Services for Families and Individuals

Counselling and Post Separation Support

Post Separation Support Services

Post Separation Support Services include family dispute resolution, information and referral, parenting support, counselling, parenting education, counselling for children impacted by separation, and Children’s Contact Services.  

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Post separation services are funded by the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department and administered by the Department of Social Service.

Family Relationship Centre

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Funding of the Family Relationship Centre is an initiative of the Australian Government. 

Family and Relationship Counselling 

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Funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Visit www.dss.gov.au for more information. 

New Service: Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling

Open Arms Veteran’s and Families Counselling (formally Veteran’s and Veteran’s Families Counselling Service) is a new service which provides counselling support to current and ex-service personnel and their families.  

The Open Arms service has assisted 54 clients, including 18 couples and 5 families with 7 children under 18 years of age, in the period from its commencement in early 2019 up to 30 June 2019.  

In late 2018, RASA entered into a three-year agreement with the Department for Veteran’s Affairs as part of the Federal Governments expansion of support to the veteran community. This new collaboration with the Department for Veteran’s Affairs reflects our strengths as a provider of couple and family counselling and parenting support, and our capacity to work effectively with clients with complex needs. 

Post Adoption and Forced Adoption Support Services

In the past year, the service had 147 new clients, and of those, 68 presented with requests for search and /or reunion support.

Bringing family together for the first time – A client’s story  

John was taken from his motheat birth and adopted by a South Australian family. At the time, both of his birth parents were residents in a hospital for those living with mental health concerns.  

His adoptive parents had told John from a young age that he was adopted. For most of his life he didn’t know his birth name and never thought he would find his birth family, but he never gave up hope.  

It was a small piece of history that began his search in earnest – an old immunisation card with his birth name scratched out.  

John contacted the Forced Adoption Support Service (FASS) team and with some roadblocks along the way, it was discovered he has four half-sisters. Three years after he began his search, as part of the FASS servicecontact with his sisters was made on John’s behalf.  

His sisters were delighted to discover they had a brother and it was not long before they all met. Sadly, their eldest sister had passed away many years ago. Their mother also passed away some years ago, after spending most of her life in care. Whilst his sisters were not adopted, they did grow up in the foster care system.  

John hopes that other people who were fostered or adopted during that time read his story and realise that they could find their family. 

The Department for Child Protection has contributed funds towards this program. 

Gambling Help Services & Lived Experience

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Gambling Harm: Evidence of Recovery

Eight years of client data shows that gambling help works

Relationships Australia South Australia’s Gambling Help Service (RASA GHS) responds to gambling-related harm through a public health harm-minimisation and recovery approach.  It offers a continuum of responses, including prevention programs, community education, evidenced based and holistic treatment tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of clients, case management and relapse prevention.

Over the past 8 years, prevalence studies confirm that there is an explosion of online gambling enabled by now ubiquitous internet connectivity. Nonetheless, harm resulting from pokies continues to be the primary source of problems faced by RASA GHS clients. Clients may be experiencing harm from their own or another’s gambling and the negative effects range in severity.

Analysis of client data collected for the last eight years showed that RASA GHS is contributing to a significant improvement in the wellbeing and social functioning of those experiencing gambling-related harm.

When our clients first access RASA GHS, nearly four in ten clients experience severe impairment in functioning as a result of their gambling. This is reduced to one in ten clients after five or more counselling sessions.

Based on an analysis of 476 episodes of care, clients in treatment move on average from “High” to “Moderate” in psychological distress – a clinically meaningful change across widely-used K10 categories. We find that the clinically meaningful change across categories is robust whether the episode of care is for a person’s own gambling or for those affected by the gambling of others (‘non-gamblers’).

Results of this analysis indicate that, between the first and at least sixth session with RASA GHS, psychological distress reduced from high to moderate; problem gambling behaviours reduced by two thirds; the average amount of money lost per fortnight reduced by over $500 and functional impairment (the inability to participate in social, psychological and economic elements of daily life) reduced by 75%. Moreover, an outstanding 80% of clients and practitioners reported that therapeutic goals were achieved.

