On Thursday 1 September, the Xavier Social Justice Network hosted the annual Dare To Be Different forum at Xavier College. With the last two years being online, it was great to have people back at Xavier College to share in a meal beforehand provided by the Food Trucks, walk through the First Nations’ Art Exhibition, and focus on the important topic of ‘Accompanying Women and Children’ with the help of knowledgeable and inspiring speakers. This year, the audience was challenged by speakers from McAuley (McAuley Community Services for Women), ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking of Humans) and diverse Indigenous programs. Over $50,000 of sales were made from the Art Exhibition, which is a 12% increase from the last one in 2019, and over $10,000 will be donated to the Purple House charity. Thank you to all who attended the DTBD forum, who bought artworks, and who supported the represented agencies. Read the key points from the presentations from the DTBD forum in the newsletter below.
Dare To Be Different forum key points:
Felicity Pringle: McAuley Community Services for Women.
Homelessness and family violence overlap. These issues impact women from every socioeconomic and cultural background. McAuley works with women and children to break the cycle that keeps them in homelessness and family violence. The mission of McAuley is to create a world that enables women and children to participate in society on their own terms through innovative services, advocacy and a caring community, so violence and homelessness can be eradicated.
McAuley's 'Safe at Home' program is about women and children staying home safely, while the person perpetrating family violence leaves. Safe at home is a social justice issue and should be a real choice.
The use of language is important, for example, it is more supportive to say 'why should she have to be the one to leave?', than it is to say 'why doesn't she just leave?'.
Bernard Dobson: ACRATH - Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking of Humans
Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in our world.
About forty million people are currently living in modern slavery.
Eighty per cent of these people are women and children, aged 18-24 years old.
Human trafficking includes; domestic servitude, forced marriage, organ trafficking, sexual exploitation, recruitment and use of child soldiers, and the fashion, hospitality, construction, mining and agricultural industries - debt bondage.
ACRATH - has a vision of a world without human slavery, one free of human trafficking. Its goals are to eliminate all forms of human trafficking including forced marriage, ensure people who have been trafficked access their rights, promote slavery-free supply chains, and develop sustainability as a means to address human trafficking. www.acrath.org
Fiona Townsing: Indigenous programs
Be respectful that connection and community are critical to Indigenous communities.
Don’t be afraid to ask how you can help Indigenous women, children and families, and what are their main concerns in whatever circumstances they are in.
Indigenous needs often differ from our perceived needs for support so try not to assume some issues are more critical.
Indigenous communities often have different literacy capabilities so education methods may need to utilise different approaches.
The basic commodities of life such as food, housing, safety and access to medical supplies can be the highest priority.
Additional resources to help guide those working with Indigenous families include:
VACCA Victoria Aboriginal Child Care Agency https://www.vacca.org/
First Nations Health and Wellbeing hubs for indigenous communities Frankston/ Thomastown https://www.firstpeopleshealthandwellbeing.org.au/
KEEPING OUR KIDS SAFE: CULTURAL SAFETY AND THE NATIONAL PRINCIPLES FOR CHILD SAFE ORGANISATIONS https://www.vacca.org/content/Document/SNAICC-VACCA-OCS-ChildSafeReport-LR-with-alt-tags-May2021.pdf
SNAICC National Voice for our Children https://www.snaicc.org.au/
Our MC, a parent at Xavier College and XSJN Committee member Nicole Spicer, drew on her expertise and experience to add to the richness of the panel discussions. The causes of vulnerability for women and children, and consequences such as homelessness, poverty, human trafficking, and modern slavery, are confronting themes. They are important themes to tackle so that we can learn how to confront them, Dare To Be Different, and advocate for change.