Annual Report 2011 – 2012


Prepared by Carolyn Frohmader for Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), © Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) September 2012.


About Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA)

  • is the peak non-government organisation for women with all types of disabilities in Australia
  • is managed and run by women with disabilities and is the only organisation of its kind in Australia
  • enables the voices of women with disabilities to be heard and represents their collective interests
  • is an inclusive human rights organisation which works systemically at a national and international level
  • undertakes work that is grounded in a rights based framework
  • links gender and disability issues to a full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights
  • is a leading and resilient voice in national human rights debates
  • is internationally acknowledged as a leader in the growing international disabled women’s movement
  • is committed to promoting and advancing the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women with disabilities

WWDA’s Strategic Goals 2010 – 2015

1. Promote and protect the rights of women with disabilities nationally and internationally.

2. Undertake systemic advocacy in specific areas of concern to women with disabilities.

3. Continue to build on WWDA’s key role in the consolidation, production and dissemination of high quality information, publications and research on issues relevant to women with disabilities.

4. Further develop the internal and external operations of the organisation in order to achieve its vision, goals and objectives.

5. Contribute to the development and implementation of Australian Government policies affecting women with disabilities.


WWDA Management Committee and Staff

Margie Charlesworth – Vice President & Acting President (May 2012 – current)
Pamela Menere – Treasurer
Rayna Lamb – Secretary
Helen Meekosha
Iva Strnadova
Karin Swift
Joanna Siejka
Samantha Jenkinson
Sheila King
Marrette Corby
Sue Salthouse – President (resigned May 2012)

Carolyn Frohmader – Executive Director
Suzanne Boffey – Bookkeeper & Personal Assistant (April 2012-current)
Shirley Raspin – Office & Finance Manager (resigned January 2012)


A Word from the WWDA President (Acting)

It is with great pleasure that I write the introductory note to Women With Disabilities Australia’s Annual Report for 2011-2012. What you may notice as you read our report is that while much of the Australian disability sector has been thinking and working toward of the establishment of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), WWDA has been maintaining our commitment to issues such as the forced and coerced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities, as well as our commitment to eradicating all forms of violence and abuse of women and girls with disabilities. This is not to say that we have given little thought to the NDIS, it is just a reflection of the fact that regardless of this new way of potentially meeting some of the needs of some women and girls with disabilities; WWDA has chosen to do what it does best, and this is to maintain our commitment to promoting and enhancing the human rights of women and girls with disabilities – not only nationally but internationally as well.

I’ve been a part of the WWDA Management Committee for a number of years and I must say that I think this would have to have been one of our more challenging years. And I’ve heard it said that an organisation is only as good as the people who are run it. Not only has WWDA weathered the storm, but it has succeeded in beginning the processes of becoming stronger in our practises of good governance. This has not been an easy year for our Executive Director Carolyn Frohmader – she has done everything from renovate our national office to juggling the workload of WWDA for 5 months on her own whilst we recruited a new staff member. It is thanks to her hard work and dedication that WWDA has emerged on the other side. We have also recently employed a new staff member, Suzanne Boffey who is our part time Bookkeeper and Personal Assistant to Executive Director. We warmly welcome Suzanne to our organisation.

I also congratulate our Management Committee who has shown unwavering support to Carolyn and Suzanne throughout the year. I particularly thank the WWDA Executive Committee for their support to our staff as well as myself throughout the year. During the first half of 2012, we said farewell to some of our Management Committee members who have been with us for many years. I take this opportunity to acknowledge our former President Sue Salthouse, and Committee members Samantha Jenkinson and Helen Meekosha for their many years of hard work and dedication in their roles. Whilst they have stepped down from the WWDA Management Committee, they remain as long serving members of our organisation. On behalf of the WWDA membership, Committee and staff, I also take this opportunity to send get well wishes to our Committee member Marrette Corby, who is taking a shot leave of absence from the Committee to recover from illness.

WWDA acknowledges the Australian Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) for providing WWDA with our operational grant of $163,000 per annum, which enables us to employ our Executive Director full time and our Bookkeeper part time, as well as contribute to the costs associated with running as national secretariat. We will be working hard over the next 12 months to find ways to secure additional operational revenue for WWDA, as we clearly need more paid staff to cope with the workload.

Finally, may I thank our Membership, who without you WWDA simply could not do the work we do. The work we do is important, and we cannot underestimate how much our members contribute to this work. So whether you represent us nationally, internationally, locally, or in cyberspace, we thank you for the commitment you show for us and ultimately, your commitment to our shared objective of the betterment of life for all women and girls with disabilities.

Margie Charlesworth
WWDA President (Acting)


A Word from the WWDA Executive Director

This Annual Report highlights our major work and achievements for the reporting period of July 2011-June 2012.

It’s hard to know where to start when trying to describe succinctly what WWDA has achieved over the past twelve months. We have undergone a tough time internally, with staff and committee changes, office renovations, a period of 5 months with only one paid employee, a total review of our financial systems, the appointment of a new auditing company and auditing processes, a recruitment process for a new employee, and so much more. But, importantly, through all of this, WWDA has still managed to undertake critical and ground-breaking work, and see that work result in significant outcomes for women and girls with disabilities.

Our work to enable and represent the collective interests of women with disabilities in the international arena has been of particular significance. Our profile and reputation internationally has resulted in us being invited more and more to showcase our work on the international stage, and to provide a mentoring role to emerging organisations and networks of disabled women and girls around the world. This has consolidated our role not only as the national representative organisation for women with disabilities in Australia, but also as a highly respected, leading voice in national and international efforts to protect and promote the human rights of women and girls with disabilities.

During the past year, we showcased our work at a number of high profile international events and Conferences. Importantly, we took a leading role in organising and hosting a High Level Panel Event on ‘Rural Women and Girls With Disabilities’, held as part of the 56th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York in late February 2012. We remain extremely grateful to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) for providing us with funding support to enable our delegate and her support worker to represent WWDA at this critical event. We also gave the Keynote Address on ‘Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities’ at the International Women with Disabilities Conference, held in Madrid from June 27th to June 29th 2012. I must take this opportunity to formally register WWDA’s thanks to Qantas, who gave us two business class airfares from Sydney-London return, to enable our delegate and her support person to attend the Conference.

Over the past year, we have intensified our national and international campaign to address violations of disabled women and girls sexual and reproductive rights, particularly forced and coerced sterilisation. We worked with our international colleagues to research, develop and publish an International Briefing Paper on Sterilization of Women and Girls with Disabilities, and continued our work as a member of the International Working Group to Stop Forced/Coerced Sterilization. We provided a number of Submissions to State/Territory, national and international inquiries and processes, where the issues around violations of disabled women and girls sexual and reproductive rights could be raised; and we initiated and participated in a range of media reports around forced and coerced sterilisation, including articles in newspapers, on nationally broadcast radio, and through television segments.

We continued to work hard nationally and internationally to promote women with disabilities right to freedom from violence, in all its forms. In April 2012, WWDA was involved in organising a Roundtable of Women With Disabilities, which brought together experts in the area to meet with meet with Ms Rashida Manjoo, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. We also undertook an extensive amount of work to research and write a detailed Submission to the United Nations Global Thematic Study on Violence Against Women With Disabilities, and used this work to develop a Policy Paper for the Australian Government.

