PartnerSPEAK launch planning


As agreed, let’s post our individual actions, and progress towards them, in this forum.

Thanks for a great meeting, last night! I feel very positive about our launch and think it will signify an important milestone for PartnerSPEAK. It is SO wonderful to have a (small) team making things happen :slight_smile:



Friday 8th March – invitation / launch flyer to be completed (by Natalie & Alex) and distributed to Juliet & Nijole

Sunday 10th March – on-line / conference meeting (10a.m.) ‘to be confirmed’

From Friday 8th March onwards – Juliet, Nijole & Natalie to email out invitation to agreed contacts (to ask them to pass on with their database/membership/contacts AND to any relevant individuals/organisations that we think of.

Thursday 18th April – PartnerSPEAK launch, 10a.m. > 1.p.m.


Launch ‘to do’ list” Nijole

Approach Anglicare re media coverage potential privacy issue of employee associated with contentious issue. Approach being made to CEO on my behalf.
Will be advised hopefully by 22/2 20/2
Investigate Melbourne University for conference room. Send letter as provided by Nat. 21/2
Access Centrelink social workers email addresses. Send invitation
Lawyers specific to forensic representation. Send invitation
Court Networks – email add + invitations
Acquire Anglicare + Welcome to Country
Meet with Natalie re conference dalls/skype/computer awareness Prior to 10/3 – tentative date for conference call

Nijole Role – Launch

Registration for discussion(name tags etc?, attendances, email addresses etc, perhaps feedback)
Welcome to Country
Panel Member – check privacy boundaries employer,family,partner name


To do list for Juliet
Send Natalie PDF of SMS booklet - done
Read online documents on PS board
Ask DVRC if they have a room
Ask Carolyn if she knows of anywhere else suitable - done, sent through.
Ask if SECASA can help with some funding for launch - done, yes, $50
Can we provide a projector if needed?
Can SECASA provide tea and coffee?
Find out who asked what SECASA was doing for international womens’ day - Margaretta Windich - internal publicity Southern Health
Ask if we can send invites to Psych association - I have an email address so will send one when they come.
Forward invites to OSCC, DHS, VicPol, VLA, CLCs.
Write a talk about what are forum boards. 10 minutes + 5 mins questions with slides.
Be on pannel
Ask if Karen Hogan can come on the pannel
Ask about using the SECASA logo on the board - done, yes, OK for purposes we discussed. I will create a new ID for this shortly.


On Friday 22/2 received a directive in writing from CEO of Anglicare stating that attending the launch in my own time is OK but I would have to remain anonymous and not divulge the name of my workplace. How about that!

So that would mean no photographs in media, no mention of my name or workplace.
I also have to leave my family out of it…my SA family don’t even want me to mention that I have interstate family.

My SA family still in fear and I guess shame that their mother/grandmother could be so involved. So they’re very protective of their children and want no association whatsoever.

So I think we need to have a think about how to work around these restrictions. Wondered if perhaps the information I could offer could be by way of the ‘stories’.

What do you both think? The fact that the directive was in writing indicates that I could be held to it if things go pear shaped and my face appears in the newspapers even.


Hi Nijole,
Hmmmm, I’m wondering about how binding the letter from your employer can be. If you are there as a private citizen and not as a representative of your employer, I don’t see how they can stop you from being named if that’s what you want. If it were a political protest like you were out there with a banner protesting your local council about something I can’t see that they’d have a problem with that. Or what if you wanted to run for a political position in your own time? Or if you won lotto and the press wanted to do a story about it? They couldn’t stop you from being identified then if that was what you wanted to do. I think it would be good for you to get some legal advice on this to clarify this position as it seems to smack of discrimination about this issue, not about restrictions it would have on all it’s employees. Try legal aid
Victoria Legal Aid - Lawyers And Legal Services. Victoria Legal Aid
(03) 9269 0120 Melbourne 1800 677 402 Rural areas (free) or
Fair work ombudsman Call us - 13 13 94 or fair work commission Contact the Fair Work Commission on 1300 799 675,
As to your family, what many of our survivors do is only use their first name, or adopt a nick name for the sake of the exercise. I think if you are happy to be identified then you’re right, it is something we need to look into to be clear about.
Keep us informed.


