Growing up, Russell Ebert had an inkling all was not rosy.

He knew of arguments and disputes and he read people’s body language but, like most, he assumed everything was OK.

“Until you were exposed to it …it was sort of in the background,’’ Ebert says of domestic violence, in a new research report launched today.

“No one ever discussed it… our parents never discussed it. They might say … the relationship looks a bit rocky.

“What is happening now is disgraceful, unacceptable and foreign to the way that I was brought up.’’

A four-time winner of the Magarey Medal, Ebert is no longer silent about the scourge that until relatively recently he knew little about.

It was not until his involvement with Power Community Ltd (PCL) programs that his awareness changed, as did his belief that something needed to be done.

Ebert sprang into action, and today he opens young minds through the Power to End Violence Against Women (PTEVAW) program in classrooms across the state.

With the help of players, PCL facilitators and other staff including coach Ken Hinkley, Ebert works with participants in Year 10 to tackle ideals of masculinity and gender-based attitudes and behaviours.

A Flinders University qualitative study found PTEVAW, which began in 2016, has `achieved measurable impact’ around messaging about respectful relationships and positive bystander intervention.

Undertaken by the Australian Centre for Community Services Research, the study also explored Northern Territory-based NO MORE, a campaign founded by ABC sports broadcaster, Charlie King, and delivered in partnership with CatholicCare NT.

For more than a decade the NO MORE campaign has been asking men to stand up and take responsibility for their actions.

Over time, the program has grown into a whole-of-community prevention and awareness tool aimed at challenging norms around the prevalence of violence.

The linking of arms at community and sporting events has become a sign throughout the NT that communities are working together to achieve this aim.

For NO MORE, football has become a powerful cornerstone for community mobilisation to address family and domestic violence, says King:  “I remember having a meeting with the CEOs of the eight major sports in Australia some years later, going to them with a bit of an idea about, you know, sport maybe could do more about stopping violence and they told me that eight million Australians are involved in sport every weekend and I thought … ‘like what a movement, like what an army’. Imagine getting eight million people committed to saying ‘no more, stop the violence’.”

Messages about respectful relationships are sticking with male secondary school students beyond the classroom, new research shows.

Flinders University evaluated primary prevention program the Power To End Violence Against Women (PTEVAW) and found it is not only starting but also sustaining conversations that challenge gender-based violence.

The program targets Year 10 students in metropolitan and regional schools, and teaches them how to recognise and stand up to disrespect of women in their lives.

Launched today, the report highlights ways the program is inspiring secondary students across South Australia to become positive bystanders, and the influence Port Adelaide Football Club players have on how they think and behave.

Asked a year after undertaking the program how it had influenced them personally, students stated key messages were taken seriously and were being put into practice each day.

For example, challenging low level behaviours by calling out sexist banter, and learning how and when to step in when they witness inappropriate behaviour.

One boy said he was unaware of what domestic violence was until he had participated in the program, the report states.

“What is quite powerful is the way the program challenges students to look at certain behaviours, such as street harassment or belittling and gendered language, and how this manifests in a mentality that contributes to a normalised continuum of disrespect and inequity,’’ said Research Fellow Dr Jonathon Louth.

“While we are not in a position to measure the extent to which the retention of key messages transitions into behaviour change over the long-term, the study reveals that there is an increase in awareness and there are early indicators of positive outcomes.

“As it stands, the program is vital for starting conversations and speaking across generations.’’

Delivered by Power Community Ltd facilitators, retired Port Adelaide great Russell Ebert and current players, the PTEVAW program’s focus is on healthy and unhealthy relationships, and developing skills to safely challenge harmful attitudes.

Research focus group participants made it clear that their engagement and retention of key messages was built on the involvement of role models. Meeting players and senior coaching staff at follow-up events, including leadership days, was equally important, they said.

Ebert captured the impact in the report stating: “Each time you see that face, each time you hear about the Port Adelaide Football Club you will resonate with the messages that were given on the day.’’

