WorkUp Queensland Senior Project officer Christine Payne (left) and WorkUp Queensland Project Manager Louise Villanova (right).

A new project led by WorkUP Queensland in partnership with National Disability Services (NDS) is equipping disability service workers with additional skills to recognise and respond to domestic and family violence.

While domestic and family violence is a significant problem in Australia, WorkUP Queensland’s Christine Payne says women with disability are more at risk, with one in three experiencing emotional abuse from a current or previous partner.

“Women with disability experience far higher levels of domestic and family violence than other women and may face additional forms of DFV such as forced isolation or enforcing or withholding medical treatment,” Christine said.

“We know how prevalent this violence is, so it’s important that everyone in the disability workforce understands how to recognise how it looks like for women with disability and feels confident in responding effectively and referring women on to further support. It is also crucial that organisations have support structures and systems in place so that workers are well equipped to do this work safely.

“It’s a very topical issue and we’ve seen a really good uptake in people across the sector wanting to engage with this issue through our webinars.”


WorkUP’s Disability training and resources aims to build capacity in the disability sector to help the workforce Prevent, Recognise, Respond and Refer when it comes to Domestic and Family Violence.

Facilitated by sector experts and women with disability, the series of webinars will soon be available on-demand via WorkUP Queensland, NDS and Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence websites from June.

Christine says the disability workforce is in a unique position to drive change in ending violence against women.

“Capacity building with disability service providers on this issue helps the workforce to understand the additional and complex barriers that women with disability face when accessing appropriate support,” Christine said.

“The skills developed from this training provide an important contribution to the wellbeing of women and children,” Christine said.

The Domestic and Family Violence Training and Resources for the Disability Workforce project is led by WorkUP Queensland in partnership with National Disability Services (NDS) in Queensland. The training has been developed and delivered with people with disability and it has been informed by the disability workforce.

To find out more, please contact Christine at [email protected] or  Lisa at [email protected]