In February 2012, we met with the Australian Government’s Safety Taskforce in Canberra to discuss a proposal for a National Domestic Violence and Women With Disabilities Reform Project. As an outcome, we researched and developed a detailed Project Proposal for a National Project entitled: ‘Stop the Silence, Stop the Violence: Improving Service Delivery for Women with Disabilities Experiencing or at Risk of Violence’. In late June 2012, WWDA was advised that the Proposal had been successful. This is a major achievement for WWDA, and the Project will be a key focus of our work during the next year.

We continued to publish our highly popular, international quarterly Newsletter ‘WWDA-News’, added more and more material to our website which received 83,488 unique (unduplicated) visits in the past 12 months. We commenced planning for a major re-development of our website to occur during 2012-2013, which will see the development of a Web Content Management System for the WWDA website. We disseminated information to our extensive and ever-growing membership, and authored chapters on women with disabilities for major texts in the fields of law, and disability theory. During the reporting period, we were represented at/on more than 50 forums, events, advisory structures and other fora, covering a wide range of portfolio and interest areas.

Although not funded to provide individual advocacy, we spent many hours over the past year responding to women with disabilities requests for support, referral and assistance. Many of these incoming calls and emails to WWDA have been from women with disabilities in crisis, and many have been either referred to WWDA from other services, or have come to WWDA as a last resort after not being able to find the support they require. The most common themes for requests for help relate to violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation, baby/child removal from mothers with disabilities; unmet need; inaccessible services; difficulties with Centrelink; inability to find employment; discrimination in employment and education.

WWDA’s work relies heavily on the commitment, goodwill and dedication of our Management Committee and members. As Executive Director, I would like to take this opportunity to pay special thanks to WWDA’s Executive (Margie Charlesworth – WWDA Acting President; Pamela Menere – WWDA Treasurer; and Rayna Lamb – WWDA Secretary), who have given me great support over what has been a very difficult year for WWDA.

My thanks go to the WWDA Management Committee members for their contribution and support over the past 12 months, and to the many WWDA members who have undertaken representative work on our behalf over the past year. A big thanks too, to Suzanne Boffey, WWDA’s Bookkeeper and Personal Assistant, who in the short time she has been with us, has done a remarkable job in the WWDA Office.

And lastly, I would like to thank the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), particularly Cristina Ricci, from the Disability Rights Unit, and Alison Aggarwal, from the Sex Discrimination Unit, for their ongoing support of WWDA and their genuine commitment to the meaningful inclusion and participation of women and girls with disabilities.

Carolyn Frohmader
Executive Director


What we did to promote and protect the rights of women with disabilities nationally and internationally.

During the last six months of 2011, and early into 2012, WWDA worked with our international colleagues Women Enabled, the Women’s United Nations Report Network (WUNRN) and the Secretariat of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), to plan, organise, and co-sponsor a High Level Panel Event on ‘Rural Women and Girls With Disabilities’, to be held as part of the 56th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)[1] in New York in late February 2012. The Panel gave an overview of the global situation of rural women with disabilities and explored a wide range of strategies that can enhance the empowerment of rural women with disabilities.

The Panel was co-sponsored by the Government of Australia, the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA), Women Enabled, and the Women’s UN Report Network.

WWDA was represented on the Panel by our Board member and Past President, Associate Professor Helen Meekosha, who gave a presentation on ‘Rural Women & Girls With Disabilities: Economic Empowerment & Political Participation’ from the Australian perspective. WWDA worked extremely hard to convince the Australian Government to co-sponsor this ground-breaking event, and we were delighted when the Government agreed, nominating Ms. Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) as the representative of the Australian Government delegation who would speak at our Panel.

WWDA applied for funding under the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) International Events Funding Program, to assist us with the costs of getting Associate Professor Meekosha and her support worker to New York. We were fortunate to secure funds from the AHRC which assisted with some of the costs, and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) kindly agreed to fund the travel costs of Helen’s support worker.

In late February 2012, WWDA member Associate Professor Helen Meekosha represented WWDA at CSW56 in New York for a week. She attended a number of Forums and events, met with international colleagues and established new networks for WWDA.

The High Level Panel on Rural Women and Girls with Disabilities was held on the afternoon of Tuesday 28 February 2012. The Panel was a significant event and achievement, as it was only the second time that a specific focus on disability had been discussed at any of the sessions of the CSW in the UN in all of its 56 years. The significance of this Panel for women with disabilities cannot be over-stated.

Ms Akiko Ito (Chief, Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), gave the welcoming remarks. A song and dance performance was given by 10 women and girls with disabilities from rural areas of Bhutan, who had travelled to Thimpu to participate in the Panel via video conference. Ms Elizabeth Broderick (Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission and Australian delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women), and Mr Arvid Linden (Head of Division of Analysis, HANDISAM, Swedish Agency for Disability Policy and Coordination), both gave opening addresses. Presentations were given by Associate Professor Helen Meekosha (WWDA & UNSW); Ms Duptho Zam (English Teacher and Performing Artist, Royal Academy of Performing Arts of Bhutan and Disability rights Expert (via video conference); Ms Myra Kovary (International Network of Women With Disabilities) and Ms Lois A. Herman (Women’s UN Report Network). The panel was moderated by Ms Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq., (Senior Human Rights Legal Advisor, BlueLaw International, LLP).

Associate Professor Meekosha’s presentation spoke strongly about the impact of rurality and colonisation of Australia’s Indigenous people and the particular issues facing Indigenous women with disabilities in Australia. The High Level Panel on Rural Women and Girls with Disabilities event was encouragingly attended by many NGO constituents and government representatives from other countries. There were also, many women with disabilities who attended the Panel, which was significant, given the lack of access and encouragement to attend other CSW sessions. The session instigated much discussion, particularly from women from African countries, and resulted in further networking opportunities. Plans are now afoot for organising a parallel NGO event for CSW57 in 2013, which will focus on violence against women.

At the end of her week at CSW56, Associate Professor Meekosha gave the following assessment:

 “It has been an incredible experience coming to the UN to represent WWDA and participate in another level of advocacy that we have not previously engaged in. It has been an eye-opener, both in terms of exposure to other international NGOs and to key government agencies, and also in terms of working through the international human rights process. It has been a productive and effective time here in the UN. It has been significant that a specific focus on disability was given such a high profile in this year’s CSW and there continues to be strong support for the inclusion of disability focused discussions in next year’s CSW, both as a side event, but also in a parallel NGO event. There has been successful advocacy of WWDA’s key campaign areas, having firstly been able to inform the international community of the issues relating to Australia, and also in garnering support from other international partners and NGOS of WWDA’s agenda. WWDA’s important work on forced sterilisation has been highlighted through the vocal support of the Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, and has also resulted in violence against women with disabilities being raised as a key priority for the Australian government. WWDA should be extremely proud of the work we have done so far. The high profile and support that we have established in the international community and within the Australian government in our time here will be crucial for campaigning in the months ahead. Thank you for the opportunity to represent WWDA and all women with disabilities in this important event.”

 WWDA compiled a special report on the High Level Panel on Rural Women and Girls with Disabilities for Issue 2, 2012 of the WWDA Newsletter[2] and Associate Professor Meekosha’s presentation and report from CSW56 is available on WWDA’s website.[3]

As an outcome of Associate Professor Meekosha’s contribution at CSW56, and in recognition of her expertise in the area of disability and gender and involvement with WWDA, she was invited to be a member of the Advisory Board for UNICEF’s 2013 edition of its flagship publication, The State of the World’s Children (SOWC). The 2013 edition will be on children with disabilities. Helen has accepted the invitation from UNICEF and we congratulate her on this extraordinary opportunity.

