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23rd March 2017
The Having a Say Conference is always a highlight of DSC’s year – a fantastic opportunity for our office to get out and meet Victorians with a disability, reminding people that Speaking Up is important and It’s OK to Complain!
Here’s a quick recap of some of our highlights of this year’s conference.
For the first time ever, DSC teamed up with Victoria Police to do a joint presentation on Speaking Up About Abuse.
Inspector Michael Baker from Victoria Police shared useful information with the whole room about what abuse is, and what people should do if they have experienced abuse. He reminded people to call 000 in emergency situations where an incident has just happened, and to report abuse to the local police station if it happened in the past.
He also gave everyone some good tips on what happens when you talk to the police. For instance, you can take a break if you need to. You can also have a support person with you, or ask the police to help you find an Independent Third Person or an interpreter. The most important thing is to remember that Victoria Police want to make people safe.
Deputy Commissioner Miranda Bruyniks then spoke about what happens when abuse happens in disability services. When it happens and DSC receives a complaint about alleged abuse or neglect, we will work with Victoria Police on the complaint. Victoria Police will look into the actual abuse and criminal matters, and DSC will look into the organisation and what it needs to do to reduce the likelihood of abuse occurring again in the future.
Over 40 people came to the presentation and some people shared some really important comments and questions that got everyone thinking. For instance – resources such as the Speak Up and be Safe from Abuse toolkit was mentioned and shared as a good resource for supporting those with communication difficulties to speak up about abuse.
Thank you to Victoria Police and Inspector Baker for joining us for the presentation. Thank you to everyone who attended and shared their thoughts and feedback.
With the help of our friends and actors Chris van Ingen and Emma Norton, we ran a workshop called “Strong and Tall, Hear My Call – Speaking Up: trying out the tricks actors use”.
We know that Speaking Up and making a complaint can be hard for a lot of people, especially if you’re feeling nervous or scared. There are tricks that actors use to push past these fears though, and so with Chris and Emma’s help, we ran a workshop teaching over 50 participants these tricks to help empower people with the strength and confidence to Speak Up in the future.
With body exercises like a slow motion run, pretending to be a tree growing strong and tall, and stomping our feet, as well as vocal exercises with breath, calling out to ‘beautiful birds’ and repeating humming and tapping sounds, the workshop was all about getting people engaged and active. The workshop was adapted from an Australian Research Council Grant at VCA, University of Melbourne.
Shouting out ‘Strong and Tall, Hear My Call’ left everyone feeling confident and strong about Speaking Up.
To start Day 2 of the conference, Heather from VALID Inc interviewed Laurie Harkin AM, Disability Services Commissioner, on stage in the big hall. Laurie reminded everyone in the hall that Speaking Up is Important, and can help to improve services.
He also reminded everyone that DSC is still here during the NDIS transition, and that people can still come to our office if they want to make a complaint. Find out more about making a complaint under the NDIS.
All DSC staff spend some time in Geelong during the conference, helping out at our information stall and meeting all the conference attendees. We always have fantastic conversations at the stall with old and new friends, telling people about what we do and how we can help.
To remind everyone that DSC can take complaints, we gave away fans printed with our details. They were a real hit on the hot conference days. Everyone had a DSC fan to keep them cool and breezy during each conference session.
…and of course, who can forget the dinner disco? We all love getting onto the dancefloor and having a bit of a boogie with everyone.
Thank you to VALID Inc for yet another fantastic year of the Having a Say conference – we’ll see you all there again next year!
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