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Recent Work

Future-proofing Safety – COVID-19 and family violence in Victoria

Future-proofing Safety: COVID-19 and family violence in Victoria 

The Centre for Family Research and Evaluation (CFRE), in partnership with RMIT University’s Centre for Innovative Justice (CIJ) and the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), recently commenced Future-proofing Safety, a major research project examining how family violence in Victoria has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

Our research will span the breadth of Victoria’s whole community services system to understand how services have responded to family violence during COVID-19. The project will look at how services adapted, what gaps and weaknesses were surfaced, and how services responded to the crisis. It will also take a future focus by providing tangible recommendations on how we can future-proof Victoria’s responses to family violence post-COVID. 

Future-proofing Safety began in August 2021 and is funded by Family Safety Victoria. 

Working with the sector 

Our innovative approach and partnership model prioritises sector input and leadership across the project. We hope to work collaboratively with partners across the community sector to shape the future of Victoria’s systemic responses to family violence. 

Peaks, organisations and practitioners will have opportunities to participate throughout the life of the project through focus groups, a practitioner survey and through a series of workshops.  

Sharing our findings 

We will share emerging findings throughout the life of the project through: 

  • two interactive reports in February and June 2022 
  • workshops with the sector to unpack our findings 
  • a research report and a crisis readiness framework in October 2022. 

Please check back here to keep abreast of project developments and reports.  

Project updates  

Sector survey

AIFS is currently recruiting to a sector survey for all practitioners who have worked in the community services system in Victoria during COVID-19. This survey explores practitioners’ views on how client experiences of family violence changed during COVID-19, as well as how client service needs changed and how services changed to meet these needs.

For more information and to take the survey, practitioners can follow the link: Future-proofing Safety Project Information Sheet (aifs.gov.au)

Sector focus groups 

The CIJ is currently conducting sector focus groups with practitioners from within specialist family violence services, as well as from across the wider service system. This includes practitioners who encountered and responded to people experiencing and using family violence in alcohol and other drugs (AOD), mental and physical health, disability, legal, community health and cohort-specific services.  
For more information, practitioners can read the online participant information and consent form or email matilda.simpson@rmit.edu.au 

Interactive report: Organisational case studies 

The first interactive report for Future-proofing Safety includes three organisational case studies, each exploring family violence service data before and during COVID-19.  

These case studies aim to help us better understand how the presentation of family violence has changed in the context of the pandemic for clients accessing GenWest (formerly Women’s Health West), Drummond Street Services and Good Shepherd. 

You can read more by visiting the interactive report (also viewable below) or accessing a downloadable version of the report: 

We will share our second interactive report in June 2022.


For more information on the project or to be added to our mailing list, please email cfre@ds.org.au. 

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