Models of Engagement

There are a range of ways in which survivors of family violence can be engaged to influence policy development, service planning and practice. A number of options for engaging survivor advocates are listed below. By clicking on each box, examples are given about how each activity could be carried out in a way that aligns with the Experts by Experience best practice principles. This list of activities is designed to be illustrative but not exhaustive. It is important to consider that each of the activities listed below provide survivor advocates with a varied degree of agency and influence and require a different level of resourcing.

Please click on each box for more information.

Informal Client Feedback

Informal feedback about the service

Family violence organisations regularly ask clients for feedback about how they feel their needs are being met and suggestions for how the service offering could be improved. Sometimes this will be done face to face or via anonymous suggestion box.

Degree of survivor advocate agency and influence

Low

Some examples of how to ensure engagement activities align with the best practice principles

Clients will receive feedback about how their suggestions influenced practice. (Transparency)

General Advocacy

General Advocacy

Survivor advocates are supported to safely and effectively share their personal stories with a range of community audiences to raise awareness and to advocate for the service they are engaged with, or for improved responses to family violence.

Degree of survivor advocate agency and influence

Low

Some examples of how to ensure engagement activities align with the best practice principles

Survivor advocates will be remunerated and will be provided with clarity about the time commitments required, costs that will be covered and scope of their involvement. (Value + Transparency)

Survivor advocates will be provided with the emotional support and opportunities for skill development they need to prepare for their advocacy role. (Support)

Considerations relating to the legal, physical, emotional and cultural safety of victim survivors are carefully considered and survivor-led, with guidance available via the self-reflection questions. (Safety)

A diverse range of voices are sought to participate as advocates to ensure an intersectional perspective on lived experience is gained. (Inclusion)

Supporting preparation of Submission

Support survivor advocates prepare a submission to an inquiry

At times an organisation may be preparing a submission to a government inquiry or review and will seek survivor stories, experiences and input to develop that submission.

Degree of survivor advocate agency and influence

High

Some examples of how to ensure engagement activities align with the best practice principles

Victim survivors are provided with remuneration for their time and the legal, emotional and cultural support they need to participate. (Support + Value)

A diverse range of survivor voices are sought and engaged. (Inclusion)

The necessary resources are provided to assist the survivor advocates prepare the submission while ensuring the shape and focus of the submission is heavily informed by the survivors’ voices. (Recognise + Trust)

Employed Research, Project or Policy Work

Involve survivor advocates in project/policy work

Survivor advocates are invited to become involved in policy and project work to support organisational policy and service development or to support specific projects.

Degree of survivor advocate agency and influence

Medium

Some examples of how to ensure engagement activities align with the best practice principles

Organisational and strategic planning documents will acknowledge the valuable knowledge and expertise that survivor advocates have with an emphasis on the benefits of their engagement in terms of mutual information exchange and learning. (Recognise + Reciprocity)

Survivor advocates will be provided with clarity around their role in project or policy work. They will also be provided with the emotional support and opportunities to develop the key skills needed to perform their role. (Transparency + Support + Reciprocity)

Careful consideration is given to how to reduce power imbalances between survivor advocates and other employees they will interact with. (Trust)

Formal Client Feedback

Formal feedback about the service

All clients who have accessed a service will be asked for their feedback on the service they have attended. This may be via an online survey or phone interview.

Degree of survivor advocate agency and influence

Low

Some examples of how to ensure engagement activities align with the best practice principles

Victim survivors will be involved in designing feedback questions and surveys and will receive feedback about the issues raised and how this feedback has influenced practice (Transparency)

Media Advocates

Media advocates

Survivor advocates are supported to safely and effectively share their personal stories and raise awareness of family violence with a range of media audiences.

Degree of survivor advocate agency and influence

Medium

Some examples of how to ensure engagement activities align with the best practice principles

Survivors who express interest in becoming media advocates will be provided with clarity about how they will be remunerated, tenure, time commitments and scope of their involvement. (Transparency + Value)

Survivor advocates will be provided with the emotional support and opportunities for skill development they need to prepare for and become media advocates. (Support + Reciprocity)

Considerations relating to the legal, physical, emotional and cultural safety of victim survivors are carefully considered and survivor-led, with guidance available via the self-reflection questions (Safety)

A diverse range of voices is sought to participate as media advocates to ensure an intersectional lens voice of lived experience is gained. (Inclusion)

Processes that involve the engagement of survivor advocates will be regularly reviewed and evaluated (Accountability).