RASA GHS results demonstrate that recovery from the full range of gambling related harms is possible. Going forward, we aim to continue to further improve the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities through preventative initiatives aimed at assisting young people and their parents manage online gaming and gambling behaviours.

Consumer Voice Soapbox at the Festival of Now

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The Consumer Voice is a service that supports people to share their lived experience and raise community awareness about gambling harm. People involved in the program can become Consumer Voice speakers.  In this financial year 1,771 people attended Consumer Voice speaker presentations 

One of the key events in which Consumer Voice participated was the Festival of Now, held on Friday 12 October 2018 as part of Mental Health Week. A Consumer Voice Soapbox’ was set up in the Story Tent and Consumer Voice speakers were involved in all aspects of planning, development and presentations occurring in this very special place 

Nine Consumer Voice speakers shared their stories and engaged with 122 people in the tent. The speakers raised awareness about gambling issues, challenged negative stigma and explored the intersection between mental health issues and gambling harm.

”Being involved with likeminded people wanting to help others to live a life free from addiction. It was a very professional but relaxing and inviting environment.” – CV speaker ‘J’

 

“The whole project has not only opened my eyes, it has helped me greatly, meeting and being with people with their stories. It has helped me to see the light at the end of the tunnel.” – CV speaker ‘C’ 

 ‘The Big Fish’ Animation

Freeing people from online gambling addiction 

‘The Big Fish’ is a story of online betting; how it can entrap people, and how they can get free from it.  The animation was created in 2018 with the involvement of volunteers from the PEACE Multicultural Gambling Help Service, who have a strong understanding of the negative impacts of gambling in their community. They did an impressive job of translating the animation from the original English into 11 different languages: Farsi, French, Khmer, Punjabi, Pushtu, Urdu, Hindi, Swahili, Arabic, Dari, Pilipino and Greek.   

The Big Fish takes the viewer on a journey using the analogy of a fish getting hooked, to show how a person can lose large amounts of money, their sense of wellbeing and even their friends and family.  However, things can change for the better; have a look at the youarenotalone.org.au website to see how.

Ambassadors and volunteers who assisted with the translation work were awarded certificates at a launch ceremony attended by Assistant Minister to the Premier, the Hon. Jing Lee MLC and SA Mental Health Commissioner, Chris Burns CSC.  A theatrical presentation of the animation was performed at the event by the Three Sides of the Coin Project from Victoria.  

PEACE Multicultural Gambling Help Service is funded by the Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund, a joint initiative of the Australian Hotels Association (SA Branch), Clubs SA, Adelaide Casino and the Government of South Australia. 

More information is available at PEACE Multicultural Services Gambling Help Services, visit youarenotalone.org.au.

Happy Happy Khmer Women  

Part of the Cambodian Gambling Help Service  

Happy Happy Khmer Women’ is a unique program developed by PEACE Multicultural Services in conjunction with Cambodian women.  Four successful activities were conducted this financial year, with 18-25 Cambodian women attending each activity.  

Program content was chosen in consultation with Cambodian women to make sure the topics covered were of interest to them. Each topic covered an aspect of health and wellbeing, such as mental health, nutrition, liver health (many in the community suffer from liver disease) and Voices of Women, as part of International Women’s Day. During each of the activities the issue of gambling was introduced creatively into the discussion. Cambodian women circulated information about the group within the community, which led to a number of client referrals to RASA’s Gambling Help Service.  

“There was no group for women only where we could talk about our issues especially for women who are at home, this group is very helpful as it is conducted in Khmer” 

 

“I like how we all design this group together; we choose the topics we want to discuss instead of someone else deciding what we need to know”  

 

“This is the only group I can go to as I am old, and all groups are for young people … I enjoy the company and the information” 

Consumer Voice, Gambling Help Services and PEACE Multicultural Services are funded through the Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund, a joint initiative of the Australian Hotels Association (SA Branch), Clubs SA, Adelaide Casino and the Government of South Australia. 

