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Empowering survivors to help drive change in Illawarra

23 JUNE 2023

Our Illawarra Metallurgical Coal (IMC) operation in New South Wales is supporting Australia's first lived experience advocacy program for survivors of family, domestic or sexual violence.

IMC’s three-year extension of their partnership with Illawarra Women’s Health Centre (IWHC) will support the creation of the Experience into Expertise program, designed to raise awareness of domestic, family and sexual violence and promote systemic change in our communities. 

The program will be delivered through IWHC’s Women's Trauma Recovery Centre and provide training and guidance for victim-survivors to use their lived experience to help bring about change through community engagement, working with government and industry partners, media advocacy, and engaging in research.

Illawarra Women’s Trauma Recovery Centre director Lula Dembele said “Victim-survivors know what they need to be safe and there is no group of people more motivated to ensure that these types of abuse do not happen to others.” 

“This program draws on the knowledge of survivor advocates who have been at this work for years, upskilling the participants to develop advocacy campaigns, navigate government, and find opportunities to apply their contextual expertise across community engagement, research, programs, policy, and law reform.” 

IMC is providing A$300,000 over three years to support the design, delivery and evaluation of the new Experience into Expertise Program. In 2022, IMC became the Illawarra Women’s Trauma Recovery Centre’s foundational corporate partner, providing funding to support the establishment of the centre.

IMC Vice President Operations Peter Baker said “At South32 we are continuing to work with our communities to raise further awareness of gender-based violence and helping to prevent it from happening. Sadly, gender-based violence remains far too common.

“Upon establishment, the Women’s Trauma Recovery Centre will undertake vital work supporting those impacted by gender-based violence and helping them step-by-step through what can often be a long process of recovering from that trauma. The establishment of the new Experience into Expertise Program builds on that important work and is the next step in helping to prevent gender-based violence in our communities.”

Learn more about IMC’s partnership with the Illawarra Women's Trauma Recovery Centre here.