Global Voices scholarship will ensure Caitlin's message on domestic and family violence crisis is heard

13 October 2021

Domestic violence survivor Caitlin Schiavone plans to become a judge to protect other victims and survivors' and she's grateful that CQUniversity's Master of Domestic and Family Violence course and a Global Voices Scholarship are giving her the tools to succeed.

The Melbourne-based student is a recipient of the CQUni Global Voices Scholarship' that will allow her to attend the virtual UN Commission on the Status of Women in March' 2022. Register to attend here.

Caitlin' who already has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Psychology from La Trobe University and a Master of Laws from Monash University' said CQUniversity's Master of Domestic and Family Violence was always her aim.

"CQUni is an innovative' progressive place of learning that is resourced with some of the best academics in Australia. I chose CQUni because it was the first University in Australia to offer a Masters in Domestic and Family Violence Practice'" she said.

"This type of violence causes more illness' disability or deaths in comparison to any other risk factor for women in Australia aged 25 to 44. It is also responsible for one in six women who have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a cohabiting partner over the age of 15.

"By being the first University in Australia to create and run this course' CQUni showed not only Australia' but the world' that it was an industry leader. This is what made me choose CQUni. And my experience with CQUni has only reinforced that fact."

She said the Global Voices scholarship was an incredible opportunity.

"I have had some very difficult life experiences that have driven me to this field of work. These experiences made me feel like I had no agency and was completely powerless'" she said.

"I have spent the last decade trying to make sense of it all and learned' very quickly' that I wasn't alone in my experience. Women' all across the world' experience similar difficulties in domestic and family violence situations. Some may get help and others may not even be able to get help at all."

"The United Nations Population Fund estimates that for every three months there is a COVID-19 lockdown' there is an increase of 15 million domestic and family violence incidents worldwide.

"My role as the Global Voices Scholar will be to develop a policy submission for Australia to address this crisis' the barriers that stop victims-survivors from getting help and to ensure safety is a priority.

"I just completed the virtual pre-briefings process with Global Voices. The Canberra briefing is in November. With COVID-19 being the new normal' everything was completed online. That doesn't mean that it wasn't engaging. I had an amazing time connecting with other scholars all around Australia and the incredible supportive staff from Global Voices.

"We were also taught to think on our feet and to articulate questions to experts who co-starred throughout the briefings. What I got out of the process was that as a young person' my voice' what I had to say was important. And that we all have the power to influence change."

In addition to being mentored by several Victorian barristers' Caitlin works for the Victims of Crime Commissioner's Office in Victoria.

"The next step in my career is to become a barrister with the Victorian Bar. This is important' because the job I am actually working towards is to become a judge. I want to work within family violence court lists and child protection matters'" she said.

"Domestic and family violence is a serious issue in Australia. It is a crisis. And one not prioritised by government and key decision makers. But you have the power to change that. And this course is a way you can. If you are looking for an area that is rewarding' has meaning and can influence change' study domestic and family violence prevention. I encourage you' whoever you are and however you identify' from any age' gender' non-binary' culture' place' background' to look into studying this course."

Global Voices is a youth-led Australian not-for profit committed to developing the next generation of leaders by providing practical experience in policy-making' international relations' and diplomacy. The Global Voices Scholarship Program consists of three elements: participation in a Canberra Briefings Program' completion of a Policy Fellowship' and attendance at an international delegation. The program provides participants with a dedicated policy-writing workshop' media engagement training' institutional visits' greater cross-cultural awareness' and significant professional networking opportunities.

As part of the CQUGlobal Outbound program' CQUni sponsors up to two students in semesters 1 and 2 each year to participate in two Global Voices delegations. (Unfortunately there were no applications for the other delegation' the UN Climate negotiations taking place in Glasgow' Scotland in Nov 2021).

The CQUGlobal Outbound program provides opportunities for CQUni students to develop a global outlook and improve employability outcomes as they undertake part of their studies in a different country' or on virtual exchange programs.