Family & Domestic Violence Services

New Service: The Good Life Project  

Rebuilding the good in our lives, together

Over 1,000 people from 13 different African countries and cultures have been engaged in the ‘Good Life Project’ from its inception in January 2018 up to 30 June 2019. The project is an African-specific initiative designed to build on the strengths and knowledges within African communities to enhance family wellbeing and prevent domestic and family violence. Developed by PEACE Multicultural Services working with African communities in South Australia, the project was initially funded until October 2019; funding has now been extended to 30 June 2020.

All communities bring unique contexts to their relationships.  The Good Life Project takes a consciously positive approach to learning, working with these unique contexts across established and newly arrived African communities. It is based in a recognition that, while dreams of good life, with economic opportunity and access to basic human rightsbrought many people to Australia, in reality the life of a migrant can be full of unexpected and unfamiliar challenges.  In addition, family violence is often considered to be a private, family matter within African communities, creating a barrier to potential support. Support services are also frequently ill-equipped to deal with the specific needs, expectations and aspirations of African clients.   

‘The Good Life Project’ has embraced these complexities and engaged with African faith leaders, young people, men and women to create effective education resources for service providers and community members, as well as opportunities for frank, restorative and skill-building discussion. Providing safe spaces for women, men and young people to talk separately about their issues and share experiences, supported by people who understood both the topic and the cultures, proved an effective way to build trust and safety.  

Facilitators used a ‘high challenge, high support’ restorative approach; inviting men to talk about and reflect on their experiences, actively managing the complexities of acknowledging these perspectives while providing a clear position on the unacceptability of family domestic violence, and what positive change might look like. The honesty and ownership of participants’ over their community’s development demonstrated through this project has been inspiring. 

“I am now a bit confident to talk to my dad and ask him to be a bit kind to my mother if he really want us as kids to progress and do better at school.” – Young woman from Equatorial Sudan

 

“I have separated from my husband because of DV… but I wish there was a Good Life project that could have helped us back then without breaking the family. Family is all we are left with in Australia, and even that was taken away.” – Woman from Liberia

 

“If we are considered as perpetrators or trouble-makers in our families, so why we are not heard? Men may be part of the problem but they are also a crucial part of the solution… I strongly believe that the inclusion of men in this project will make a big difference and slow down the stigma in our society.’’ – Man from Sierra Leone

Strength for Cultural Leadership 

African Men’s Forum 

There were two forums held in the 2018 – 2019 year, with an average 20 people attending each forumA regular gathering of men from diverse African cultures is gaining momentum and influence as they demonstrate strength and leadership in culturally adapting their traditional family relationship structure.  Contextualising their conversations within the current broader Australian stance against family and domestic violence, these men are openly discussing and attending to deep and challenging relationship, family and domestic violence, child protection and inter-generational conflict issues.  

A collaboration between Relationships Australia South Australia and the African Communities Council in South Australia, the group model provides education and empowerment, recognising the absence for many migrants of an elder social network that, in country of origin, would have provided support to address family issues. Participants acknowledge that their views about family and domestic violence change significantly after attending these forums.

“It’s paramount that men get involved because the roles of men in the year 2019 has evolved and changed” – White Ribbon Ambassador Patrick Soosay 

Getting back on track

Specialised Family Violence Service invites responsibility and assists in skills development    

The Specialised Family Violence Service worked with 129 women and 143 men on issues related to anger and/or violence, including 43 men who participated in the Back On Track: Men’s Behaviour Change Program. 40% of service clients are living below the National Poverty Line, 7.35 % are from CALD backgrounds, and 4% are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.

“High quality and relevant, interesting to hear about how to work with men in a constructive manner.” Youth Health Social Worker, NSW 

 

“It was specific with clear message and concepts that I can incorporate into my practice.” Family Law Mediator, NSW 

The Specialised Family Violence Service assists men to take responsibility for and develop skills to ensure their contribution to the holistic safety of their partner or ex-partner. It includes men who are fathers and there is a strong focus on ensuring the safety and well-being of children.  

