver its suite of culturally safe, early intervention and prevention programs. This funding formed part of the State Government’s unprecedented 2017-18 investment into addressing family violence made following the Royal Commission into Family Violence. “After many challenging years of funding uncertainty, we feel positive that we now have the security to focus on our critical early intervention/prevention programs, drawing on Aboriginal women’s resilience to reduce vulnerability to violence. We will be returning to Mildura later this month to deliver a Dilly Bag program and we hope to come back soon to deliver our Young Luv program as well.”

The Mildura Sisters Day Out will take place on Tuesday 29 May from 9:30am to 3:00pm at the Midway Centre, Midway Drive, Baronga. Aboriginal women can attend for free and more than 300 women are already registered. Media may attend by prior appointment only. Djirra provides culturally safe legal assistance, early intervention prevention and community legal education to Aboriginal victims/survivors of family violence and sexual assault.

Media Contact: Laura Vines for Antoinette Braybrook on 0408 812 830 or lvines@djirra.org.au

Like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter: @DjirraVIC and Antoinette Braybrook: @BraybrookA

 

 

 

Today’s Victorian Budget contains welcome investment into Aboriginal self-determination
and ongoing support to address and prevent family violence.

‘After last year’s unprecedented $1.9billion investment in addressing and preventing family
violence, we are pleased to see sustained investment in this critical area going forward.
However we must remember that when it comes to family violence there are no quick fixes.
This is an issue that requires generational change and long-term, significant funding,’ says
Antoinette Braybrook, CEO of Djirra (formerly the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention
and Legal Service Victoria).

This Budget includes a remarkable $116 million over four years to support Aboriginal
Victorians, including a total of $47.3 million over four years to address the over
representation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care through the Wungurilwil
Gapgapduir (Strong Families) – Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement, launched last
week.

‘Djirra welcomes the Andrews Government’s commitment to Aboriginal self-determination
and reducing the disproportionate rates of Aboriginal children forcibly removed from
their families and communities,’ says Ms Braybrook. ‘However, we must make sure this
translates into real change on the ground for Aboriginal mothers experiencing family
violence.’

‘Family Violence is the single biggest driver of Aboriginal child removal, with 88% of
Aboriginal children in care having experienced family violence. We need to see a
transformation in how the system supports Aboriginal mothers experiencing family
violence as a fundamental starting point in intervening earlier to keep our children safe in
their family’s care’, says Antoinette Braybrook. ‘We need a system that understands both
mum and children are victims of family violence – kids aren’t collateral damage to violence
against mum; and mums aren’t to blame for the violence they endure.’

The 2018-19 Victorian Budget also contains welcome investment of $9.1million in 2018-19
for the Indigenous Family Violence 10 Year Plan, and ongoing investment of $1.4million and
$1.5million in future years. Similarly, modest investment towards implementation of other
key strategies to reduce family violence across the population continues – such as the Family Violence Industry
Plan, ‘Free From Violence’ prevention strategy, and ‘Safe and Strong’ Gender Equality Strategy.

‘We look forward to seeing further funding announcements throughout this election year and a bi-partisan
commitment to addressing family violence – especially long-term investment in culturally safe early
intervention and the critical work of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations who specialise in working
with victims/survivors to provide holistic, wrap-around support for Aboriginal women who are among those
at highest risk of violence in our community.’

Media Contact: Laura Vines for Antoinette Braybrook on 0408 812 830 or lvines@djirra.org.au

Like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter: @DjirraVIC and Antoinette Braybrook: @BraybrookA

FVPLS Victoria CEO Antoinette Braybrook has been recognised as an inaugural international gender justice champion for her tireless work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who are victims/survivors of family violence.

The honour, announced in New York today by Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, is in recognition of Ms Braybrook’s lifelong advocacy ensuring the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander women are visible.

“Family violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women has reached epidemic levels in Australia,” said Ms Braybrook. “Despite the shockingly disproportionate rates of family violence, our women remain the most legally disadvantaged group in the country.”

Ms Braybrook has been the CEO of FVPLS Victoria since its inception 15 years ago. She has also held the position of National Convenor of the National Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum for the last 5 years.

“On a daily basis, our organisation works with Aboriginal women who have been failed by the system,” said Ms Braybrook. “Our women often turn away from mainstream services because
they don’t feel safe. They are not believed by the police. They are judged and disrespected. They are too scared to report violence; fearful their children will be taken away.”
“Antoinette is a formidable advocate for our women. Her tireless campaign to increase the visibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s experiences is leaving a lasting legacy”
said Marion Hansen, Chairperson of FVPLS Victoria.

“She is a trailblazer, influencing systemic change within the justice system that is improving the safety of Aboriginal women and their children. Life for the next generation of Aboriginal women
will be different because of her,” said Ms Hansen.