Thanks Meep, I will look into it. ‘Adverse publicity’ is the term that was verbally put forward by my contact.

Melbourne Uni do not have have rooms available. One of their buildings is undergoing renovation during semester, so all available space being used for students. $350 per 4 hrs + GST. That’s for theatre space which includes foyer with tea/coffee making facilities. After 15/3 some rooms may become available…but it seems cost prohibitive at this point.


Apologies, Nijole, that I haven’t looked at this part of the forum recently and I missed, until now, what has been going on with your employer.

I have LOTS to say about it and am FURIOUS at Anglicare’s response to you but that won’t necessarily help you, right now, so I will focus, firstly on their response in the context of the launch.

Firstly, let me respond to the practical side of things… In terms of our flyers and publicity I had already kept it vague and mentioned ‘partners share their experiences’ rather than naming any individuals. This, I felt, captured the dramatised stories that we included in the day as well as your participation on the panel (if that is still able to proceed) but also leaves it open so that these things can change and we would be the only ones that would know about such changes and we wouldn’t have to alter our publicity.

In regards to your participation in the launch, going forward, the options as I see them are:

1. Participate as you planned to and find ways to comply with Anglicare’s demands:
If you want to continue and want us to find a way to work with these restrictions we can and will. We can give you a pseudonym (and allow you the opportunity -or me, as the chair- to introduce you saying that this has been enforced by your employer, against your will and that you would personally prefer to be named, and use this as a very real and relevant example of the stigma that is experienced by partners. I’ve done this before on a radio interview and it worked).
In terms of images, we can very easily ‘ban’ participants from taking photos or videos and then the people we have organised to take them, on behalf of PartnerSPEAK, can be instructed to not record your image or we can edit your face/voice from the video if you do decide to participate in the panel (again, this is something I have done before and just had my silhouette included in the newspaper).

2. Choose not to participate at this time (or participate in a less public way):
Work is work and our ‘rights’ at work are not always simple. Even if it is your ‘right’ to do as you wish outside of work and even though your employer may be ‘discriminating’ against you, you may not have the energy to tackle this fight at this time.
If it is best for you not to participate on the panel, at this time, I completely support you in that. Only in the last couple of months you’ve still had some difficult and shaky times so if the stress of going forward will be more significant than the benefit, for you, of being involved please wait for another time. It can be incredibly empowering to speak out when there is so much pressure not to but only if the time is right for you. If you do decide to go ahead, we will support you all the way and, equally, if this is not the right time, we will support you in that.

3. Challenge Anglicare on their demands:
I’m with Juliet, without researching the legalities more deeply this, to me, also seems like discrimination and I believe that Anglicare is not entitled to dictate what you do as a ‘Nijole’ outside of work. YOU have done nothing that would bring ‘adverse publicity‘ to an employer. As a community service, such as they are, they are meant to support people who are vulnerable or exposed by the actions of their family members/spouses. Yes, your ex, if he were employed would bring ‘adverse publicity’ but how does speaking out against his actions and the affect they had on you bring any disrepute to Anglicare?!

I was once fired (in the UK) on similar claims (different social issue but my employer claimed something like ‘disrepute’) and I fought it and won. [Obviously, refer back to my comments in point 2. this could be a big fight and might not be the right time for such a fight].

The way Anglicare is treating you is exactly why PartnerSPEAK has an advocacy arm and why this is important enough to be the only direct service (face to face, not on-line) that I have included in our service offerings. I believe that if it became known in the community sector what Anglicare is saying to you that they would bring ‘adverse publicity’ to themselves. IF you do decide to challenge them on this, I am willing to act as an advocate in a formal capacity, a representative of PartnerSPEAK, and support you to challenge them on this.