Part of the role as the Practice Manager Specialised Family Violence Service, David Tully along with Sarah Wendt from Flinders University co-facilitated a webinar called ‘Child-focused approaches when working with parents affected by family and domestic violence’. This online skills development discussion on engaging parents affected by Family and Domestic Violence, with a specific focus on the mental health of infants and children in May 2019.  David shared insights from his work with families who have experienced violence, and how these have contributed to specific child-focused policies and practices and supported positive outcomes for children. He also discussed the skills, knowledge and practice models that support practitioners to have child-focused conversations with adults affected by Family and Domestic Violence.  Approximately 1,032 individuals attended the webinar, representing 520 organisations across Australia.  

The webinar was co-produced by Child Family Community Australia and Emerging Minds as part of the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the National Support for Child and Youth Mental Health Program. 

A full recording of the webinar and related resources, including slides, audio and a transcript is available here:

Specialised Family Violence Service is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Visit www.dss.gov.au for more information. 

Elm Place

Elm Place runs support services for people whose lives have been affected by institutional and out-of-home care as children, including Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants, the Stolen Generations, young care-leavers transitioning to independent living and people affected by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.   

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clients have accessed the services delivered at Elm Place
of clients reported difficulty with social and support networks
95%
of clients reported difficulty with financial security
76%
of clients reported difficulty with access to secure housing
84%

A place to believe in

Services for people affected by institutional and out-of-home care

While they represent a very diverse community of people, all clients of Elm Place services were separated from their families as children, and commonly suffered child abuse.  It is therefore not surprising that many of our clients have limited support networks which can offer them reflection, praise or assistance; have not had the opportunity to be reunited with family; and have a long-standing distrust for other people.

However, our most recent client survey demonstrates that, with the right support, things can start to change…

client satisfaction rate
96%
of clients belief in themselves and their ability to achieve their goals increased
95%
of clients who had attended Elm Place service groups said that they were useful
100%
of clients said the service helped them to improve their relationships with others
80%

Regular therapeutic groups and monthly social groups are a core ingredient of clients feeling at home at Elm Place. Activities vary monthly and have included art and craft, music and singing, gardening, pampering activities and Christmas lunch. Survey feedback revealed that overwhelmingly, clients were very grateful for the social opportunities the groups provide; with some identifying that without the groups they feel alone. Client feedback also indicated high levels of engagement and sense of ownership over the direction of group content.   

Find and Connect is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Visit www.dss.gov.au for more information. 

Healing Camp for the Stolen Generations 

The Healing Camp for the Stolen Generations was held from 8 – 12 October 2018 at Wirrina Resort near Second Valley in the Fleurieu Peninsula30 attendees were invited to participate in shared healing, beginning with a Welcome Ceremony by Uncle Moogy and talks about ‘coming home’ by Ngankiburka – mekauwe.  

During the four days, participants took part in self-care activities such as hand and body massage, weaving, hairdressing, crystal healings, Reiki, foot spas, facials and ear candling There were also healings given byNgangkari Healers (traditional healers) and Irmangka-irmangka bush medicine workshopswood burning and carving workshops and Healing Circles with Judy Atkinson.  

The camp was organised by a dedicated project management team in collaboration with Nunkuwarrin Yunti SA and Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement, as an important contribution towards the healing of the past injustices and harm caused by government policies.  

The Stolen Generations Healing Camp is funded through the South Australian Reparation Scheme for Stolen Generations. 

Images: Dave Laslett (copyright 2018) www.davelaslett.com 

New Service: Journeys of Unburden and Redress  

Elm Place: Redress Support Services

Elm Place’s Redress Support Service commenced in February 2019; since then it has assisted more than 40 people to submit their Redress application and is working with over 100 clients to complete their applications. It also advocates for prisoners seeking to access the Scheme.  

The National Redress Scheme aims to acknowledge the harm done to people who experienced childhood sexual abuse for which government or non-government institutions across Australia were responsible.  It helps people who have experienced this institutional child sexual abuse to access counselling and psychological services, provides a direct personal response, and monetary payment. 

Our Redress Support Service helps people understand the Scheme, discusses triggers and coping strategies related to accessing the Scheme, guides people through the application and process, and provides support when an offer of Redress is received.  

