DPC travel outcomes report: Gabrielle Williams 2019 travel to the United Kingdom

Information about costs, purpose and outcomes of Gabrielle Williams travel to the United Kingdom in May 2019.

Minister Gabrielle Williams MP
Portfolio Prevention of Family Violence
Countries visited United Kingdom (London and Edinburgh)
Date of travel 7 to 20 May 2019
No of official travel days (including date of departure and date of return) 13
Accompanying ministerial staff

Tanya Corrie, Senior Advisor for Prevention of Family Violence

Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity No
Funding source

Department of Premier and Cabinet

Airfares (including taxes and fees) $21,111.64
Accommodation (including taxes and fees) $3,230.11
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $4,387
Travel cost for minister and staff $28,728.75
Are the above costs final and complete? Yes

Purpose of travel

The purpose of the travel was to advance the Victorian Government’s knowledge and understanding of best practice in gender equality, family violence prevention and response and youth engagement.

The engagements in the UK promoted both the significant work underway in Victoria and enhanced Victoria’s reputation as a world leader in gender equality and the prevention of family violence. It also enabled the sharing of good practice to be applied to policy initiatives in Victoria.

The travel was also inclusive of a cross-party delegation led by the Speakers Office to investigate the implementation of Sexual Harassment and Bullying Policy in the State Parliament.

The outcomes from this have been in included in the report provided by the Speakers Office.

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria

The travel provided the opportunity to see first-hand the integrated and multi-disciplinary approaches to family violence prevention and response in the UK in their establishment of ‘Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs’; the ways in which government and organisations work through the challenges relating to training and education for workers in the family violence sector; and allowed for important insights to support the Victorian Governments work in gender equality.

Of particular note is innovative equalities legislative reform undertaken in the United Kingdom, which will help to inform Victoria’s work to progress similarly ambitious Gender Equality legislation.

The United Kingdom also have a range of leading Youth Organisations that have developed new approaches to address youth disengagement – particularly in the context of crime prevention which is a Victorian Government focus in this term.

The Minister met with the following organisations:

London Youth

London Youth work to improve the lives of young people in London, through their network of 450 community youth organisations. They shared their major priorities and concerns and the initiatives they deliver to support disengaged young people.

For the Victorian Government, this provided an opportunity to discuss our priorities and how the approach of London Youth could support our government in ensuring funding and programs were able to be targeted to those most at need, without being stigmatising.

The engagement of Youth in broader policy development was also discussed given our governments focus on youth engagement via Youth Parliament and our Youth Strategy.

London Youth discussed the correlation between a reduction in youth support programs and an increase in knife crime in the UK.

They discussed the range of programs that are targeted toward cohorts that at higher risk of being engaged in illegal activity.

This was through place-based, rather than cohort-based work; and through programs that support the broader community.

London Youth also talked about the range of ways in which they ensure their funding is more sustainable, understanding that no one level of government will be able to sustain them as an organisation.

They provided insight into how the Victorian Government can work with Youth Organisations and their peaks to be sustainable long term, and how to adopt place-based approaches to working with at risk young people.

Standing Together Against Domestic Violence

Standing Together Against Domestic Violence (STADV) is a charity that drives a fully coordinated response to family violence that has been recognised by the UK government as best practice.

Operating since the late 1990s, STADV has pioneered interventions now widely adopted across the UK in dealing with family violence.

STADV has also been recognised by the United Nations Population Fund as having best practice model for its Children and Young People Project.

Some of the key learning from the meeting with STADV was how Victoria could improve its existing Family Violence Regional Integration Committees and Support and Safety Hubs (Orange Door); and ways of implementing good practice, evidence-based programs across diverse communities.


SafeLives is the UK’s lead for gathering family violence evidence and data to measure the impact of services. SafeLives train specialist frontline professionals and first responders.

Discussions focused on how evidence is used to measure the impact and outcomes of services in the UK, including the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) process.

SafeLives was able to provide valuable insight on how to measure and monitor outcomes related to family and domestic violence to drive meaningful change in Victoria.

They were also able to provide insight on how to develop minimum standards for specialist family violence workers and others that work with victim survivors of family violence.

Importantly, they shared their community capability building model for training and development, which is particularly useful as the Victorian Government continues to roll out Safe and Strong, the Victorian Government’s Gender Equality Strategy; and Building from Strength, the family violence 10-year industry plan.

Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) brings key professionals together to facilitate early, better quality information sharing, analysis and decision-making, to safeguard vulnerable children and young people more effectively. It allows agencies to act quickly in a co-ordinated and consistent way, ensuring that children and young people are kept safe.

The meeting with MASH focused specifically on how the MASH model is evaluated and the learning that could improve Victoria’s Support and Safety Hubs (Orange Doors) and the Multi-Disciplinary Centres. Important insights on the data management processes and procedures in place to measure service delivery outcomes was also gained.

The MASH development has many lessons that can be applied to the roll out of the Support and Safety Hubs. Specifically:

  • The importance of consistency while allowing for place-based approaches
  • The critical role of police
  • The development of a Client Management System to support information sharing among professionals – in the UK this had already been rolled out to schools and health.

Government Equalities Office

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of equality legislation across the UK government. They lead action on the UK Government’s commitment to remove barriers to equality, with an emphasis on issues relating to women, sexual orientation and transgender equality.

