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.




Walking Together, Learning Together Mentoring Program

Walking Together, Learning Together Mentoring Program

Expressions of Interest (EOI’s) for WorkUP Queensland’s “Walking Together, Learning Together” Mentoring Program are now open.

Please see the flyer for information regarding the Program and the Expression of Interest to apply for the Program.

Click here to download the Mentoring Program Flyer

Click here to download the Expression of Interest Form

Spaces are limited!

The closing date for the Program is 5pm Tuesday, 6th of April 2021.

If you have any queries regarding the program please contact the Program Facilitators,

Eileen Heywood on: email- info@heywoodconsulting.com.au or mobile: 0413 803 588 or

Lee Fagan on: email- lee@healingfoundation.org.au or mobile: 0447 108 086

New practice studios to improve DV support for refugees and migrants 

New practice studios to improve DV support for refugees and migrants 

Evidence suggests that women who have resettled in Australia face a range of distinct barriers that can hinder access to violence-specific services. WorkUP’s Multicultural and Settlement Services Supporting Women Experiencing Violence (MuSeS) project provides evidence about the current and potential role of settlement and multicultural services in supporting migrant and refugee women experiencing violence.  

WorkUP Queensland is excited to announce two new practice studios that will focus on implementing the findings of the MuSeS project.

Key recommendations emerging from this research include: 

  • recognising multicultural and settlement services as an integral part of the family violence system 
  • buildng the bilingual/bicultural workforce within the family violence sector 
  • embedding protocols for risk assessment within multicultural and settlement services
  • ensuring training for staff and volunteers
  • addressing stress and staff turnover 
  • strengthening collaboration between the family violence sector and the multicultural and settlement services sector.

Practice studios are small projects, funded through WorkUP Queensland, that aim to increase our knowledge of what it takes to implement evidence in practice. 

DV Connect and Children by Choice will be exploring different ways of implementing MuSeS recommendations. The team at DV Connect will be working with multicultural and settlement services in Queensland to improve ways of responding to culturally and linguistically diverse people, who represent about 17% of all DV Connect clients. In turn, DV Connect will support the same services to enhance their capacity to respond to people who are experiencing violence.  

Sophie Cashin from DV Connect was thrilled to find out that their proposal was successful: 

“Our staff on the DV Connect crisis lines have for a long time been interested in approaching aspects of the integrated service system differently, so that we are more accessible to individuals from multicultural backgrounds, and better positioned to respond collaboratively with services across different sectors so that we can achieve improved community outcomes that prioritise the safety of women and children from diverse backgrounds. It is wonderful to be in a position where we can have resources dedicated to working on this over the next 12 months.”  

Children by Choice will build on the work they have done developing reproductive coercive control resources to ensure they meet the needs of everyone in our community. They will work in collaboration with multicultural and settlement services to ensure they meet the needs of different groups and carry relevant messages and images.  

Bec Jenkinson at Children by Choice shared her thoughts about the practice studio: 

“Bringing together community members and advocates to exchange knowledge and co-design culturally appropriate resources is an important step in improving the sexual and reproductive health outcomes of culturally and linguistically diverse women and people who may become pregnant. We are excited to be partnering with WorkUP on this project.” 

Congratulations to both organisations. WorkUP is very proud to be supporting this important work.  

Click here to learn more about practice studios and how your organisation can get involved, or contact Theresa Kellett at theresa.kellett@anrows.org.au  

We will be holding an event in the coming months to explore and discuss the MuSeS project and recommendations. 


‘Our Talk’: new monthly networking sessions

‘Our Talk’: new monthly networking sessions

Due to the impacts of intergenerational trauma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a disproportionate level of domestic violence and hospitalisationsIt is therefore essential that the sector has aAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce that understands and is responsive to the complex needs of their clients’ communities, in addition to be being well-equipped to provide the necessary professional and cultural support. 

Considering the need for adequate workforce representation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the sector has recognised that the numbers are considerably low compared to other sector workforce populations 

As part of WorkUP Queensland’s ongoing commitment to the sector, we will present a series of monthly seminars, called ‘Our Talk’ to provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander domestic and family violence workers to develop new understandings, and add to their current knowledge of, issues within the domestic and family violence, sexual assault and women’s health sector.  

The series will also generate discussion about practice issues in communities and seek to supplement any professional development gaps in current training opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander domestic and family violence workers.   

We aim to do this by: 

  • facilitating conversations and connections between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander domestic and family violence staff to establish and maintain networks throughout the regions
  • facilitating sharing of practice knowledge from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander domestic and family violence workers 
  • supplementing current on-the-job training and professional development opportunities available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sector staff with relevant or new topics.  

The series will inform WorkUP Queensland’s future professional development events for the sector.  

‘Our Talksessions will commence on 11  February and run for two hours each month. They will conclude on 11 November.

We invite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander domestic and family violence workers to register, reconnect with your peers and indulge in some of ‘Our Talk’.

To find out more, please contact Lee Fagan on 0447 108 086 or email Lee@healingfoundation.org.au  

You can also register for other WorkUP Queensland professional development events here.  

Intersectionality – helping us to become better advocates for our clients

Intersectionality – helping us to become better advocates for our clients

This year WorkUP Queensland is focusing on intersectionality. Intersectionality considers how power relations arise and interact from social location including, but not limited to, race, class, gender and ability.

