Evaluation of a specialist domestic violence worker embedded in a police station
Victims/survivors (hereafter, survivors) of DFV are reluctant to report to the police (AIHW, 2019). One reason is a fear of not being believed or taken seriously by police (Douglas, 2019). In Queensland, there is a growing realisation that policing responses to DFV are in urgent need of reform to address this reluctance (Douglas, 2019; Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland, 2015).
Police acknowledge that responding to DFV is not something they can do alone and recognise the importance of partnering with the DFV sector (QPS, 2021). Having a sole focus on criminal justice outcomes may sideline the autonomy and safety of women (Reuland et al., 2006; Seuffert & Mundy, 2020). Existing models of collaboration between police and other services include high-risk teams, where survivors with increased risk factors have come to the attention of services (Hamilton et al., 2021), and co-responder models, where workers attend DFV call-outs with or after the police (Reuland et al., 2006).
In 2021, the Queensland Police Service (QPS) established frontline co-location models in the Moreton, Gold Coast, Mt Isa, Toowoomba and Townsville Districts (QPS, 2021). In this context, the Domestic Violence Action Centre (DVAC), QPS and QUT Centre for Justice collaborated to evaluate the co-location of a domestic violence specialist worker at Toowoomba Police Station. Our evaluation assessed how the co-location met the aims and objectives to improve police referrals and knowledge of supports, improve client experience and provide real-time advice to police in responding to DFV (see Table 1). We also assessed the integrated high-risk response and improved information sharing impact of the worker, responses recommended by the Not Now, Not Ever report (Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland, 2015, no. 76, 78). This Briefing Paper provides an overview of our findings.
Publication titleCenter for Justice Briefing Paper
Department/SchoolSchool of Social Sciences
PublisherQueensland University of Technology Centre for Justice Research Report Series
Place of publicationBrisbane, Queensland
Rights statementCopyright 2022 Queensland University of Technology Centre for Justice