In mid June 2011, at its 17th session, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a Resolution to accelerate efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women. The Resolution called for a study to be conducted on the issue of violence against women and girls and disabilities, with the report of the study to be presented to the 20th session of the Human Rights Council in 2012. In late 2011, WWDA was invited by the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) to contribute to the preparation phase of the OHCHR Global Thematic Study on Violence Against Women with Disabilities. WWDA undertook an extensive amount of work to research and write a detailed Submission to the global thematic study. WWDA’s Submission provides an overview of the legislation, regulatory frameworks, policy, administrative procedures, services and support available within Australia to prevent and address violence against women and girls with disabilities. It provides detailed information under the following themes: data and statistics; legislation and policies; prevention and protection; prosecution and punishment, and recovery, rehabilitation and social integration. WWDA’s Submission was submitted to the United Nations in December 2011 and in early 2012, WWDA submitted it formally to the Australian Government with a series of detailed recommendations. WWDA’s Submission[4] was disseminated widely, including to every politician in Australia.

We worked with our international colleagues, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Open Society Foundations, and the International Disability Alliance (IDA) as part of the Global Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care, to research, develop and publish an International Briefing Paper on Sterilization of Women and Girls with Disabilities. The paper, published in November 2011, gives a background to the issue of forced sterilisation, outlines various international human rights standards that prohibit forced sterilisation, and offers several recommendations for improving laws, policies, and professional guidelines governing sterilisation practices.[5] WWDA played a key role in the development of the paper, which we disseminated widely and sent formally to the Australian Attorney-General for actioning. The Briefing Paper was also sent formally to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, and the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is also being used internationally by a wide range of key stakeholders to guide legislative and policy reform on the issue.

We were invited by Ana Peláez Narváez (Commissioner for Gender Affairs at the Spanish Committee of Representatives of Persons with Disabilities; member of the Spanish National Disability Council, and member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), to present the Keynote Address on Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities at the International Women with Disabilities Conference, held in Madrid from June 27th to June 29th 2012. WWDA was invited this influential Conference in order to showcase, on the international stage, our organisations internationally lauded work in the area of the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls with disabilities. Specifically, the Conference organisers requested that WWDA “present the excellent and significant work you are doing in the fight against forced sterilisation and coerced abortion of women and girls with disabilities.” WWDA applied for, and was very fortunate to receive, generous sponsorship from Qantas of two business class airfares from Sydney-London return, to enable our representative Ms Christina Ryan and her support person, to travel to Madrid to present the Keynote Address prepared by WWDA’s Executive Director Carolyn Frohmader.

Christina did a wonderful job representing WWDA at the Conference, and presenting WWDA’s Keynote Address entitled ‘Moving Forward and Gaining Ground: The Sterilisation of Women and Girls with Disabilities in Australia’. The hour long presentation gave an overview of some of the key features of WWDA’s campaign over more than a decade to stop the forced and coerced sterilisation of disabled women and girls in Australia. It examined some of the critical issues in the consideration of forced sterilisation as a human rights issue, and highlighted some of the key strategies WWDA has employed to advance our efforts to promote the sexual and reproductive rights of disabled women and girls, on an equal basis with other women and girls.[6] WWDA’s paper was extremely well received and Christina reported that many of the delegates were inspired by WWDA’s strategies and felt that our presentation gave them ideas about how to approach their own campaigns. This was most gratifying for WWDA and illustrated to us the importance of our organisation being able to participate in international events such as these.

During the year, we continued our work as an active member of the Global Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care, an alliance of international health and human rights organisations working together to put an end to the abuse of individuals in health settings. WWDA’s Executive Director, Carolyn Frohmader, is represented on the campaign’s International Working Group to Stop Forced/Coerced Sterilization, which works internationally to stop forced and coerced sterilization in different parts of the world and among different populations. Earlier this year, WWDA was honoured to have our Executive Director recognised by the Global Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care for her contribution to the ending the forced sterilisation of girls and women with disabilities. The Campaign selected Carolyn as their featured campaigner and published an on-line piece about Carolyn’s work, along with a petition from WWDA to Australia’s Attorney-General, calling for an end to the ongoing practice of forced and coerced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities in Australia.[7]

We continued our important international advocacy around all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls with Disabilities. We provided a Submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Joint General Comment on Harmful Practices, which is being undertaken with the aim to provide the authoritative interpretation of the actions required by State Parties to fulfil their obligations to eliminate harmful practices affecting girls that are based on gender stereotypes and prejudices emanating from the socially established inferior/superior dichotomy between females and males. WWDA’s Submission focused primarily on forced and coerced sterilisation as a harmful practice affecting girls with disabilities.

We hosted a Workshop at the Second World Conference of Women’s Shelters, held from 28 February to 1 March 2012 in Washington DC. As part of the preparatory work for this international Conference, WWDA contributed to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) international survey to support the development of a web-based repository on domestic violence and sexual assault communications materials.

Sue Salthouse represented WWDA at the Conference, and joined Bonnie Brayton, CEO of the Disabled Women’s Network in Canada, to present our Workshop entitled “Forgotten Sisters no more! Mainstreaming Support for Women with Disabilities”. The workshop was participatory in nature, and aimed to: improve understanding of the distinctive nature, incidence & prevalence of domestic violence experienced by disabled women, and using a human rights framework, provide strategies for making inclusive policies and programs for disabled women accessing shelter and crisis services.

WWDA’s Workshop was attended by approximately 60 Conference delegates. Most participants had some personal connection to someone with disabilities. One of the members of the interim board of USA National Network for Ending Domestic Violence (NNEDV) was present at the workshop, and a second Board member, Cynthia Fraser, met with Sue and Bonnie following the workshop.

In late August 2011, WWDA received an invitation to attend the Second World Assembly of Women with Disabilities (WAWD) to be held in Korea from 17-20 October 2011. WWDA was represented at this event by Young-joo Byun, a Korean-born, Australian Deaf woman, and member of WWDA. Delegates to WAWD were requested to make a short presentation about the situation for women with disabilities in the country which they were representing. Fortunately WWDA’s CEO, Carolyn Frohmader, had prepared a Powerpoint earlier in 2011 for the purpose of enabling representatives to present information about WWDA at conferences.

Because Young-Joo was to make the presentation in Auslan, the Powerpoint was adapted and a short English commentary to each slide written so that Young-Joo could make the translation to Auslan or KSL. A particular challenge for Young-Joo was the organisers’ request that all WAWD delegates wear their national costume for the conference welcome dinner, so she had to forgo wearing traditional Korean dress for that occasion, and donned an upturned Akubra and boots. Young-Joo was accompanied at the conference by her daughter, Emily, so that the presentation on Australian women with disabilities was made in both Auslan and English. Delegates had simultaneous translation into Korean, and a range of other languages. The Assembly was attended by approximately 2000 people, the majority of whom were women with disabilities, coming from 45 different countries.


What we did to undertake systemic advocacy in specific areas of concern to women with disabilities.

We continued our national and international campaign to address violations of disabled women and girls sexual and reproductive rights, particularly forced and coerced sterilisation.