Dr Louth said the report showed how the use of sport and elite players can `cut through’ unhealthy biases and complicit silence: “As a social glue, football clubs and communities are only just starting to reimagine their contribution to the reproduction of values and attitudes that permit behaviours or encourage silence in the face of actual or inferred violence against women.’’

More than 4600 students have engaged with PTEVAW since it began in 2016. The program is delivered over two weeks, with two by two-hour sessions, and is run in partnership with Centacare Catholic Family Services and the State Government.

“For cultural change to occur, we need to raise an awareness of what people don’t know they don’t know,’’ said Pauline Connelly, Deputy Director, Centacare.

“This program has achieved that with the Year 10 students, and with awareness comes choices.’’

Report recommendations include:

  • Extend the program beyond the Year 10 cohort to create a whole-of-school approach
  • Involve girls but in such a way that rejects them taking responsibility for the actions of men or boys who perpetrate negative behaviours
  • Commit to longitudinal evaluation to track the impact of the program within each unique setting
  • Develop student leaders and allies to assist with delivering the program to their peers

For more information, please phone Elizabeth Rowe 8215 6761 or 0437 062 302.



Every day Liz Greenham sees the challenges her son and his friends face when trying to do the simple things most of us take for granted.

“One of the biggest challenges I face as a parent and supporter of a young person with a disability is the barriers that he and his friends face when trying to experience the sort of life that everybody else can take for granted,” Liz says.

“For example, trying to access buildings, shops, restaurants, places that young people go.

“As Matthew has gotten older, his wheelchairs have gotten bigger and his world has gotten smaller.”

South Australia gets its first accessible outdoor music festival tomorrow when Sounds & Vibes takes centre stage at the Adelaide Showground.

What does that mean to Liz and her family? A lot, because they can finally take Matthew to a live music event where everyone is welcome.


Colin Axford was a reassuring voice in the water for children learning to swim until a serious back injury forced him out of the pool.

Determined to remain a positive influence in young lives, the father-of-three and former swimming instructor turned to youth work.

Seven years later, Colin is the South Australian Youth Worker of the Year. 

Awarded the honour at Parliament House this month, Colin was recognised for his `exemplary youth work practice and commitment to the principles of primary client empowerment and cooperation’.

“I was in shock when they called out my name,” he says. “My first thought was, I don’t do anything different to anyone else, and there’s a lot of workers out there doing just as much. So it was a big surprise to hear my name.”

Known for his calm and sturdy influence, Colin works with young people aged 12 to 24 years engaged with Centacare’s Integrated Youth Substance Misuse Specialist Service (IYSMSS), based at Alban Place, Stepney.

The service provides residential intervention for clients wanting to make positive change to their alcohol and drug use.

Staying for up to eight weeks, they access a range of supports including life skills training.

As it was in the pool, Colin says his approach is simple: “I just talk to them and try and be a father figure. Some of them have never had a person in their life like that to nurture their interests and just listen to them and laugh.

“We go out into the garden and chat as we are planting or picking things that are ready. A lot of it’s distraction; getting their mind off things and teaching them new skills.”

In the woodwork area out the back, Colin points to a chessboard the young people carved from a tree stump. The board represents accomplishment and perseverance, he says.

“Sometimes they’ll give up on project if it didn’t work the way they wanted, so I’ll get it back to a manageable state to give them hope and encourage them to have another go.

“It’s tough to watch them sometimes. A lot of them have challenges with friendships – especially if their mates are still using – or their family members, which we have no control over.

In return for the hope he gives clients, Colin is rewarded with smiles and laughter  – and the occasional hug.

“It’s those two things, the smiles and laughter,” he says of what drives him each day.

“When I was a swimming instructor, I loved seeing the young kids go from being scared of getting in the water to jumping in the deep end by the end of the week. They’d come up with the biggest smile on their faces.

“It’s the same with the young people here. It makes it all worthwhile.”

IYSMSS manager Gill Bridgen said Colin was a crucial part of the team: “Colin has been with Alban Place since we commenced in 2015 and has played a significant part in our program developing to what it is today.

