Dandenong Family Violence Service Needs Support


Wellsprings for Women » media release

One of Victoria’s most established support services in the City of Dandenong for migrant women dealing with family violence, could be forced to close its case management service because of lack of funding.

 Janet Cribbes
Wellsprings for Women

Janet Cribbes, Chair of Wellsprings for Women, said Wellsprings provides services to women, especially migrant women, who face several barriers including language, cultural, religious, lack of familiarity of services and systems, and socio-economic disadvantage.    

The region where Wellsprings operates has the highest number of women reporting family violence in the State. 

Currently Wellsprings is assisting over 100 women with a small team of 5 staff. Should the funding end Wellsprings is concerned about its clients and how to keep supporting them.

Ms Cribbes said "The Wellsprings service model is flexible, unencumbered by eligibility criteria, time limits, or rigid procedures which is a vital element when dealing with complex family violence.”

A significant number of migrant and refugee women who choose to disclose their experiences of family violence to our staff, do not wish to leave the relationship and need our support while they consider their options. "Often they perceive the alternative to staying as worse.”

Ms Cribbes said Government and other agencies refer women with critical family violence experiences to Wellsprings to receive the social, emotional, and practical supports they need, which other agencies are unable, or unequipped to provide.

Wellsprings staff provide assistance with attending courts, accessing legal advice, attending police or child protection, and being available when women are facing dangerous situations. 

“Due to Wellsprings women-only environment and the range of programs and services offered, the women feel comfortable and secure in attending the Centre, participating in a program while being a client of Wellsprings. This gives them the discretion they need which is not the case if they were attending a dedicated Family Violence service,” Ms Cribbes said.

“Wellsprings for Women provides culturally responsive and appropriate support to women impacted by family violence within a welcoming environment.”       

Ms Cribbes said, Wellsprings is advocating for a diverse family violence service system that offers migrant and refugee women the options to access the service that suits their needs and supports the choices they make. 

“Importantly women of migrant and refugee background impacted by family violence present with complex and wide-ranging needs which are most effectively addressed within agencies where they have developed trust and built rapport.

Media Enquiries:

Ron Smith, Media Communications, Wellsprings for Women – Mobile: 0417 329 201

History of Wellsprings for Women 1994 to 2021 

In 1994 Wellsprings opened its doors one day per week as a Drop-in Centre offering a friendly environment for women to meet in a non-threatening, homely venue. 

As the number of women attending the Centre grew, a holistic program was developed addressing the physical, emotional, spiritual, recreational, educational and skill based needs of the women. 

These programs were offered to encourage and empower women to grow in self esteem and learn about the wide variety of opportunities available to them in the community.

The large number of Refugee and Asylum Seeker families who have moved into the Dandenong area called for new and creative responses to a wide variety of needs, and the centre has evolved to provide programs to meet these needs.

From that beginning the Programs have gradually increased to the point where the centre is now open 5 days a week and caters for approximately 300 women weekly. 

Wellsprings has fully qualified staff and a large number of well-trained volunteers.

Click HERE for further information. 




Wyndham Pathways Project


Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation » media release

Building Career Pathways in the Trades for Women at Risk  

Tradeswomen Australia Group – Tradeswomen Australia (TWA) and Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation (TWACF) today announced the Wyndham Pathways Project aimed at assisting women obtain access to well-paid employment in the trades area.  

The project will focus on women in vulnerable and at-risk demographics, including but not limited to, newly arrived women, women from lower-income households, and women recovering from trauma.

 Janet Cribbes
Chair, TWACF

Chair of Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation, Janet Cribbes said “Participation of women as apprentices/trainees in the non-traditional trades, especially the core trades of construction, automotive and electrical, has remained at less than 2% and has changed little over the last 25 years.  

Ms Cribbes said through the Wyndham Pathways Project, with the combined resources and connections of Tradeswomen Australia (TWA) and Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation (TWACF), we are encouraging women to enter the trades with information, connections, support and the power of social and economic inclusion. 

“As Australia works through the economic turmoil of the pandemic, there is an increasing danger that the poverty gap will widen substantially, and the Wyndham Pathways Project in its approach could be the catalyst for a wider movement of such programs to assist women. 

“The Wyndham Pathways Project welcomes women of all backgrounds, and we have a particular focus on supporting indigenous women, women refugees and asylum-seekers, culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and women with a disability.”