Maybe, in the first instance, contact the legal services that Juliet has mentioned and see what they have to say about it (they’re the exact same links I would have suggested)!

I wanted to respond to this issue, separately, will come back to my ‘to do’ list in my next post.

Strength to you, Nijole.


Again, apologies for the delay. Calling venues and moderating the board was all I could manage while I was away and though there was some important time with particular family members, I’m glad to be home!

Finally, my ‘to do’ list and notes from our meeting:
COM section on forum: Obviously, I’ve established this new section on the forum still outstanding is to investigate whether we can add a chat function to the board; I will do that this week.

Venues: that’s now sorted! Please see the council website for a brief overview of the venue and I will also send you their email as it has more details and photos. I popped by yesterday and I think it’s lovely especially being in the gardens and there is a tram stop right out front. . Total cost of hire: $114.75 (+bond which I can cover). Hire includes 4.5 hours room hire (10-1 event, 9.15-10 set-up, 1-1.45 pack-up) and $27 insurance. Juliet, many thanks to SECASA for contributing $50 to room hire, if there is (as you mentioned there might be) capacity for any greater amount towards the hire this will be much appreciated.

Insurance for the launch: Juliet, might it be possible that SECASA cover our event under their insurance (I’m happy to do any risk assessments or whatever would be required) otherwise we can ‘buy’ insurance with our booking for an extra $27

Refreshments: I have the okay of the food co-op I am a member of to contact our suppliers re donations of biscuits, milk, coffee, tea etc. I have also (since our meeting) decided to contact local cafes near to Edinburgh Gardens to ask them for sponsorship/catering even if its just donating coffees. I’ll do this in the next fortnight

Driver: Alex Blanchard (aka my partner) has agreed to pick up Juliet from SECASA and any booklets, projector and other materials/equipment that she might be bringing.

Flyer/Invite: Juliet has asked Miles, who is doing the flyer for the Sexting launch, to also draft a flyer for our launch. The first draft is complete. I am just waiting for final, final confirmation and details of our last panellists before I give Miles the go ahead to complete the last details on the flyer. I will still endeavour to email you the FINAL COPY of the invite THIS FRIDAY 8th MARCH to forward to the contacts you have agreed to email/contact.

Webpage: Information about the launch has been posted to the PartnerSPEAK forum/homepage with a link that takes users to more information and a program. Over the next couple of days, there will be a profile for each speaker and panellist included on the program. (Just look at the top of this page in the header)

My mailing list contacts:
-Salvation Army
-Anglicare (we said at the meeting ‘Nijole’ or ‘Nat’ but given recent developments do you think it best I just ‘cold-call’ them as just another community service rather than Nijole approaching them
-Lawyers in Melbourne involved in child abuse issues that I have previously contacted
-Personal invites to my contacts at Vic Pol and AFP
-Childwise— have also agreed to put on their Facebook page

Roles/volunteers to be sourced/Outstanding tasks:
-Media releases/publicity – Natalie to approach Daniel Scoullar of Social Change Projects
-Students/actors for dramatisations – no-one allocated to follow up, yet
-Roving mike / interviewer with video asking ‘why are you here, today?’ etc—no-one allocated yet
-General videographer to record event, edit/.produce video for Youtube — no-one allocated yet
-Photographer --TBC my sister might be in Melbourne that week and will let me know when she has her dates confirmed and if she is can be our photographer

Format/agenda: will create separate post.

Next meeting: will create separate post.