We monitored action taken by the United Nations Special Rapporteurs in response to WWDA’s Formal Communication to the United Nations[8] regarding the ongoing practice of forced sterilisation in Australia. Our Formal Communication requested that the Special Rapporteurs urgently intervene to urge the Australian Government to comply with the UN treaty Committee recommendations[9] and act immediately to prohibit the non-therapeutic and forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities in Australia.[10] On 18 July 2011, the Special Rapporteurs[11] wrote formally to the Australian Government seeking a response to a number of specific questions (see a copy of the letter at Appendix 1). The Australian Government responded in August 2011 stating that “the Government is currently considering the information and questions contained in the letter….and will provide a full response by 17 October 2011”. However, on 5th October 2011, the Australian Government responded again stating “The Australian Government is committed to upholding its international obligations and would prefer to take more time to ensure an accurate and fully considered response can be prepared on this important topic. The Australian Government regrets this delay in response and will submit its final response to the Special Rapporteurs by 16th December 2011.” WWDA has been unable to locate any such response, and it remains unknown whether a final response was ever provided by the Australian Government.

In March 2012, WWDA provided a Submission in response to the Western Australian Government’s Draft Mental Health Bill 2011, specifically Part 12 Division 3, which proposed to legislate that a sterilisation procedure could be performed on a child who has a mental illness provided that the child has sufficient maturity and understanding to make reasonable decisions about matters relating to himself or herself and/or the person has given informed consent to the sterilisation procedure being performed. WWDA’s Submission[12] called on the Western Australian Government to repeal Part 12: Division 3 [Sterilisation Procedure] from the Draft Bill.

WWDA also provided a Submission to the Australian Government’s Fifth Report under the Convention against Torture (CAT), re-iterating that forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities constitutes torture and reminding the Australian Government that the Special Rapporteur on Torture has clearly articulated that: ‘given the particular vulnerability of women with disabilities, forced abortions and sterilizations of these women if they are the result of a lawful process by which decisions are made by their ‘legal guardians’ against their will, may constitute torture or ill-treatment.’

We provided input into a number of other human rights treaty reporting processes, including the NGO Survey on priority issues for the Australian NGO Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee, and the NGO Shadow Report on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

We initiated and participated in a range of media reports around forced and coerced sterilisation, including an article in The Age Newspaper,[13] a nationally broadcast report on ABC radio for the PM program[14], and a number of state based radio interviews. We also worked with the producers of the Channel Ten TV Program ‘The Circle’ on a segment which appeared on the show on 29th May 2012.[15]

In April 2012, WWDA was involved in organising a Roundtable of Women With Disabilities, which brought together experts in the area to meet with meet with Ms Rashida Manjoo, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. Ms Manjoo undertook a ten day Study Tour of Australia during April to focus on the issues of culture and violence against Indigenous women, as well as other issues of violence against women in Australia.

It was the first time the Special Rapporteur on violence against women had ever formally visited Australia.

More than 24 women attended the Roundtable of Women With Disabilities to specifically discuss with Ms Manjoo, the issue of violence against women and girls with disabilities in Australia. WWDA CEO Carolyn Frohmader, and WWDA Board members Karin Swift and Margie Charlesworth were able to attend the Roundtable with funding for their travel provided by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). Reports from WWDAs delegates to the Roundtable of Women With Disabilities are available in WWDA-News, Issue 2, 2012.[16]

In February 2012, a WWDA delegation met in Canberra with the Australian Government’s Safety Taskforce to discuss a proposal for a National Domestic Violence and Women With Disabilities Reform Project. The Australian Government has recognised that significant work is needed to address violence against women with disabilities, and under its National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, has committed to work on two immediate initiatives specifically focused on women with disabilities. WWDA’s delegation met with the Safety Taskforce for a day long forum to begin the process of planning the National Reform Project, which would focus on identifying and building the evidence base to inform best practice service delivery to address and prevent violence against women with disabilities.

The Planning Day was extremely valuable and we managed to cover a large amount of ground in a relatively short time. Whilst WWDA recognised that the National Plan focuses on two main types of violence (domestic and family violence and sexual assault), WWDA was keen to ensure that any national reform project focusing on domestic violence and women with disabilities, must be understood to be broader than defined in the National Plan, in that: violence occurs in a broader range of settings for women with disabilities; and, perpetrators of violence against women with disabilities encompass a wide set of relationships.

Following the Planning Day, WWDA agreed to develop the proceedings of the day into a Project Funding Proposal for consideration by the Safety Taskforce. Over the next two months, WWDA Executive Director Carolyn Frohmader researched and developed a detailed Project Proposal for a National Project entitled: ‘Stop the Silence, Stop the Violence: Improving Service Delivery for Women with Disabilities Experiencing or at Risk of Violence’.

The proposed national project aims to investigate and promote ways to support better practice and evidence-based service system improvements to prevent violence and improve access to, and responses of, services for women with disabilities experiencing or at risk of violence. The project proposal was distributed to State and Territory Governments for comment, and in late June 2012, WWDA was advised that the Proposal had been successful. This is a major achievement for WWDA, and work is currently underway to get the Project up and running. The Project is to be conducted over the next 18 months and will consult widely across government, the service sectors and the community in its implementation.

Over the past 12 months, we provided input to a number of research projects being undertaken in areas that concern women and girls with disabilities. Examples include: the Australian Housing & Urban Research Institute (AHURI) Research Project ‘Housing Assistance, Social Inclusion and People with a Disability Project’; the research study into Abuse of Children and Young Persons with an Intellectual Disability under Parental or Guardian Care (NSW); the research study into Study into Abuse of Women with Physical Disabilities (NSW).

We continued to work collaboratively with the Australian Human Rights Commission. We met with Disability Discrimination Commissioner (Graeme Innes) in Hobart to develop strategies for collaboration on work to progress the issues of sterilisation and violence against women and girls with disabilities; and to discuss ways women with disabilities could make better use of the Disability Discrimination Act. We continued to be well supported by both the Disability Discrimination Commissioner and the Sex Discrimination Commissioner (Elizabeth Broderick) and their staff.

Although not funded to provide individual advocacy, we spent many hours over the past year responding to women with disabilities requests for support, referral and assistance. Many of these incoming calls and emails to WWDA have been from women with disabilities in crisis, and many have been either referred to WWDA from other services, or have come to WWDA as a last resort after not being able to find the support they require. The most common themes for requests for help relate to violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation, baby/child removal from mothers with disabilities; unmet need; inaccessible services; difficulties with Centrelink; inability to find employment; discrimination in employment and education.


What we did to build on our key role in the production and dissemination of information, publications and research.

We continued to produce our very popular and highly successful quarterly Newsletter ‘WWDA-News’. The Newsletter is published electronically in a range of formats, disseminated by us directly to recipients and also made available for download on our Website. We also mailed out hard copies to our members who do not have access to email. WWDA-News is widely distributed both within Australia and around the world, and we continue to receive positive feedback from the WWDA-News readership. Over the past year, a number of organisations have sought permission to re-publish WWDA News articles in their own publications.

We further developed and maintained our extensive WWDA Website. Google Analytics provided the following data about the WWDA website usage for the 12 month period July 2011 – June 2012:

  • There were 83,488 unique (unduplicated) visits to the WWDA website. 82.29% of those were new visitors to the site in the 12 month period.
  • There were a total of 151,272 pages viewed during the 12 month period.
  • The users came from 188 countries/territories, using 94 languages. The top ten countries were: Australia, United States, United Kingdom, India, Canada, Philippines, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • A total of 8,013 users accessed WWDA’s website using a mobile device, with the iphone and ipad being the two most common devices used.
  • 85.21% of visitors were directed to the site via search engines; 7.36% were direct traffic; and 7.43% were directed to the site from referring sites. The most popular search terms used were: WWDA; women with disabilities Australia; www.wwda.org.au; sterilization; economical and health consequence on sterilization; leadership women with disabilities; disability policy Australia; violence against disabled women; hate crimes against people with disabilities; domestic violence services.
  • The most popular pages visited on the site were issues based (sterilisation, violence, hate crimes), along with those directly housing WWDA’s Newsletters, publications and reports. Pages relating to disability policy in Australia were also very popular, as were pages providing information on crisis services, violence related services, and drug and alcohol treatment services.