Submitting a Redress application can require unpacking abuse experiences and can often be harrowing for applicants.  Offering therapeutic support in parallel to practical support has been critical in producing not only Redress applications, but also to seeing clients’ happiness grow in life-changing ways.   

The Redress Support Service has established a SA Redress Network to promote collaboration and information-sharing between agencies. 

‘Sam’ is 33-year-old incarcerated man whose Redress application will be submitted under ‘Exceptional Circumstances’. He has likened the experience to ‘unburdening himself’.  

His application journey took him through a first-time disclosure of significant sexual, physical and psychological abuse by multiple perpetrators from age 10 when he was placed under the Guardianship of the Minister.  

His journey also took him through 2,500 pages of Department for Child Protection files, through learning of biological family he did not know existed, through reuniting with his brother and into a place where he has a greater understanding of trauma and triggers, has improved ability to regulate his emotions, particularly anger, has ceased using illicit substances and has become a ‘Unit Worker’ role model to his peers 

As a Unit Worker he now supports and encourages other inmates to engage in counselling and helps to de-stigmatise counselling within the prison systemrecently Sam said that he “didn’t know life could be this good”.  

Sam is aware that his offending history may render him ineligible for a Redress payment however he is committed to submitting his application to help ensure other young people do not experience the abuse he did. 

For more information regarding the Scheme please visit www.nationalredress.gov.au or call 1800 737 377. 
Contact the Redress Support Services on 1800 998 187 or elmplace@rasa.org.au    

The Forgotten Australians Aged Care Project

In Australia, an estimated 500,000 children and young people experienced institutional or other out-of-home ‘care’ during the last century, many of whom suffered physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse. Many have reached the age at which they are faced with the possibility of re-entering institutional care a second time around – aged care – or accepting this care into their homes, and in consequence are deeply troubled by what their future may hold.   

Elm Place began the Forgotten Australians Aged Care Project in mid-2016 to address these concerns by supporting the aged care sector to meet the unique ageing needs of these Australians who were harmed in State and Institutional care during their childhood.  

Helping Hand has secured funding to continue this Project and, in collaboration with a group of Forgotten Australians, staff from Elm Place and Flinders University have produced a Position Statement called Real Care the Second Time Around to assist aged care staff to understand the experiences and contexts of these people and inform their professional practice. 

This project is funded by the Australian Government through the Dementia and Aged Care Services Fund.  

GOM Central Goes Live!  

Since its launch, 1,341 people have visited the GOM Central website and 511 people are players on the GOM City mobile app game.  

GOM Central was launched in November 2018 by the Hon Rachel Sanderson MP, Minister for Child Protection. This online space for young people leaving care was co-designed by Relationships Australia South Australia with a group of young care-leavers and in consultation with various stakeholders.  This resource is guided and informed by the work of the Post Care Support Service.  GOM Central resources aim to support young people with their transition out of care by building skills, offering information and strengthening connections and community. 

Visit the website to find out more https://gomcentral.elmplace.org.au/
Funding acknowledgement: Post Care Support Service – The Department for Child Protection has contributed funds to this program.

Health Services  

MOSAIC Blood Borne Viruses Support Services  

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Clients
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Male clients
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Female clients
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Prisoners
  • 46% other
  • 21% Not specified
  • 18% Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander
  • 15% culturally and linguistically diverse 

The program provides counselling and case management support to people living with a blood borne virus (BBV), their family, friends or carers and to those at high risk of transmission.  

In 2018 – 2019, MOSAIC supported 313 clients either affected by, positive or at risk of transmission of a blood borne virus, of whom 171 were existing and 142 were new clients. The largest number of clients are affected by Hepatitis C, with HIV not far behind.  

Last year the service strongly focused on improving access to information and service for high priority groups, especially the prison population, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, culturally and linguistically diverse communities and people living in country and rural areas.  

