News & Events

From the Acting Executive Officer

September 5, 2022

Spring is finally here, and with it comes signs of renewal and hope. This is certainly the case at Emerge where, as you will read, we are starting many of our programs and services again after a lull due to COVID-19.

Part of the renewal is our work to reshape our volunteer program to align it more closely with the needs of staff and women and children in refuge, crisis and the outreach program. This approach is working well – extending and deepening our support. We feature two stories this newsletter on the important work that volunteers bring to the organisation through their own expertise and commitment to supporting women and children on their road from violence to new lives.

We have also reviewed our arts therapy program and welcome Susi, who works as part of the Therapeutic Team in our refuge. Her role also embraces case management. We hope you enjoy learning more about her work in this newsletter.

These initiatives, and others, have been in train for the last eight months and were led by Paula Westhead, our former Executive Officer. Paula resigned in May after eight years with Emerge, a period which saw the building of a new refuge, the development of new services such as our work supporting mothers in the Moorabbin magistrates court, research with Swinburne University of Technology and La Trobe University, and the extension of our arts therapy programs. We wish her well, and thank her for the passion and commitment she brought with her to Emerge. We are well advanced in our search for a new Chief Executive Officer and look forward to making an announcement soon.

Like many of you, we were shocked by new research findings that 3.6 million Australians have been subject to emotional abuse by a partner. These findings, together with the Australian Bureau of Statistics analysis of Personal Safety Survey which found that an estimated 2.2 million adult women and 1.4 million adult men have experienced emotional abuse by a partner at some point since the age of 15, highlight the crucial need for a focus on recognising and preventing emotional abuse.

This focus has been acknowledged by the Federal Attorney General who has said that the next National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children will shine a spotlight on coercive control and improving legal responses for all forms of gender-based violence. We welcome this. The plan is due for release in October 2023.

We also welcome the media lens now being applied to the issue of affordable housing, and the lack of public housing and rental accommodation. This conversation is not before time.  Lack of housing has been a major constraint for women and children fleeing violence and agencies working with them to find suitable accommodation. We look forward to hearing about solutions, and to participating in discussions.

As always, thank you for your support for our work. It is much appreciated. Do follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jane

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