2019 STOP Domestic Violence Conference

24 December 2019

YWCA Canberra’s Gender and Domestic Violence Specialist Dr Tulika Saxena attended the 2019 STOP Domestic Violence Conference on the Gold Coast in December 2019.

About 370 participants from all over Australia, from government, community services sector and universities, as well as violence survivors, participated in the conference this year, with the aim to come together as one and provide a unified voice for change.

YWCA Canberra’s contribution

Tulika presented to the conference about Bystander Approaches at Workplaces during a panel session on primary prevention within organisations and workplaces. Her presentation at the panel was complemented by one about prevention efforts in rural Victoria by Women’s Health Grampians and a presentation by Shantiworks on intersectionality.

In her presentation, Tulika explored bystander approaches as primary prevention and why workplaces are key settings for this approach. She also demonstrated frameworks that are used in bystander intervention skill building and whole of organisation approaches for bystander programs in workplaces.

Conference sessions

Presentations across the conference focussed on sharing best practices across sectors, including health, education, legal, policing and specialist domestic violence services. Major themes were primary prevention, turning theory into practice, and tertiary interventions to efficiently respond to survivors.

Nicole Lee, Family Violence Survivor Advocate, shared a compelling and heart-wrenching story on how the intersectionality of disability and domestic violence makes survivors even more vulnerable, especially when the carers are the perpetrators of violence and are believed more than the victim.

Matthew Parsons, Manager at Rainbow Health Victoria, within the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University, spoke about how an exclusively gendered model, known as heteronormativity, contributes to the invisibility of same-sex intimate partner violence and violence within families directed at LGBTQIA* parents, children and siblings.

On a lighter note, day two of the conference started with a rejuvenating session of laughing yoga conducted by Heather Campbell, a workplace laughter wellbeing facilitator. Other attractions of the conference included poster presentations and conference exhibitors. There was also a networking session which included much-appreciated Thai massage as well as caricature drawing and tarot card reading for participants.

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