Ms Cribbes announced that TWACF has appointed Ms Katie Yates, a highly experienced and successful manager of major social and economic inclusion campaigns for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal in London as the TWACF Community Project Manager to head the Wyndham Pathways Project. Ms Yates moved from London to Melbourne in November 2020 after completing her Masters degree in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Ms Yates said, “through a series of co-ordinated workshops participants will gain access to trades businesses and develop skills confidence and connections including: 
Seeing a variety of roles within the trades industry and the women that occupy them
Gaining increased knowledge of the different roles available to them.
Develop supportive relationships with their peers and mentors.
Finish the programme with increased confidence in their abilities.
“By the end of the programme, participants will have increased confidence to pursue a career within the trades industry and will have secured jobs or further training to begin carving their own pathway into their chosen trade,” Ms Yates said. 
CLICK HERE to register to attend the Information Session | 'Building Futures: Pathways to Trade' with TWACF Thursday 25 February at 6.00pm. 
This will be hosted on Zoom and will be recorded and is an opportunity for prospective participants to learn more about the programme and its benefits. 
The Tradeswomen Australia Group Wyndham Pathways Project is supported by the City of Wyndham, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Fund and Victoria University. 


Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Media Communications, Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation
– Mobile: 0417 329 201


Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation Welcomes Federal Government's Local Jobs Campaign


Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation » media release

The Federal and State Government's throughout Australia are being urged ensure increasing employment and housing for vulnerable women are built into the COVID national recovery strategies.  

The Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation welcomed the announcement today by the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, of the Federal Government’s Local Recovery Fund aimed at increasing employment in 25 regions across Australia. 

Janet Cribbes, Chair of the Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation, which has been set up to assist vulnerable women and help them gain employment in the trades, said “now is the time to drive a national employment campaign to lift the number of women employed in the trades and increase housing for vulnerable women." 

Currently the National Skills Needs List (2019) lists 65 trades that are experiencing national skills shortages. Of those, 62 can be classed as male-dominated trades; only 3 could be classed as female-dominated.

Ms Cribbes said the new program announced today by Minister Cash would assist women gain employment in the trades, one of the Federal Government's stated objectives, which we welcome and support.  

“The COVID recovery ‘shovel ready’ projects provide a substantial opportunity for Federal and State Government's to address and promote the employment of tradeswomen and careers in the trades to schools and the broader community, including parents.” 

"The Federal Government's $1.2 billion budget commitment to fund 50% of apprentice’s wages for one year should also provide an opportunity to lift the participation rate of women in the Trades area and we would look to this being extended and to the Government actively engaging with women to promote this opportunity. "

Ms Cribbes said a growing number of women in Australia will continue to face financial hardship and a greater risk of homelessness during retirement. It is important to provide a focus on creating increased employment opportunities in the post COVID recovery.

“Part of the challenge is the need for a coordinated approach to lift the number of women employed across all trades.”

Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation Taking Action 

Tradeswomen Australia Community Foundation aims to boost Australia’s recovery and women’s financial security by encouraging employment in trades. 

We do this by: 

• Supporting vulnerable and at-risk women to transition to financial and life security through career, education, and other pathways 

• Resourcing peer support groups, career, and personal mentoring, 

• Providing training in resilience, engagement, and careers 

• Ensuring potential employers are welcoming and inclusive 

• Connecting women to our network of employers, primarily in trades-related industries. 

Who we focus on: 

We focus on women in vulnerable demographics, including: 

• relatively recently arrived in Australia 

• in lower-income households 

• recovering from traumatic experiences 

• experiencing or having experienced other hardship or adverse circumstances  

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Media Communications, Tradeswomen Australia – Mobile: 0417 329 201



Tradeswomen Australia Urge continued Vigilance and Action to keep COVID Safe


Tradeswomen Australia » media release

 ‘Operation Protect and Preserve’ 

Tradeswomen Australia today has urged the community to continue to support the Victorian Government’s strategies against the coronavirus to protect Victorian families in the longer term. 


Fiona McDonald, Managing Director of Tradeswomen Australia, said it is vital for the community to continue to treat the move out of lockdown with caution to protect themselves, the people they come in contact with, and the wider community.

"With all of the hard work and sacrifices made by thousands of nurses, doctors, Ambulance paramedics, Police, staff in Government agencies and the general community, it is important that all efforts are made to have a safe transition to living in a COVID Safe environment. 

Tradeswomen Australia will continue its 'Operation Protect and Preserve' program to assist apprentices who have lost their jobs or who have had apprenticeships put on hold during this period. 

The Tradeswomen Australia Operation Protect and Preserve apprentice action sheet listed: 

1.   REGISTER – On the Apprentice displacement portals 

2.   FINANCIAL SUPPORT – Check what Financial support is available 

3.   REDUCE YOUR BILLS – Get your budget under control 

4.   UPDATE YOUR RESUME – List all your experience 

5.   USE SOCIAL MEDIA- Reach out you to friends and acquaintances 

6.   NETWORK – Make a list of relevant contacts 

7.   APPLY - Go to Tradeswomen Australia Job’s Portal and register. 

8.   LOOK AFTER YOURSELF – These organisations provide free services to support you 

Register for ‘Operation Protect and Preserve’ on the Tradeswomen Australia website – www.tradeswomenaustralia.com.au 

Ms McDonald said the organisation will also promote information to assist apprentices and their families remain safe. 