“I’m very proud and humbled to accept this honour. But, the recognition really belongs to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in our communities,” said Ms Braybrook. “Our
women are strong and courageous. We are the leaders, role models and nurturers in our community.”

In 2018, the theme for NAIDOC Week will be Because of her, we can! and will celebrate the invaluable contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have made – and
continue to make – to our communities, our families, our rich history and to our nation.

“While there has been some progress to amplify the voices and visibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, so much more remains to be done,” said Ms Braybrook. “Empowering and giving a voice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is the first major step towards reducing the scourge of
family violence that we experience.”

The Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice is launching the Gender Justice Legacy Wall to coincide with the 15th anniversary this year of the International Criminal Court and the 20th anniversary next year of the adoption of the Rome Statute. The Legacy Wall honours and celebrates survivors, advocates, judges, prosecutors and others who have contributed to the field of international gender justice.

The Gender Justice Legacy Wall will be housed in the new International Criminal Court building as an installation and unveiled during the 20th anniversary activities at the Court in 2018. Further information about the Gender Justice Legacy Wall is available at http://4genderjustice.org/gender-justice-legacy-wall/.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter: @FVPLSVictoria and Antoinette Braybrook: @BraybrookA
Media Contact: Ben Schokman for Antoinette Braybrook on 0403 622 810 or bschokman@fvpls.org

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) has today released a review of its Child Protection Program which highlights the crucial role Aboriginal Community Controlled legal assistance services, like
Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria (‘FVPLS Victoria’), play in supporting Aboriginal women experiencing family violence to access justice and maintain
the safe and ongoing care of their children.

“The very real risk of having children removed is one of the major barriers to Aboriginal women reporting family violence and seeking the help and support that is needed,” said
Antoinette Braybrook, CEO of FVPLS Victoria. “Aboriginal women experiencing family violence need to be able to access culturally safe, specialist and holistic services to keep
their children safe.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are grossly overrepresented in the child protection system. The VLA report identifies that around
one-third of child protection cases that go to court involve concerns that do not require the child to be immediately removed from the home.

“This report recognises that the current legal service response has failed to meet the needs of Aboriginal women and their children,” said Ms Braybrook. “Most importantly,
the report identifies that a client-focussed service model must prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.”

VLA has also committed to provide additional resources to the Aboriginal legal assistance services, including FVPLS Victoria, to enable them to deal with more child protection
matters. The report also identifies that Aboriginal children, young people and parents should be given the choice of being represented by an Aboriginal legal service.

“A lack of resources severely limits the number of vulnerable women and their children that we can assist,” said Ms Braybrook. “I commend Victoria Legal Aid for putting its
money where its mouth is, and backing up the content of this important report with a much-needed funding injection to Aboriginal legal services.”

“This new approach recognises that family violence is the single biggest driver of the removal of Aboriginal children from their families and communities. Aboriginal children
are being removed at higher rates than at any time since white settlement,” said Ms Braybrook.

“If we are to turn this around, we must support Aboriginal victims/survivors of family violence to access preventative legal advice and support to understand their legal rights and put a plan in place to keep their children safe in every sense of the word. That means physically, emotionally, culturally and spiritually safe,” said Ms Braybrook.

“Far too often we hear from the women we work with that they didn’t understand child protection was a legal issue or that they needed to talk to a lawyer until it was too late.”

“This funding will provide much needed support for our women and ultimately our children, families and communities,” said Ms Braybrook. “Importantly, this new approach recognises Aboriginal peoples’ right to access culturally safe, specialist and holistic legal assistance from Aboriginal
community controlled organisations.”

FVPLS Victoria operates the only Aboriginal community controlled legal assistance service in Victoria which exclusively specialises in assisting victim/survivors of family violence and sexual assault. Child protection is one of our core areas of focus.

FVPLS Victoria provides holistic, culturally safe frontline legal and non-legal supports, as well as early intervention and prevention programs to Aboriginal victims/survivors of family violence and sexual assault across Victoria.

A copy of Victoria Legal Aid’s report is available here.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter: @FVPLSVictoria and Antoinette Braybrook: @BraybrookA
Media Contact: Ben Schokman for Antoinette Braybrook on 0403 622 810 or bschokman@fvpls.org

The Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria (FVPLS Victoria) is hosting the Blak On Repeat Free Clothing Market for Aboriginal women on Friday 1 September 2017 at Djirra Women’s Place in Abbotsford.
The Blak On Repeat Free Clothing Market comes after the successful completion of the 5 Week #BlakOnRepeat Wardrobe Challenge. The Challenge was devised by FVPLS Victoria staff who
realised that many women only wore a small amount of clothing from their wardrobes, and still had the chance to go out and buy more, but this was not the case for everyone. “Many of the
women we work with and others in communities struggle to provide the day to day necessities for their families, let alone have the ability to purchase clothing for themselves. This challenge is a
chance to show support for our women, and although a fresh outfit is just a small gesture, it canmake a big difference on the hardest of days,” said Ms Braybrook.
The 5 Week #BlakOnRepeat Wardrobe Challenge involved taking a pledge not to purchase any clothing for five weeks and to donate ten quality wardrobe items to the challenge for distribution
at the market. “We put a call out for a range of good quality clothing especially business attire, as many of the women we work with have important meetings or court proceedings relating to
family violence. Women experiencing family violence may have fled the family home without time to back important belongings or they might not have control over their finances which makes an opportunity like this really critical,” said Ms. Braybrook.
Support for the challenge has been outstanding. Many organisation and individuals have come on board to support Aboriginal women. FVPLS Victoria is grateful for the support from organisations such as Reconciliation Australia, Aboriginal Victoria, Yarra City Council, Indigenous Land Cooperation, Our Watch, No To Violence Incorporating Men’s Referral Service, State Government Departments, Fitted for Work and Inner Melbourne Community Legal Centre, to name just a few. An example of the commitment to the challenge includes the Red Cross who have donated 50 outfits.
The Blak On Repeat Free Clothing Market is for all Aboriginal women and especially the women FVPLS Victoria works with. The market provides an opportunity for Aboriginal women to come
together in a culturally safe space at Djirra. Women can select clothing items to add to their wardrobes, have a yarn with FVPLS staff members, enjoy a little pampering with mini-manicures
on offer, as well as enjoy the sausage sizzle and DJ tunes on offer. This is just one example of FVPLS Victoria’s innovative approach to breaking down social isolation and increase access to
services and supports.
FVPLS Victoria provides culturally safe frontline legal and non-legal support, early intervention prevention and community legal education to Aboriginal victims/survivors of family violence and sexual assault. In 2016-17 our holistic services reached more than 6000 people. Our Sisters Day Out® well-being workshop program, now in its tenth year, has attracted close to 8500 participants. Aboriginal people who need legal advice can phone 1800 105 303 toll-free.
FVPLS Victoria works with victims and survivors of family violence. Aboriginal women represent 93% of our clients. They are the most legally disadvantaged group in Australia. Nationally, Aboriginal women are 32 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence and 10 times more likely to die from violent assault than other women.
Event details:
Blak On Repeat Free Clothing Market @ Djirra
Friday 1 September 2017
11 am – 3 pm
Djirra at FVPLS Victoria, 292 Hoddle Street, Abbotsford Victoria
The Blak On Repeat Free Clothing Market is a free event for all Aboriginal women. Children are welcome.
Like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter: @FVPLSVictoria and Antoinette Braybrook: @BraybrookA
Media Contact: Amy Greer for Antoinette Braybrook, CEO on agreer@fvpls.org or 0428 112 356.

Today’s appointment of the second Aboriginal woman to the Bench in Victoria is an important step towards equality, according to the state’s leading organisation for
preventing family violence against Aboriginal women.

“We welcome Ms Burchill’s appointment today as a Magistrate of Victoria. This is a vital step towards recognising Aboriginal’s women’s voices, leadership and experiences with
the justice system,” said Antoinette Braybrook, CEO of the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria (FVPLS Victoria). “It is also a significant step towards
ensuring that our judicial system is representative of the diverse experiences and perspectives of the Victorian community,” said Ms Braybrook.

This follows Victoria’s landmark Royal Commission into Family Violence which made 227 recommendations; highlighting the prevalence of family violence against Aboriginal
women and acknowledging their position as one of the most legally disadvantaged groups in Australia.

“The Royal Commission was a watershed moment which put Aboriginal women front and centre. Through that process we were heard at long last,” said Ms Braybrook. “One of our
calls has always been about having more Aboriginal women in positions of leadership and the court system having greater cultural competence and understanding of Aboriginal
women’s needs and experiences.”

Ms Burchill brings a wealth of experience and understanding to the bench, as a Dja Dja Wurrung/Yorta Yorta woman with expertise in criminal prosecutions, Children’s Court and
other matters and a background working in Aboriginal Community Controlled sector.

FVPLS Victoria is Victoria’s only state-wide Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation exclusively dedicated to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors
of family violence and sexual assault. FVPLS Victoria provides culturally safe services and supports including frontline legal assistance, early intervention prevention and
community legal education to Aboriginal victims/survivors of family violence and sexual assault. Our legal assistance includes intervention orders, victims’ of crime assistance,
child protection and family law.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter: @FVPLSVictoria and Antoinette Braybrook: @BraybrookA
Media Contact: Ben Schokman for Antoinette Braybrook, CEO on bschokman@fvpls.org
or 0403 622 810

The Aboriginal Family Violence and Prevention Legal Service Victoria (FVPLS Victoria) today announced the name of their Koori women’s place as Djirra.

