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Family, Domestic, and Sexual Violence Services in 2031: Influencing Australia’s response now #FDSV2031

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Event description

WHAT: A special 2-part futuring event co-designed and presented by Illawarra Women's Health Centre, RANZP, USYD, and Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) Australia. Please register here for the public Zoom webinar with keynote presentations from Ash JohnstoneDr Karen WilliamsLula Dembele, and Sally Stevenson AM. To attend the design futuring workshop hosted by University of Sydney’s Dr Clare Cooper, and co-facilitated by Dr Leigh-Anne Hepburn and Lina Patel please submit a short EOI with your event registration as capacity is limited. (WORKSHOP IS NOW FULL, tickets to Webinar still available)

WHEN: Wednesday 21 July 2021, 6 to 8pm (AEST)
HOW: Zoom links will be sent to you one week before the event. 

In the lead-up to the national Women’s Safety Summit, we’re inviting you to explore with us where we want Australia to be in 10 years. Imagining that we are already there in 2031 and asking ourselves; How did we successfully respond to the trauma suffered by the survivors of family, domestic, and sexual violence?  

We are splitting this event into two parts to encourage a broad audience as well as real outcomes that will impact the development of the new National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children and the budget devoted to it. 


PART 1:Futuring Webinar (6-7pm) (AEST) – unlimited participation  

Open to a general and unlimited audience and hosted by Sydney University’s Dr Clare Cooper, experienced professionals and advocates in the family, domestic, and sexual violence fields will tackle a number of critical questions like:     

  • How do we respond to the impacton the health of survivors of family, domestic, and sexual violencein 2031?    
  • What does thelivedexperience of recovery look like in 2031?
  • What doesthe family, domestic, and sexual violencepolicy, planningand funding environmentlook like in 2031?  


Part 2: Futuring Advocacy Workshop (7-8pm) (AEST) 

Limited participation based on EOI (FULL- ALLOCATION EXHAUSTED)

We’re inviting 40 participants to deeply engage in creative workshops to help us drive priorities for the next National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children. This workshop break-out rooms will be facilitated by Dr Clare CooperDr Leigh-Anne Hepburn and Lina Patel.

Whether you work in health, domestic and family violence, social or legal services, and especially if you have lived experience of violence and abuse, and you’d like to be part of formulating practical outcomes and a transformed future, we want to hear from you. 

Since we do need to limit numbers for the workshops, please register early (by ticking the Advocacy Workshop box). Tell us a bit about yourself (300 characters max) and why you’d like to contribute.


More information about the purpose and methods behind this event:
The method of ‘design futuring’ is a creative and stimulating way of exploring the changes needed now at the social and political level to get to a desired outcome in the future. From the future perspectives of 2031, we will look back to see how we supported women and children, and the whole nation, to get to this healthier place.

The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children is on the agenda now. Ensuring the safety of women and children by reducing violence is paramount. How do we support survivors to recover when there can be a lifetime of health impacts?

How, in 10 years’ time, have we as a nation addressed the physical, psychological, and emotional scars left by the epidemic of family, domestic, and sexual violence? How has our country, by 2031, transformed this public health and social emergency?

Join us for a special event to explore what a better future might look like.  


Keynote speakers:

Ash Johnstone is a Dunghutti woman living on sovereign Dharawal land. She is a frontline Indigenous domestic and family violence specialist worker for the Illawarra Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service, and is currently acting CEO of Women's Safety NSW. Ash also works as an academic in the Indigenous Studies Unit at the University of Wollongong and is a sessional tutor at Macquarie University.

Dr Karen Williams is a Consultant Psychiatrist who specialises in PTSD and other trauma syndromes. She is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and a member of its Family Violence Network Committee. 

Dr Williams is the Special Advisor on Mental Health at the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre. She is also a member of the Professional Advisory Group for The Trauma Recovery Centre being developed on New South Wales South Coast.   

Lula Dembele is a passionate advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence. Lula uses her lived experience to raise awareness as a Bravehearts Ambassador and part of Our Watch's 'Voices for Change' advocacy program, as well as contributing to research and resources that inform and strengthen social and service responses to domestic and family violence. Combining lived experience with professional expertise in strategic policy and gender mainstreaming, she dedicates her efforts to working on cultural change and systemic reform to improve gender equality and reduce violence against women.

In 2018, Lula established the Accountability Matters Project to re-frame domestic violence from being seen as a “women’s issue” and to drive collective national efforts to reduce men’s use of sexual, domestic and family violence by 25 per cent in 25 years. Lula is currently Manager Gender Equity at Women's Health in theSouth East(WHISE).   

Sally Stevenson
 is General Manager of the Illawarra Women's Health Centre has worked in public health for almost 30 years for organisations such as Médecins sans Frontiers, the World Health Organisation and the World Bank.

Sally was the founder and long term Chairperson of the international community development organisation indigo foundation. She was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2014 for services to the community in Australia and overseas.   

Ms Stevenson has been a member of the Independent Review Committee of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, the International Advisory Committee for Sexual Health and Family Planning Australia and the Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of Wollongong.     

Ms Stevenson is Chief Investigator on two University of NSW projects: Transforming Domestic and Family Violence Response and RecoveryServices, and Investigating Persistent Pain and Trauma. She is also the Principal Investigator on two joint University of Wollongong and Illawarra Women’s Health Centre research projects on domestic and family violence.

Event design lead and host:

Dr Clare Cooper is a Design Lecturer at The University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning based on Gadigal land. She has spent the last two decades as a community organiser, visual communications designer, composer, festival director, performing artist and activist. She has designed and hosted workshops for City of Sydney, Inner West Council, Diversity Arts Australia, and the University of Technology Sydney. 

Listen to an interview with Clare about design futuring in The Conversation's podcast series Trust Me, I’m an Expert (2020).
[Photo by Traianos Pakioufakis]

Workshop co-facilitators:

Lina Patel is a first generation migrant, born in Kenya and raised on the lands of the Dharawal and Eora Nations. She is a Facilitator living on Wurundjeri Woiwurrung Country and working globally. Her mission is to alleviate needless workplace suffering and bring more kindness into the world, one team at a time. As a professional facilitator working with groups, she is inclusive, outcomes oriented, and comfortable asking difficult questions compassionately, so that people get to the heart of the matter. Lina works with people and organisations around the world who value positive social outcomes and want to get better at how they work together. [Photo by Juanita Wheeler]

Dr Leigh-Anne Hepburn is a designer and researcher based at The University of Sydney. Through participatory design and creative engagement, Leigh-Anne seeks to understand better and value the diverse lived experiences of our communities to inform and influence meaningful change. She has worked extensively with vulnerable, diverse and remote communities using design to understand and share women’s health and care experiences.


This event is the result of a collaboration between Médecins sans Frontières AustraliaThe Royal Australian and New Zealand College of PsychiatristsIllawarra Women’s Health Centre and The University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning.  We are also grateful for the support of key stakeholder groups including medical colleges and professionals and advocates in the domestic, family and sexual violence sector.

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