Building Access

The Building Access Project is an innovative movement enabling Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) services to better meet the needs of women and children with disability.  Our pilot aims to increase accessibility to domestic and family violence services across NSW for woman and children with disability. The video above is one of six created in 2021 to raise awareness of the need for accessibility in the DFV sector. You can watch the whole playlist on YouTube.

The project audits existing services and trains staff in services. This will create best practice networks across the domestic and family violence sector to get rid of physical, informational, and attitudinal barriers barriers faced by people with disability when accessing the services they need to escape violence.

Women with disability are approximately 40% more likely to experience DFV, an alarming statistic when considered in the context of Australia’s DFV epidemic. Many women find it harder to escape violence because DFV services are inaccessible for women with disability. This project aims to increase the accessibility of DFV services for women with disability in NSW.

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) are working with our friends at Domestic Violence NSW and Women’s Community Shelters. We are all trying to improve responses for women with disability experiencing violence.

DFV services include but are not limited to:

  • Women’s health centres
  • Counselling services
  • Accommodation and homelessness services
  • Family support services
  • Legal services
  • Women’s resource centres
  • Organisations tackling these issues on a sector-wide systemic level.

Women with disability may experience barriers to accessing services, including:

  • Physical barriers that mean they can’t access services
  • Information about the services may be inaccessible
  • The staff who work at the services may not feel confident supporting women with disability
  • Policies or practices in these services might exclude women with disability.

We can do the following to support DFV services in becoming more accessible:

  • Perform an access review of the service to assess barriers for women with disability to the service
  • Provide a detailed report on physical, information and attitudinal barriers and advice on implementing greater procedural access
  • Provide guidance on how to develop a Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) for DFV services
  • Monitor the implementation of the DIAP and identify barriers to increasing access for DFV services
  • Connect the service to a Community of Practice
  • Provide Disability Awareness and NDIS training
  • Arrange a $2000.00 grant to put towards improving the accessibility of the service.

The project’s Expert Advisory Group is made up of disability advocates, women with disability, violence organisations, government representatives and other people who are interested in the project.

Please feel free to contact Freya Higgins on 0370 3100 or email if you have any questions or would like more information.

Resources for people with disability:

Easy Read: About abuse

Easy Read: About sexual abuse

Easy Read: How to report abuse or sexual violence to the police

Resources for DFV services:

These resources were jointly produced by People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and DVNSW.

They were updated in 2021. 

30 Ways to Make Your Service More Accessible PDF

Creating an Inclusion Action Plan PDF 

Women with Disability and Domestic and Family Violence: A Guide for Policy and Practice PDF

The project is funded by Women NSW.