CEO and Convenor Report

In this section

Margaret Augerinos
Chief Executive Officer

It has been a year of progress, expansion and hard work at the Centre for Non-Violence. Our newly built for purpose office in Bendigo was a necessary development due to the strain on our services and facilities we’d out-grown.

Our delivery of services successfully expanded across three strategic locations in the Loddon Campaspe region and we now have CNV workers based in Echuca, Maryborough and Kyneton.

Against these positive outcomes we continue to see a rise in the need for services from women and children experiencing family violence and men who use violence towards family members. In addition, the demand for our prevention and development programs including training, prevention and community capacity building is growing.

Despite these hurdles, there have been enormous achievements over the past year. I encourage you to read this report and celebrate with us whilst recognising the challenging work we have ahead of us.

Nicole Ferrie
Convenor

In 2014, the Committee of Management (COM) developed a strategic plan that would continue to position the Centre for Non-Violence (CNV) as an organisation clear about what needed to be done to end violence against women and children.

The 2014-17 strategic plan was led by former Convenor Yvette Jaczina, now the General Manager of Client Services with CNV, and CEO Margaret Augerinos who continues to lead staff and strengthen local and national stakeholder relations and international connections.

This leadership, and that of the senior management team and all CNV staff, was reflected in our outstanding results during the recent QIP accreditation process. The organisation met all standards, and exceeded in six categories. While there is always room for improvement, CNV’s commitment and best practice was noted as leading the way in the sector. This is tremendous acknowledgement for CNV staff and we thank each who contributes to the organisation’s efforts to create gender and social equality in a violence free world.

As we start a new year, the COM and CNV staff will be spending time working on the new strategic plan, and we look forward to input from CNV staff and stakeholders during this process.

Client Services

Our Client Services Division delivers a range of programs to the community including domestic violence outreach services for women and children experiencing family violence and/or homelessness; counselling for women and children experiencing family violence; young women’s housing programs; programs for men who use violence towards family members including men’s behaviour change, enhanced intake and case management.

In this section

CNV was funded by Department of Human and Health Services (DHHS) to employ a Specialist Family Violence worker to engage with Child Protection to strengthen links and collaboration between the family violence and child protection sector and to build family violence practice capacity within child protection. Since the commencement of the project in November 2016 the CNV worker has influenced changes including:

  • Improved risk assessments for women and children in relation to family violence;
  • A greater exploration of the perpetrator pattern of violence, coercion and control; and
  • stronger integration and collaboration between CP and CNV via facilitating communication, information sharing, case coordination meetings, care team meetings and joint visits.

The project and partnership has now been well established and we look forward to further joint work.

Our women’s family violence support group program, “Future”, offers women the opportunity to share their experience of family violence in a safe and supportive environment. The groups run on a schedule of eight sessions and use a closed group model. Sessions run for two and a half hours and are held during school terms. Financial support for childcare is provided. Historically our women’s groups used a support-education approach focused on addressing the impact of the violence and providing education on its causes, complexity and consequences, information about relevant services and self-care. To more intentionally honour this expert knowledge, we have reshaped our groupwork program in the last 12 months utilising narrative feminist approaches that support women to develop life narratives that can accommodate traumatic experiences within a context of resilience, coping and resistance.

In late 2016 CNV received an increase in funding as a result of the Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendations. In May 2017, after a comprehensive recruitment and staff training and orientation process, our new teams commenced service delivery in Campaspe and Central Goldfields. In Echuca our 2 staff sit with Anglicare Victoria, taking advantage of the opportunity to work alongside services such as Homelessness and Housing services, Victims of Crime program and Financial Counselling Services. At Maryborough we are located with Maryborough District Health Services, again sitting alongside the Homelessness and Housing service and a range of other community services including Alcohol and Other Drug Services.

The CNV service in Kyneton doubled in workforce and we continue to be located with longstanding partner Cobaw Community Health Services. The demand for services has been consistent since establishing the full-time presence in Echuca and Maryborough.

The Demonstration Project is a three-way partnership between Bendigo & District Aboriginal Co-operative, Njernda Aboriginal Corporation and the Centre for Non-Violence. Over a fourteen month period commencing in May 2017, the partners are testing and trialling a range of therapeutic programs and activities to support recovery for Aboriginal people affected by family violence. CNV’s role includes development of a community of practice, co-facilitation of women’s groups and staff training and development. All three partners are contributing to the evaluation of the programs and activities and it is hoped that it will be possible to identify some programs that contribute strongly to recovery, as well as essential ingredients that need to be in any program or activity aimed at recovery, particularly for Aboriginal women and children.

WE ARE WORKING TOWARDS THE FOLLOWING OUTCOMES:

  • improved access to services and supports
  • improved safety for women and children
  • the availability of culturally competent
    and safe responses
  • progress with healing for women,
    children and men
  • social inclusion for women
  • increased connection to people,
    culture and country
  • increased engagement of children
    and young people
  • increased empowerment of women
    and reduced isolation
  • respectful relationships and shared parenting.

Prevention and Development

Our Client Services Division delivers a range of programs to the community including domestic violence outreach services for women and children experiencing family violence and/or homelessness; counselling for women and children experiencing family violence; young women’s housing programs; programs for men who use violence towards family members including men’s behaviour change, enhanced intake and case management.

