Funding Source: The Salvation Army Melbourne Central Division Research and Advocacy Program
Key RMIT Researchers: Suellen Murray
This report, Somewhere Safe to Call Home: Violence Against Women during Homelessness, is based on face-to-face interviews with 29 Victorian women aged from 19 to 54 years who had recently experienced homelessness. The majority of the women had experienced long-term or chronic homelessness and violence was the primary reason that had precipitated homelessness. For all 29 women, violence had also been a part of their experience of being homeless and this report focuses on their experiences of violence during homelessness. The report also considers the impact of this violence on their health, their attempts to seek support, and policy and practice change that would improve the circumstances of women who are homeless and prevent violence against them. This study grew out of discussions with staff at The Salvation Army Crisis Services in St Kilda about their awareness of violence that many women experience during homelessness.
Funding Source: Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FAHCSIA) - formerly the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS)
Key RMIT Researchers: Patricia Rogers
The Stronger Families and Communities Strategy (SFCS) 2000-2004 was designed to help build family and community capacity to deal with challenges and take advantage of opportunities, with a special focus on those at-risk of social, economic and geographic isolation. It consisted of seven community-based linked initiatives that provided funding and support for projects in the community and six broader initiatives. The community-based linked initiatives, which were the focus of the evaluation, provided nearly $80 million in direct funding to 635 projects, ranging from under $1,000 to over $1,000,000, together with support from the Department to assist organisations to develop proposals and implement projects. Projects focusing on Indigenous families and communities received 26% of the funding allocated through these initiatives.
In 2007 the evaluation was awarded the Best Evaluation Study Award of the Australasian Evaluation Society.
The evaluation produced an overall final report, issues papers addressing key principles, case study reports of particular projects, funding initiatives or targeted regions, and newsletters. These documents can be downloaded from the links below.
- Networks and partnerships (PDF 222kb)
- Community capacity building (PDF 507kb)
- Early intervention particularly in early childhood (PDF 195kb)
- Sustainability and legacy (PDF 160kb)
- Service integration and coordination (PDF 411kb)
- Economic and social participation (PDF 410kb)
- Evidence-based policy and practice (PDF 233kb)
- Gilles Plains Community Garden (PDF 2.24MB)
- Mandurah Targeted Region (PDF 1.08MB)
- Hervey Bay Indigenous Community Leadership Project (PDF 308kb)
- Early Intervention and Early Childhood Initiatives (PDF 1.41MB)
- Stronger Families Fund initiative (PDF 819kb)
- Sustainability and legacy of projects (PDF 411kb)
- Lessons Learnt about Strengthening Indigenous Families and Communities: What’s working and what’s not? (released as a FaHCSIA Occasional Paper) (PDF 716kb)
- Potential Leaders in Local Communities initiative (PDF 386kb)
- Qualitative cost-benefit analysis (PDF 773kb)
- Evaluation newsletter Number 1 (PDF 185kb)
- Evaluation newsletter Number 2 (PDF 828kb) & Supplement (PDF 551kb)
- Evaluation newsletter Number 3 (PDF 776kb)
The evaluation addressed the following questions:
- How did the Strategy contribute to family and community strength in the short-term, medium-term, and longer-term?
- What unintended outcomes (positive and negative) did the Strategy produce?
- What were the particular features of the Strategy that made a difference? How did the principles underpinning the Strategy make a difference?
- What helped or hindered the initiatives to achieve their objectives? What explains why some initiatives worked? In particular, did the interaction between different initiatives contribute to achieving better outcomes?
- How did the Strategy work in conjunction with other initiatives, programs or services to achieve outcomes?
- What else helped or hindered the Strategy to achieve its objectives and outcomes? What works best for whom, why and when?
- In broad qualitative terms, what were the costs and benefits of the Strategy relative to similar national and international interventions?
- What were the lessons learned?
Funding Source: Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, MacKillop Family Services, Buckland Foundation
Over the twentieth century, over half a million children were institutionalised across Australia, 100,000 of them in Victoria. This report, Beyond the Home Gates: Life after Growing Up in Catholic Institutions, was developed in the wake of the third of three Australian inquiries concerned with the institutionalisation of children, the Senate Community Affairs References Committee’s inquiry into children in institutional care, published as the report, ‘Forgotten Australians: A Report on Australians who Experienced Institutional or Out-of-Home Care as Children’. ‘Forgotten Australians’ identified oral history research with former residents as an area of critical need.
The research involved oral history interviews undertaken with 40 people aged in their 40s to 70s who left Catholic children’s institutions in Victoria between 1945 and 1983. Among this group there is considerable diversity in the reasons for them coming into care, how care was experienced and what has happened since. Their life stories show how they have integrated their childhood experiences of growing up in institutions and the diverse ways their lives have subsequently unfolded. The findings of the research are presented in six areas: the impact of growing up in institutions; families of origin; relationships and parenting; education, skills and employment; health and wellbeing; and service provision. In presenting this material, we have focused on the research participants’ own interpretations of these issues.
The research was guided by a reference group chaired by MacKillop Family Services, with membership including representation from people who grew up in institutional care and the support and advocacy groups VANISH and Broken Rites.
Funding Source: Office of Women's Policy, Victorian Government
Key RMIT Researchers: Suellen Murray
This study analysed 850 rapes reported to Victoria Police for three years, from 2000 to 2003, using the Victoria Police Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) database. It examined rape investigations and the factors that appeared to influence the outcomes, especially where the complaint was withdrawn or the investigation did not proceed. The study was undertaken to address some of the gaps in knowledge identified by the Victorian Law Reform Commission in its Final Report on Sexual Offences Law and Procedures, released in June 2004. The findings provide Victoria Police a strong evidence base in relation to the case characteristics and case outcomes which will be considered in improvements it is making to its response to victims of sexual assault.