We commenced planning for a major re-development of our website to occur during 2012-2013. We have contracted Ionata Web Solutions, a web design agency in Hobart to develop a Web Content Management System for the WWDA website. This will be a major development for WWDA, as for the past 15 years, WWDA’s Executive Director has developed and maintained the website manually. The challenge for the re-development will be the migration into the new system, of the extensive amount of content already in place on WWDA’s current site.

We set up a Facebook Site for WWDA and are slowly getting the hang of using this extremely popular form of social networking. WWDA’s Facebook site is already proving popular and has attracted 470 subscribers in its very short life to date. The next 12 months will see WWDA making better use of our Facebook site, and our web re-development project will see the site integrated with our website.

In early 2012, our Executive Director Carolyn Frohmader, worked with freelance journalist Stephanie Osfield, on an article about forced and coerced sterilisation of disabled girls in Australia. The article was published in the June 2012 issue of Marie Claire magazine. The article included interviews with a number of people with an interest in the issue, and included the voices and perspectives of women with disabilities. Carolyn featured in the article, reiterating WWDA’s long standing position that Australia must enact national legislation to prohibit the non-therapeutic sterilisation of girls and of adult women with disabilities in the absence of their fully informed and free consent. The article generated much interest in the issue of sterilisation, and had a number of flow on effects, with other media outlets contacting WWDA to get more information, as well as a number of women with disabilities contacting WWDA to share their own stories and experiences. WWDA publicised the article widely, both within Australia and overseas.

Our Executive Director Carolyn Frohmader, in collaboration with WWDA member Associate Professor Helen Meekosha co-authored a chapter for a book entitled ‘Disability and Social Theory: New Developments and Directions’, edited by Dan Goodley, Bill Hughes and Lennard Davis, and published by Palgrave Macmillan, London. Carolyn and Helen’s chapter, entitled ‘Recognition, Respect and Rights: Women with Disabilities in a Globalised World’, examines the intersection between disability and gender and attempts to provide a global overview, while being mindful of the inadequacy of the data available and the major disparities between women with disabilities in the global North and the global South. The chapter demonstrates how women with disabilities experience all forms of disrespect in their daily lives by examining three issues: violence, sterilisation, and the denial and shame attached to their perceived inability to parent. Using WWDA as a case study, the chapter also looks at the challenges and successes over the past two decades that have confronted the organisation and its members in trying to bring about change for women with disabilities.

We shared and distributed our resource materials and publications to a range of organisations both within and outside Australia. We used our extensive database of individuals, organisations and agencies spanning a wide range of sectors, both within and outside Australia, to disseminate information of relevance to women with disabilities and the broader community. Our general, direct distribution database totals more than 10,000 individuals, organisations and other stakeholders throughout Australia and overseas. We added an extensive amount of information and resource materials to our website and continued to service our members and constituents through WWDA’s electronic discussion group ‘wwda-discuss’.

We also collaborated with our colleagues at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Manchester University (UK) to plan a National Symposium on Women With Disabilities, to be held in Sydney in August 2012. WWDA assisted in the writing of a funding application to the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) National Disability Conference funding Program, for funds to enable women with disabilities to attend the Symposium.


What we did to develop the internal and external operations of WWDA.

WWDA has had to manage a number of challenges over the past 12 months, particularly in relation to the ever escalating demands on the organisation and the reality of our limited capacity in terms of staffing and resources.

From January – April 2012, our Executive Director Carolyn Frohmader was our only paid employee, following the sudden departure in December 2011 of WWDA’s part-time bookkeeper/administrative assistant. At the time, WWDA had just commenced a long-overdue office renovation, and Carolyn suddenly found herself jack of all trades! Although trying to manage and run a busy organisation like WWDA whilst undergoing a total refurbishment of the office, it has all been worth it, as now we have a pleasant and functional space (albeit small) for our staff to work in.

We welcomed new members to our Management Committee in October 2011 – Dr Iva Strnadová from NSW, and Marrette Corby and Joanna Siejka from Tasmania. In April 2012 we welcomed Suzanne Boffey, who has been employed on a part time basis as WWDA’s Bookkeeper and Personal Assistant to the WWDA Executive Director. Suzanne is now busy establishing a range of internal systems to better support the work of WWDA. We have commenced work on establishing new filing systems, developing new procedures and updating old ones. The next 12 months will see us undertake a complete update of WWDA’s Policy and Procedure Manual.

We used a wide range of opportunities to develop new partnerships, networks, and collaborative relationships. We worked hard to raise the profile of our organisation and raise awareness of the issues facing women with disabilities. We were represented at/on more than 50 forums, events, advisory structures and other fora, covering a wide range of portfolio and interest areas, including for example: violence prevention; National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS); human rights treaty monitoring; consolidation of national discrimination laws forums; disability research; and much more.

We continued to service our diverse and growing membership, and plan to look at ways to continue to grow our membership in the next year. Importantly, we are committed to finding ways to see WWDA better resourced, as our organisation has grown to such an extent that it is no longer feasible nor sustainable to have only one full time and one part time paid staff.


What we did to contribute to the development and implementation of Australian Government policies affecting women with disabilities.

We contributed to a significant number of reviews and inquiries at both a National and State/Territory level. We provided advice to Governments on policy, program and service delivery issues emerging from our membership, and advised Governments on the impact of social policy initiatives on women with disabilities.

We provided a Submission to the Commonwealth Government and each State/Territory Government regarding the importance of including women with disabilities in the membership of the National Violence Plan Implementation Panel (NPIP). We were pleased when the Australian Government invited WWDA to be represented on the NPIP. Sue Salthouse as WWDA President took on this role for the inaugural meeting of the NPIP, but stepped down following her resignation as WWDA’s President in early May 2012. Keran Howe (past WWDA President and current Executive Officer of Women With Disabilities Victoria) will now represent WWDA on the NPIP.

We provided a Policy Paper to the Australian Government on Violence Against Women and Girls with Disabilities. Given the extensive amount of work we undertook to develop our Submission to the United Nations on the same issue, we used our UN Submission to form the basis of the Policy Paper we provided to the Australian Government. Our Policy Paper contained a series of Recommendations for the Government to consider, including for example, the need for the Government to commission and adequately resource a Royal Commission or Official Public Inquiry into Violence Against People with Disabilities in Australia, both historically and currently. Another recommendation called on the Australian Government to urgently establish and adequately resource an independent, statutory, national protection mechanism for ‘vulnerable’ adults, where the requirement for mandatory reporting is legislated.

We also continued to promote and disseminate WWDA’s 2011 Policy Paper, ‘Assessing the situation of women with disabilities in Australia: A human rights approach’. We were pleased to receive positive feedback on this Paper, including from our ACT affiliate organisation, Women With Disabilities ACT, who are using the Paper to guide development and strategic direction of their own organisation.

We provided a number of Submissions to reviews and Government contracted research in the area of violence prevention, as part of the implementation of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children. We provided a Submission to the Development of National Standards for Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault telephone and online counselling services/helplines. We provided a Submission and key stakeholder interview, to the FaHCSIA contracted Study on the Development of Governance and Funding Models for the National Centre of Excellence. We contributed a Submission to the national research study ‘Expansion of Support Available to Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault Frontline Workers’.

