Violence in times of disaster: 1800RESPECT webinar


>>HOST: Welcome to the 1800RESPECT webinar
series. Today we are talking about gendered violence in times of disaster. We have three
presenters. Deb Parkinson and Rachel McKay from Women’s Health Goulburn North East
and Steve O’Malley, a leading firefighter with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. Our presenters
will discuss the research into the increase of violence against women and their children at
times of disaster and what you and your services can do to recognise and respond. Our first
presenter is Deb Parkinson.>>DEB: Hi everyone, I work in the state of
Victoria in Women’s health sector. My role is to head the Gender and Disaster Pod, a
collaboration of Women’s Health Goulburn North East, Women’s Health in the North and
Monash Injury Research Institute. Temperatures soared to over 40 degrees in the days leading
up to worst bush fires on record in Victoria. On February the 7th 2009 the fires erupted.
Known as Black Saturday, this disaster resulted in the deaths of 173 people with 414 injured,
7,000 displaced and more than 2,000 houses destroyed. This presentation will focus on
the gendered impacts of this disaster in the context of broader, worldwide research. Our
research began with ethics approval and a literature review. Using a grounded theory
approach, data was collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews. First with 47
community and disaster personnel, and then with effective community members, 30 women and 32 men. International literature confirms that climate change deepens inequality. In times of disaster
the poorest suffer the most, and most of the poor are women. Although inequality, rather
than biology determines women greater vulnerability to climate change emergency management response
is often to doubt the relevance instead crying, “Don’t talk about gender, we have a disaster
on our hands!” Yet, our research found evidence on the impact of people was gendered. It revealed
the ways women are vulnerable, such as through the myth of women and children first through
their caring role, through lack of autonomy in decision making, and exclusion from bush
fire survival education. And in disaster’s aftermath through increased domestic violence. The research
also exposed the ways men are vulnerable, through risk taking, over confidence, loss
of a sense of control, reluctance to seek help, and failure to live up to expectations
of protector during the fires and provider in the aftermath. The myth of women and children
first was exposed by Swedish researchers Michael Olinder and Oscar Ericsson, who examined 18
disasters over three centuries and concluded that it is instead every man for himself.
In Australia, rather than being protected, women and children are often alone, escaping
bush fires. Since Black Saturday the approach of ‘prepare, stay and defend’ or ‘leave and live’…
Sorry, has been replaced by ‘leave and live’. However, assigned the role of primary care
giver, women’s choices are constrained. While responsibility for children or the elderly
hampers escape in disasters another barrier is women’s lack of autonomy in deciding to
leave. Cultural norms have historically positioned the man as the head of the household and this
affects women’s freedom to evacuate. One man in an interview said, “I have first hand
knowledge there are women, wives, on Black Saturday that wanted to leave town and their
husband said, ‘No, we’re staying to fight this’. They stayed to fight and they both died”.
Statements of women preferring to leave early to avoid bush fire are common, but research
shows that parents with caregiving roles, either male or female, are quicker to feel
threatened and prefer to evacuate early. Our cultural understanding of men fighting fires
and women and children out of harms way does not reflect reality in this century. A related
issue is that of women’s knowledge and ability to prepare. For women who fight fires by accident,
rather than design, their risk is heightened by childhood, since we taught girls different
skills to boys. Traditionally bush fire education for adults has been structured for men, by
men without consideration of structures that would increase women’s participation, such
as appropriate timing and provision of child care. In the absence of their own expertise
women tend to rely on men. One woman who survived Black Saturday said of her partner, “He was my fire plan”, and risked her life in refusing other’s help while she waited for him. It became clear that experiences
during the disaster highly influenced the post-disaster period and that both men and
women suffered through socially constructed gender roles. In countries all over the world,
domestic violence increases after disaster. 17 of the 30 women in this study reported
new or increased violence that they attributed to their male partner’s experience on Black
Saturday. Nine of these remembering settled and happy relationships disrupted by the fires.
