ANROWS spoke with Associate Professor Jan Breckenridge about the "Safe at Home" project, which produced a meta-evaluation of the programs set up by state and territory governments around Australia to mitigate homelessness and safety issues arising from domestic violence. Our discussion focused on the report outcomes for practitioners and policy developers, such as the similarities and differences across Safe at Home programs, how they are conceived and measured by different jurisdictions, and the gaps in delivery.
Professor Breckenridge discussed the need to draw on the working insights of practitioners in shaping policy changes, especially in the often narrow understandings of domestic violence, which focus largely on physical harm. For example, economic security is not uniformly factored into support mechanisms available to women. The justice system is often structured in a way that forces women to leave their family home; while women's refuge shelters are an important, and under-funded resource, women need other choices.
Professor Breckenridge talked about how diversity should be factored into policy and practice. This fits into ANROWS's commitment to intersectionality, a framework that helps services think through the cultural and social needs of women from Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.