Alison Birchall is Domestic Violence Victoria’s Acting Manager of the Policy Unit. She leads a small and busy team of policy advisors working across 12 portfolios, with a focus on policy law reform and advocacy issues in Victoria.
Alison completed a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Tasmania, before starting work as a case worker at a local domestic violence crisis service.
With a career now spanning more than 20 years in the family violence sector, she moved from being a practitioner to a service manager, before working in program development in international settings and now policy. During this time, she also completed a Masters of International and Community Development and most recently, a Graduate Certificate of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
“Throughout my studies, I was exposed to feminism as a theory and framework for social work practice and it really resonated,” Alison says.
“I wanted to be part of the movement that was calling out the really poor responses to women and children experiencing family violence, and demanding accountability, seeking equality and improving the processes.”
Alison’s experience as a social worker brings significant perspective to her work in policy, law reform and advocacy.
“I still think of individual cases of women, children and families that I have worked with and think, ‘What would this have been like for them?’ Being a social worker is very much an intrinsic part of who I am as a policy advisor.”
Alison says anyone considering a role in the family violence sector should try to remain curious.
“Seek out more information and a greater understanding of what's happening in our society that's creating the conditions in which people are experiencing family violence or homelessness or poverty. Seek to understand the link between the personal and the political. Try to not be driven by assumptions.”
Reviewed 18 February 2021