Adelaide women's services threatened


@FM18 WIDE = Adelaide women's services threatened
By Melanie Sjoberg
ADELAIDE Another women's service in South Australia is coming under threat. A recently released review of the Women's Information Switchboard (WIS) recommends a complete change of focus.
WIS was originally established from the campaigns of the women's movement in the '70s to offer an information and advice service for women in the community. It has continued with government funding, but maintaining that grassroots approach. Many women's groups use the centre for a meeting point, disseminating leaflets about events and services, as well as a walk-in women-friendly zone.
Over the years it has also helped more than 1000 women to re-enter the work force. WIS has offered a volunteer training program which assisted in rebuilding confidence and learning skills to take into community-based employment. WIS has a strong record of catering to the needs of women from non-English speaking backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
The review proposes that the service become technology based and provide information to other service providers. This would leave many women having to direct their queries through mainstream agencies. Instead of dedicated bilingual workers, the review suggests all staff should be culturally cross trained and the future staff be skilled primarily in information technology. It also recommends the elimination of staff time currently provided to ethnic radio programs at 5UV.
Lesbian Line and the Women's Legal Service are after-hour services currently provided through the resources of WIS. The review proposes that WIS convert to a 9-5, no walk-in service, so these service may need to find a new home.