On 29 November 2017, ANROWS research team members Dr Celina McEwen and Corina Backhouse led a workshop, Evaluating for Action and Sustainability, as part of the Domestic and Family Violence Conference “The Big Picture”, held in Canley Vale, South-West Sydney. The aim of the conference was to provide a source of inspiration for community workers to implement innovative strategies by enhancing their skills and knowledge in domestic violence practice.
Organised by a fantastic voluntary committee, the conference was sold out and attended by around 200 people, including specialist domestic violence practitioners, generalist service providers, local government agencies and non-government organisations. The keynote speakers, CEO of Domestic Violence NSW Moo Baulch, and Danny Mikati, a White Ribbon Ambassador who has held a range of leadership positions with NSW Police, engaged participants with their wealth of domestic violence services expertise and shared stories of working with victims and survivors, inspiring participants to remain focused on the safety of women and their children in their work.
The workshop facilitated by Celina and Corina focused on highlighting ways of using and understanding evaluation to reflect, learn and change at project, organisational and sector or policy levels, as well as providing practical ways to make use of the everyday reflective practices many practitioners already engage with when conducting evaluation. Workshop participants were invited to trial action research tools developed as part of the ANROWS Action Research Support (ARS) project. The ARS project aims to provide support to the Building Safe Communities for Women and their Children (BSCW) projects funded by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services to undertake action research. As an evaluation approach, action research emphasises active engagement, collaboration and partnerships with participants, practitioners, community members and other stakeholders in the design and implementation of evaluation projects, programs or services. Lauren Gercuk from CORE Community Services leads on the BSCW projects, and was part of the organising committee for The Bigger Picture.
The tools workshopped included the Action Research Primer and the Project Story Template. The Action Research Primer was designed to help BSCW project members develop their evaluation scope and question. The Action Research Project Story Template was developed for BSCW projects to assist them document, analyse, report and share their insights about process, outcomes and learnings.
These action research tools will be presented again at the Evidence to Action and Action as Evidence workshop to be held in Sydney, 23 February 2018. This workshop will showcase BSCW projects and their prevention practices in the field of violence against women and their children.