Indeed, most of the 30 women knew of male violence in the relationships of friends and
neighbours. About one third of the workers as well as some of the men made the same observations. With one saying, “Our street was replete with domestic violence, the fires put pressure
on people who otherwise would have coped fine under incredible stress”. The key finding
of our research with women is that not only did domestic violence increase after the bush
fires but that women’s voices were silenced. This was evidenced by the lack of statistics
about violent incidences, the neglect of this issue in recovery and reconstruction operations
and unhelpful responses to women by legal, community, and health professionals. It became
apparent that women’s right to live free from violence was conditional upon the level
of suffering that men faced post-disaster. Individual, community and organisational resilience were
hampered by a context of grief, loss, trauma, homelessness, unemployment, alcohol abuse
and relationship break down. Pressures as people tried to return to work and reestablish
their lives were exasperated by the unrealistic gender based expectations. One man said he
was constantly asked, “Why haven’t you got it together? Why haven’t you got your
garden fixed? Why haven’t you got your house done yet? What are you doing with your life?
Why haven’t you gone back to work? Why haven’t you…?” Our research reiterates the findings
from the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation that community attitudes excuse men’s
violence. Legal, community, and health professionals actively refused to acknowledge or hear of
men’s violence against women after Black Saturday. Sympathies tend to lie with traumatised
men, their experiences of disaster, fostering a community more willing to excuse them for their
violence. At this stage I’d like to ask your thoughts. We have a poll question and
I’ll let you know the results as they come in. I’ll read out the question and ask you
to indicate your opinion by selecting one, two, three or four and you can click beside
the answer. Here’s the question: A fire plan is a vital document in the Australian context,
yet only about 30% of people in fire prone areas have one. What do you think is
the main barrier to developing a plan faced by women in your area? 1) A lack of knowledge
about how to plan and what to include. 2) Fear that planning will cause conflict within the family. 3) Lack of access to resources for planning, like lack of vehicle or money.
And D) [sic] Other. So click beside the answer that you feel is right. You’ll have a few
seconds to do that, and then I’m going to pass onto Steve O’Malley, leading firefighter
with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. Your responses are still coming in. I think the responses are still coming but so far it’s looking like almost half, 45%, think it’s
a lack of knowledge about how to plan and what to include. About 20% think it’s
fear that planning will cause conflict within the family. Another 20% saying that
lack of access to resources is the reason, with 14% saying ‘Other’. That gives us
a really interesting snapshot. So over to Steve.>>STEVE: Thanks, Deb, and hello to everyone
out there that’s listening in and watching. Basically what I’d like to talk about a
little bit today is the concept of gender and violence against women and how a work
place like mine, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in this case, but fire services all over the
world are trying to effect some change in cultural behaviour of staff and the way that
we do our core business. The way we respond. And just want to touch on these key determinants
at the start here. This slide explains pretty much what the women’s health and family
violence, or violence against women prevention sector outline as being the key determinants.
And it’s put to me as a man, and quite often by other men about the triggers that cause
or result in the death or injury of a woman at the hands of a man. And we have to draw
a distinct difference between the triggers, such as alcohol and drugs, and look closer
at these determinants. And I don’t think it hurts at all to reiterate these and certainly
the training that Rachel will speak about later and touch on this as well about unequal power
relationships between men and women, adherence to rigid stereotypes, and broader cultures
of violence. When I first got involved in this sector, the prevention of violence against
women, it was through an association with a friend of mine whose sister was a victim,
whose sister was murdered. And I ended up at Vic Health as part of the working party
to come up with a short course dealing with the prevention of gendered violence, or violence
against women, and I really struggled to work out where I fitted back then. But it didn’t
take long to realise that because it’s such a gendered issue and I work in a workplace that
is so well regarded by the public and we respond to emergency and our core business is about
community safety and this gendered violence affects one in three of half of the population
at some time in their life, it became starkly clear to me that we’d be able to effect
some change in organisations, and me as an individual in my own family and in my own
core groups as well. So, whenever I speak about gendered violence, whenever I speak
about violence against women I keep those determinants in the back of my mind. Basically
as a male fire fighter I embody a lot of this and if I could quote one of our learned colleagues
and someone pretty close to the research that Deb and Claire have undertaken, Bob Pease, by saying that as a white male in Australia I am complicit with the determinants and that in order for me to actually effect
some change I have to acknowledge that and acknowledge that until I say to myself that
I’m complicit I’ll then be able to change some of these determinants. Just going
a little bit back over what Deb said to give a bit of an overview of what we actually
know about violence and gender in disaster. Violence manifests in a lot of different ways. Men are victims of violence obviously as well as women. The rates of male violence are quite often, depending
which way you account for it, higher than against women. But when we’re talking about the
gendered nature of violence, we’re talking about men’s violence against other human beings basically
and women are more likely to be killed or injured in an intimate partner setting and
men are more likely to be killed or injured at the hands of a stranger. So that is exasperated
at times of disaster. As you can see now that the catastrophic natural disasters leave a
trail of devastation, which is what you see in the environment but it’s
what happens behind closed doors and throughout communities, and we’re referring to what
happened post Black Saturday in 2009. That’s really had an impact on the proactive work
that women’s health have done and the research that Deb has undertaken. I suppose this slide
replicates Deb’s but when I first realised exactly where we could delve into this sector
and affect some change is when I attended the ‘Hidden Disasters’ and ‘Just Ask’ conferences.
