A successful research and evaluation program will provide the information we need to make sure that funding for family violence initiatives is contributing to achieving outcomes and delivering value for money.
A strong and effective family violence evidence base 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.
Building the evidence base for such broad ranging reforms is a long-term project.
- Our early focus has been on building evaluation rigour and capability, to strengthen the body of evidence and to use this knowledge to drive future service design and delivery.
- We are turning our efforts to research activities that fill gaps in our evidence base across prevention, early intervention and response.
- Improving the quality, availability and use of data underpins our research and evaluation activities and is critical in driving improvement.
Over the next three years we will build a stronger evidence base by coordinating and expanding research, data and evaluation activities working across government and in partnership with the prevention and response sectors and academia.
A Victorian Government Family Violence Research agenda and program will support the whole of government approach to research on family violence across primary prevention, early intervention and response.
A clear, coordinated research program with partners will reduce duplication, identify and prioritise gaps, support knowledge transfer and inform policy and practice.
This will help us in measuring how we are going against the outcomes in the Family Violence Outcomes Framework and give us valuable information to help us in the design and delivery of the reform.
Improvements to research and evaluation will deliver:
- a better understanding of how to prevent family violence before it happens
- knowledge of where to intervene early for the greatest impact
- an effective way to understand and show reform progress and impacts
- an evidence base to support us to effectively direct resources to the responses that make a difference
- strengthened culturally safe programs
- a platform to share achievements and lessons
It's a 'learning all the time' curve - it will probably never stop.
Progress since 2016
We have been building capacity and capability to improve data collection, research and evaluation across the reform.
The individual priority areas in this Rolling Action Plan include further detail on relevant research, evaluation and data collection, and report progress in delivery.
The key research and evaluation activities which have been delivered since the Royal Commission are grouped here into three areas.
1 Research and evaluation of key reform initiatives
Effective research and evaluation help us understand where we can focus and improve our reform delivery.
These are examples of evaluation projects and research programs across the reform.
In 2018, Family Safety Victoria commissioned an independent evaluation of the establishment, operations and initial service offering of the first four areas in The Orange Door network.
Family Safety Victoria has since published the first annual service delivery report for The Orange Door network to improve sharing of service delivery information and inform continuous improvement.
An independent review of the first two years of operation of the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme was tabled in Parliament in August 2020.
Victoria Police commissioned the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre to evaluate their trial of using body-worn cameras to record evidence from victims of family violence that may be considered by a court.
There is growing evidence that the school-based Respectful Relationships program is effective.
The Respectful Relationships initiative in Victorian schools builds on the independent evaluation of the model tested by the Department of Education and Training in 2016.
- established a primary prevention research program, including a primary prevention research agenda, and the capacity to support its delivery
- is working with consortiums of academic, industry and community-based agencies to expand our understanding of family violence primary prevention
- commissioned research to fill key knowledge gaps of what works to prevent family violence across different populations and communities
2 Data collection and reporting
- improving the quality of our data
- making it more widely available across government and the sector
- establishing systems and frameworks to support data collection and reporting across prevention and response
- Established in the early 2000s and administered by the Crime Statistics Agency, the database is a key tool for government.
- The data is accessed through a portal which provides reporting on the incidence and characteristics of family violence in Victoria and family violence service provision.
- It supports analysis of priority topics through data dashboards, infographics and short research papers.
- For the next National Community Attitudes Survey, data collection will be expanded with support provided by Respect Victoria. To support the use of this data, Respect Victoria released Re-shaping Attitudes: A toolkit for using the National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS) in the primary prevention of violence against women.
- The government commissioned Australian National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS), along with the University of Melbourne, to develop a Free from Violence questionnaire, which will enable data collection on knowledge, attitudes and behaviour change to support evaluation across primary prevention.
The Family Violence Outcomes Framework (the Framework) provides guidelines and standards for the collection of family violence-related data to improve the quality and comparability of existing data sources and use those sources to address priority gap areas.
This will help us collect more robust data and make data and information on family violence more useful.
The Framework is intended for use by all government departments, agencies or service providers who collect family violence information.
Through this framework, we will build quality data about the family violence experiences of specific cohorts, which addresses the Royal Commission's findings about data limitations and gaps.
The Framework provides specific data collection standards for:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- children and young people
- older people
- LGBTIQ+ communities
- people with disabilities
- multicultural communities
3 Building evaluation capability
We have been building capability and capacity to undertake effective research and evaluation.
For example, the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) is:
- developing policy and guidelines for evaluation of family violence initiatives
- developing accessible staff learning resources
- sharing learnings and findings of evaluation outcomes across government
The DJCS Koori Justice Unit has been working with Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to build capacity to conduct evaluations.
Delivery to 2023
Over the next three years we will continue to strengthen the family violence evidence base.
