Led by the Centre for Family Research and Evaluation (CFRE) at Drummond Street Services, in partnership with research partners the Centre for Innovative Justice (CIJ) at RMIT University and the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), and funded by Family Safety Victoria, Future-proofing Safety was a research project that sought to understand how services across Victoria responded to family violence during COVID-19.
Future-proofing Safety purposefully took a system-wide view of service interactions for people who experienced or used family violence during COVID-19. The multi-faceted project design recognised that many conventional entry points to support and approaches to service delivery fell away during the COVID-19 period. This occurred as practitioners contended with unprecedented challenges to support a population in crisis, while simultaneously adapting to the changes that the crisis brought about in their own lives.
The research highlighted a number of significant challenges and specific opportunities for services and clients that emerged over the course of the pandemic. These included elevated client risk and need, changed service responses, gaps and weaknesses within the family violence and sexual assault service system, and the complex impacts of COVID-19 on the workforce. In addition to highlighting key findings and recommendations, the final research report takes a future focus by offering a framework for crisis readiness responses that aims to future-proof how Victoria responds to family violence and disadvantage during future crises.