The Hidden Disasters was on International Women’s Day in 2012 and it sort of reflects,
for people that are out there today listening to this webinar, in that the majority of the
people who attended that conference were women and the majority of people that attended the
Just Ask conference one year later were men. Primarily because they realised they were
the subject matter and the conference organisers were talking about the effects of men. Predominantly,
overwhelmingly I should say, that the people that are here today listening and watching are women.
So it does make me wonder about the gender appreciation of such a serious issue as well.
So that’s when we got involved, I got involved basically listening to the evidence and looking at the
research and hearing anecdotally from people who were affected in the aftermath of that
natural disaster, which was Black Saturday. Once again, with the support of work and certainly
Women’s Health North and Women’s Health Goulburn Northeast I was able to organise
a couple of emergency management or emergency services specific events where we had the
likes of Liz Broderick the former Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Sir Angus Houston, once the
Head of Army, speak about gender inclusion and the importance of gender inclusion in
male dominated work places like mine and how that is strategically and essentially a way
that we can effect some sort of cultural change within organisations that hopefully projects
out into community. This is Deb’s favourite picture that we’re sharing at the moment, and it’s illustrative of a certain country. What country was it sorry Deb?>>DEB: Sweden.>>STEVE: Sweden. Yeah so social constructs
with gender are all around us and I think there was a post from Women’s
Health Victoria this morning on Facebook in regards to gendered advertising particularly around times
like Christmas, like now, and that illustrates pretty much. I give the benefit of the young
female in that picture being a Doctor rather than a nurse but I’m pretty sure if you
were to ask the gendered norm would suggest that she’d be a nurse before she would be
a doctor. And the other categories there with young boys or young males in the picture are
filling what the community or society considers to be gender normal jobs for them as well,
construction, engineering, medicine and the, dare I say it, emergency services. My favourite picture, on the other hand, is this one which was a teacher lead exercise at a primary school, and this
was given to me by a colleague of mine who knew how I’d react I think, and she worked
for Ambulance Victoria and they have, if not parity, a female dominant operation workforce.
And the teacher led the exercise and sent the children into the organisation to gather
paraphernalia from the organisations to explain what the organisation meant to them.
So they could say thank you. The best they could come up with in the three pictures here was a male and female on both Ambulance
and Police but in the fire service they came up with a male fire fighter and it must have been
so far from their imagination that there could be a female fighter that they just drew a
fire truck in the corner of the picture, to represent what they thought the fire service
was to them. So thank you to that fire man and the fire truck obviously. It’s a passion
of mine, I’m involved in gender specific emergency services networks, such as Women
in Firefighting Australasia, in the hope that we can discuss career pathways for the female
members of society. And one of the comments I hear quite often is not every woman wants
to be a fire fighter. And I agree with that but we have to be able to least ask a lot
of the women out there if they’d like to be firefighters and then we’ll see how the
culture changes from within. That’s all from me and I’d like to hand over to Rachel now
who’s going to speak a little bit about training to do with gender and disaster as
well. So thank you.>>RACHEL: Thanks, Steve. Welcome, everyone.