Representation on Advisory or Working Groups

Include survivor advocates in advisory or working groups

Survivor advocates are invited to become involved in advisory and working groups established to support organisational policy and service development or to support specific projects.

Degree of survivor advocate agency and influence

Medium

Some examples of how to ensure engagement activities align with the best practice principles

Victim survivors who are invited to participate in advisory groups will be provided with clarity about how they will be remunerated, tenure, time commitments and scope of their involvement. (Transparency + Value)

Victim survivors will be provided with the emotional support and opportunities for skill development they need to prepare for and participate in these groups. (Support + Reciprocity)

A diverse range of voices are sought to participate on advisory and working groups to ensure an intersectional lens on lived experience can be obtained. (Inclusion)

Survivor advocates who are engaged in advisory and working groups will have genuine influence and opportunities to influence decision making. They will also be involved in regular reviews and evaluations of their experience being engaged in the advisory or working group (Trust + Accountability)

Involvement in strategic planning

Involve Survivor Advocate in organisational strategic planning

Family violence services formally engage victim survivors to contribute to and shape organisational policies, procedures and practice.

Degree of survivor advocate agency and influence

High

Some examples of how to ensure engagement activities align with the best practice principles

Organisational and strategic planning documents will acknowledge the valuable knowledge and expertise that victim survivors have, with an emphasis on the benefits of their engagement in strategic planning in terms of mutual information exchange and learning. (Recognise + Reciprocity)

Victim survivors will be provided with the emotional support and opportunities they need to prepare for and perform their role and understand their legal responsibilities. (Support + Reciprocity)

Victim survivors who are engaged in strategic planning processes will have genuine influence and opportunities to influence decision making. (Trust)

Employed Peer Support Workers

Employ survivor advocates as peer workers

Survivor advocates are paid and employed by family violence services to provide support to other victims of family violence navigating the service system as part of their own recovery and healing.

Degree of survivor advocate agency and influence

High

Some examples of how to ensure engagement activities align with the best practice principles

Organisational and strategic planning documents will acknowledge the valuable knowledge and expertise that survivor advocates have, with an emphasis on the benefits of their engagement in terms of mutual information exchange and learning. (Recognise + Reciprocity)

Survivor advocates will be provided with clear position descriptions and understanding of their role and its limitations, and the support to develop the key skills to perform their role. (Transparency + Reciprocity)

A diverse range of voices is sought to ensure an intersect ional lens on lived experience can be obtained. (Inclusion)

Careful consideration is given to how to reduce power imbalances between survivor advocates and other employees. (Trust)

Positions on Boards & Governance Groups

Allocated victim survivor positions on governance groups and boards

Positions on the boards of family violence services and peak bodies are designated for 2 or more victim survivors who are paid and who contribute to organisational strategic planning.

Degree of survivor advocate agency and influence

High

Some examples of how to ensure engagement activities align with the best practice principles

Organisational and strategic planning documents will acknowledge the valuable knowledge and expertise that victim survivors have. There should be an emphasis on mutual information exchange and learning. (Recognise + Reciprocity)

Reservation of positions for victim survivors on governance groups and boards are established in organisational policies and procedures so that the initiative is sustained regardless of leadership changes. (Sustainability)

Victim survivors who express interest in joining governance groups or boards will be provided with clarity about how they will be remunerated, tenure, time commitments and scope of their involvement. (Transparency + Value)

Victim survivors will be provided with the emotional support and opportunities for skill development they need to prepare for and participate in governance structures and understand their legal responsibilities. (Support + Reciprocity)

A diverse range of voices is sought to participate on boards and other governance groups to ensure an intersectional lens on lived experience can be obtained. (Inclusion)

Careful consideration is given to how to reduce power imbalances between victim survivors and other members of the group (such as ensuring there is more than one survivor representative). (Trust)

Survivor advocates will also be involved in regular reviews and evaluations of their experience being a member of the board or other governance group. (Accountability).