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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 November 2011) . . Page.. 5437 ..


organisations in the ACT and an online women’s services directory, are available on the Women ACT website.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): A supplementary, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, how are these programs advertised to the wider Canberra community, and what is the success of these support services?

MS BURCH: Each year the Women’s Information Referral Centre, WIRC, produces two editions of What’s on for women. This fantastic publication lists events, groups, meetings and services targeted to women’s physical, mental, social and emotional wellbeing. What’s on for women includes courses and programs provided by the Women’s Information Referral Centre as well as those provided by groups and organisations across Canberra. The publication is widely utilised by service providers and individuals alike. As mentioned earlier, about 6,000 printed copies are distributed annually. The centre also advertises its programs widely through brochures and posters, email distribution lists, women’s service networks and the Women ACT website.

The services and programs provided by the Women’s Information and Referral Centre are very well utilised. Some 124 women attended 12 personal development courses on topics ranging from assertiveness and self-esteem, anger management and effectiveness in the workplace to negotiating with emotional intelligence and the happiness experiment—something we could bring to the Assembly, perhaps, Ms Porter. Fifty-two women were supported through four domestic violence and two separation support groups; 280 women attended a “Thinking Thursday” information session.

The centre works closely with other women’s services and agencies. In 2010-11 a pilot project offered women in housing tenancies intensive financial training entitled “Bad debt boot camp”. The focus was on women tenants who have been housed due to domestic violence and have ongoing rental arrears issues.

The centre also partnered with Gunyah Women’s Housing and community groups to conduct domestic violence support groups which particularly targeted Aboriginal women and women from culturally diverse groups.

Also last year, more than 120 women received a return to work grant for a range of activities and resources, including education and training fees; education expenses for things such as textbooks, computer software and transport to courses and study; and work-related expenses such as expenses for clothing, uniforms, equipment and childcare.

Women’s Legal Centre—accommodation

MR SMYTH: Given that the Women’s Legal Centre is working in cramped and inadequate conditions and is unable to meet the demand of women for legal services, what impact is this having on the wellbeing of vulnerable women in our community and their confidence in getting access to the wider range of support services that are set up to help them?


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