“During this time, he has become well regarded by the young people we support. He provides a positive adult male role model which young people respond well to and is passionate about supporting young people  in different ways, including individualised projects and gardening.”


An idea born in a Mount Gambier classroom has grown into a community-wide domestic violence awareness campaign in the South East.

Brainstorming ways to promote the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign last year, Mount Gambier North Primary School’s White Ribbon student leadership group and a class led by their teacher Ms Sharon Mount, actioned a calendar of 16 events – one for each day of awareness.

Centacare South East is taking part in 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

“The kids wanted something happening at the school every day for the 16 days because they wanted to get everyone thinking beyond domestic violence awareness as being just a one-day issue,’’ said Craig Wood, Manager of Centacare South East.

“They also wanted to embrace the idea of the human rights aspects around the prevention of violence against women and girls.’’

The calendar caught on, so much so, it’s back again this year – and this time the whole community is involved.

A White Ribbon breakfast at Frew Park, hosted by the Limestone Coast Family Violence Action Group (LCFVAG), will kick things off tomorrow morning before the focus returns to the school for its annual assembly and Loudest Shout Out. Everyone is invited.

Determined to raise awareness of the unique risk factors facing vulnerable women and children in regional communities, the school students have this year developed bags containing essential items and children’s toys.

The bags will be distributed through community service organisations to at-risk families living in remote locations where domestic violence support is less accessible.

“Kids are reaching out to other kids,’’ Craig said. “They’ve also written letters to other children, messages of hope, to let them know they are not alone and there are other kids out there who understand what they are going through.

“The community momentum is coming from the kids. They started with a question last year: how do you change the world? From that, their idea for the calendar has gone beyond the school to become a whole of region thing, and now they’ve worked together with their teacher Ms Mount again to develop the bags.

“They are so inspiring and driven and passionate about making a difference. And they have that wonderful childhood understanding that domestic and family violence is just wrong.

“It’s the most common thing we deal with in our work, and it has been for a number of years, and we need to address that issue.’’

Events will be held across the South East, culminating on Monday, December 10 – Human Rights Day. To access the community calendar, click HERE.


The first designated space for dads in Adelaide’s north will open next month to give fathers a safe place to seek parenting and personal support.

A vacant shop in the forecourt of Elizabeth Rise Shopping Centre at Elizabeth Downs is being transformed into a Dad’s Business headquarters.

In partnership with Communities for Children facilitating partner Anglicare, Centacare will oversee the space where men can drop in for a chat and seek advice, referral to services, parenting education, advocacy, counselling, and support for alcohol and other drugs.

Paul Best (left) and Darren Clarke

There will be a strong focus on cultural awareness and understanding to tackle stigma, which remains one of the main barriers to young men reaching out for help.

Dad’s Business social worker Darren Clarke hopes the space will empower men of all ages, and strengthen their sense of pride, cultural belonging and community ownership.

“We want the guys to know that for whatever support they need, this is where they go,’’ he said.

“Even if they spend 15 minutes here, they can drop in, talk and just debrief, and we can link them in with the supports they require if we can’t provide them.

“At the moment they’re telling us that if they feel stressed, in some cases they’ve got to wait up to four weeks or more for an appointment to get mental health support. We can provide that early intervention immediately.’’

More than 220 men, including 15 clients who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, have engaged with Dad’s Business touch points over the past six months.

The program supports first-time and existing dads across the Playford region through a range of activities that recognise the value of fathers in family and children’s lives.

“The focus is on strengthening their capacity to parent within a community-building framework in a community setting,’’ Darren said.

“One of the biggest difficulties we’ve had over the past three years has been finding suitable locations that dads can call their own to run group and one-on-one activities each week.

“As participation numbers have grown, so has the need to be more flexible. This space will allow us to do that.’’

Centacare Drug & Alcohol Service counsellor Paul Best said common challenges faced by men included a lack of connectedness, opportunity and meaning in their lives: “There’s a lot of unemployment and stigma attached to that which people manage in different ways, including alcohol and drugs.