The announcement coincides with NAIDOC Week, with its 2017 theme focusing on ‘Our Languages Matter’. “Today is a landmark for our organisation, a step towards our longheld
vision to create a one-of-a-kind community place for Koori women from across Victoria, including victims and survivors of family violence”, said Ms Antoinette
Braybrook, CEO of FVPLS Victoria.

FVPLS Victoria consulted with women of the community and the Wurundjeri Council to select the name. “We thank the Wurundjeri Council for permission to use Djirra, a
Woiwurrung word for the reed used widely in Wurundjeri for basket weaving. Weaving represents Aboriginal women working together, this is the essence of Djirra and why the
name was selected”, said Ms Braybrook.

“Djirra Women’s Place will become a place where Aboriginal women come together to celebrate our culture, support each other, and access support and practical help with
family violence and other matters“, said Ms Braybrook.

Many hands have contributed to the development of Djirra, with key contributions from the Indigenous Land Corporation, Victoria Legal Aid, and Gandell Philanthropy.
“We thank our steadfast supporters who have helped us realise our vision for Djirra. With the recent State Government announcement of two year initial funding for Djirra, we
now have the capacity to bring our vision to life”, said Ms Braybrook.

FVPLS Victoria provides culturally safe frontline legal assistance, early intervention prevention and community legal education to Aboriginal victims/survivors of family
violence and sexual assault. In 2016-17 our holistic services reached more than 6000 people and our Sisters Day Out® wellbeing workshop program, now in its tenth year, has
attracted close to 8500 participants. Aboriginal people who need legal advice can phone 1800 105 303 toll free.

FVPLS Victoria works with victims and survivors of family violence, 93% of clients are Aboriginal women, who are the most legally disadvantaged group in Australia.
Nationally, Aboriginal women are 32 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence and 10 times more likely to die from violent assault than other women.

JOIN US FOR THE OFFICAL ANNOUNCEMENT:
NAIDOC Week: Announcing the name of our Koori women’s place.
Tuesday 4 July 2017 at 10am. 292 Hoddle Street, Abbotsford Victoria.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter: @FVPLSVictoria and Antoinette Braybrook: @BraybrookA
Media Contact: Amy Greer for Antoinette Braybrook on agreer@fvpls.org or 0428 112 356

On 22 May, Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention & Legal Service Victoria (FVPLS Victoria) launched a social media campaign for Victorian Aboriginal youth aged 13-21 years, as part of a
primary prevention strategy to end family violence. The campaign’s purpose is to promote healthy relationships to young people, enabling them to reflect on their own
behaviours and to identify their own healthy and respectful relationships.

The project is funded by the Victorian State Government and is part of their Aboriginal Family Violence Media Strategy. “The Andrews Labor Government is proud to support
the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service in delivering this fantastic project that is helping to reduce family violence and keep our communities safe.”
Minister Natalie Hutchins, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.

The campaign features a five minute video which tells the story of Kiah, a fictional character created by two Aboriginal women from FVPLS Victoria. The story shows some
of the danger signs of controlling behaviours and attitudes that can creep into any relationship and spiral into violence and abuse.

“What’s innovative about this campaign is that it educates our girls about the warning signs, while also bringing positive relationships into the spotlight – highlighting culture as
a protective factor and encouraging our girls to draw strength from family and friends,” said Antoinette Braybrook, CEO at FVPLS Victoria.

The campaign can be viewed through the FVPLS Victoria Facebook page and includes a competition titled ‘Deadly Duos’. By entering the competition young Aboriginal women
aged 13-21 years can win a $1000 Visa gift card. Entries close at the conclusion of the campaign on Thursday 29 June 2017, with Andrew Jackomos, Commissioner for
Aboriginal Children and Young People judging the competition. Winners will be announced at the FVPLS Victoria NAIDOC week celebration on Tuesday 4 July 2017.

FVPLS Victoria is encouraging community, agencies and the media to support the campaign. “We want everyone to get behind this campaign to prevent family violence
and support our next generation of Koori women. You can support the campaign by viewing the video, sharing it around and encouraging our girls to enter the competition”, said Ms Braybrook.

The campaign builds on FVPLS Victoria’s Young Luv program, a culturally safe, family violence early intervention and prevention initiative delivered to young Aboriginal women. Young
Luv helps participants to be strong in who they are, by identifying unhealthy behaviours, building resilience and developing self-awareness. “By drawing on cultural strength and community
connection, we are building the resilience of Koori girls and young women and helping to break the cycle of violence,” Ms Braybrook says.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter: @FVPLSVictoria and Antoinette Braybrook: @BraybrookA
Media Contact: Amy Greer for Antoinette Braybrook on 0428 112 356 or agreer@fvpls.org

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