Focus area 4: Strengthening Leadership in the Specialist Sectors

The family violence reform agenda is ambitious, complex, and unprecedented. Strong sector leadership will maximise this opportunity for enduring change. The priorities in this focus area build leadership capability, equipping leaders in the specialist response and primary prevention sectors with the tools they need to manage, respond to and implement change, and support each other in the evolving family violence landscape.

Why it’s important

  • Strong executive and board-level leadership across organisations and the specialist sectors is needed to build a responsive and inclusive system as well as deliver the priority actions identified in this plan, and future Rolling Action Plans.
  • The increasing demands of government reform and rapid change for the specialist sectors requires specific and new competencies and leadership traits, including the ability to respond to changing environments.
  • Strengthening governance and leadership in organisations is also a priority focus of the 10-Year Community Services Industry Plan. There are opportunities to work with the Human Services and Health Partnership Implementation Committee to support specialist sector engagement in the actions in its first Rolling Implementation Plan (2019- 2020), including a community services industry leadership and mentoring program for current and emerging leaders and the development and promotion of affordable, accessible community services industry governance training for boards.

Strengthening the Foundations outcomes

  1. Specialist sector leaders can access tailored professional development opportunities that support them in setting direction, using an outcomes orientation in service planning, developing strategies to work towards continuous improvement and motivating and developing their workforces.
  2. Specialist sector leaders are equipped to undertake robust workforce planning within their organisations and sectors.
  3. Leaders are knowledgeable and equipped to manage change and promote leading collaborative practice to effectively respond to and deliver family violence prevention and response reform, so that opportunities for improved practice are maximised.

Key foundational priorities to support this focus area

This plan takes a two-fold approach to this area:

  • Developing leadership capability for current sector leaders through initiatives that acknowledge and build on existing leadership capability.
  • Developing evidence to support leadership development that is tailored for the specialist prevention and response sectors.


4.1 Deliver leadership intensives that bring together public sector thought leaders, academia and the specialist sectors and broader social service sector to explore managing change in a complex environment.

4.2 Establish a Leadership Intensive Alumni network to enable participants to continue to build on their learnings in relation to contemporary practice.

4.3 Undertake an action research project on contemporary feminist leadership practice in the family violence and primary prevention sectors.

4.4 Identify and deliver targeted initiatives relating to building capability in contemporary feminist leadership practice.

4.5 Build capability for specialist sector leaders to engage in cultural leadership.