Women with disabilities have a new tool to improve their wellbeing and help them stay safe, filling a critical information gap in the battle to end violence against women.

Launched at Parliament House today by Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth, Neve is a first-of-its-kind website that has been co-designed by women with disabilities to provide information and support while meeting the accessibility needs of its users.

With over 70 topics, the Neve website has a clear focus on violence prevention and safety for women, girls, feminine-identifying and non-binary people with disabilities. It provides information on how to identify different types of violence and abuse, what to do in a violent or abusive situation, and how to seek support, along with resources for family, friends and professionals.

Neve also has sections on wellbeing, understanding pleasure and healthy relationships, and nurturing self-care resources for users to enjoy on their own or share with loved ones.

Violence against women has reached a tipping point in Australia, with one woman murdered every four days so far this year at the hands of male violence. Women with disabilities are four to ten times more likely to experience domestic and family violence than women without disabilities, but specific information and support services can be challenging to access.

WWDA acting CEO Sophie Cusworth said Neve was a much needed and long anticipated tool to promote safety and wellbeing for women with disabilities by providing information and advice that flowed from lived experience.

“We are in the midst of a crisis that is disproportionately impacting women with disabilities, who rarely have an accessible path to safety,” she said. “While all violence is unacceptable, the statistics are far worse for women with disabilities, and the hurdles to get support are much higher.

“We know from experience, and feedback received in our workshops and national survey, that there are very few services and preventative initiatives that are inclusive and accessible for women, girls, feminine-identifying and non-binary people with disabilities. With support from the federal government, we’re proud to bring this critical information source to life – and hope that it will positively impact lives across the country.”

Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth said she was pleased to support the Neve Platform as part of the Albanese Government’s multifaceted response to the national crisis of family, domestic and sexual violence.

“The Neve Platform will be an important resource for women and girls with disability as we work to end gender-based violence in one generation.

“Until today, there was limited accessible information available to women and girls with disability, despite the fact they are at a higher risk of gender-based violence. Thanks to the Neve Platform they will now be able to find the resources they need and know that support is available.”

In what is believed to be an Australian first, Neve is Easy Read first, with sections translated into different languages including First Nations Northern Territory Kriol and Arabic (as well as Turkish, Vietnamese, Mandarin and Cantonese). It is also available in plain English, and in accessible forms such as text to speak and large text.

“As a woman with disability who has experienced coercive control and violence, I feel like I was more vulnerable and easier to manipulate because of my autism. My life would have been better if I had had access to all this information a long time ago, if I had known the signs. I would not have been talked into thinking it was all my fault. 

Neve will be lifechanging for many women. It’s so important that women with disability can recognise violence and abuse, and know what they can do about it. Neve helps fill this gap, including for women with invisible disabilities who are more likely to be at risk. 

Neve has been built by women with disability, for women with disability. Showing personal stories from survivors is a beautiful way to break through and help women reflect on their own situation so they can address their problems and survive.”

Deb Hunter, Tasmania. Deb identifies as an autistic person with psychosocial and persistent pain disability. 

“The statistics are shocking, and we need governments, organisations, and everyday people to recognise we need change. Neve is an excellent start—but it’s only the beginning. And I hope this will lead to more opportunities for disabled women, non-binary and gender-diverse people to be able to use their lived experience to create change, and to have our voices and needs represented at a national level.

It’s so vital that we look at information through a disabled lens, especially one that considers intersectionality. Because despite one in four Australians being disabled, we are rarely considered or represented. It’s time we change that. Disabled people matter, and it’s so important to have disability focused information, especially because we are significantly more at risk of violence, discrimination and mental ill health.”

Zoe Simmons, Victoria. Zoe is an award-winning disabled and autistic journalist, author, speaker and disability advocate.

Explore Neve today: neve.wwda.org.au

Media contact: Pia 0412 346 746

About Women With Disabilities Australia

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) is the award-winning national Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) and National Women’s Alliance (NWA) for women, girls, feminine identifying and non-binary people with disabilities in Australia. WWDA represents more than two million individuals in Australia. With affiliate organisations and networks in most states and territories, WWDA aims to promote, protect and advance the human rights and freedoms of women and girls with disabilities in Australia.