Under the Radar: GenVic Conference 2019

In June the IEPCP attended the inaugural GenVic Conference with the theme of Invisible towers: systemic violence, institutions and preventing violence against women.

Highlights included:

Adele Murdolo, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health on addressing colonisation and immigration structures, policies and processes in PVAW. Her key points were:

Newly arrived women
– comprise about one quarter of all migrant women
– about half are on temporary visas
– most have precariousness
– high unemployment rates
– lack a voice (cannot vote)

Immigration system
– creates categories of belonging, entitlements and worth
– determines who is deserving of care
– uneven allocation of rights
– creates vulnerability and risk, particularly for gendered violence
– locks in interests of capital and the neoliberal state
– shifts cost/responsibility to individual women

Temporary visa holders include
– 417 backpacker visa holders
– spousal visa/prospective marriage visa

Categories of temporary visas that are characterised by risk. Backpackers need to work in rural and regional areas to qualify to stay and work. Reports of violence and risk in rural settings. Spouse visa holders have high dependency and are at risk when relationships break down. Women on spouse visas vulnerable to deportations and separation from children. The Federal Government creates/enables conditions that put women at risk. Privatisation of basic government services (outsourcing is increasing) reduces support for women in these circumstances.

How would a feminist respond?
– intersectional approaches. Need wider perspective and approach to better understand systems which impact on vulnerability and risk.
– understand gendered capitalism
– privilege voices of marginalised women
– work in equal collaboration, form coalitions, step up, step back as needed

And in a panel session on people living homeless and in assisted group homes and community care that are experiencing serious forms of violence. We heard from Starlady, Zoe Belle (Gender Collective), Marianna Codognotto (Office of Disability Services Commissioner), and Andrew Edgar (Centre for Homeless Persons). Starlady, Zoe Belle Gender Collective, Marianna Godognotto, Office of Disability Services Commissioner, Andrew Edgar, (Centre for Homeless Persons).
Key points were:
– Trans women are excluded from Women’s Services
– Participation in leadership is inequitable. Ask, who is not at the table and why?
– Building Safe and Respectful Cultures Project https://www.odsc.vic.gov.au/abuse-prevention/building-safe-and-respectful-cultures/. Members of the community are paid to participate in the research team
– Voice at the Table: https://voiceatthetable.com.au/ aims to increase participation for people with cognitive disorders in leadership positions and on boards
– Good allies should: add a disability lens to their work; its ok to ask curious questions; avoid assumptions; communities are not vulnerable but strong.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

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