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Evaluation of an Embedded Specialist Domestic Violence Worker: A Partnership Between Queensland Police Service and Domestic Violence Action Centre

posted on 2023-05-25, 05:30 authored by Jess RodgersJess Rodgers, Carrington, K, Vanessa RyanVanessa Ryan, Carr, R

Responding to domestic and family violence (DFV) requires multi-agency integrated response and police acknowledge it is not something they can address alone (Mundy and Seuffert 2021; Reuland et al. 2006), yet it is task taking a considerable portion of police time. National and international evidence shows integrating specialist DFV workers into police stations to support victims and provide connection to services while working alongside police can improve the quality of police response, and potentially save lives.

The purpose of this collaborative project between Domestic Violence Action Centre (DVAC), Queensland Police Service (QPS) and Centre for Justice, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) was to conduct an evaluation of an innovative pilot to improve the policing of DFV, through the co-location of a Domestic Violence Specialist (DVS) worker at Queensland Police station, Toowoomba. This report will assess how this co-location model between DVAC and the QPS host station meets DVAC co-location objectives, and recommendations 76 and 78 from the Not Now, Not Ever report (Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland 2015: 226, 233). The Women's Safety and Justice Taskforce (2021: 585) recommendations also noted the importance of evaluating new responses to DFV, such as these.

Overview of co-location position at Toowoomba Police Station

The DVAC QPS co-location project was initially a short-term pilot beginning 18 January 2021 with a planned end date of 30 September 2021, now extended until the end of June 2022. From January to September 2021, the DVS worker was located at the station two days a week, now four days a week. The worker supports clients seeking police assistance with DFV matters, providing them with information about processes and options, support referral and connection, safety planning and upgrades, and emotional support including when making police statements. She also supports with police with DFV clients across the above listed aspects. Police had a choice whether to approach the worker for assistance with a DFV case; engagement was not a management directive.

The co-location at the station has been fully funded by DVAC, specifically from non-ongoing COVID-19 Enhancement Funds from the then Department of Child Safety Youth and Women, now Department of Justice and Attorney General (DJAG). These COVID-19 Enhancement Funds were from the Federal government, but distributed through the State government.

The role also involves participation in a pre-existing High Risk Panel that meets monthly and has participants from police and corrections. Prior to the placement of the embedded worker, the panel had another DVAC worker as DVAC's representative. Services nominate individuals (the persons using violence) who meet high risk eligibility criteria and information is shared between the three services under DFV Information Sharing Guidelines (Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services 2017). The Panel then conducts safety planning for the partner or ex-partner. This Panel is different to DJAG-funded High Risk Teams throughout Queensland.


Commissioning body

Queensland University of Technology Centre for Justice




School of Social Sciences


Queensland University of Technology Centre for Justice

Place of publication

Brisbane, Queensland

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Violence and abuse services; Law enforcement; Law reform