Enacting authentic inclusivity using action learning

Enacting authentic inclusivity using action learning

By Children by Choice CEO Daile Kelleher, Project Officer Rachael Smith, and Education and Community Engagement Coordinator Bec Jenkinson.

Action learning is an inclusive form of professional development where people explore a topic and work towards growth and change in practice over time.

It is a strengths-based process that involves cycles of questioning, gathering information, reflection, action, and implementation.

Children by Choice is an independent Brisbane-based non-profit organisation, committed to providing unbiased information on all pregnancy options – abortion, adoption and parenting.

In July 2020, Children by Choice joined WorkUP Queensland’s Action Learning Project to get support for and enact authentic progress towards inclusive practice. Our Action Learning Project revolved around the development of Children by Choice’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

Supported by WorkUP Queensland and the Action Learning process, Children by Choice has built momentum for change across our organisation, with our staff team and Management Committee engaged in developing our Reflect RAP.

We identified a shared desire to explore and understand our organisational history and how we worked with First Nations peoples. While this will be challenging, it is also essential to acknowledge the role our organisation played in the ongoing structural violence against First Nations people. ​We also built the capacity of our team, with ongoing organisation-wide cultural training and team building activities focusing on Indigenous culture local to our service.

Through the Action Learning Project, we have also turned our attention outward, seeking opportunities to listen better to Indigenous communities. We partnered with Health Consumers Queensland to undertake Kitchen Table Discussions and hear from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women about their experiences of pregnancy decision making, contraception and abortion. We have also committed to visiting First Nations services when we travel across Queensland for other events.

While preparing for WorkUP’s Action Learning showcase in March, the genuine impact of this project quickly became evident. The most important learning has been our new understanding that the relationship is the project! This outlook helps us to slow down and focus on genuine relationships, which cannot be rushed.

We have relished the opportunity to look closely at and reflect on where we have come from, where we are right now and ready ourselves to create the inclusive future that Children by Choice aspires to.

This project has allowed us to make our Reflect RAP so much more than a box-ticking exercise – it has become an opportunity to show that we are doing genuinely meaningful work. We look forward to officially launching our Reflect RAP and incorporating it into our 50th anniversary celebrations.

We are excited and proud of where we have gotten to as a service and our ongoing commitment to reconciliation. Participating in the Action Learning process has been a huge part of that process.

WorkUP Queensland is continuing the conversation around diversity and inclusion with our upcoming intersectionality series. Click here to register.

Practice Studios can improve your service provision

Update: Cairns Practice Studio 

Practice studios bring current evidence, research and knowledge to life in real-world settings. They implement new and emerging research via small projects funded through WorkUP Queensland. There are currently five practice studios underway in Queensland.

Cairns Sexual Assault Service is using their practice studio as an opportunity to enhance the capacity of services in the Cairns region to provide trauma- and violence-informed care to people who have experienced sexual assault. To inform this work, they are using knowledge gained through the ANROWS project, Women’s Input to a Trauma-informed systems model of care in Health settings: The WITH study.

In February, Cairns Sexual Assault Service reached a significant milestone with their practice studio. They hosted a workshop that brought together specialist and mainstream service providers who work with people who have experienced sexual violence across the region.

During the workshop, participants used the trauma- and violence-informed care framework to examine how the work is carried out across Cairns, and why it is carried out the way it is. The group discussed ways to improve trauma-informed care for their clients by working across sectors and silos. The group decided on three projects and recruited volunteers for all three. We will provide more information on those projects as they progress.

If you would like to find out more about Practice Studios, please contact Theresa Kellett at Theresa.kellett@anrows.org.au

Save the date! Daring, inclusive, feminist leadership 

Save the date! Daring, inclusive, feminist leadership 

‘Leadership is defined as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential”

- Brene Brown

WorkUP Queensland’s ‘Daring, Inclusive, Feminist’ Leadership’ series brings people across Queensland together to explore what it means to ‘lead daringly’.

In our latest online session, facilitated by Jan Ungerer Director Insightful Communications, we were joined by a host of inspiring people including Bri Lee, legal academic, author and advocate, who inspired us with snippets of her story and the leadership insights gained along the way.

The Healing Foundation CEO Fiona Cornforth (formerly Petersen) shared, from the heart, her reflections on leadership, including what it means to have a high-profile, outward-facing role centred around driving change. Gabrielle Borggaard, Owner and Principal Consultant at Inner Vision Consulting, provided some practical insights into what makes a good leader in the domestic violence sector.

Here are four of their key insights for enacting daring leadership:

1. Make space at the top. Encourage all women to lead, understanding that this looks different for everyone.

2. Be authentic. Remind yourself every day ‘I am enough’.

3. Take care of yourself. Maintain your passion, but do it in a way that doesn’t exhaust or deplete you.

4. Create a legacy. Not a statue that can break, but a living thing.

If you would like to explore further insights from the leadership symposium individually or as part of your team, please download the Leadership Resource. This is a simple resource with some key insights, questions and a reflective tool to assist you to do so.