We produced a number of other Submissions to Government reviews and inquiries, including for example, to the Review of Access to Telecommunications, to the Draft National Human Rights Action Plan Baseline Study; to the Consolidation of Anti-Discrimination Laws; as well as substantial input to Submissions and forums relating to the development of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).


WWDA Financial Statements For the Year Ended 30 June 2012

Women With Disabilities Australia Inc Board Report, 30 June 2012

Your Board members submit the financial statements of the Association for the financial year ended 30 June 2012.

 

1.   General information
      Board Members

The names of Board members throughout the year and at the date of these statements are:

Margie Charlesworth
Rayna Lamb
Pamela Menere
Helen Meekosha
Karin Swift
Samantha Jenkinson
Sheila King
Iva Strnadova
Sue Salthouse

Resigned 6 May 2012

 

      Principal Activities

 

The principal activities of association during the financial year were:

‑ To promote and protect the rights of women with disabilities nationally and internationally.

‑ To undertake systemic advocacy in specific areas of concern to women with disabilities.

‑ To continue to build on Women With Disabilities Australia’s key role in the consolidation, production and dissemination of high quality information, publications and research on issues relevant to women with disabilities.

‑ To further develop the internal and external operations of the organisation in order to achieve its vision, goals and objectives.

‑ To contribute to the development and implementation of Australian Government policies affecting women with disabilities.

      Significant Changes

No significant change in the nature of these activities occurred during the year.

2.   Operating Results and Review of Operations for the Year
      Operating result

The surplus/(deficit) of the Association for the financial year amounted to $ (32,472) (2011: $ (22,185)).

Signed in accordance with a resolution of the Members of the Board:

Treasurer: Pamela Menere

Acting President: Margie Charlesworth


Women With Disabilities Australia Inc, Statement By Members of the Board

The Board has determined that the Association is not a reporting entity and that these special purpose financial statements should be prepared in accordance with the accounting policies outlined in Note 1 to the financial statements.

In the opinion of the Board the financial statements:

1.   Present fairly the financial position of Women With Disabilities Australia Inc as at 30 June 2012 and its performance for the year ended on that date.

2.   At the date of this statement, there are reasonable grounds to believe that Women With Disabilities Australia Inc will be able to pay its debts as and when they fall due.

This statement is made in accordance with a resolution of the Board and is signed for and on behalf of the Board by:

Treasurer: Pamela Menere

Acting President: Margie Charlesworth


Women With Disabilities Australia Inc, Statement of Comprehensive Income

For the Year Ended 30 June 2012

2012

$

2011

$

Income
Consultancy         1,050        10,926
Copyright agency         6,395                –
Donations         3,080          8,370
Commission on the Status of Women grant       14,374                –
Special rapporteur visit grant         2,794                –
FaHCSIA grant      163,039      162,547
Interest received         9,792        10,726
Memberships         7,746          8,977
Office for Women Domestic Violence Reform project grant         6,427                –
Publication sales            372             632
Sitting fees            608                –
Miscellaneous                –              20
Total income      215,677      202,198
Expenses
Accommodation, meals         8,199          6,874
Accountancy & audit fees         1,774             900
Bank charges            272             248
BAS rounding & adjustment              53                –
Conference registrations            532             127
Consultancy         3,606        16,154
Depreciation         6,022          3,196
Donations            550                –
Electricity         2,357          2,042
Information technology         4,928          3,746
Insurance         3,691          3,557
Internet         1,703          4,405
Annual leave provision       27,701          9,195
Long service leave provision       12,358          2,468
Membership fees                –             312
Office supplies & equipment         5,218          3,294
Postage & freight         2,053          1,908
Printing & publication design         5,799          6,376
Registrar General fees              35              34
Rental costs         7,863          7,039
Sitting fee & report writing         1,972                –
Staff welfare                –             340
Subscriptions & publications            541             398
Sundry expenses            823          1,491
Superannuation contributions       10,313        10,865
Taxi         2,797          2,140
Telephone & teleconferences

        3,959

         3,613

Travel

      17,720

       19,885

Wages & salaries

     114,469

     112,990

Workers compensation

           841

            786

Total Expenses

     248,149

     224,383

Net surplus/(deficit)

    (32,472)

     (22,185)

Total comprehensive income

    (32,472)

     (22,185)

 


Women With Disabilities Australia Inc, Statement of Financial Position

As At 30 June 2012

Note

2012

$

2011

$

ASSETS
CURRENT ASSETS
Cash and cash equivalents

2

     513,775

     236,827

Trade and other receivables

3

            272

         2,304

TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS

     514,047

     239,131

NON‑CURRENT ASSETS
Furniture & equipment

4

       12,461

         8,250

TOTAL NON‑CURRENT ASSETS

       12,461

         8,250

TOTAL ASSETS

     526,508

     247,381

LIABILITIES
CURRENT LIABILITIES
Trade payables

5

       32,758

         5,491

Short‑term provisions

6

       81,123

       46,791

Other liabilities

7

     250,000

                –

TOTAL CURRENT LIABILITIES

     363,881

       52,282

NET ASSETS

     162,627

     195,099

EQUITY
Reserves

     100,000

     100,000

Accumulated surpluses

       62,627

       95,099

TOTAL EQUITY

     162,627

     195,099

 


Women With Disabilities Australia Inc, Statement of Changes in Equity

For The Year Ended 30 June 2012

2012

Accumulated Surpluses

$

Project Funds Reserve (a)

$

Total

$

Balance at 1 July 2011

           95,099

    100,000

     195,099

Net surplus/(deficit)

        (32,472)

               –

    (32,472)

Balance at 30 June 2012

           62,627

    100,000

     162,627

 

2011

Accumulated Surpluses

$

Project Funds Reserve (a)

$

Total

$

Balance at 1 July 2010

         117,284

    100,000

     217,284

Net surplus/(deficit)

        (22,185)

              –

    (22,185)

Balance at 30 June 2011

          95,099

    100,000

     195,099

(a)  Project Funds Reserve ‑ these funds are set aside for projects, outside of those funded by WWDA’s operational grant, and any specific funding grants, that the Board may wish to undertake from time to time.


Women With Disabilities Australia Inc, Notes to the Financial Statements

For The Year Ended 30 June 2012

1    Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
(a)    Basis of Preparation

These financial statements are special purpose financial statements prepared in order to satisfy the financial reporting requirements of the Associations Incorporation Act (ACT) 1991. The Board has determined that the Association is not a reporting entity therefore special purpose financial statements have been prepared and the following accounting standards are considered applicable and have been adopted:

‑ AASB 101 Presentation of Financial Statements

‑ AASB 1031 Materiality

‑ AASB 110 Events After the Reporting Period.

The financial statements have been prepared on an accruals basis, are based on historic costs and do not take into account changing money values or, except where specifically stated, current valuations of non‑current assets.

The following significant accounting policies, which are consistent with the previous period unless otherwise stated, have been adopted in the preparation of these financial statements.

(b)    Comparative Figures

Where appropriate, comparative figures have been adjusted to conform to changes in presentation for the current financial year.

(c)    Cash and Cash Equivalents

Cash and cash equivalents include cash on hand, deposits held at call with banks, and other short‑term highly liquid investments.

(d)    Trade and other receivables

The Association considers accounts receivable to be fully collectible, accordingly no allowance for doubtful debts is required.

