Research and evaluation priority area

Coordinating research and evaluation across the family violence reform

We need a strong and effective evidence base regarding family violence and violence against women. This is key to delivering long-term, sustainable reform of our family violence system. It tells us what is working, what needs to be adjusted, and where to focus our efforts for the greatest effect.

Through the Rolling Action Plan we will continue to strengthen the family violence evidence base. We will focus on research activities that fill gaps in knowledge across primary prevention, early intervention and response. We will also improve the quality, availability and use of the data that underpins our research and evaluation activities. This is critical to driving improvement.

What has happened

Significant work has occurred to actively research, review, and evaluate to both inform and adapt programs as we implement family violence reform.

What is next?

The ongoing collection and informed use of data and evidence will continue through 2022. Key initiatives are being embedded to support a greater understanding of the family violence system. This work will also to inform our current gaps in knowledge to keep us focused on understanding the impact of our work. Activities include:

  • A midterm review of the Free from Violence Strategy First Action Plan is being delivered by Respect Victoria in 2022. The midterm review will evaluate the collective work delivered, including program implementation across the five priority areas.
  • Respect Victoria’s Three-yearly report to Parliament on the progress of all primary prevention activities for family violence and violence against women. The report is a key public accountability tool. It plays a pivotal role in supporting a continued focus on primary prevention of family violence and all forms of violence against women and will be informed by findings from the midterm review of Free from Violence.
  • As part of the Monitoring and Evaluation Strategic Framework, Respect Victoria will collaborate with experts and practitioners to release a monitoring, evaluation and learning Practice Guidance and Toolkit. The Toolkit will build on existing work being delivered across the sector to strengthen monitoring, evaluation and learning practice for primary prevention practitioners.
  • Continued development of outcome measures that support our understanding of how family violence reform is contributing to the changes we want to create. This will be informed by the work being done in the development of theories of change for both the Prevention and Perpetrator domains of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework:
    • Respect Victoria is developing a theory of change for the primary prevention of family violence and violence against women in Victoria. This resource will be developed in close collaboration with experts and practitioners. It will show the desired along our ‘pathway of change’.
    • Family Safety Victoria is finalising a draft theory of change and monitoring and evaluation framework for perpetrator interventions. This will be aligned with the perpetrator domain of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework. The work will include a consultation process. It will support greater quality and consistency in evaluations of the perpetrator interventions we fund.
  • We will use the whole of government Family Violence Research Agenda and the Respect Victoria Primary Prevention Research Agenda to drive research. This work will support the sector, government and other stakeholders in Victoria to deliver evidence-informed and effective policy and practice.
  • We will continue to evaluate programs. This includes evaluating the effectiveness of the Risk Assessment and Management Panels. It will also include select activities conducted under Strengthening the foundations: first rolling action plan 2019. Based on these evaluations, we will implement identified changes to ensure the system we build is responsive and flexible.

What this means for outcomes

We are working to strengthen our evidence base, evaluate programs and initiatives, and adapt our programs in response. This means we can focus on prevention and response activities that actively contribute to the achievement of our four outcome domains.

This work helps us understand how effective our activities are. It also shows us where we are not having the impacts we thought. This allows us to can adjust our programs, services and approaches to improve outcomes for Victoria.

We are improving the data and evidence we collect, and analysing it to inform our monitoring frameworks and outcome measures.

The long-term changes being implemented by the family violence reform will take time to embed across society. By keeping our outcomes in sight as we deliver on activities, we can investigate the barriers or challenges being faced.