Career Counselling for DV Survivors – Australia Launch; 17 August 2016
Blu Ripples is proud to announce the launch of our Australian First Career Counselling for DV Survivors program.
Our program-workshop is the result of three (3) years of work by founder Katherine J. Foster, including national and global research; the amalgamation of life and professional experiences.
Following is the story of how Katherine developed and implemented her Career Counselling for DV Survivors program into her practice.
In 2013, I was participating in a DV-Alert training program run by Lifeline in Newcastle, NSW. At the time I was overwhelmed by individuals stories and statistics; it was during one of the sessions that that a thought cropped into my mind – there must be something I can do utilising my skills and experience that has not been done before; and then I had a lightbulb moment – I could help DV Survivors with their Careers – Career Counselling – to help them create or re-establish their careers after leaving their Domestic Violence environment.
By assisting DV survivors in re-establishing their careers I would also be helping them to increase their independence (personal and financial), security and freedom and potentially those of their loved ones and decedents by breaking the cycle of abuse in the NOW.
Upon completion of my DV-Alert training, I contemplated my idea for a little while and then commenced my research by asking my renowned DV-Alert trainer if they were aware of any Career Counselling (Planning) programs that existed in Australia for DV Survivors; to which the reply was no.
I then tentatively spoke with acquaintances who worked in the industry and survivors, the answer that I kept receiving was “No”.
Thereafter, I commenced some basic national and global research (utilising google) and found that no program existed in Australia and that only one program existed in the USA.
The key difference between the USA program and my concept was that the person in the USA came from a Social Work background; whereas my background was Counselling, Career Consulting and Human Resources.
Shortly after, I made contact with the individual from the USA, via e-mail, to see if I could utilise their program in Australia – like a franchise agreement of sorts but I was met with a less than warm reception. That is, I was questioned as to how I got this person details, that they were not interested and surely Australia had a similar program already.
Thus, in that moment I was determined to design and implement my own program, after all I had the qualifications and training behind me and had experienced abuse in my own life.
In mid-2014, I was accepted into RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia) to undertake my Post Graduate Certificate in Career Education and Development – something I had been wanting to undertake for a long time but postponed for one reason or another. At that point in time, whilst I had already undertaken some research, developed concepts and frameworks; university provided the next major motivational factor in developing and refining the program.
As part of my studies I was required to develop a program including conducting and reporting on research. Thus, I harnessed this opportunity, contacted and interviewed personal and professional contacts including refuge support workers, DV survivors and career development practitioners (with more than 5 years’ experience in the industry who had worked with survivors in this capacity) both within Australian and New Zealand.
The information that I gathered from these contacts provide me with a wealth of information, perspectives and resources to assist in the design and construction of my Career Counselling for DV Survivors Workbook.
Throughout the remainder of my academic studies I continued to work and refine my program to ensure that it was meaningful for survivors.
Today, a couple of months after I have completed my Post Graduate Diploma in Career Education and Development, I am proud to announce the Australian Launch of my program in Port Stephens, NSW on Wednesday, 17th August 2016.
My personal hope is that this program will empower adult survivors of domestic violence; that the community will embrace the program, that a national and eventually a global rollout will occur so that survivors are empowered and liberated thus in turn minimising their risk of returning to a violent living environment whilst simultaneously illustrating that there is a new path if they are ready and willing to take the first step.
Friends, please join me in spreading the news on this wonderful program so that as many individuals as possible can participate in the coming weeks, months and years; so that the program can continue to evolve and be meaningful to the changing needs of survivors and society; that potentially sponsorships or partnerships may be formed to minimise the cost as much as possible to benefit as many Adult Survivors of Domestic Violence as possible.