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Liz Mackinlay

Update from the Chair, Autumn 2019

Let’s celebrate International Women’s Day and embrace the theme of #Balance for Better. Gender equality means many things to many people and one of the things that is particularly important to us at Mary’s House is the reduction in violence against women that comes about as a result of gender equality.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, women are at greater risk of family, domestic and sexual violence. Since the age of 15, 1 in 6 women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a current or previous partner. The equivalent statistic for men is 1 in 16. One in 4 women has experienced emotional abuse by a current or previous partner compared to 1 in 6 men. One in 5 women and 1 in 20 men has been sexually assaulted or threatened. As a society none of these statistics are acceptable, however it is clear there is a significant gender bias. Let’s  #Balance for Better.

There is often a view amongst our community that domestic violence “happens to other people”; “it doesn’t happen in my area” and other similar views. Domestic violence is unfortunately throughout our society and happens everywhere – we like to say that it is not discriminatory and happens in every postcode! The experience at Mary’s House over the past 2 years is indicative of this. During this time we have had residents from 15 nationalities; from all age groups - from 20 through to 68; coming to us from the north shore of Sydney; the west; the east; and interstate; coming with children and alone. In short there is no “typical” resident.

So on International Women’s Day let’s #Balance for Better and aim for a better world for all of us!

As you know we are constantly working to improve our Mary's House operating model and to that end, there have been a few organizational changes. 

For some months the Board has been keen to give effect to the strategy arising from the Association’s 30 June 2018 Strategy Day (attached here). The NSWBA Board considered the strategic decisions that have been made, the financial model under which the Association currently operates and the scale of our services over 2018. As a result, the Board is implementing a significant organisational restructure.  

We have two new Board committees established last year which provides the opportunity to utilise those committees to oversee the operational work of the Association with the case managers reporting to the Quality Assurance Committee, chaired by Julie Stewart and the Fundraising and Communication Committee, chaired by Fran Hagon, overseeing community engagement, communication and fundraising.   

We have also reviewed the operating budget of the Association. We are committed to maintaining a sensible operating budget that honors the generous donations we receive, whilst leveraging our volunteers and staff. For this reason, we've decided to significantly reduce our administrative costs/budget going forward and as such the Executive Officer role has been made redundant effective 15th February 2019. We are also committed to our fundraising plans and targets and as such we will recruit a 0.8 paid FTE as Fundraising and Communication Officer which replaces the existing two casual roles. The Office Administrator role description is being reviewed (the role is not being made redundant) and the case managers roles stay the same.  

We are grateful for Maggy's hard work as our Executive Officer and we wish her well for the future.  

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