I’m going to be talking, as Steve said, on training and risk assessment. A key component
of the research in gender and disaster has been to ensure the research findings and recommendations
were actually translated into action, and part of this action was the development
and delivery of four training packages. You can see the covers of the packages at the
moment on your screen. So we’ve got, ‘Family violence after natural disaster’, the ‘Men and
disasters’ package, ‘Gender equity and disaster’, and the ‘Living LGBTI in disaster’. Today I’m
actually going to focus on key aspects of the ‘Family violence after natural disaster’
package. This package was the first to be developed following the release of the research,
‘The Way He Tells It: Relationships after Black Saturday’. The training was critical in spreading
the messages and learnings from the report and in particular ensuring that women and
children’s safety was not ignored in that post-disaster recovery period. The particular
aim of the training is to ensure that the safety needs of women, men and children
are met after disaster. The target audience for the training includes anyone working in
the disaster prevention, response, and recovery area. We’ve had participants from the CFA,
volunteers and staff, local government emergency planning staff, Parks Victoria. We’ve had
community members come along, we’ve had church based groups, Emergency Management
Victoria, Department of Health and Human Services staff, and that’s just to name a few. You
can see a snapshot of the workers there on your screen. The training has been delivered over
five hours, this particular training, and we’ve actually done a condensed version, which can be
delivered over three hours because we know that for staff in those areas it’s really
hard to get them to the training and they need to have it at a time when it’s accessible
for them. We are currently working on a combined version of the ‘Family violence after natural
disaster’ package and the ‘Men’s training’, which can be delivered in one day and we’re hoping
that next year we’ll deliver a series of them. This training really challenges individuals,
organisations and communities to look at gender stereotypes in the disaster context and the
harmful consequences for women and men. So I just want to show you some of what the training
involves. We facilitate this through things like group discussion, brainstorming and lots
of other activities. So part of the training we look at the relationship between natural disaster
and family violence. We talk about local and international research, like Deb discussed
before, just to set the context of the training. We look at definitions of family violence,
usually based on legal definition. We examine the causes of family violence and the prevalence in Australia with particular emphasis on the determinants, which Steve has gone clearly
through before. We look at identify the factors influencing family violence after natural disaster
and we also explore why women may not disclose. We look at recognising, responding and referral.
And we have a particular focus on the use of language, part of which came out in these
reports, which minimises the extent of the abuse. This was prevalent amongst counsellors
and even women experiencing violence. They would use terms like ‘drinking a bit more’ and
‘he’s a bit tense’. We had one community member who was reported to use the term ‘bad behaviour’
when referring to a violent assault. And one research participant said her husband was
‘more angry than usual’ and when pressed by the researchers she told them he had pulled
her hair and smashed her hand viciously. So in the training we explore the use of language
and the importance of using correct language and correct terminology. And lastly, we also discuss
the importance of keeping records. As Deb has described, we certainly found that no data does
not necessarily mean no problem. To give you a bit of an insight, we asked participants
to brainstorm why women do not disclose. And some of the responses are that her partner
may have been a hero during the disaster. At the time her whole world is turned upside
down, it’s often excused by the community, family and friends. So the social responses
they get are really negative. There’s obviously that hierarchy of horror and loss. Others
have suffered more so women’s needs are actually placed way down the bottom. There’s
obviously fear as well for women. They’re fearful for their lives. There’s also fewer
options; she has less access to transport, services, finances, childcare is often non-existent, important documents and even food and shelter may all be really restricted.
The other point is that family and friends and neighbours who may ordinarily be able
to provide some form of support may obviously be busy with their own disaster response activities
as well. There may also be extra challenges, and this is interesting, in enforcing intervention
orders in the face of a disaster. I’m sure that everyone out there could come up with a long
list as to why women are reluctant to disclose. A key aspect of the training is also a focus
on risk assessment. Risk assessment means making a professional judgement about the
risk factors that are present, combined with the woman’s assessment of her risk, keeping
in mind that women can sometimes minimise their own risk. This is to determine, number
one, the likelihood of future violence and number two, the dangerousness or potential
lethality of future violence. Specialist family violence services provide comprehensive risk
assessment. We are training people here to identify, respond and refer to those services,
we don’t want them to become family violence workers. Here in Victoria, government recognises
the need for a consistent approach when managing family violence, and as a result we developed
a Common Risk Assessment Framework, or CRAF. Some of you may be familiar with it and some
of you won’t. That was around 2008 and just keep in mind here, refer to your state or territory’s equivalent risk assessment framework. The Victorian one has two key elements, which
I imagine would be very similar across Australia. Number one is ensuring victim’s safety,
and this is obviously essential to risk assessment. The other component is ensuring responses
to victims are respectful, they’re informed, they’re holistic and understanding, and
that’s regardless of the victim’s background and/or the service’s culture. Again, risk assessment
is based on a worker’s assessment of the woman, and the woman’s assessment of her risk. Is she at high risk? Is she at medium risk or is she at low risk? Based on recent incidents and/or threats.
