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One of McAuley Community Services for Women's amazing volunteers, Wendy Catling, is holding an exhibition of her photography starting July 10 with proceeds supporting the work of McAuley. Wendy's exhibition is the culmination of 18 months research into the personal history archives of her parents and makes links with domestic violence as a national trauma. Given COVID restrictions, you can view this work, and learn more about it, via the exhibition website.

Carmel Phillips, Executive Manager of the John Pierce Centre (JPC) has provided a July 2020 update for the community, which outlines closures due to COVID, and a number of online faith, prayer and reflection video resources. “It continues to be a challenging time for everyone and we hope you are looking after yourselves, families and each other. There are concerns around the spiking of coronavirus around Victoria," Carmel says. 

Wellsprings for Women is excited to announce that a wall that lines the front perimeter of its property in Dandenong now features a beautiful mural created by Melbourne artist Leila Ashtiani who came to Australia as an Iranian refugee in 2013. The mural starts with a depiction of a shining lantern, symbolising the courage and devotion of Nano Nagle who founded the Presentation sisters. The sisters’ mission was to reach out to the most disadvantaged communities to provide education as a way out of poverty.

Research into disasters suggests that people are at greater risk of experiencing family violence during periods of crisis, such as the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With this in mind, member organisation Good Samaritan Inn, which provides short-term accommodation for women and children escaping family violence and homelessness, has launched its 2020 Winter Appeal.

Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria has recently launched a new book, The Seed Has Grown: Our Story 1997 - 2019. As detailed on the flyer, the book outlines the incredible journey of Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in Victoria. "The Aboriginal Catholic Ministry is what a true model of Reconciliation looks like - black feet, white feet proudly walking together in the footsteps of our Aboriginal Ancestors."

The St Vincent de Paul Society’s National Council President, Claire Victory, has supported calls for a bipartisan National Anti-Racism Strategy to address increasing incidents of racism in Australia. As co-signatory to an open letter to the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison and the Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese the Society has joined with 23 other organisations urging our political leaders to create this urgently needed blueprint for change. 

The St Vincent de Paul Society’s National Council has called on the Federal Government to maintain JobSeeker and JobKeeper until an expert group has been established to provide advice on payment rates that keep people out of poverty. Either the current JobSeeker rate should be retained (an additional $560 per fortnight) or the payment should match existing aged and disability pensions (an additional $370 per fortnight) but people should not be forced back to the old Newstart rates. In its submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 and the Australian Government’s response to the pandemic, the Society also called for an investment of at least $7.7 billion into social housing.

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Elder abuse, whilst seldom talked about, is more common than we know. It may be perpetrated by a family member, friend, neighbour or carer, and may take various forms, such as physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse or neglect.

The Victorian Government’s $9.8 million funding to extend the emergency accommodation of people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic, and plan pathways into longterm housing, is a positive step towards the goal of every Victorian having access to safe and secure housing, says Jesuit Social Services.

VMCH Board Chairman Julien O’Connell AM says he is thrilled to have been added to the Order of Australia honours, and has dedicated it to the people he works alongside. He was awarded an Officer of the Order (AO) for “distinguished service to community health in the aged care sector through executive roles, and to higher education” on Monday, June 9. It compliments his Order of Australia (AM) in 2013. Congratulations to Julien from everyone in the Catholic Social Services Victoria community. 

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