71390397_165382867940343_131347488543919

Mel Wojtas

Email:

info@melwojtas.com

The Context Expert:

 

Mel is living her life by design, despite adversity and enjoys educating others on these experiences and their complexities to make communities safer.

Who?

Mel Wojtas (Voytas) is a Lived Expertise Consultant, Media Advocate, Author, Freelance Writer, Speaker, and Ambassador for Generation Equality (UN Women). Additionally, Mel is the Founder & CEO of a multi-award-winning start-up, 'Hive Village Project'.

Hive Village Project is a housing solution that will provide intersectional, permanent housing with integrated support services for human and animal survivors of Domestic & Family Abuse in regional Australia. Her childhood journey to realising her life's purpose, Hive Village Project, is detailed in the 3rd Edition of the best-selling series 'Change Makers'.

With three decades of learnings to draw from and an ability to engage audiences authentically, both in-person and online, Mel is a sought-after media guest. Mel generously shares her lived experience and knowledge from youth issues, mental health, complex trauma, suicide prevention, coercive control, domestic, sexual, and family abuse and violence.

This expertise is complemented by media training with award-winning Presenter Tracey Spicer AM as part of Voices for Change NSW. OurWatch media training enabled Mel to represent both Domestic Violence NSW & ACON as a media advocate from 2019 – 2020. Mel has also undertaken further media advocacy training with well-respected Journalist Jane Gilmore via Women's Safety NSW.

The last few years have seen Mel obtain qualifications and training in Community Services, mental health first aid, trauma-informed care, and a current Bachelor of Social Science student at the University of Newcastle. Mel shamelessly advocates for journalists to follow best practice when discussing traumatic events in the media and online.

As a Lived Expertise Consultant, Mel aka 'The Context Expert' provides invaluable knowledge to organisations, corporate and the Government to improve Social Policy, Public Policy and workplace policies and procedures. Taking an Intersectional approach to ensure communities are safer for all, both during their development and implementation.

How?

What?

Types of services and projects:

  • Co-design projects that include Lived Expertise

  • Educating third-party Project teams on trauma-informed care when liaising with Survivors

 

  • Policy Development (Social, Public and NGO)

 

  • Survivor-Advocacy campaigns

 

  • Media-Advocacy (Lived Experience) 

 

  • Contributing to legislation reform submissions

  • Speaking and Media

I provide context to your content, from three decades of lived experience with trauma and adversity to Government Departments and Organisations that want to strengthen their policies by including a survivor's voice, uphold best practice and reduce harm to their community. 

  • Are you a passionate politician, government department, project coordinator or organisation who lives and breathes women and children's safety and wellbeing?

  • Are you tirelessly lobbying for change without including lived expertise or access to an Advocate you can retain on-call? 

  • Can you afford to miss a gap in your service or policy that could harm women and children or face public ridicule from not having a lived experience perspective?

 

I understand the sleepless nights you've had, wanting this reform to make a real and lasting difference for the community, and the need to get it right.

 

I'm passionate, accessible and purpose-driven to ensure all women and children are safe from harm across Australia.

Why?

The lived expertise of Survivor's of Abuse and Trauma provides insight into the complexities and nuances of these power imbalances, experiences and barriers. 

Lived Expertise provides best-practice and reduces risks of harm to the target groups impacted by Social & Public Policies. 

Additionally, Lived Expertise saves your organisation money and additional time by fast-tracking Policy Development from the beginning. 

Can your program or organisation afford the risks of missing context to your proposed content when lives are at stake?

The value this insight provides is PRICELESS, as the risks associated with getting policy and legislation in these spaces wrong are HIGH. 

Recent Projects + Background

2018 - present

  • Victim Survivor Collective letter to Women's Safety Ministers re National Plan to reduce violence

        ​

  • Advocate Support - Joint Selection Committee, Coercive Control, Parliament NSW

       Sisters in Law Project

  • Lived Experience Advisory Team, LGBTIQA+ Practice Framework

       The Salvation Army Australia,

  • Lived Experience Advisory Team, Family Violence Prevention Framework

       The Salvation Army Australia

  • Survivor-Advocacy - NSW Government/Media Roundtable 

       Sisters in Law Project

  • Pilot Co-design Lived Expertise Advisor

       HNECC Primary Health Network

  • Evidence to Action Conference - Advisory Group

       Australia's National Research on Women's Safety (ANROWS)