We will do this in partnership with the sector and through cross-government activities that build on current momentum and support continuous improvement. We will also target identified information gaps to build evidence in individual programs, initiatives and reform areas.
Collectively, these activities will enable continuous improvement cycles that support evidence-informed policy making to translate to effective services and initiatives that achieve outcomes.
This overview of our planned research and evaluation activities to 2023 is grouped into four areas. Additional research and evaluation activity supporting the reform is also reflected in the web pages for each priority.
1. Measuring change against a refreshed Family Violence Outcomes Framework
We are measuring and monitoring change against the Family Violence Outcomes Framework to understand the impact of the reform.
Our focus on measurement and monitoring is intended to build the validity and reliability of our outcomes data over the next three years.
We have released the Family Violence Outcomes Framework (FVOF) Measurement and Monitoring Implementation Strategy to continue to improve our data collection and measurement against the FVOF.
Activities Publish the first Family Violence Outcomes Framework report, with yearly reporting thereafter
DFFH will lead this activity, supported by relevant government entities
November 2021 DFFH Refine the Family Violence Outcomes Framework, including the development of further measures across all domains 2020-2021 DFFH Develop and implement client outcomes measurement and monitoring for family violence therapeutic interventions and perpetrator interventions 2021-2022 FSV
2. Progressing research on family violence
Greater transparency and collaboration would enable organisations working in the family violence sector to identify key research gaps and minimise duplication.
Across family violence prevention, early interventions and response we are working with Victorian universities, industry and agencies to build research partnerships that:
- draw on our respective strengths
- drive collaboration
- support information sharing
- help turn research into policy and practice
As part of our work to better understand the drivers, presentation and risk for all forms of family violence in Victoria, we will identify and target research into priority evidence gaps.
3. Monitoring and evaluation of service delivery and response
Government will continue its focus on monitoring and evaluation of programs and initiatives across the reform. Rigorous and high-quality monitoring and evaluation helps us to understand what works in preventing and responding to family violence.
The Free from Violence strategy is Victoria’s strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women and is part of the 10-year plan.
Activities Deliver Free from Violence Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for primary prevention, and commence implementation Early 2021 Respect Victoria Evaluation of the Safer Stronger Communities pilot 2021 DFFH Evaluate the first Free from Violence Action Plan (2018-21) 2022 Respect Victoria First three yearly report to Parliament on progress in primary prevention as specified under the Prevention of Family Violence Act 2018 2022-2023 Respect Victoria
To improve The Orange Door network we are continuing to gather and share information about what is and isn’t working well. As it is implemented across Victoria, we are building on reports and evaluation including independent assessments, such as the 2020 VAGO audit and the 2018 Orange Door evaluation.
Activities Statewide Demand Management framework finalised Late 2021 FSV The Orange Door partnership performance framework implemented and commence monitoring against the framework Late 2021 FSV Second evaluation of The Orange Door network completed Late 2022 FSV
Evaluations of key family violence services and initiatives, including early interventions, will help develop a better understanding of what works to prevent and respond to family violence.
Activities Evaluation of maternal and child health investment for children and families at risk of family violence Late 2020 DH Evaluation of the Risk Assessment and Management Panels 2021 FSV Evaluation of Rainbow Tick and HOW2 program 2021 FSV Multicultural COVID-19 Family Violence program evaluation 2022 DFFH
Work is underway to improve perpetrator accountability and build the evidence base around what works for people who use violence.
Activities Develop a theory of change and monitoring and evaluation framework for perpetrator interventions, aligned to the Family Violence Outcomes Framework and the Dhelk Dja Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability Plan 2020-2021 FSV Deliver a meta-evaluation for perpetrator interventions 2020-2021 DJCS
Under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008, a review of MARAM, the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and the Central Information Point must be conducted within five years of commencement.
Activities MARAM and FVISS 5-year review commences CIP 5-year review commences Early 2022 FSV MARAM and FVISS and 5-year review scheduled for tabling in Parliament CIP 5-year review scheduled for tabling in Parliament August 2023 FSV
Activities All-encompassing process and outcome evaluation of the Magistrates' Court led family violence reforms, with a focus on the implementation and effectiveness of the Specialist Family Violence Courts and associated reforms 2019-2023 CSV Evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of the Koori Family Violence Intervention Order Breaches pilot in Mildura 2020-2021 CSV
Where Aboriginal Victorians take the lead in data collection, research, and evaluation of family violence reform initiatives in their communities they can define the measures of success.
Activities Aboriginal-led evaluation of capacity-building for the Preventing the Cycle of Violence Aboriginal Fund and the Aboriginal Community Initiatives Fund 2021 FSV
Implementation of the Dhelk Dja Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability Plan 2020-2028 Dhelk Dja
The Everybody Matters, Inclusion and Equity Statement provides an overarching guide for working in a more inclusive, safe and responsive way.
