Policing violence against women and children: a multi-layered approach to organisational change and improving police response

Stream: Working For Accountability in Cross-Agency Responses
Date: Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Time: 1.00 pm – 2.45 pm


The Victoria Police Code of Practice for the Investigation of Violence against Women and Children was introduced as part of a statewide reform of the family violence system. Six years after introduction we reviewed the range and depth of police member understanding and application of the Code as a tool central to policing. To undertake this review a theory of institutional ethnography was applied across a range of mixed research methods including interviews with 115 front line police members, station supervisors, regional family violence specialist advisors (FVA); observational attendance at FVA monthly meetings and police academy training; focus groups with academy trainers and analysis of 6 years of family violence incident reports. The results identify that sustained, top-down directive of change, supported by strong practice guidelines and training for consistent implementation affected all levels of policing. Combined, they have had a major effect upon the depth of understanding and consistency of police response to violence against women and children.


Kristin Diemer (Presenter), University of Melbourne
Dr Kristin Diemer is a sociologist with specialist interest in family violence and sexual assault data. Researching with both large and small datasets using mixed-method approaches, she works with local initiatives as well as state and national partnerships. She has authored three editions of the Victorian Family Violence database, worked on two Victorian Law Reform Commissions and two waves of the National Community Attitudes Survey on Violence against Women. She has also been part of the SAFER program of research into the Victorian government reform of the family violence system.

Cathy Humphreys (Presenter), Univeristy of Melbourne
Cathy Humphreys is Professor of Social Work at University of Melbourne. For 5 years she held the Alfred Felton Chair of Child and Family Welfare, a professorship established in collaboration with the Alfred Felton Trust, the Department of Social Work at University of Melbourne and The Centre for Excellence for Child and Family Welfare in Victoria, the peak body for more than 95 child and family welfare agencies in Victoria. The Chair is now supported by the University of Melbourne-Sector Research Partnership, including14 Victorian community sector organisations which are driving research in the children, youth and families area.

Lucy Healey (Presenter), University of Melbourne
Lucy Healey undertakes research and evaluation on violence against women and children and has a particular research focus on violence against women with disabilities and the development of multi-agency partnerships. She is a member of the SAFER interdisciplinary team researching the Victorian Family Violence reforms. Lucy has undertaken academic and community-based research and evaluation projects, including volunteerism, reconciliation, poverty and social impact work in Australia and PNG, and doctoral and postdoctoral research about constructions of femininity and identity in Malaysia.