Support for victim-survivors of family and domestic violence

The Sax Institute has helped strengthen services for people experiencing family and domestic violence (FDV) with an evaluation of a Department of Health and Aged Care pilot initiative.

The initiative provided support for GPs and primary care staff to identify and assist victim-survivors of FDV.

Findings from the evaluation helped influence the Commonwealth’s decision to allocate a further $36.8 million to the initiative’s expansion nationally. Our Evaluate team has also been re-commissioned by Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHAC) to evaluate the pilot’s expansion.

“We’re proud that our evaluation methods can be adapted to programs that straddle health and social policy issues and operate at a national scale,” says Dr Alice Knight, Director of Evaluate.

The pilot initiative was established by the federal government in 2019, in six Public Health Networks (PHNs) across three states – Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Each PHN could develop their own program, based on local needs.

“The Sax Institute worked closely with us as we navigated this complex space and adapted their evaluation approach to match emerging areas of practice and need over the pilot period,” says Susan Conaghan, Manager of Family Support Program Development and Coordination at Brisbane South PHN.

We partnered with Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety and worked collaboratively with PHNs to evaluate the pilot. We used a mixed methods approach and various data sources including monitoring and outcome data, interviews, stakeholder consultations and case studies.

The evaluation reported that the program was overwhelmingly perceived as useful and needed. Training was provided to more than 1700 GPs and other staff, and more than 250 FDV victim-survivor referrals were made by participating GPs.

This is one of many projects undertaken by our Evaluate team this year. We’ve partnered with federal and state agencies, as well as research institutions and non-governmental organisations, making an impact across a spectrum of health and social policy issues.