Change is brought about by people; individuals with heart, will, passion and courage. This Lived Experience Strategy has evolved out of the decades of work and dedication of individuals who stood up against violence and advocated for systemic and cultural change. Many of those who called for reform were themselves victims of abuse.
Over time we have realised the critical importance of listening to the voices of those who have lived with violence and abuse and who are best placed to shape the change and reform that is needed. As part of Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence, the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council was established in 2016 to ensure victim survivors have a formal mechanism to advise the government on policy design and service delivery.
The voice of lived experience places itself at the intersection of policy and pain. Victim survivors stand at that point testifying and identifying what is required for them to be safe, to survive and to thrive.
Whilst the lessons of this Lived Experience Strategy are birthed from pain, trauma and tragedy, there is also hope that changes in perception, understanding, response and respect have resulted from hearing these voices. The voices of lived experience are the foundation for every piece of work, every policy, every program and connects every person involved to the complexity and reality of family violence.
This strategy calls for both government and the sector to not just look for approval from lived experience, but to embed and infuse every piece of work that they produce with the experience and the expertise of those who live with and have survived family and sexual violence.
This Lived Experience Strategy calls on government and the sector to embed lived experience across the full spectrum of family and sexual violence reform.
We will not forget the price that has been paid by so many who have courageously brought their voices, their stories and their expertise to this reform. We honour and remember those who have paid the ultimate price and lost their lives to family violence. We honour the work of individuals in government, in the sector, in communities and all those advocates who have laboured to bring about change and put an end to family violence.