Julie, thanks for joining us on The Blog Spot, can you tell us more about WIRE and the services offered?
WIRE is the only Victoria-wide free generalist information, support and referral service run by women and non-binary people for women, non-binary and gender-diverse people. WIRE provides support on any issue by phone, email, web chat and face-to-face at our walk-in Information Centre (under normal circumstances). Specialising in understanding gendered financial wellbeing and applying an intersectional lens, WIRE conducts research and training on issues such as financial abuse, family violence and financial capability, and also run programs on financial wellbeing for community members and professionals.
What are your key insights from COVID-19?
Our support workers have noticed that more people are contacting us on behalf of friends, family members and other people in their life, wanting to know how they can get support for people experiencing family violence.
Physical distancing adds a complication for people needing support — it limits people's ability to get support from friends and other services, especially as referral pathways for organisations have changed because of distancing.
Our support workers are finding that people contacting us are more likely to be facing multiple issues, such as housing stress, financial stress and family violence. Physical distancing adds a complication for people needing support — it limits people's ability to get support from friends and other services, especially as referral pathways for organisations have changed because of distancing.
We are seeing people who are excluded from the financial support packages being plunged into financial hardship
We are seeing people who are excluded from the financial support packages — such as international students, people on temporary visas and casuals workers who have lost their jobs and have under 12 months' service with their employer — being plunged into financial hardship, leading to significant mental and physical health strain, and in some cases, homelessness. Some of these people are also experiencing family violence.
How WIRE is helping?
We are a one-stop-shop: we listen carefully to each service user, acknowledge their experiences, take the time to work out which support is right for them and make those referrals.
We can support women, non-binary and gender diverse people on any issue, through information and referral. We are a one-stop-shop: we listen carefully to each service user, acknowledge their experiences, take the time to work out which support is right for them and make those referrals. We also work through which resources and support may be available in their local community, so service users can resource themselves. In cases of family violence, we discuss what service users can do to keep themselves and their children safe.
We are keeping on top on changes in service delivery systems so we can provide accurate and timely information about which services are available. We can also speak to anyone who is supporting someone experiencing family violence or any other difficult issue.
We also provide training to professionals working with customers on responding to family violence and dealing with difficult calls, through our profit for purpose arm.
You can contact WIRE on 1300 134 130, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. At this time, we are asking people to leave a message — our experienced support team will get back to you. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, contact us via our web chat. Our website (www.wire.org.au) has resources on family violence and a range of other issues.