What is the inSpire initiative?

inTouch’s inSpire initiative is a critical and unique program that provides support to women from migrant and refugee backgrounds who are recovering from family violence.

InTouch’s case managers do an incredible job supporting women who are experiencing family violence, and ensuring the safety of the women that we work with. The team at inSpire focuses on what happens next – how we can support a woman to build a life she chooses, to connect with others safely and meaningfully- to take her future into her own hands.

We know that women from migrant and refugee backgrounds continue to face barriers that inhibit their full engagement in the community following family violence. inSpire’s goal is to bridge the gap between crisis and long-term wellbeing, and to empower women to live their lives, their way.

InSpire was established in 2018, following the identification of a gap in support experienced by women from refugee and migrant backgrounds post-crisis. It was clear that there were a number of difficulties for women in overcoming institutional, cultural, social and financial barriers after family violence. Women needed assistance boosting their confidence, skills and community connections in order to rebuild their lives here in Australia.

Key to developing these programs were advocates from our lived experience advisory group, Inspire for Change, ensuring that we continue to value and centre the voice of women in our program design, and strive to reflect their priorities, their input and their guidance in the work that we continue to do.

inSpire focuses on supporting women to move beyond their experience of family violence – to take the next step in their lives by building the connections that are so fundamental to living a full life.

Our goal is to support women to become part of their communities, in the knowledge that women from migrant and refugee backgrounds are more than their experience of violence.

InSpire focuses on 3 core streams of programming:

Economic Independence – we work with women to build skills and confidence to support their financial independence

“[It’s been] so helpful – actually before this project, I don’t know how to apply for jobs, no confidence – now I know, you helped me a lot. These things were new to me and now I know…it’s been really good for me” (Given the Chance pilot project participant).

InSpire runs a series of projects supporting women to build their skills and confidence in seeking work. This is such an important area for women to connect with the broader community, build their confidence and truly become independent.

There is no escaping the fact that COVID-19 has, and will continue to have, a devastating effect on many of the women we work with for years to come. We know that work is scarcer, and jobs are more competitive than ever, and the women we work with are often the most affected.

We support women to understand the Australian employment landscape, building their skills and capacity in successful job searches, and building their confidence in the employment environment.. Many participants face language barriers, are on temporary visas, or don’t have Australian work experience or references. They may not lack skills or experience, but showcasing them is not always easy. We work alongside our incredible partners to support women to navigate the jobs market, to understand their own skills and goals and to work towards them. We provide individual and group coaching, skills building, connections with recruiters, and training and employment opportunities to boost their chances of success.

You can help women build their skills and confidence to establish their financial independence. Click here to find out how.

Social Connection – we bring women together, and celebrate alongside them

“Today is a memorable day, I feel so happy and special…Normally we are lonely here [in Australia] in festival times. But now we feel warm because you are thinking of us, we are not the ones forgotten in the world” (Christmas 2019)

We know how important community is to everyone. For women who may have no family or friends, or who have lost connections due to their experiences of family violence, Australia can be a lonely place.

Having the confidence to go out and meet new people can be difficult. InSpire works to combat isolation and loneliness by providing opportunities for women to gather and connect in a social, safe environment.

This can be most difficult during times of cultural significance, where traditions of family gathering, sharing food and gift-giving may no longer exist. InSpire hosts cultural social celebrations as an opportunity to bring women together, to create a sense of community, as a reminder that they are not alone.

You can help us bring women together to build stronger, more connected communities. Click here to find out how.

Strengthening Families – we support women and their children to strengthen their relationships and rebuild the trust and connection that has been affected by their experiences.

“The class is great, my daughter is enjoying it greatly…it ties us more” (scholarship recipient)

It is not only women who are affected by family violence, but their children also. This can impact on important family relationships, and the wellbeing of both mothers and their children.

InSpire provides opportunities for families to come together, to re-connect and to re-establish relationships that have been fractured. We know from talking to our clients that having an opportunity to enjoy the time they share with their children, away from the stress and worry of everyday life, can be vital to rebuilding positive connections.

We target financial barriers that make it difficult for women and their children to participate in extracurricular activities in their communities. We know that children that play sports and participate in arts-based programs outside of school form critical connections with their communities- resulting in positive social experiences for their parents too. We also focus on ensuring that our social events are child-friendly, and provide opportunities for mothers to engage in fun activities with their children, so that they can create their own positive memories and family narrative.

You can help women and their children rebuild relationships impacted by experiences of family violence. Click here to find out how.

Emergency Relief – throughout 2020, we provided emergency food and support to women and their children affected by COVID-19

“Due to this difficult time free groceries really help me a lot. I don’t have a job and facing a lot of financial issues. Because of Covid-19, I face so many problems to finding a job. I don’t have a car so whenever I need something I used public transport so it helps me not to use such public transport frequently, in order to safe myself and also others. Whenever I received groceries it saves my time and money. I really appreciate your efforts.” (inTouch client)

During the onset of COVID-19, inSpire implemented an emergency relief project, in close collaboration with Sibling by Kinfolk. We provided vital food relief, health information and hygiene products to clients facing severely difficult circumstances.  This also gave women the opportunity to know that they are cared for, to receive good quality, nutritious food and to have the dignity of being able to provide for themselves and their families.

We worked hard to ensure that all support reflected the cultural preferences and backgrounds of women and their families- this included health information in-language and culturally appropriate food and other items. During lockdown periods, our incredible staff and volunteers personally delivered hampers each week, providing much-needed social interaction and an opportunity to check on the wellbeing of clients.

You can help us develop vital programs that respond to the needs of women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Click here to find out how.

We know we can’t do this work on our own. We are always keen to partner with other organisations and skilled individuals who share our vision and can help to increase the impact of this important work.

We are particularly keen build relationships in the areas of training and upskilling, pathways to employment and opportunities for families to come together. To learn more about our work, please contact us at inspire@intouch.org.au

Click here to find out how you can support our vital work.