  • Pilot Evaluation & Co-design Project

       ANROWS & The Sax Institute

  • You Can't Ask That! LGBTIQ Domestic Violence Panel

       ACON & Say It Out Loud

  • Review of state-wide resources for survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence

       Insight Exchange​

  • Contributing to policy and legislation reform submissions

       Domestic Violence NSW

  • Contributing to policy and legislation reform submissions

       Women’s Safety NSW

  • Public Health Policy Development (Sexual Assault, Early Evidence Collection)

       Ministry of Health NSW, PARVAN

  • NSW Domestic and Family Violence Forum

       Domestic Violence NSW, Attorney General Mark Speakman &

       Dept. of Community and Justice (DCJ​)

  • 'Next Chapter' Financial Independence Hub (co-design)

       Commonwealth Bank

  • CXBANK$ Conference Panelist 

       WOW Chaplaincy

  • Queer Voices for Change NSW (LGBTIQ Media-Advocacy) Project

       Domestic Violence NSW & ACON

 

  • Ambassador: Generation Equality

       UN Women: Generation Equality, Global Campaign​

  • Voices for Change NSW (Media-Advocacy) Project

       Domestic Violence NSW

2016 - 2017

​Mel decided to leave the corporate world behind forever, following the birth of her second child. Realising her life's dream 'Hive Village Project', she enrolled in TAFE NSW and took herself back to school (after leaving High School after Year 10). 

  • Self-employed Virtual Assistant 

2003 - 2014

  • Self-employed Freelance Photographer (part-time)

​Mel spent 11yrs in various corporate administrative roles in the Pharmaceutical, Engineering and Recruitment industries. Ranging from front-desk reception to Personal Assistant at G.M & M.D level. 

Qualifications + Training

Future Training

  • STOP Domestic Violence Conference 2021 (STOPDV21)

       Australia & New Zealand Mental Health Association

  • National Housing Conference 2022

       Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI)

2018 - 2021

 

  • Officer Involved Domestic Violence (OIDV) Global (Virtual) Summit 2021

       Safe & Together Institute (USA) 

  • ISSTD 38th Annual Conference: The World Congress on Intergenerational Trauma 2021

       International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD)​

  • Housing and Housing Assistance pathways with pets

       Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI)

  • Evidence to Action Conference 2021

       Australia's National Research on Women's Safety (ANROWS)

  • Skills Session: What is co-design and how might we use it?

       For Purpose

  • Managing the impact of working in the area of domestic, family and sexual violence: Meeting the needs of researchers and policymakers (Workshop)

       Phoenix Australia & ANROWS​

  • Grow your Fempire (Business Training)

       Erika Cramer - The Queen of Confidence​

 

  • Supporting victim-survivors of domestic and family violence during concurrent crisis- Criminal Investigations, animal abuse and domestic violence

       Lucy's Project

 

  • STOP Domestic Violence 2020 - Virtual Conference (STOPDV20)

       Australia & New Zealand Mental Health Association

  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health 2020 - Virtual Conference (CAMHC20)

       Australia & New Zealand Mental Health Association

  • Listening to Older Women - Turning up the Volume of Older Women's Voices on DSFV

       Older Women's Network (NSW)

  • Sydney's Inner City Domestic and Family Violence Interagency

       City of Sydney

 

  • Agency and Resistance: Centring the Voices of Survivors in Violence Prevention

       Victoria Women's Trust ​

  • Identifying financial abuse in intimate partner relationships and supporting victim-survivors

       Redfern Legal Centre

  • Let’s Talk – Mitigating the risks and responding earlier to elder abuse

       Domestic Violence NSW

  • Sydney's Inner City Domestic and Family Violence Forum

       City of Sydney

  • Connect 2020 Webinar series

       Suicide Prevention Australia

  • CPR & Basic life support

       CBD College First Aid

  • STOP Domestic Violence Conference 2019

       Australia & New Zealand Mental Health Association

  • Women's Agenda Leadership Awards

       Women's Agenda

  • AusMumpreneur Conference

       AusMumpreneur & Women's Business School

  • Business Vision Masterclass

       Women's Business School

  • National Housing Conference 2019 (NHC19)

       Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI)