(e)    Property, Plant and Equipment

Office equipment is carried at cost less, where applicable, any accumulated depreciation.  The depreciable amount of all equipment is depreciated over the useful lives of the assets to the Association commencing from the time the asset is held ready for use.

The depreciation rates used for each class of depreciable assets are:

Office Equipment                     10‑20%
Computer Equipment                         33%

In 2012 the Association changed its depreciation method from diminishing value to straight‑line.

(f)     Trade and other payables

Trade and other payables represent the liability outstanding at the end of the reporting period for goods and services received by the Association during the reporting period which remain unpaid. The balance is recognised as a current liability.

(g)    Employee Benefits

Provision is made for the Association’s liability for employee benefits arising from services rendered by employees to the end of the reporting period. Employee benefits have been measured at the amounts expected to be paid when the liability is settled.

Contribution made by the Association to an employee superannuation fund is charged as an expense when incurred.

(h)    Income Tax

No provision for income tax has been raised as the Association is exempt from income tax under Division 50 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

(i)     Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Revenues, expenses and assets are recognised net of the amount of GST, except where the amount of GST incurred is not recoverable from the Tax Office.  In these circumstances the GST is recognised as part of the cost of acquisition of the asset or as part of an item of the expense.  Receivables and payables in the statement of financial position are shown inclusive of GST.

(j)     Unexpended Grants

It is the policy of the Association to treat grant monies as unexpended grant liabilities in the statement of financial position where the Association is contractually obliged to provide the services in a subsequent financial period to when the grant is received or in the case of specific project grants where the project has not been completed.

(k)    Revenue and Other Income

Interest revenue is recognised over the period for which the funds are invested.

Membership income is recognised over the period to which the membership relates.

Grant income is recognised when expensed in accordance with the terms of the funding agreement.

Donation income is recognised when the Association obtains control over the funds which is generally at the time of receipt.

All revenue is stated net of the amount of goods and services tax (GST).

2    Cash and Cash Equivalents
2012$ 2011$
Cash on hand              80             143
Cash at bank      513,695      236,684
Total cash and cash equivalents      513,775      236,827
3    Trade and Other Receivables
2012$ 2011$
CURRENT
Trade receivables            272          2,304
Total trade and other receivables            272          2,304
4    Property, Plant and Equipment
2012$ 2011$
PLANT AND EQUIPMENT
Furniture & equipment
At cost       25,731        28,737
Accumulated depreciation     (13,270)      (20,487)
Total furniture & equipment       12,461          8,250
5    Trade and Other Payables
2012$ 2011$
CURRENT
Trade payables          2,989             547
PAYG tax payable          3,583          3,865
Superannuation payable             275                 –
GST payable        25,911          1,079
Total trade and other payables        32,758          5,491
6    Provisions
2012$ 2011$
CURRENT
Annual leave        49,378        27,404
Long service leave        31,745        19,387
Total provisions        81,123        46,791
7    Other Liabilities
2012$ 2011$
CURRENT
Grants to be distributed      250,000                 –
Total other liabilities      250,000                 –

Prior to 30 June 2012 WWDA received a first payment from FaHCSIA of $275,000 (GST inclusive) for the National Domestic Violence Reform Project which will commence in the 2012‑2013 financial year.

8    Capital and Leasing Commitments

There are no capital or leasing commitments as at reporting date to be disclosed.

9    Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets

There are no contingent liabilities or contingent assets as at reporting date to be disclosed.

10  Events After the End of the Reporting Period

There are no events after the statement of financial position date affecting these financial statements to be disclosed.

11  Economic Dependency

Although there is no reason to believe that grant funding will cease, the ongoing viability of the Association as a going concern is dependent on funding from FaHCSIA continuing.

12  Association Details
The registered office of the association is:
Women With Disabilities Australia Inc
PO Box 605
ROSNY PARK  TAS  7018

Women With Disabilities Australia Inc, Auditors Independence Declaration

I declare that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, during the year ended 30 June 2012 there have been:

(i)   no contraventions of the auditor independence requirements as set out in the Australian Professional Ethical Standards in relation to the audit; and

(ii)  no contraventions of any applicable code of professional conduct in relation to the audit.

Alison Flakemore

Audit Partner


Women With Disabilities Australia Inc

Independent Auditor Report to the members of Women With Disabilities Australia Inc

Report on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying financial statements, being special purpose financial statements, of Women With Disabilities Australia Inc (the Association), which comprise the statement of financial position at 30 June 2012 for the year ended, statement of comprehensive income, statement of changes in equity, and a summary of significant accounting policies, other explanatory notes and the statement by members of the Board.

Board’s Responsibility for the Financial Statements

The Board of the Association is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements and has determined that the accounting policies described in Note 1 to the financial statements, which form part of the financial statements, are consistent with the financial reporting requirements of the Associations Incorporation Act (ACT) 1991 and are appropriate to meet the needs of the members. The Board’s responsibility also includes designing, implementing and maintaining internal control relevant to the preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error; selecting and applying appropriate accounting policies; and making accounting estimates that are reasonable in the circumstances.

Auditor’s Responsibility

Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the financial statements based on our audit.  No opinion is expressed as to whether the accounting policies used, as described in Note 1, are appropriate to meet the needs of the members.  We conducted our audit in accordance with Australian Auditing Standards.  These Auditing Standards require that we comply with relevant ethical requirements relating to audit engagements and plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance whether the financial statements are free from material misstatement.

An audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements.  The procedures selected depend on the auditor’s judgement, including the assessment of the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to fraud or error.  In making those risk assessments, the auditor considers internal control relevant to the Association’s preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Association’s internal control.  An audit also includes evaluating the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates made by the Board, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements.

We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our audit opinion.

Independence

In conducting our audit, we have complied with the independence requirements of the Australian professional ethical pronouncements.

Auditor’s Opinion

In our opinion, the financial statements of Women With Disabilities Australia Inc present fairly in all material respects of the financial position of Women With Disabilities Australia Inc as at 30 June 2012 and of its financial performance for the year then ended in accordance with the accounting policies described in Note 1 to the financial statements, and the Associations Incorporation Act (ACT) 1991.

Basis of Accounting and Restriction on Distribution

Without modifying our opinion, we draw attention to Note 1 to the financial statements, which describes the basis of accounting.  The financial statements have been prepared to assist Women With Disabilities Australia Inc to meet the requirements of the Associations Incorporation Act (ACT) 1991.  As a result, these financial statements may not be suitable for another purpose.

WHK

Alison Flakemore

Audit Partner


Appendix 1: UN Letter to Australian Government & Australian Government Responses

 

NATIONS UNIES                                                                                       UNITED NATIONS

HAUT COMMISSARIAT DES NATIONS UNIES                   OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS

AUX DROITS DE L’HOMME                                                               HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

 

PROCEDURES SPECIALES DU                                                         SPECIAL PROCEDURES OF THE

CONSEIL DES DROITS DE L’HOMME                                        HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

 

Mandates of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest

attainable standard of physical and mental health, and the Special Rapporteur on violence against

women, its causes and consequences

REFERENCE: AL Health (2002-7) G/SO 214 (89-15)

AUS 2/2011

18 July 2011

 

Excellency,

We have the honour to address you in our capacities as Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences pursuant to General Assembly resolution 60/251 and to Human Rights Council resolutions 15/22 and 16/7.

In this connection, we would like to bring to the attention of your Excellency’s Government information we have received concerning the alleged ongoing practice of non-therapeutic, forced sterilization of girls and women with disabilities in Australia.