Since receiving services with MOSAIC: 

had a better understanding of their illness and felt better able to apply strategies to keep themselves safe
95%
were more likely to access and engage with relevant services
91%
felt better able to apply strategies to improve their own life and more comfortable and confident to discuss their illness with professionals and relevant services
86%
felt better able to apply strategies to keep others safe
77%
were satisfied with the service they received
95%
feel better able to deal with their issues/problems
84%
said that overall they are better off now than when they first used / came to RASA Client feedback
89%

‘My counsellor is wonderful. She is professional, empathetic and helpful in many ways. She is invaluable to me.’  

‘Through the agency with Relationships Australia it’s made a huge difference in my mental health and all box’s ticked. I love how my workers engage and support me beyond their job description, I have recommended and will always recommend them to everyone in need or not. Thank you supporting funds to keep it going …’ 

Driving Positive Change in the Community  

Delivering Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmitted Infections (BBV/STI) client support, community education and workforce development training  

PEACE Multicultural Services’ client services team supported 165 clients (94 BBV/STI clients and 24 general community support clients) through casework/case management, counselling, education and advocacy. Of these34 clients are living with HIV, 15 are living with Hepatitis B and 8 are living with Hepatitis C, while 37 are affected family members. One client on medication for Hepatitis C was cleared of the virus. 

What do clients tell us about the BBV/STI service? 

are satisfied with the service they received
96%
feel better able to deal with the problems they sought help with
96%
say that overall they are better off now than when they first used to come to the service
86%

The Detection Overall Of Risk Screen (DOORS) tool was used with clients to get a holistic view of clients’ circumstances to better support the client with the complexity of issues they present with.   

As well as working with clients, 18 group education sessions provided information about BBVs, STIs and other related issues such as domestic violence and mental healthThe PEACE team also participated in 164 community and educational activities with approximately 1,400 CALD people attending.   

This program worked with 32 cultural communities and made 85 connections, partnerships or referral relationships as part of its work.  

Through the ‘Positive Change Movement’ campaign, the team worked with South Asian communities, African communities and international students to educate about HIV and draw attention to cultural practices and beliefs that reinforce stigma and discrimination associated with HIV. Recognising that lived experience is very powerful in understanding and addressing any issuewe utilised lived experience in community education, client support and workforce development. The team employed two peer support workers to provide support for people living with HIV and hepatitis B.  

Event Highlights

World Hepatitis Day on 28 July 2018 at the Hollywood Centre – the community event was themed ‘B-Positive, See Results’ and was targeted to the Northern suburbs (Salisbury/Paralowie area). 

World AIDS Day (WAD) during the first week of December – 75 people attended the WAD brunch, representing people from various CALD communities, sectors and school students.  The highlight was hearing the story of an affected family member (partner) of someone living with HIV. International students, the South Asian community and the African community presented their activities as part of the ‘Positive Change Movement’.

National Women Living with HIV Day – Women mainly of African Heritage discussed gender and HIV issues. The young women felt empowered to dispel the myths associated with HIV, treatment and living positively. 

Video Projects

Have you had your blood test for Hepatitis B & C yet?

Together we can stop FGM – PEACE Multicultural Services assisted SHINE SA by producing the ‘Together we can stop FGM’ video about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to educate service providers and other community leaders about this practice.

SA Health has contributed funds to this program. For more information about PEACE Multicultural Services, please visit https://www.rasa.org.au/services/couples-families/peace-multicultural-services/ 

Indaba – HIV Women’s Program 

Providing support for women living with HIV and for their service providers. 

The HIV Women’s program supported 16 women with 84 face to face counselling and case management sessions, 92 phone calls, 7 home visits, 22 indirect contacts (email), 9 cultural consultations and 31 casework/case management and advocacy support sessions. 

The program provides psychosocial support that promotes knowledge, skills and behaviours around BBV/STI diagnosis, living with HIV and addressing stigma and discrimination.  

Approaches include individual and group counselling, peer education, peer support and advocacy. A woman living with HIV was also employed by PEACE as a Peer Support Worker. She was supported to share her story for the first time to a large group at the International Women’s Day event organised by the Voices of Women (VOW).  

Funding for our HIV Women’s Program provided by SA Health will end on 30 June 2019; support will instead be provided to women through the PEACE BBV/STI funded programs from July 2019.
For more information about Indaba, please visit https://indabahiv.com.au/