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Research and Evaluation

Coordinating research and evaluation across the family violence reform​

Building momentum

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.

Ending family violence
Victoria's 10-year plan for change
2016

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.

Engage Victoria survey stakeholder response
August 2020

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.

2  Data collection and reporting

We are:

  • 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.

    Family Violence Data Portal

    • 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

    Family Violence Data Collection Framework

  • The COVID-19 Family Violence Data Portal, developed by the Crime Statistics Agency, shows COVID-19 impacts on family violence

    COVID-19 Family Violence Data Portal

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.

Man with child on shoulders.

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

    DPC will lead this activity, supported by relevant government entities

    November 2021 DPC
    Refine the Family Violence Outcomes Framework, including the development of further measures across all domains 2020-2021 DPC
    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.

Women's Health Victoria
Engage Victoria survey response
September 2020

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.  

  • Activities
    Deliver a whole of Victorian government family violence research agenda Mid 2021 FSV Respect Victoria
    Develop a Victorian Family Violence Research Program that complements and builds on existing research activities across government, universities and the sector

    FSV is leading this activity, supported by relevant government entities

    Late 2021 FSV Respect Victoria
    Completion of the Harmony Study, a partnership between Latrobe University and inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, that is working with primary care clinicians to increase identification and early intervention for family violence among migrant and refugee communities 2021 FSV
    Targeted research projects on COVID-19 and family violence in Victoria including:
    • Family Safety Victoria is commissioning research to better understand the impact of the pandemic on family violence presentation, risk, intensity and responses, including the effectiveness of service changes during COVID-19
    • Respect Victoria is commissioning research to understand the impact of COVID-19 on key populations, and on the work, support and resourcing requirements of primary prevention practitioners

    These research projects include a procurement approach that encourages collaboration and multidisciplinary research practice across government, academia and the service sector

    2020-2021 FSV Respect Victoria
    Undertake research in job role design in the specialist sectors and develop options for current and future system requirements 2020-2021 FSV
    Systematic review of published literature on family violence program and initiative effectiveness 2020-2021 FSV
    Progress research under the primary prevention research agenda to build a more comprehensive understanding of the intersectional drivers and contributing factors of family violence for diverse and priority populations, and of effective approaches to primary prevention across a variety of sectors and settings  2020-2022 OfW Respect Victoria
    Continue to support and work with Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety Limited (ANROWS) through to the end of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022  2020-2022 Vic Govt

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 OfW
    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 DHHS
    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 OfW
  • 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
    Dhelk Dja
    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
    FSV
    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.

Reform-wide priorities

Research and Evaluation activities are informed by our reform-wide priorities of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience.

Intersectionality

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.

Several research and evaluation projects across the reform that address intersectionality are outlined in Delivery to 2023 on this page.

Intersectionality Overview

Aboriginal self-determination

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.

The plan:

  • 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

Aboriginal Self-Determination Overview

Woman and four children

Lived experience

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.

Lived Experience Overview

Measuring outcomes

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.

Ending family violence
Victoria's 10-year plan for change
2016

The four 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

Domain 1, Family violence and gender inequality are not tolerated. Domain 2, Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive. Domain 3, Perpetrators are held accountable, connected and take responsibility for stopping their violence. Domain 4, Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.
Domains 1, 2, 3 and 4
Download Domains 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.

Reviewed 16 December 2020

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