Message from the WIRE Board
At the start of FY20, the Board never imagined the twists and turns ahead. As a dynamic, resilient organisation with passionate and capable staff, WIRE was well positioned to step up to the challenge presented by a global pandemic. We have delivered the same services, but adapted them to meet the needs of our service users.
We are very proud of all our staff and volunteers — led by the impressive CEO, Julie Kun — for their adaptability, resilience and skill in providing much needed support to the Victorian community.
We are grateful for the significant contributions our volunteers made to service delivery prior to COVID-19 restrictions preventing them from doing so. We look forward to welcoming all of them back.
In response to the impacts of COVID-19, many of our partners came forward and offered much needed support. We are greatly appreciative.
The pandemic has brought particular challenges on women, nonbinary and gender diverse people. We acknowledge the resilience demonstrated by our service users during this period. The theme of this annual report is a tribute to them.
In this first year of WIRE’s progressive strategic plan we have established a new internal structure to help us best deliver critical services and projects for women, nonbinary and gender diverse people.
We recognise our staff and volunteers’ many achievements this year. In particular, how they have engaged and supported diverse communities through the pandemic, using our unique approach that is guided by WIRE’s intersectional feminist framework. With progress comes change, and we have said goodbye to some very committed and talented directors, staff members and volunteers this year. Each person leaves behind a legacy of creating the organisation that WIRE is today and putting strong foundations in place for future growth. The Board sends our sincere thanks and best wishes to you all.
We are also very excited to welcome new staff members, volunteers and recently appointed directors. Collectively, we have a team of immense wisdom, skill, passion and motivation. Together, we are confident that we are well prepared to continue the incredible impact that WIRE makes on the community, and continue to progress towards justice and equity for women, nonbinary and gender diverse people.
– The WIRE Board
Message from the WIRE CEO
Resilience is a fitting theme for WIRE, now and always. It is part of our feminist framework, which recognises service users’ resilience and resourcefulness as a starting point.
I see resilience and strength in people every day — in our staff, volunteers, board members, service users, and even in myself. It gives me hope that people can not only overcome great barriers, but work together to dismantle the systemic obstacles that cause harm, disadvantage and violence, and work towards a society where all people can thrive.
WIRE continues to evolve and build on our best practice WIRE service delivery model. We are building our intersectional practice — a process involving continual learning, reflection and change. This process also takes strength, resilience, emotional labour, intellect and courage. For that, I thank everyone at WIRE, and in particular, the WIRE Intersectionality Working Group, who lead the way as we continue to improve our practice and understanding of the intersection of gender, race, disability, sexuality, and other locations of oppression.
This pandemic exposes the vulnerability and weaknesses in our society, and it has found many. Many of those seeking support at WIRE have been made more vulnerable to COVID-19 and its impact because they are a victim-survivor of family violence, are in insecure work, or because of their financial situation or visa status. The pandemic has further exposed Australia’s underbelly of racism, ageism, ableism and sexism — places of discrimination and oppression that increase vulnerability.
I have also witnessed multiple acts of resilience, strength and resistance at an individual and collective level — to fight back and overcome.
WIRE adapted to the pandemic restrictions quickly. Within three working days, our service delivery team was providing support to service users from home via phone, email and web chat. It was an extremely proud moment for me as CEO. We have continued to provide training for professionals and organisations throughout the lockdown. The way our trainers pivoted delivery from face-to-face to online was magnificent and in many ways has enabled us to reach new audiences.
Thank you to WIRE staff, pro bono professional volunteers, and phone room and Walk-In Centre volunteers who are the lifeblood of our organisation. I can’t wait until we are back in the office with all our volunteers. Thank you to the WIRE Board that provides so much support to me. And a big thank you to our members, partners and funders that enable us to do the work we do.
Lastly, I want to thank our service users, who honour us with their stories of resistance, wisdom and strength. Your stories guide our service more than you will ever know.
– Julie Kun, WIRE CEO