An understanding of the theory and how it works in practice is important to the gender-based violence sector because it may increase capability to work with at-risk populations. American lawyer and academic Kimberlé Crenshaw is largely credited with coining the term:

Women working in the field of domestic violence have sometimes reproduced the subordination and marginalisation of women of colour by adopting policies, priorities, or strategies of empowerment that either elide or wholly disregard the particular intersectional needs of women of colour. While gender, race, and class intersect to create the context in which women of colour experience violence, certain choices made by “allies” can reproduce intersectional subordination within the very resistance strategies designed to respond to the problem.
- Kimberlé Crenshaw

Intersectionality can help us to become better advocates for our clients by looking at the ways intersecting forms of discrimination shape people’s experiences of violence. It allows us to explore complexity by understanding how multiple types of oppression can act at the same time.

While it is possible to approach one type of discrimination at a time, for example, sexism, intersectionality is about exploring all the potential barriers to equality.

To be more effective in the gendered violence space, we can study intersectionality to enhance our understanding of the way violence shows up differently across class and cultural contexts. This means the experiences of victims, perpetrators and communities are shaped by their structural and social locations. Intersectionality views characteristics like race, class and gender as an intersecting process that sits within a historical context.

An intersectional lens can be applied in a ‘both and’ way, whereby we acknowledge systems of ‘power over’ and the corresponding opportunities for empowerment that spring from it. This can be seen in the various forms of activism that exist and at times, overlap across the sector.

If you are keen to take a deeper look at intersectionality, join us for an interactive and stimulating series of half-day courses to assist professionals to explore the topic of intersectionality and how to respond to diverse populations.

The four workshops will use an applied lens to specific populations including:

  1.  Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (30 April),
  2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (28 May)
  3. LGBTIQ populations (21 June).
  4. Bringing it all together using a lifecourse frame (26 July)

The workshops will focus on practical applications for working with specific populations with the option to attend the ones that interest you.  An applied approach to understanding theory in practice will be delivered through the lens of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, LGBTIQ and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

You can register for one or more of the following sessions:

Learning Objectives:

  • To engage in this challenging topic to critically reflect about diverse populations.
  • Participants will gain an understanding of how to bring the theory of intersectionality into their practice.

These objectives align with the Department of Child Safety Youth & Women’s revised Practice Principals Standards & Guidance

  • 3.1 Services are Evidence informed.
  • 5.1 Ensuring Cultural Safety
  • 6.1 Services are client centred and accessible to all.

Who should attend

This is for workers in the domestic and family violence, sexual violence services and women’s wellbeing sectors.

Register: https://events.humanitix.com/intersectionality-in-action-how-to-bring-it-to-life-in-our-work

Save the date! Daring, feminist, inclusive leadership – bringing our best into 2021

Save the date! Daring, feminist, inclusive leadership – bringing our best into 2021

The impact of the global pandemic has been significant for family violence and women’s health services. Throughout 2020, organisations have had to completely rethink the way they support women, do their work, connect with partners, facilitate integrated service systems and lead their teams.

What we have heard loudly and clearly from the sector during this time is that you do not want to let go of the leadership that has been enacted during 2020, but want to build on and strengthen it, carry it forward into 2021 and beyond.

We have also heard that you want to be inspired and challenged, to hear from a range of diverse voices and to connect with your peers through flexible, high-quality professional development.

WorkUP Queensland’s 2021 leadership program, ‘Daring, Feminist, Inclusive Leadership’, is designed to meet these needs.

Who should attend and what does it mean to be a leader?

Is it about a role, a skill set, a qualification or length of service to the sector?

For this program, we would like to invite people who identify with Brené Brown’s definition of leadership to take part. Brené defines a leader as ‘anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential.’

The program will explore what daring, feminist and inclusive leadership looks and feels like and how these qualities are being and can be enacted in the workplace and broader community.

There are two components to this flexible program:

1. Three leadership symposiums

Online on 19 March, and in Brisbane on 30 July and 3 December, these symposiums will introduce women in various roles in the sector and wider community who are enacting daring, feminist, inclusive leadership.

2. Facilitated peer networks

These small groups will connect people across the sector and support them to work together to delve deeply into key themes. They will share how the qualities of daring, feminist, inclusive leadership are and can be enacted in their own organisations and communities.

Dates will be scheduled with participants.

To get the best out of this program, we encourage you to engage in both components, although you can register for the symposiums only if you prefer.

Please save the dates and in the meantime, we hope you will help us to shape our speaker line-up by letting us know:

1. Who are the daring, feminist, inclusive leaders of our sector?
2. Who are the daring, feminist, inclusive leaders of Australia?

View the Daring, Inclusive, Feminist Leadership Flyer

If you have any questions, would like to register for updates or to provide speaker suggestions, please contact Christine at christine@healingfoundation.org.au

Help us to increase diversity in the workforce

Help us to increase diversity in the workforce

A diverse workforce is one of the most important ways to ensure innovative ideas, skill sets and solutions. WorkUP Queensland is embarking on a new Grow the Workforce project by mapping the many different pathways into working in the domestic and family violence, sexual assault and women’s health and wellbeing sector.

The project will provide resources to assist in reaching out to and recruiting people from outside the sector. To do this, we need your help!

Your employment path into the sector 

We are in search of examples from staff in the sector who have come from a range of backgrounds, such as a different discipline or part of the community sector. If this is you, or someone you know, we would love to hear from you! 

While we are looking for real case studies that show how rewarding it can be to work in the sector – and the range of skills and disciplines that can be used to succeed in this work – we are flexible about using names and images. 

Student placements 

Student placements can help trainees to develop a passion for work in the sector and can assist organisations to find staff.

If you have had positive experiences of student placements, please let us know. We would love to share positive stories of student placements that have supported your workforce development.

If you can help, please reach out to Georgina at WorkUP at georgina@healingfoundation.org.au