“It’s confronting for them to walk into a big community centre or office space, so if they can come somewhere in their own community where they feel safe and comfortable, then sharing their concerns and having the opportunity to address their challenges becomes more accessible to them.’’

For more information about Dad’s Business, phone 08 82522311


Community service organisations are calling for a specialist domestic violence counselling service to provide long-term support in the south, and empower at-risk women and children to rebuild their lives.

As they struggle to meet growing demand for support, organisations such as Centacare are working hard to respond but warn this is not enough.

“We provide family relationship counselling which is meant to keep couples together but because other services have been cut, there’s nowhere else for at-risk women and children to go,’’ said Sally McLaren (pictured), Team Leader of Centacare Counselling Services South, based at Aldinga. 

“We are a short-term intervention service and this is not short-term work, but we also don’t want to turn clients away because we know more women are killed in that moment when they leave an abusive relationship more than any other time.

“How can we break the cycle of intergenerational domestic violence when there are no DV specific counselling services in the region?’’

To raise awareness of domestic violence and local community support providers, a breakfast is being held at the Victory Hotel, Sellicks Beach, on Friday, November 30.

The Ending Family Violence Breakfast on the Fleurieu will focus on abuse as more than just physical force, and that it can affect anyone – no matter your age, social standing or residential address.

“I’d like everyone who attends the breakfast to walk away thinking violence isn’t just about physical violence, and that they understand the psychological implications of being in a power and control relationship are far-reaching and cause harm, including children,’’ Sally said.

“The abuse doesn’t stop just because they leave. It happens through the children, maternal alienation, through court.

“Women are able to show amazing inner strength.  If they make the decision to leave it can be very daunting without the right services and support.”

The breakfast is an initiative of the Aldinga/Sellicks Alliance Addressing Family Violence Working Group and the Onkaparinga Collaborative Approach for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Violence.

Sally will speak at the event, along with: Aged Rights Advocacy senior advocate, Doris Gioffre; Jodie McRae, Senior Solicitor with the INDIGO Program; and Dianne Newton, spokesperson for the Southern Domestic Violence Action Group.

Funds raised will go towards Photo Voice, which provides women with an opportunity to explore their experience of violence through photography.

“We believe that community awareness of family and domestic violence is extremely important and that communities who hold conversations surrounding this result in more cohesive and resilient communities,’’ Sally said.

“When key community members are aware of services in the community, there is more chance of providing education and support to those in need.’’

Tickets to the breakfast cost $55. Click HERE to purchase.

For more information, contact Sally McLaren at Centacare on 8215 6310

Meet Caitlyn Woodcock.

Caitlyn is on a mission to make navigating the NDIS as easy and stress-free as possible, leaving you free to work towards achieving your goals.

A support coordinator at Centacare, it’s Caitlyn’s role to take care of all the daunting and time-consuming aspects of bringing an NDIS plan to life.

No matter how complex your needs, Caitlyn is here to help – from start to finish.

We know that even just interpreting your plan and understanding how much you have to spend, and in which areas, can be overwhelming. Let alone knowing where to go to find the supports you need.

“It can be really, really difficult for families and participants to even know where to start,’’ says Caitlyn. “That’s where we step in.’’

There is no wait time for support coordination services, so Centacare can assist you as soon as possible. We cover participants living in metropolitan Adelaide, as far north as Elizabeth, and up to Murray Bridge.

Support coordinators are allied health professionals and people with extensive coordination experience.

Caitlyn can help you source the supports you need from a range of service providers, and will work in partnership with you to ensure you stay connected.

This includes obtaining quotes for services, coordinating providers, liaising with the NDIA on your behalf, monitoring your NDIS plan and even resolving tricky points of crisis that may pop up.

Essentially, you decide what you need and Caitlyn finds it for you.

“It’s up to the client to decide who they choose and when they want to access that service, but they can’t do that without first having options.

“We give participants multiple options and act in a non-biased, impartial manner, to support them to find the fit that’s right for them within their NDIS plan.’’

