It goes without saying those who choose to work in a social welfare capacity are community minded and willing to go the extra yard to help anyone in need. CPS is proud to have one such exceptional person, Victoria Dunell, who outside of being a Senior Worker of the Running Start program (identifying affordable rental options for young people), has been an Ambulance Service volunteer for 11 years. Last week she was presented with a National Emergency Medal by Ambulance Victoria. This is in addition to a bravery award and an Order of Australia she previously received for her tireless efforts on Black Saturday and in the aftermath. Of course, Vicky is modest about her community work and it comes as no surprise she keeps her medals in a plastic bag on the shelf in the wardrobe. In typical fashion, Vic jokes that the highlight in receiving her bravery medal in 2010 was being a cover girl at 51 on the front of the Yellow Pages phone book! Donning her First Responder Uniform in this photo, Vic provides some background to her most recent award; “Her Majesty, the Queen approved the award on her visit to Australia in October 2011. The National Emergency Medal recognises significant or sustained service to others in a national significant emergency, including the Victorian bushfires of February 2009.” As the only medical response vehicle covering the Kinglake Ranges on the day of the Black Saturday fires, Team Leader Vicky, her husband Ian and another volunteer put themselves at risk driving through flames to assist people trapped by the fire. Fuelled by adrenaline, Vicky continued working for nine days on minimal sleep, including accompanying doctors to attend houses not knowing what they would find. Obviously it was a traumatic experience beyond most people’s imagining, and acutely so for volunteers in the thick of the drama who also lost a number of people they knew, including a number of children. Typically, Vicky also stepped up in this respect, and for a number of years was a member of a peer program which provides support to fellow emergency workers. She is still on call 2-3 nights per week and additionally undergoes training once per fortnight. Eight years on from Black Saturday Vicky is pleased to report her local community is healing and rejuvenating, however as CPS appreciates with the survivors of trauma we assist, many are and will continue to be affected by their experience.Read the story
CPS’ Sexual Abuse Counselling and Prevention Program will be offering a monthly Psychoeducation session for parents in the cities of Whittlesea, Yarra, Nillumbik, Banyule and Darebin. Topics include: Definition of Sexual Abuse; Myths and Misconceptions regarding Child Sexual Abuse; What is appropriate sexual behaviour in children and adolescents (when to be concerned); Barriers for children in disclosing; Responding to disclosures and talking to children about their experience (do’s and don’ts); Basic Protective Behaviour strategies to engage with children Legislation around reporting, failing to disclose, failing to protect and the grooming act The session is free and is located at our Thomastown office at 273 Settlement Road from 6pm-8pm on the following dates in 2017: 26 April 24 May 28 June 26 July 23 August 27 September 25 October 22 NovemberRead the story
Three children, family violence, a marriage breakdown and an abusive and controlling ex-husband…
This is a first hand account of how CPS helped a mum navigate a turbulent time in her life to the point where she is now excited about what the future holds for her family.