This will then determine a course of action, based on what the woman wants to do and a
safety plan can be developed around crisis contact numbers, safe places and people, transport,
access to finances and documents and issues around children and physical location in terms of distance to services and safety. We then ask participants to explore options for responding. And what
we do is we outline two in particular, the first is the universal approach, which means all
women receive information about the possibility that family violence may increase or may occur
for the first time in the post-disaster period. This information needs to include relevant
phone numbers, like the state or territory crisis service and certainly 1800RESPECT.
Information can be distributed in women’s health packs. We know that some participants
have suggested they put posters in women’s toilets at recovery centres and wherever may be suitable. So we get participants to start to brainstorm what they can do in a universal way. Being
mindful that people at the time are living in chaos and they may feel overloaded, so always being
mindful of that. The individual approach, or the direct approach on the other hand is
a more focussed intervention which provides the skills for workers to identify women
at risk and then to approach the woman about the issue, not an easy one. In this part of
the training we use role plays and scenarios, effectively participants are able to practice
approaching a woman and talking to them about their observations. In some of these scenarios
we use questions like, ‘How would you respond?’ ‘How would you broach the subject with the
woman?’ ‘When would you broach the subject with the woman?’ ‘What would you say?’ ‘What would
you ask?’ ‘What information would you give her?’ And ‘What if she says nothing
is wrong?’ And we absolutely explore that issue with everyone. A key component is facilitating
an increase in confidence for workers to take action and ask the questions. We do
this by assuming women want to be asked and they will identify what action they want to
take. Worker’s confidence is critical and feedback we’ve had indicates that this has been really
successful in building worker’s confidence and taking action in recognising and responding.
So how we do this, we use a tool called the ‘Four Step Process’. Really, really simplifying
it and it’s accessible for workers. So, number one, we get them to ask, ‘Are you safe at
home?’ And get them to practice what their question may be. It might be different to, ‘Are you safe
at home?’ ‘Are you safe in your relationship?’ ‘Do you feel safe?’ It might be a range of questions.
Number two, ‘name it’. What you’ve just described to me is violence and it’s a crime. We know
that often women do not view what is occurring to them as abuse or violence and they also
start to use minimising language of a society that victim-blames. So number three is ‘respond’.
Give some contact details: 1800RESPECT, the local family violence service and/or sexualised
assault service numbers and obviously the police as well. We’ve actually developed a wallet
sized folding card that has contact details on it and we’ve found that that type of
information in information packs is great. Or to be able to give directly to your client.
And four is ‘follow up’. “Last time you spoke about your safety I’d like to know how you
are”. So always following up with that client if you’re a case manager, etc. And lastly,
we actually challenge participants to look at and improve their organisation’s response during times of disaster by implementing the recommendations outlined in the
Gender and Disaster Pod. Some of these include conducting a gender and disaster audit of
their service, pretty easy to do. Ensuring workers have undertaken risk assessment and
safety planning training, or something similar, to identify and respond effectively. Think
about establishing methods for compiling accurate statistics. It might be something like a tick
box on data collection forms. It can be really simple to start to gather that data. And also
including specialist sexualised assault, domestic and family violence services in disaster response
and recovery planning. Out of the Gender and Disaster Pod and the task force, that’s
what happening here in Victoria. We also know that the municipal secondary impact assessment
here in VIC has actually incorporated family violence as an issue to be investigated, which
was a critical move forward in those assessments post-disaster and we feel that that was really
a fantastic move along. So, I hope that this has given you all a taste of the training
package. There’s only one in particular and I really encourage you to have a look at all the
packages and they will all be available on the Women’s Health Goulburn NorthEast website.
