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Your life, your future, your choice

by DSA

Everyone’s an individual and here at DSA we mean it when we say it’s your life, your future, your choice – we’re here to support you to safely live your life the way you choose.

DSA has a growing reputation for the provision of complex supports in a model that enables opportunities for choice, inclusion and achievement.

Region 4 in our Community Support Services division supports young people who have left the care of the Minister at age 18 and also people who are reintegrating into the community after leaving the Criminal Justice System.

Region 4 staff are committed to supporting their customers to live their lives in a safe and inclusive environment which enables them to expand their horizons and explore opportunities to learn new skills, develop social relationships, improve their health and wellbeing and make the choices that will allow them to live the life they choose, safely.

Helping local communities better understand the issues and challenges that many of our Region 4 customers face is all part of what we do and recently DSA’s Sarah McFarlane- Eagle delivered a presentation to the Tamworth Evening VIEW Club. Following in an excerpt from a thank you letter Sarah received.

On behalf of the members of Tamworth Evening VIEW Club I am writing to thank you, most sincerely, for the wonderful talk you gave at our recent meeting. Your talk of your work, together with the significant challenges facing intellectually disabled people in our society certainly caused us all to reflect on this sobering issue.

Sarah, you have helped expand our knowledge and understanding of the intellectually disabled. We are also much more aware of the vulnerabilities of these people in our society and the paucity of services to support and assist them. It is work such as yours and that of your organisation which is no doubt helping some of the group achieve a better future.” Jennie West, Secretary

Safe in Love, by Anne-Marie Cooper, Senior Psychologist

 

In 2016, I delivered some training to mentors on how they could support their customers who are in volatile relationships and have or are trying to escape domestic violence. In reviewing the literature specific to women with intellectual disability I was alarmed to discover that in 2016 women with Intellectual Disability are 70% more likely to experience domestic violence and are more likely to return to their violent partners.

Further to this I became increasingly aware that the use of social media was particularly challenging for some of our young ladies too, that they were at risk of being groomed, bullied and harassed by others. From these two issues, a need to assist our young female customers understand the cycle of violence, how to develop a safety plan and how keep themselves safe in their relationships was identified and “Safe in Love” was visioned.

Last month’s ‘Safe in Love’ day consisted of group discussions about self-care, the cycle of violence, safety planning, how to tell if you're ready for intimacy, online safety and the use of social media. The information delivered was balanced with some fun activities too. The program also aimed to bring young female customers together to network and form friendships.

There was a craft session where the customers each made a Valentines card as well as sessions of karaoke. The craft and karaoke were a great opportunity for customers and staff to share some time out together, there was lots of singing, dancing and chatting.  Lunch was made by one of our customers who is polishing up her independent living skills.

Each customer received a Safe in Love show bag which included some fun resources, information about online safety, and a crown to wear for the day and take home as a reminder that they are all “Queens of Their Own Destiny”.  

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