Actions to keep COVID Safe

stay up to date with the official information and health advice to help stop the spread of COVID-19

get a quick snapshot of the current official status within Victoria

check your symptoms, if you are concerned about yourself or someone else, get tested

find relevant contact information

access updated information from the Victorian Government.


Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Media Communications, Tradeswomen Australia – Mobile: 0417 329 201


It Only Takes a Split Second


Kidsafe » media release

 Raising awareness of child injury prevention this National Kidsafe Day

Kidsafe Victoria has issued a reminder that all it takes is a split second for a child to be seriously injured, with an average of 3 children dying every week from preventable injuries in Australia.  

The call comes on National Kidsafe Day, Tuesday 27 October, the aim of which is to highlight key injury causes – the majority of which can happen in a split second – and key steps to reduce the risk of injury and death.  

Kidsafe Victoria CEO, Melanie Courtney, highlighted that children's curiosity and lack of awareness of danger places them at increased risk of injury. 

“This year has been like no other. With more children at home and parents juggling working from home commitments with remote learning, sadly we have seen a spike in child deaths from unintentional injuries, often referred to as ‘accidents’.” 

Data from the Victorian Coroners Court reveals that sadly two Victorian children - aged 3 and 4 years - have died from injuries received from curtain and blind cord incidents in the last 12 months.

“Looped curtain and blind cords pose a significant strangulation hazard for children; it only takes a few seconds for a young child to get tangled in a cord that is too long or looped, but that few seconds can lead to a lifetime of devastation”, said Ms Courtney. 

Other hazards that can change a life in a split second include a cup of hot tea or coffee left in reach of a child; backyard swimming pool gates propped open; unstable furniture; household cleaners accessible under the sink; a car reversing out of the driveway; and accessible button batteries.

“Keeping safety front of mind and ensuring there are a number of key safety measures in place – including active adult supervision – can help to prevent a child from losing their life or suffering a serious injury” said Ms Courtney.  

As part of National Kidsafe Day, Kidsafe is urging families to make it a priority to check their homes and take action on items such as curtain and blind cord tensioning devices.

For more information and resources to help keep children safe, including safety checklists and tips, please visit www.kidsafevic.com.au.  

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Media Communications - Mobile: 0417 329 201


Women Tradies welcome Victorian Government’s Change to COVID Safe Domestic Building Access


Tradeswomen Australia » media release

Managing Director of Tradeswomen Australia, Fiona McDonald, today welcomed the Victorian Government’s removal of bans on non-essential outdoor home maintenance and renovations, which provides the economic lifeblood for thousands of small trade businesses. 


Ms McDonald said many of these businesses are sole traders working in local areas depending on small renovations or maintenance for their work and economic survival.

“The provision of up to five tradies being allowed on the site in a COVID safe manner, means that jobs of a reasonable size can continue to proceed.   

“The increase in work also means extra business opportunities for suppliers, and importantly, stability for apprentices who have had their apprenticeships put on hold,” Ms McDonald said.   

Suncorp Bank, which examined the amount Australians have invested in renovation projects, found homeowners are spending $63,188 on average to spruce up their properties. In Victoria, $71,067 was the average cost of renovations in the Suncorp Bank September Report.*1 

“Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show in Victoria, women's full-time unemployment rate is 8.7 per cent, far higher than men at 6.1 per cent, and that in current job losses, women are losing their jobs at a rate 5 to 1 when compared to men.” 

“The COVID-19 recovery ‘shovel ready’ projects provide a substantial opportunity for Federal and State Governments to address and promote the employment of tradeswomen and careers in the trades to schools.”  

Ms McDonald said the Federal Government’s budget announcement provides a major opportunity to increase the number of women apprentices / trainees in the core trades of carpentry, automotive and electrical, which has remained at less than 2% for over twenty-five years.  

The economic benefits of employing women should not be overlooked with the Grattan Institute in 2012 finding that if there was an extra 6% of women in the workforce, we could add up to $25 billion, or approximately 1%, to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product. * ²


* 1 Suncorp Bank Lending Data 28 September 2020 ‘The true cost of the average home renovation revealed’ 

* ² Towards 2025 An Australian Government Strategy to Boost Women’s Workforce Participation 

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Media Communications, Tradeswomen Australia Mobile: 0417 329 201  



More Articles...