And there’s lots more information, ideas and resources on planning and responding to
violence against women in times of disaster at the Gender and Disaster Pod and you can
see that web reference on your screen now. And just lastly we just want to make sure to acknowledge the work that we’ve done collaboratively with 1800RESPECT in putting the gender and disaster
resources online. So there’s now online content. There’s an ABC radio and television
community service announcement, which is amazing. And we’ll actually show you shortly and there’s also
an online Workers Toolkit so we really encourage you to go onto that website and
have a look. So I’ll leave you there and we’ll watch the short community service
announcement. [Video begins]>>FEMALE VOICE ON PHONE: I’m not sure what
to do, I don’t feel safe anymore.>>FEMALE FRIEND: It’s OK, we’ll
work through this together. Have you packed an escape bag yet?>>FEMALE VOICE ON PHONE: I’ve started to
get things together. I’ve got clothes, spare keys, some money.>>FEMALE FRIEND: Great, and what
about an exit route?>>FEMALE VOICE ON PHONE: Yeah if I have to
leave quickly and can’t go out the front I can go out the laundry door.>>FEMALE FRIEND: You’re doing
everything you can. I’m always here if you need me.>>FEMALE VOICE ON PHONE: I have to go. I
just heard his car pull up.>>FEMALE VOICE OVER: One in four women in
Australia has experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner. In times
of disaster violence increases. To find out how to make a safety plan call 1800RESPECT
or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.>>HOST: Great. Thank you, Rachel. We’ll
now take some questions that have come through. So the first question is, where can the training
be accessed?>>RACHEL: The training is actually online, so
there’s a heap of resources online regarding the training. So there’s the ‘Facilitator’s
guide’ that people can have a look at and actually facilitate the training themselves.
There’s the participant workbooks. There’s the PowerPoint slides. So all of the material
that we deliver is online. The other point is that we’re actually, you can probably
tell from some of that content, we’re actually reviewing and making sure we’re making the
training up to date. But it is there online on the Women’s Health Goulburn North East website.>>DEB: The other thing to mention about that
is that if you would like to have the training in your organisation facilitated by Rach and
Andrew Wilson, and we have some other presenters, Jan Earst, you can contact us and that comes
at a cost.>>HOST: Great. Are there any prevention strategies
deployed post-disaster that are targeted at men? As well as training people to recognise
risk factors in women. Is there preventative training provided for men who might be at
risk of perpetrating?>>RACHEL: No there’s not at the moment. This is Rachel, by the way. There’s not at the moment. What the men’s training and the combined training
of the ‘Family violence after natural disaster’ and the ‘Men’s training’ we really start to
challenge people to look at gender stereotypes and the determinants of violence against women.
And that’s what we see as being the prevention side of things. If we can start to change
the way we view gender in the disaster context then we’re highly likely to see a drop of
violence against women. So that’s responding to men in a non-gendered way as well. What
we know is that men were crying and people did not know how to do deal with that and
what people were doing was giving them a beer, slapping them on the back and saying, “She’ll
be ‘right mate”. And that is not what we want to happen. We want to start prevent it
before and get rid of those gender stereotypes.>>HOST: OK, and how can traditional versions
of masculinity influence male decision making during disasters?>>DEB: I could probably answer this one.
I think that traditional masculine traits that we admire, you know the hegemonic masculinity
that men in Western societies are encouraged to embody, are things like being stoic and
violent, being a great provider and a protector, and not seeking help. We tend to expect men
just to cope really well. We heard one of the senior psychologists in the state, when
we interviewed him, he said a woman said to him she was very bitter about her husband because
he didn’t protect her in the way that she expected and she said, “I wanted a man who’d protect
me or die in the attempt”, and we actually had a few quotes like that. A woman we interviewed
directly said, “I don’t know what he was doing but he wasn’t out there. He wasn’t
doing anything. I don’t think he had the guts really”. So it’s not just men putting
these expectations on themselves, it’s society doing it. And as we know men are very reluctant
to seek help and sometimes for very good reasons. There are career penalties for men who are
fire fighters if they say, you know, I haven’t coped too well on Black Saturday or on another
fire. We’ve heard men say that the response was, “Keep that guy away from the
fires”. So as a society we have to really broaden the range of acceptable behaviours
for men and women and encourage men to express emotion without fear of penalty.>>HOST: OK, great. How can this knowledge
be applied to violence against women in times of other, non-natural disasters, for example war?>>DEBRA: Some people say that there are similarities
between what often men and women face post-conflict and post-natural disaster. This is
not really supported by fact but I think that there are some differences in that men who are in a conflict situation in Australia have chosen that. They have chosen to be in the military and to go there. They know what they’re getting
themselves into. Whereas a lot of men on Black Saturday certainly did not choose that, were
not skilled to cope with that situation. They were just living their lives, often even commuting
from where they lived into the city so they were quite urban. I think that there are differences.