  • Ignite Business Incubator

       Women's Business School

  • OurWatch Survivor Media Advocacy training

       Domestic Violence NSW & ANROWS feat. Tracey Spicer

  • LGBTIQ Survivor Media Advocacy training

       Domestic Violence NSW & ACON feat. Tracey Spicer

  • Media Advocacy training

       Women's Safety NSW feat. Jane Gilmore 

  • Survivor writing workshop

       Women's Safety NSW feat. Jane Gilmore 

  • Indigenous Cultural Safety workshop

       Domestic Violence NSW feat. Louisa Consultancy

  • DFV & the law for Community Workers

       Women's Legal Service NSW

  • DFV & Family law for Community Workers

       Women's Legal Service NSW

  • Constructions of complex trauma (C-PTSD) and implications for women’s wellbeing and safety from family violence.

       QLD Centre for DFV Research (QCDFVR)  feat. Dr Michael Salter (UNSW SYD)

  • Response-based practice - Highlighting responses to violence

       UTS feat. Prof. Cathy Richardson (Canada)

  • The sensitive approach in the rural context of DFV

       Bendigo Health, VIC (STOPDV19 Conference workshop)

  • Primary Prevention LGBTIQ, Elders & Indigenous people.

       OurWATch (STOPDV19 Conference workshop)

  • Bachelor of Social Science, major: Human Services (2018 - current) 

       University of Newcastle, Central Coast, Australia 

  • Women's Agenda Leadership Awards

       Women's Agenda

  • Women's DV Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS) Conference

       Women's Safety NSW

  • Mental Health First Aid Certificate

       MHFA Australia

  • Cert 4 - Community Services (partial)

       Northern Institute of TAFE

2016 - 2017

  • National Housing Conference 2017 (NHC17)

       Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI)

  • Women's DV Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS) Conference

       Women's Safety NSW

  • Lucy's Project Conference (The link between DFV and animal abuse)

       Lucy's Project

  • Rosie Batty Roadshow

       Soroptomist International (Sydney)​

  • Child Safe Organisations Training

       NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG NSW)

  • Cert 3 - Community Services 

       Northern Institute of TAFE

Speaking + Media

2018 - present

  • Panellist - RUOK Day 2021 event 'out of the Darkness and into the light' 

       Empowered Liveability

       BroadAgenda 50|50  

 

  • Speaker: The Download, FB Live with Helen McCabe & Jamila Rizvi

       Future Women

  • Panellist: 'You Can't Ask That!' Domestic, Intimate and Sexual Violence in LGBTIQ  relationships

       ACON & Say It Out Loud​

  • Panellist: How to respond, after 'RU OK' Day?

       MindBlank 

  • Speaker:   Youth Justice NSW Conferencing (Central Coast) training - with Lead By Story / Will Small

       Youth Justice, Central Coast (DCJ)​

  • Speaker:   NSW Health DFV Policy launch at Royal North Shore Hospital (16 days of Activism)

       Northern Sydney Area Health Service (NSW Health)​

  • Speaker - International Women's Day 2020

       DSM Food Specialities

  • Panellist:   CXBANK$ Conference 2019 (World Mental Health Day) 

       WOW Chaplaincy​

  • Panellist:   The Greens NSW Women's policy campaign launch at Newtown

       The Greens NSW​

  • Speaker:   TAFE NSW Community Services, Northern Sydney Institute

       Northern Insititute of TAFE​

      

  • Panellist:   Share the Dignity 'DigniTea' high tea (500 pax)​

       Share The Dignity

  • Podcast:    Toxic Masculinity and Domestic Violence

       Man; Kind with Lead by Story + Central Coast Council 

  • Radio:       Feminist Friday with Energy Groove Radio

       ActionAid Australia

  • Radio:       Interview for Hive Village Project

       AFTRS (Student)

       BRAVE Magazine

       F Magazine

  • How sexual assault survivors can feel in control during cervical screenings’

       ABC Life

 

       Echo Chamber Escape

        Keynoteworthy   

       Future Women

       AusMumpreneur
 

       ROAR Success

       ROAR Success

        F Magazine

 

       The Real Girl​

 

  • 'A history of domestic violence'​

       Ryde District Mums

  • ​NSW tenancy law reform and domestic violence​

       ABC News (T.V)​

Mel Wojtas - The Context Expert

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