Gender-based violence and mental health support in tandem with peer-based AOD support at events

DanceWize (DW) is a well-respected peer-based service providing AOD harm reduction education and care at festivals. Over time, people in DW care spoke not only about their AOD use but also about other intersecting issues such as sexual assault, family/intimate partner violence and drink spiking. There was also an increase in complex mental health presentations.

In response to these current/emerging trends, DW introduced the Gender Based Violence and Mental Health Service. Its evaluation noted “the public awareness of DW as a safe and non-judgmental space already meant that people were more likely to disclose AOD and other related wellbeing issues to DW Key Peer Educators (KPEs). Counselling was more effective when done in tandem with KPE’s as DW counsellors were responding to both an AOD and MH/trauma presentation.”

This presentation discusses the importance of integrating this holistic model of peer-based care at all festivals.


Bee Hayes – Former DanceWize Program Coordinator, Harm Reduction Victoria

Bee worked for DW for three years and is now the PAMS Data Project Coordinator. Bee has a background in youth work and has worked in AOD and crisis support services. They are passionate about advocating for the respect and recognition of the Lived and Living Experience workforce within the AOD industry.

Mae Vincent Service Manager Harm Reduction Victoria

Mae has been at DW for 4 years and founded the GBV & MH service. Mae is renowned for her work in the music industry and helped develop and lead Rainbow Serpent Festival’s The Nest. With a Masters of Social Work, Mae is also a trauma counsellor. She’s worked extensively in the sexual assault, AOD and refugee sectors.


Click here to view the Presentation Slides