Nevertheless some people say that the strategies you can use for PTSD, you know for trauma
after disasters, can be quite effective in both situations. Actually on our website there’s
a little podcast with Michelle Tuckey who’s done what’s called a gold standard research
into trialling different kinds of psychological debriefing with people after bush fire or after disaster
and it’s really peer based and it’s really worth having a listen to that.>>STEVE: If I could just add to what Deb
said as well. In an urban context a natural disaster may present something like a heatwave, which kills a lot of people throughout the hot seasons, or floods in some areas but to draw an analogy with that act of war question, was that 9/11 was essentially touted as an act of war on America and some
would argue the Paris shootings, the massacre were the same sort of thing. So it’s how
the emergency respondents react post those events is really interesting to see as well. When
it’s not a natural disaster they’re dealing with, it’s a catastrophic event if I can
use that term. But it’s in an urban environment, and a whole lot of people are being displaced
in the New York scenario from their workplace but with mass casualties like that, I think that it would be interesting to see, and it in no way diminished the effectiveness of peer support in those sort of scenarios but
PTSD is a major issue for emergency respondents in the urban, for example, the act of war scenarios.>>HOST: OK, thanks. Are workers within disaster
response services such as RSA encouraged to undertake this training and if so what is
the take up rate?>>DEB: Well we’re actually funded through
the NDRGS, which is the National Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme, to pilot those four sessions that
Rachel spoke about earlier. And part of that, after taking advice from Liz Broderick and
David Morrison, we pitched that at middle managers. Once you’ve got the top level
leaders on side with gender equality and gender equity initiatives then you need to tackle
middle management and get them to have the right attitude. So we held these four pilot
sessions just within the last three months and we had around 20 people. So it was a real
mix of people from the various emergency service organisations, together with a few community
people and local government people. And that mix is really fantastic because it keeps it real
with the community people there and I think people learn from each other and learn about
the organisations. What we’d really like to see is that rolled out, so that emergency
services like CFA, MFB, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and community, regularly do that.
So if we could offer that maybe six times a year and have 20 people attending each I think we would really start to see some organisational change.>>HOST: Thank you. How do you recognise
the signs in young people aged 17-26? What strategies do you suggest for this age group?>>RACHEL: It’s Rachel here. The signs are
very similar. I think one of the key ones is, particularly with potential offenders or
current offenders, is a type of morbid jealousy and it’s signs like that we need to pick
up on and teach young people about. And it’s morbid jealousy is extreme jealousy, “You can’t go there”, “You can’t wear that”, “Why were you talking to him at that party?” That type
of thing. And often young women will see that as flattering. So that’s one of the key ones
you can identify. And number two on that is that the same responses, absolutely the
same responses, I’ve worked with young women at age 14 and what they are talking to me
about is the same as what a 35 year old woman was talking to me about as well. So the same
responses could be applied. And just another aspect of that, and Steve was talking about
it, about children. That’s where we really need to start, and we need to start educating
kids really early and stop boxing them into gender stereotypical boy’s behaviours and expectations
and girl’s behaviours. So we need to take it back a step and start at the start I think.>>HOST: OK, great. Thank you. That’s all
the questions we have time for today. So that does conclude our webinar for today. We would
like to thank our presenters for taking the time to talk us through their work and our
audience for their questions. For more information you can visit the 1800RESPECT website or download
the Workers Toolkit, which contains the information from today. You can also register
now for February’s webinar, presented by Australian National Research Organisation on Women’s
Safety. Thank you, everyone.

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