Our next leadership symposium will focus on what it means to be an inclusive leader. We will be announcing speakers in our Facebook group soon, so be sure to join here.

Register here for the next symposium, in Brisbane on 30 July. For more information, contact Christine on 0400 999 184 or christine@healingfoundation.org.au  

Thank you for everyone who joined us last time, and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Feedback from participants:

‘The panel was amazing, very high level, lots of experience.’

‘This was extremely well done and engaging for our entire time.’

‘Reassuring – this work is hard ... necessary, and worth it.’


Build a stronger workforce with a $10,000 grant

Build a stronger workforce with a $10,000 grant

WorkUP Queensland is excited to announce a new round of grants to support organisationsto develop their capacity to respond to workforce challenges*.

The Collaborative Workforce Grant program will provide grants up to $10,000 (from a pool of $50,000) for an activity or project to be completed within 12 months.

The grants must align with WorkUP and the sector’s shared priorities to grow, retain, develop, support and connect the workforce, and sustain services. They provide a great opportunity to work together on a project that you may have had in the back of your mind but need support to action.

Please refer to your region’s workforce plan for more information, or register for our information session on Tuesday 20 April at 10:30am.

Access the application guidelines here, and download the application form here.

Any queries can be directed to Georgina Lawson at WorkUP Queensland, at georgina@healingfoundation.org.au or on 0419 106 290. Georgina and the WorkUP Team are happy to support you in the application process.

*Organisations must be funded by the Queensland Government to deliver Domestic and Family Violence, Sexual Assault and Women’s health and wellbeing services. The majority of organisations within the collaboration (and lead agency) must fit the above criteria and the main beneficiaries of the capacity building project must be the workforce of this sector.

Feedback from previous grant recipients:

“We are so grateful in Cairns to be one of the previous recipients and encourage others to apply.

The process of applying and receiving the grant money was smooth and we are so excited to launch ahead with this project.

The Sexual Assault Service was the lead organisation for our application, and we are collaborating with True Sexual and Reproductive Health Education, Cairns DV service other womens’ services in the Cairns Region to host a seminar for the whole Cairns Sector Workforce on the Intersection of Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner Violence.

The day will include professional development, self-care and networking and we could not have done this without the support of WorkUP Queensland.”

- Ella Morter, Cairns Sexual Assault Service Manager 

“I found the application process to be simple and straightforward and found the team at WorkUP to be extremely helpful and supportive as we went through the process.

The grant has allowed us to come together with two of our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to plan a local event together. We anticipate that this event will bring professionals from across the sector together to have an interesting and robust discussion about working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families who are impacted by DFV. We hope that this will build upon people’s culture sensitivity and practice knowledge.”

 - Kylie Henry, Mercy Community Services Program Manager

The inaugural round of WorkUP Queensland’s Collaborative Workforce Grants was completed in January with seven projects funded to benefit the workforce and increase capacity within the domestic family violence, sexual violence and women’s health and wellbeing sector*.  You can read more about these projects in the table below.

We look forward to presenting the outcomes and learnings from these projects with you.

Lead agency Project title Project description
Brisbane Rape and Incest Survivors Support Centre Practicing: Cultural Healing and Diversity (CHAD) This project will host a series of cultural healing training sessions facilitated by First Nations Elders and practitioners, followed by a series of critically reflective sessions.
Cairns Sexual Assault Service (TRU Health/Family Planning)  Lifting the Lid 2021 Lifting the Lid is an ntimate Partner Sexual Violence” seminar designed specifically for the sexual assault and domestic violence workforce in Cairns.
Children by Choice Sharing knowledge: Working with women with intellectual disability at the intersection of violence, reproductive coercion and unplanned pregnancy This project will explore the practice questions that arise in the context of supporting women with intellectual disability who report or are at risk of reproductive coercion by an intimate partner and/or others.
Mercy CYCS Working with Domestic Violence and Cultural Sensitivity –Yarning Circle This project will consist of four half-day workshops in which a yarning circle will be facilitated to discuss domestic and family violence within Aboriginal and  Torres Strait Islander families.
MICAH(BDVAS) We are all Works in Progress: Developing the skills of those working with domestic violence perpetrators This project will focus on implementation and evaluation of supervision model specifically for perpetrator intervention and DFV prevention group work.
North Queensland Domestic Violence Resource Service SPEAQ Forum 2021 (Conference on Interventions with Men who Perpetrate DFV) This activity is a two-day conference for practitioners, coordinators and managers involved in men’s DFV behaviour-change work, with a strong focus on practice and conversations between participants.


The workforce will benefit from the sharing of practice experience and practice wisdom, networking and development of professional relationships.

Save the Children Australia Communities of Practice (COP): Using the Safe & Together approach to shift practice, culture and systems This project focuses on setting up a Mount Isa Community of Practice on Safe and Together Model (David Mandal) supported by the formation of Project Advisory Group (leadership level) to support the work of CoP practitioners as change agents within the organisation and across the relevant multi-agency networks using their action/influencing plans.