Centacare is registered to provide support coordination, support connection and specialist support coordination.

Phone Caitlyn today on 8215 6863 to see what falls under each of these categories, and how we can work together on your NDIS journey.


Sarah Staiff thought she was a cat person until a shout-out for puppy boarders bobbed up on her Facebook feed.

“I saw the Royal Society for the Blind (RSB) ad with the cute little guide dog puppies and thought, I’d like to do that!’’ she says.

A Therapeutic Children’s Worker at Louise Place, Sarah is also now one of the many volunteers caring for guide dogs in South Australia. 

As an emergency boarder, she takes on dogs at short notice, and at various learning stages.

They can stay with her for a day, weekend or month, and even more than a year.

“It’s a great way to have a dog without having a dog!’’ Sarah says.

Indigo was the first puppy Sarah brought home, followed by Quahlee, but today handsome Umber is by her side.

As a working Guide Dog, nearly 5-year-old Umber is well schooled in his role as a mobility aid and companion for his client who has a vision impairment.

Other working dogs support people who are blind or vision impaired, children with Autism and people with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).

“With puppies, you have to be continually using the commands but with the working dogs, my role is more about maintaining what they already know,’’ she says.

“I’ve just finished with a dog I had for three-and-a-half months. She went into what they call big school – formal training, so she goes to the Gilles Plains RSB site during the day and has boarders who drop her off and pick her up at night.’’

Saying goodbye to the dogs when they leave is sad, Sarah says, but also satisfying knowing she has helped to give them a good start in life.

In her role at Centacare, Sarah supports mothers to build and strengthen attachment with their child through group activities, therapy, case planning and one-on-one play.

“Both roles have shown me that continuity works for people and dogs, and how consistent interactions and behaviours can build understanding and functioning relationships,’’ she says.

“To support a child to discover something for the first time, or even the hundredth time, be it a flower in the garden or taking their first steps, is awe-inspiring.’’



Get a wriggle on to Wandana Community Centre next weekend and learn how to worm your way into a greener garden.

Centacare green thumb Alan Shepard (pictured) will let you in on the secrets to composting and farming compost worms, which turn organic matter into gardener’s `black gold’.

“Charles Darwin said of all the creatures on earth, worms have been the most important,’’ says Alan, coordinator of Wandana’s productive community garden.

“We wouldn’t have agriculture without earthworms because they aerate the soil, improve the soil’s structure and increase productivity, that’s why they’re so important.’’


It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organised creatures.
– Charles Darwin, 1881


Unlike earthworms that tunnel underground, compost worms thrive near the surface in purpose-built tiered systems/farms, and can munch as much as their own body weight of food scraps daily.

Like compost, the worm castings and liquid worm juice are rich in nutrients so help sustain the life and fertility of your soil.

Alan, who has been farming compost worms for more than two decades, says heat is the biggest challenge to maintaining a productive worm farm.

“It’s the most common question I get asked, how to keep the worms alive in our hot weather,’’ he says.

“You can keep them alive in summer with some simple techniques and these will be discussed at the workshop.’’

The free workshop is on from 10am to 12pm on Saturday, November 10 at Wandana, 14 Blacks Rd, Gilles Plains.

There will be plants for sale, and tea and coffee available for a gold coin donation.

Meanwhile, the community garden is on the lookout for more participants, Alan says, to help “grow” the vegetable areas, maintain the garden beds and orchard and to propagate seedlings.

Volunteers and community members meet from 9am every Monday and work through the morning stopping for a cuppa and chat.

If you would like to join Wandana Community Garden or become a volunteer, please phone 8261 8124.


Meeting the Challenge

Centacare Catholic Family Services is a Catholic welfare organisation delivering a range of services across the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.

Client Services

45 Wakefield Street Adelaide SA 5000
T 08 8215 6700 | F 08 8232 8920

Opening Hours

Monday – Tuesday | 9am – 5pm
Wednesday – Thursday | 9am – 9pm
Friday | 9am – 5pm

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