National mapping and meta-evaluation outlining key features of effective “safe at home” programs that enhance safety and prevent homelessness for women and their children who have experienced domestic and family violence: Final report
This research project provided a national mapping and meta-evaluation of the key features of “safe at home” programs. “Safe at home” programs enhance safety and prevent homelessness for women and their children who have experienced domestic and family violence.
The first stage, a state of knowledge paper, provided a comprehensive review of the literature and a national mapping of current “safe at home” programs by jurisdiction, including details of legislation underpinning “safe at home” programs in each jurisdiction. The second stage, the final research report, was a meta-evaluation of select evidence about Australian “safe at home” programs and practices.
The meta-evaluation examined 20 evaluations of “safe at home” programs across Australia to identify the key features of effective programs and to provide recommendations for policy-makers, practitioners and researchers.
The report found that “safe at home” programs had four common underlying themes, but each focused primarily on maximising women’s safety, using protection orders and ouster/exclusion provisions to reduce the risk of a perpetrator returning, or preventing homelessness, using case-management to assess risk, manage safety planning and consider women’s needs over time. Overall, one or more of the themes were identified across the “safe at home” evaluations, but the emphasis varied by program and at different points during the response provided.
As emphasised in all of the Australian evaluations included in this meta-evaluation, “safe at home” is not intended to be the only response for women leaving a violent relationship. While not replacing the need for refuges or specialist homelessness services, “safe at home” programs are an important complementary offering which allows more women to leave a violent relationship. “Safe at home” options are also intended to be a socially just response for some women in certain circumstances to have the important choice to not uproot their lives and those of their children by fleeing their family home.
This work is part of the ANROWS Horizons series. ANROWS Horizons (Research reports) are in-depth reports on empirical research produced under ANROWS’s research program.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR JAN BRECKENRIDGE
School of Social Sciences and Co-convenor, Gendered Violence Research Network, University of New South Wales.
PROFESSOR DONNA CHUNG
Head of Social Work, School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University.
DR ANGELA SPINNEY
Research Fellow/Lecturer, Swinburne Institute of Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology.
DR CAROLE ZUFFEREY
Lecturer in Social Work, School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy, University of South Australia.
ISBN: 978-1-925372-37-3 (print) 978-1-925372-38-0 (online)
Breckenridge, J., Chung, D., Spinney, A., & Zufferey, C. (2016). National mapping and meta-evaluation outlining key features of effective “safe at home” programs that enhance safety and prevent homelessness for women and their children who have experienced domestic and family violence: Final report. Sydney: ANROWS.