Discussions centred on the implementation of the Equality Act 2010 (UK) as Victoria is currently developing a Gender Equality Bill which proposes that Victorian Government departments, the public sector and local governments achieve gender equality through quotas, action plans and reporting.

They outlined the learning from their processes in legislating reporting of gender equality targets across the private and public sector; how to work with stakeholders to enable consistent data collection; and how to provide incentives to reporting as well as legislating.

Cat Smith – Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs

Cat Smith MP is the Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs. Ms. Smith has been Shadow Minister for the Youth Affairs portfolio since June 2016.

The discussion focused on the challenges in Youth Policy in a time of increasingly precarious employment for young people, the increase in negative media reporting about young people, and how to develop policy that meets these needs.

Westminster Sexual Harassment Policy

As part of the parliamentary aspects of the trip - led by the Hon Colin Brooks, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly - there was a two-day UK Parliamentary policy development project focusing on bullying and sexual harassment policy development in parliament.

This workshop supports both the development of a bullying and sexual harassment policy in the Victorian Parliament, as well as the Victorian Government’s work to address sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace, under Victoria’s Gender Equality Strategy, Safe and Strong.

Scottish Parliament Sexual Harassment and Bullying Police

To further the development of a sexual harassment and the broader, cross-party delegation met with:

  • Sally Coyne, Head of Outreach Services
  • Gillian Baxendine, Head of Committee Engagement Unit Community Engagement Activities
  • Susan Duffy, Head of Committees and Outreach
  • Vicky McSherry, Culture of Respect Team Leader: Fostering a Culture of Respect, Fairness and Dignity; Sexual Harassment and Bullying Policies.

The meeting highlighted the systems needed in place to support action against sexual harassment and bullying in the parliament; how engagement at the outset is critical with all levels of staff; and that this is cultural change which takes time.

This understanding will help inform the Victorian Government’s approach to the upcoming Gender Equality Bill and the introduction of a Sexual Harassment and Bullying policy in the Parliament.

Youth Link is a membership-based organisation. All national voluntary organisations are members of Youth Link, including local authorities and statutory services.

Youth Link has worked closely with government, particularly the Department of Education, on the development and implementation of the Scottish Youth Strategy.

Youth Scotland is a national network for community-based youth worker members from 1300 youth groups. They provide professional development and training to both professional Youth Workers and volunteers that work with young people.

The meeting with Youth Link and Youth Scotland opened a broader conversation about how we talk about people who work with and support young people - of the 80,000 youth workers the organisation represents, 73,000 are volunteers. While we would not want to reduce the qualification level required to be a Youth Worker, Youth Programs and strategies do need to be more mindful of the unpaid hours through volunteers that work with young people.


Engender is a Scottish feminist policy and advocacy organisation advancing gender equality by producing research, lobbying decision makers and empowering women to campaign for change.

Areas discussed included the remit and work of the Gender Equal Media Scotland, launched in 2018; and Victoria’s Gender Equality Strategy, Safe and Strong which includes a commitment to look at the role media, arts and culture has in promoting and achieving gender equality.

Christina McKelvie, Minister for Older People and Equalities

Ms Christina McKelvie is the Minister for Older People and Equalities in the Scottish Government. Discussions focussed on adjusting funding models for increased demand in family violence in the context of legislative changes in the Scottish Parliament; looking at ways of future proofing family violence prevention efforts; and how the Scottish Parliament can leverage their residual powers to effect change in the family violence area – not dissimilarly to Victoria.

She discussed the role of children in the reform and outlined the Scottish Government’s inclusion of coercive control as part of their Domestic Abuse legislation.

Scotland has also been operating specialist domestic violence courts for over 10 years and there is more that could be learned from their experience.

Caledonian Team and Justice Directorate

The Caledonian System works with men convicted of ‘domestic abuse’ related offences. The Caledonian Men's Program offers an offender-rehabilitation program that is accredited by the Scottish Government. The discussions focused on key features of the Caledonian System and how it works to meet the different needs of male perpetrators, as well as women and children impacted by domestic violence.

Given the next wave of family violence reforms focusing on perpetrator accountability, this information was particularly pertinent.

They went through how important it is that programs that work with violent men do so in partnership with women’s organisations; to ensure that the focus remains on the safety of women and children when working with violent men; and that there is a large range of interventions needed to really affect change.

While there has not been a long-term evaluation of the success of the program, there have been demonstrated results and this is an area where Scotland and Victoria can greatly share learning.

Next steps

  • There have been follow up discussions with Rory McRae re: the Caledonian Approach and working with men’s services to pilot a program.
  • The train the trainer model adopted by Safe Lives is being investigated as part of the Building from Strength Action Plan.
  • The Peak body model offered by Youth Link to be investigated.
  • The importance of embedding systemic reform, through legislation if necessary – this highlights the strength of legislating Information Sharing, and the Government’s intention to legislate Gender Equality.
  • The process of managing Gender Equality legislation as it done in both England and Scotland.
  • Greater sharing of the outcomes of evaluations of Australian programs with counterparts in the UK, particularly for Men’s Behaviour Change.
  • The accreditation of both Youth Workers – through Youth Scotland, and Family Violence Workers – through Safe Lives, will be investigated further under their respective strategies.