e-Bulletin 10/20, 11 June 2020

In this issue:

Message from the Chair


In this edition, WWDACT sends all the ACT community a message of peace and respect. We have watched news footage of the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on 26 May and have seen the outpouring of solidarity across the world, calling for an end to violence against Afro-American men and women in America and people of colour everywhere. Many of us shown our solidarity in some way. Black Lives Matter.

Has it been a big enough wake-up call for us all in Australia? 

We know that Black Lives Matter here too. Proportionally, we need to own up to our bigger problem. And that goes for those who purport to lead our nation. We mourn the #432 black men, women and children who have died in police custody since 1991, the very year that the Royal Commission Report on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was published. This is not something we can dismiss as an American phenomenon, and ‘Thank goodness we live in Australia, eh?’. 

Once again – it is everyone’s responsibility not to be a bystander when we see violence of any kind. Racism – it stops with me!

Thanks to those who were able to march here in Canberra on Saturday 6 June. Many of us were not able to be there. But it was possible to make an individual protest by holding 4 minutes and 32 seconds of silent vigil at 4:32pm in honour of those who have died in Australia, and to pledge to be part of the national solution. 

In particular WWDACT focuses on the high proportion of Indigenous women in prison, including women with cognitive impairment and chronic mental illness. In the Profile of Women in Prison in NSW Report, published on 31 March 2020, it has been called one of the most challenging human rights issues facing Australia. In the criminal justice system in NSW, almost one third of those incarcerated are Indigenous, up to 10 times their proportion in the general population. Most are on remand for up to two months for non payment of fines. Most are released without charge.

Poverty, family violence, abuse and trauma are often background factors. Too often these women are released to homelessness. About 80% of Indigenous women in prison are mothers, so that there is a knock-on effect on children, families and communities. Imprisonment increases the risk that children will be put into child protection, and entrenches the disadvantage for another generation. So, unless socio economic factors are addressed the rates of recidivism will also remain high. Action is needed in the ACT as well as in NSW.

Let us look forward to making Black Lives Matter in the weeks ahead.

Yours in solidarity, 

Sue Salthouse

Chair, WWDACT.


Join us for lunch

WWDACT's virtual lunches continue. Please join us on Saturday between 1pm and 2pm. You can join the meeting when the session starts using this link: or use the Meeting ID: 925 986 4114 directly on the Zoom app. We'll be using the same link every Saturday so feel free to save it in your calendar! The password for all our Zoom events is: WWDACT (in all caps).

WWDACT COVID-19 survey results


Thank you to everyone to responded to the WWDACT COVID-19 Survey. We’ve had 72 responses and 18 people volunteer to be interviewed, which shows how big an impact this has had on all our lives. We are currently collating the data and we will be publishing snippets for you as we do, until the report is released in July.

Some of the major issues raised so far include the financial, legal and employment issues many of you are facing right now. We are publishing some infographics on our social media and updating our COVID-19 page to make sure you can find the services that can help you.

Many of you have also said that disability advocates would be helpful to you in this time. If you need help standing up for your rights, we encourage you to contact our friends at:

WWDACT’s upcoming Self Advocacy for Women with Disabilities course is also still accepting enrolments and will include information and resources on the best places to find help in the ACT.

ACT Government Report on Maternity Services Inquiry

Last Year, WWDACT provided submission and testimony to the Inquiry into maternity services in the ACT. The Committee has now released its report, including several major recommendations to improve the experience of people with disabilities in maternity care. You can read the report and recommendations here.


COVID reality for people with disability


A survey of 204 people conducted by People with Disability Australia has revealed the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic for many people with disability.  

Nine out of 10 respondents have experienced increased expenses due to the ongoing crisis. People receiving the Disability Support Pension have not qualified for the coronavirus supplement.

Read the full story here

Aboriginal people with disability 


National Redress Scheme support

The National Redress Scheme is in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. People with Disability Australia is offering free support to people with disability who want to make an application to the Scheme.

Applications can be lodged until 30 June 2027. The Scheme has three parts:
  • A monetary payment to acknowledge the seriousness of the hurt experienced
  • Counselling and psychological support
  • If asked for by the survivor, a personal response from the responsible institution.
For more information, contact the Wayfinder Hub, call 1800 843 929 or email

Disabilities Issues Paper

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has released an issues paper on the awareness and recognition of the rights of people with disability.

The Royal Commission is looking at the level of awareness that people have about the rights of people with disability as well as attitudes towards people with disability.

The Royal Commission encourages responses from individuals and organisations to the issues paper by 31 July 2020, although submissions will also be accepted after that date. Submissions can be made in any language. More information, including Easy English documents, can be found here


The right to health

Health services, goods and facilities need to be available and accessible, culturally appropriate and good quality.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Australia and other countries have experienced challenges in providing adequate healthcare. Shortages of PPE (personal protective equipment) have particularly meant that vulnerable populations have not been able to safely access essential services.

Addressing the social determinants of health, including access to safe drinking water, food, and protection from violence, are essential to addressing human rights to health.

Social inequalities have resulted in disproportionate risks to vulnerable populations. In Australia, that includes those with disabilities and Aboriginal people. Read the full report here

Amplifying voices of colour

We need to have the voices of women of colour in all discourse. Aboriginal people are disproportionately represented among those with disabilities, but as in most arenas, they are not given space to speak. Let's change that. Here are some black American women with disabilities that you can hear from. In Australia, you can listen to the wisdom of Feminism and Decolonisation and Carly Findlay OAM.

WWDACT is committed to hearing the voices of Aboriginal women with disabilities and presenting an inclusive view.

Items of Interest

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