According to the information received:

It is alleged that non-therapeutic, forced sterilization is performed on young girls and women with disabilities for various purposes, including pregnancy prevention, population control, menstrual management and personal care. Reportedly, non-therapeutic sterilization is sterilization for a purpose other than to treat some malfunction or disease, and it refers to procedures carried out in circumstances that do not involve a serious threat to the health or life of the individuals. Forced sterilization refers to sterilization that has occurred in the absence of the individual’s consent.

It is also alleged that cases of non-therapeutic, forced sterilization of girls have occurred in greater numbers than those formally authorized by courts and tribunals. It is further alleged that the existing State and Territory legislation and federal court mechanisms have not adequately addressed non-therapeutic, forced sterilizations of young girls with disabilities, in particular with regard to preventing such children from being taken out of Australia for sterilization procedures elsewhere.

While we do not wish to prejudge the accuracy of these allegations, we would appreciate information from your Government on the steps taken by the competent authorities with a view to ensuring the right to the highest attainable standard of health of girls and women with disabilities. This right is enshrined, inter alia, in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ratified on 10 December 1975), which provides for the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of mental and physical health. This includes an obligation on the part of all States parties to ensure that health facilities, goods and services are accessible to everyone, especially the most vulnerable or marginalized sections of the population, without discrimination. In that connection, General Comment No. 14 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights elucidates that the right to health contains both freedoms and entitlements and holds that “the freedoms include the right to control one’s health and body, including sexual and reproductive freedom, and the right to be free from interference, such as the right to be free from torture, non-consensual medical treatment and experimentation” (para. 8). I would also like to refer your Excellency’s Government to General Comment No. 5 of the Committee, which holds that “Women with disabilities also have the right to protection and support in relation to motherhood and pregnancy…Both the sterilization of, and the performance of an abortion on, a woman with disabilities without her prior informed consent are serious violations of article 10 (2) [of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights]” (para.30).

We would like to draw the attention of your Excellency’s Government to Article 17 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (ratified on 17 July 2008), which states: “Every person with disabilities has a right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others”. We would also like to refer your Excellency’s Government to Article 23 of the Convention, which holds that “States Parties shall take effective and appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities in all matters relating to marriage, family, parenthood and relationships, on an equal basis with others, so as to ensure that: (…) The right of all persons with disabilities who are of marriageable age to marry and to found a family on the basis of free and full consent of the intending spouses is recognized.”

Furthermore, we would like to draw the attention of your Excellency’s Government to Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified on 17 Dec 1990), which holds that “States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health”. I would also like to refer your Excellency’s Government to General Comment No.9 of the Committee of the Rights of the Child which states: “The Committee is deeply concerned about the prevailing practice of forced sterilisation of children with disabilities, particularly girls with disabilities. This practice, which still exists, seriously violates the right of the child to her or his physical integrity and results in adverse life-long physical and mental health effects. Therefore, the Committee urges States parties to prohibit by law the forced sterilisation of children on grounds of disability.”

We would also like to refer your Excellency’s Government to General Recommendation No. 18 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which recommends that “States parties [to the Convention in the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (ratified on 28 July 1983)] provide information on disabled women in their periodic reports, and on measures taken to deal with their particular situation, including special measures to ensure that they have equal access to education and employment, health services and social security, and to ensure that they can participate in all areas of social and cultural life”. In that context, I would like to note paragraph 43 of the Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discriminations against Women (CEDAW/C/AUL/CO/7, 30.07.2010) which recommended that Australia “enact national legislation prohibiting, except where there is a serious threat to life or health, the use of sterilization of girls, regardless of whether they have a disability, and of adult women with disabilities in the absence of their fully informed and free consent”.

Finally, we deem it appropriate to make reference to Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2005/41 on the Elimination on Violence against women, which provides that women should be empowered to protect themselves against violence and, in this regard, stresses that women have the right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. In this context, we would also like to draw your attention to the Platform for Action of the Beijing World Conference on Women and the Programme of Action of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, which reaffirm the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so.

We urge your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and full enjoyment of the right to the highest attainable standard of health for girls and women with disabilities in accordance with international standards.

It is our responsibility under the mandate provided by the Human Rights Council to seek to clarify all cases brought to my attention regarding the right to health. Since we are expected to report on these cases to the Council, we would be grateful for your cooperation in addressing the following matters:

  1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary of the case accurate?
  2. Please provide details of any actions to prevent further non-therapeutic, forced sterilization of girls and women with disabilities?
  3. Please provide details of any actions to sanction medical staff carrying out illegal non-therapeutic, forced sterilizations of girls and women with disabilities. Please provide details, and where available the results, of any investigation and judicial or other inquiries carried out in relation to such cases. If no inquiries have been made, or if they have been inconclusive, please explain why.
  4. Please provide details of any actions to ensure that reparation, including compensation and rehabilitation, is provided to those girls and women with disabilities who may have been forcibly sterilized?
  5. Please provide details of any actions to ensure that informed consent requirements are adequately implemented for all medical interventions with regard to children and persons with disabilities?
  6. What measures are being taken to ensure the enjoyment of the right to health of girls and women with disabilities?

We undertake to ensure that your Excellency’s Government’s response to each of these questions is accurately reflected in the reports that will be submitted to the Human Rights Council for its consideration.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration.

 

Anand Grover

Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the

highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

Rashida Manjoo

Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences

 


 

Note Number: 108/2011

The Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva presents its compliments to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.

The Australian Government has the honour to refer to the Special Rapporteurs’ letter of 18 July 2011 requesting the Australian Government’s observations on the alleged practice of non-therapeutic, forced sterilisation of girls and women with disabilities in Australia.

The Australian Government is currently considering the information and questions contained in the letter. The Government is consulting with relevant stakeholders, including state and territory governments, and will provide a full response by 17 October 2011.

The Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteurs the assurances of its highest consideration.

Geneva

12 August 2011


 

Note Number: 127/2011 

The Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva presents its compliments to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.

The Australian Government has the honour to refer to the Special Rapporteurs’ letter of 18 July 2011 requesting the Government’s response regarding the alleged practice of non-therapeutic, forced sterilisation of girls and women with disabilities in Australia.

The Australian Government has the further honour to refer to its correspondence of 12 August 2011, in which the Special Rapporteurs were informed that a response would be provided by the Australian Government by 17 October 2011.

The Australian Government is currently considering the information and questions contained in the letter of 18 July 2011. The Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department is in the process of compiling a detailed Australian Government response to this request for information.

The Australian Government regrets that in order to ensure the Australian Government’s response to this request is as comprehensive as possible, further consultation with the State and Territory governments is required, and consequently it is unlikely that this consultation will be completed before the earlier indicated date for submission of 17 October 2011.

The Australian Government is committed to upholding its international obligations and would prefer to take more time to ensure an accurate and fully considered response can be prepared on this important topic.

The Australian Government regrets this delay in response and will submit its final response to the Special Rapporteurs by 16 December 2011.

The Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.


 

Endnotes


[1] The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. The 56th session of CSW was held in New York in February-March 2012, to consider ‘The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges’ as its priority theme. For more information on the CSW56, go to: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/56sess.htm

[9] Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (July 2010), the Committee on the Rights of the Child (October 2005), and the UN Human Rights Council (January 2011)

[10] See page 34 of UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council, Nineteenth session; Communications Report of Special Procedures; A/HRC/19/44.

[11] Mr Anand Grover (UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health) and Ms Rashida Manjoo, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women