In this section

Over the past year, a great deal of work has progressed behind the scenes in the Loddon Mallee Homelessness Network to update and consolidate key documents supporting our strategic framework that will enable to confidently develop its next 3 year plan in 2018.

Meanwhile, the broader housing and homelessness sector has been subject to significant government reform and that has resulted in our local network participating in campaigns to continue federal funding, make private rental agreements fairer and highlight the plight of people sleeping rough.

A key achievement of the network has been its participation in the collective state-wide network to collate and analyse homelessness data, allowing agencies to have a clearer picture of service usage in the Loddon Mallee Region.

The Loddon Mallee Children’s Resource worker has contributed to development of ‘Through My Eyes’, a booklet for use by children coming into contact with homelessness and housing programs. Designed to provide children with positive ways to express feelings and manage stresses associated with the experience of homelessness and housing crisis. The booklet can be used by children on their own, or with a caregiver or worker.

Communities for Children Bendigo and the Centre for Non-Violence partnered in a project with Kids’ Own Publishing to run creative workshops with children in Bendigo as part of the implementation of the C4C Family Violence Action Plan. CNV delivered education workshops with Kids Own Publishing and Lightning Reef Early Learning Centre about primary prevention messages. Four workshops were held with 42 preschool children and staff at Lightning Reef Early Learning Centre.

Children have ideas about gender stereotypes formed at an early age and this can influence their thinking and expectations of what a boy or a girl can do, what they can and should wear and their future aspirations of what they can achieve in their lives. We launched the book as part of the Write on the Fringe Festival (an accompaniment to the Bendigo Writers Festival) at the Bendigo Library. The Rainbow Fox book and toolkit are available for purchase at CNV.

CNV developed Solving the Jigsaw (STJ) over 20 years ago. Since then, Jigsaw has been loved by, taught to, and provided hope and encouragement to thousands of children and educators across Victoria, NSW, QLD and a range of national and international conference attendees.

We acknowledge much of the quality of the program is in the time and resources required both on behalf of CNV and on the schools, and over the past 20 years CNV and ambassadors of the program have looked for traditional and creative funding models to make it sustainable.

We will reimagine the program design, partner with sustainable benefactors and launch a new program for children and young people, in places where they gather and in ways that benefit the children, their families and their communities for their lifetime and across the generations.

Go Goldfields is the community coming together with a common agenda to address social and community issues and develop new ways of thinking to create an environment where people aspire to and achieve their full potential.

CNV is a key partner in this work and leads two working groups in the family violence project. CNV is active within the broader Go Goldfields Project at the Collaborative Table, chairing the Family Violence Action Group and coordinating the Expert Reference Group (women with lived experience of family violence).

The Family Violence Expert Reference Group are key stakeholders within this working group and other community stakeholders are engaged through a range of activities and projects. CNV provides quality oversight, expertise and capacity to the project, funded as a part of the Go Goldfields Initiative.

Operations

Our Client Services Division delivers a range of programs to the community including domestic violence outreach services for women and children experiencing family violence and/or homelessness; counselling for women and children experiencing family violence; young women’s housing programs; programs for men who use violence towards family members including men’s behaviour change, enhanced intake and case management.

In this section

At CNV we endeavour to provide a work environment that is supportive, safe and well-balanced for staff. A Wellbeing Committee has been established made up of staff from all areas of the organisation. The group meets quarterly to discuss feedback, gather information and provide activities for staff focused on health and wellbeing.

Over the past twelve months we have consulted our staff and converted this feedback into a three year plan. This last 12 months has seen CNV provide free yoga classes, fresh fruit, offered flu immunisation and continue to promote several healthy initiatives i.e. a smoke free workplace with assisted quitting options.

We are proud of the work we do and believe a balance in mind and body and work/life balance is critical to providing outstanding service to our community. To enable staff to take time out and engage in mindfulness is a positive and effective step in creating this balance. The Wellbeing Committee continue to seek feedback, provide activities and programs and reflect on what is most beneficial for staff in our environment. We look forward to promoting a workplace that supports our staff in all areas of wellness.

Since our last accreditation in 2014, CNV has been working hard to deliver on recommendations, refine our overall organisational structure, evolve our process and procedures and consistently provide exceptional service to clients and community. Our commitment to high quality and best practice is leading the way and this has resulted in CNV receiving outstanding results with our recent accreditation review (September 2017).

We successfully met all 18 standards, and exceeded in 6 of those standards which is well above the industry standard. The feedback received was that CNV is one of the most impressive organisations the accreditors have audited. We know that the hard work and focus on quality across all projects and departments has paid off and we can now look forward to the next 3 year cycle and future improvements.

The new CNV Head Office building has been designed, secured and fitted out to the highest of specification.

The project was facilitated and managed internally by the CEO and the General Manager of Operations. Staff were consulted to ensure the design and layout was appropriate for the services we offer and this valuable feedback has resulted in a first class space.

CNV has taken a 10 year lease on the premises which offers highly functional, modern, flexible spaces with security and safety measures for staff and clients. Already we’ve seen a strengthening of our capabilities which has allowed for further expansion. Additionally, the new location offers close proximity to public transport and the Bendigo CBD for clients and our stakeholders.