Format & Running Sheet:

  1. 10.00a.m. Tea & Coffee
  2. 10.15 Welcome to the event: Natalie
  3. 10.19 Welcome to country: Nijole
  4. 10.20 Dramatised monologues
  5. 10.40 Presentation: ‘Why an on-line forum?’ & questions (& why SECASA is supporting PartnerSPEAK), Juliet
  6. 11.00 Panel discussion, chair: Natalie
  7. 12.15 Brief presentation re PartnerSPEAK, invitation to be involved & close: Natalie
  8. 12.30 Refreshments
  9. 1.00pm Close

• Bernadette McMenamin AO (Childwise)
• Dr. Meagan Tyler (academic/lecturer, Victoria University)
• AFP (just waiting for confirmation whether it will be the head of Vic Child Protection or whether someone is coming from Canberra)
• Karen Hogan (CASA/Gatehouse) with support from Juliet
• Nijole (TBC in light of recent developments with employer)


Next meeting/s:

• We had pencilled in THIS SUNDAY 10th March for a virtual meeting without realising that it is a public holiday. May we cancel/postpone this meeting, for now?

• Nijole and I agreed to meet, face to face (hopefully within the next week if our diaries both still agree) to go through the PartnerSPEAK email. I propose that when Nijole and I meet, that we also touch base on the ‘next steps’ re the launch (as we would have at the virtual meeting) and then update Juliet by email and this board (Juliet has confirmed that she is happy with this and Juliet is able to respond to electronic communication during the week due to the nature of her work). Nijole and I will organise our meeting via email.

• Let’s re-schedule our VIRTUAL MEETING for SUNDAY 14th APRIL at 10a.m. (the weekend just before the launch) to tie up any loose ends, count final registrations, take on last jobs before Thursday.

• May we also meet at Edinburgh Gardens at 8.45a.m. on Thursday (the morning of the launch). I’ve booked the room for setting up from 9.15a.m. so could the three of us please re-group for half an hour (8.45-9.15), just to orientate ourselves, before we do the practical setting-up things.



I do feel that we could use the workplace and family restrictions to advantage for Partnerspeak……pointing out the stigma associated with such a crime for families etc etc and the real need for an anonymous on-line forum.

I must confess I have suffered from some anxiety after our last meeting so have taken care of myself medically. I do feel confident however that I want to take part in the panel and the day, so some strategies need to be discussed and so am pacing myself with approaching legalaid….will try and do that online if possible this weekend.

I don’t think that Anglicare should be left out of any invitation/information on Partnerspeak and I can give you a contact. I told my contact that an invitation would be forthcoming.

I’ve approached VicPsychPlus and spoken with them re invitation and Partnershpeak in general. They are looking forward to an invite.

That’s all from me. Talk with you both soon.


Hi Nijole,

The kind of participation you are hoping to be involved in with the launch is massive and I’m not surprised that you’ve experienced some anxiety. To the contrary I’d be concerned if you didn’t have some apprehension. Over the last couple of years you’ve demonstrated that you’re sensible and strong about 'pacing yourself and looking after yourself and I’m confident that you’ll continue to do likewise with this situation. When we meet, let’s talk about what strategies and safeguards Juliet and I can assist with in regards to how we structure the event to best support you to participate in the way that you want to, the way that you are able to depending on how you might be feeling during the day and working around your external restrictions.

Thanks for your email, I’ll be in touch this afternoon to confirm a time for the two of us to meet on Monday.



I’ve been thinking about Anglicare’s response to Nijole over the last couple of days and the more I think about it the more perplexed I am. Nijole is effectively speaking out as a survivor. If we imagine an employer advising that someone couldn’t be identified/named/photographed etc as part of a group for partners who had experienced sexual assault they would be a) shaming and punishing that individual for having been abused and b) it would just be ludicrous that an employer would intervene in such a thing. For me, relating it to this example, highlighted more clearly the irrationality and inappropriateness of Anglicare’s response. Imagine the outcry if a community services organisation (or any employer, for that matter) told an employee that, as a condition of their employment, they were not allowed to be identified and associated with any other type of survivor group.

Not asking for a response from either of you to this post. Just ranting, really.