Activities Develop a 10-year Monitoring and Evaluation framework for the Everybody Matters, Inclusion and Equity Statement 2021 FSV
Strengthening the capacity and capability of the people who work to prevent and respond to family violence is critical to the reform’s success.
Activities Implement the monitoring and evaluation framework for Strengthening the Foundations Early 2021 FSV Complete evaluation of selected activities within Strengthening the Foundations 2021 FSV
Strengthening the evaluation capacity and capabilities of government and sector supports, monitoring progress of the reforms and continuous improvement.
Activities Completion of the Building Family Violence Evaluation Capacity Project Mid 2021 DJCS Consider ways to share evaluation capability uplift resources with the broader family violence sector 2021 DJCS Develop consultation guidelines on incorporating lived experience into family violence program evaluations 2021 DJCS
4. Building data quality and availability
Improving the quality, availability and use of data is key to driving continuous improvement and underpins effective research and evaluation.
We are working across government and with the sector to strengthen data collection practices and to enhance and refine data systems. We are also improving how we share and use existing data by expanding routine reporting.
Examples of data quality and availability improvement work are outlined below:
Activities Routine reporting on key family violence data From 2020 CSA
Launch of the Prevention of Family Violence Data Platform, developed by Respect Victoria and the Crime Statistics Agency, to monitor trends in primary prevention Early 2021 Respect Victoria Aboriginal data mapping and data needs project to support baseline understanding of Aboriginal family violence and build the evidence base for prevention and intervention Mid 2021 Dhelk Dja Data Strategy for The Orange Door completed Late 2021 FSV Incorporation of sexual assault data into the Family Violence Data Portal Late 2021 CSA Develop and implement the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Data Dictionary to establish data standards and improve data quality, including for key cohorts and diverse communities 2020-2021 FSV
Connecting research and evaluation across the reform
Activities in this priority area support, and are equally supported by, delivery more broadly across the family violence reform.
Research and Evaluation activities are informed by our reform-wide priorities of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience.
Targeted research will help us better understand the impacts of structural inequality and overlapping forms of discrimination or disadvantage, and ultimately help us create inclusive and equitable services and responses.
We will focus on working with the sector to improve data collection and build the evidence base for people from diverse communities. We will also continue to improve and refine data collection systems to make collection of key demographic information easier and more consistent.
The Everybody Matters, Inclusion and Equity Statement highlights significant gaps in research and data collection around access, inclusion and responsiveness to diverse communities.
Respect Victoria will release an intersectionality approach, including policy and guidance to improve data collection and research methods to inform our knowledge of the intersections between the drivers of violence.
To build an evidence base, the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum has a strategy to monitor the performance of key initiatives, programs and actions. The Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability Plan will support the Aboriginal-led data collection, research and evaluation agenda.
- sets out a monitoring and evaluation strategy for the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum
- oversees performance monitoring of key self-determination initiatives, programs and actions on a three-year cycle alongside action plans in the Dhelk Dja agreement
- supports annual reporting to the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum following development of indicators to inform progress and strategic decisions about priorities
It is important that research across the reform hears and learns from voices of lived experience including children, in the collection and use of data, evaluation and research.
This is an evolving commitment as we deliver more initiatives.
Family Safety Victoria will prioritise research that embeds the voices of lived experience, and Respect Victoria’s victim survivor engagement plan is a strategy to ensure that lived experience is considered in policy and research development.
The Orange Door network continues to implement and refine routine capturing of client voice and using client voice data to inform continuous improvement.
Ongoing data development, targeted research, and evaluations of reform activity will improve the evidence base and enable reporting of progress towards outcomes.
The Family Violence Outcomes Framework (FVOF) is the tool we are using to measure how we are doing. The FVOF was first published in the 10-year plan which described it as:
…a tangible tool to keep us accountable...measuring outcomes will provide evidence of what works –and what doesn’t – in delivering real and meaningful change.
The 4 FVOF domains convey the ambition of the reform and shape the design and priorities outlined in this Rolling Action Plan.
- They reflect the long-term outcomes sought through the collective efforts of the reform.
- They represent the key priorities in preventing and responding to family violence.
- They establish what will constitute success.
Domains 1, 2, 3 and 4
Domains 1, 2, 3 and 4
1, 2, 3 and 4
Our research and evaluation activities have an impact across all four domains, as we strengthen the family violence evidence base and use that to better understand reform outcomes.
Royal Commission recommendations
The Victorian Government has committed to implement all 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Of the recommendations still in progress, four relate to Research and Evaluation.
Summary of activities to 2023
Reviewed 19 April 2021