The Experts by Experience Framework is based on the belief that responses to family violence will be most effective and safe if they are informed and developed in partnership with victim survivors. The following principles have been developed to guide collaborative processes for engaging survivor advocates by specialist family violence services. They have been developed based on consultation with victim survivors and key organisations as part of the development of the Framework and are consistent with the Domestic Violence Code of Conduct (2020).
Victim survivors are acknowledged as holding valuable knowledge and expertise about family violence which is reflected in organisational policies and governance structures.
Issues relating to legal, physical, emotional and cultural safety of survivor advocates are carefully considered but not used as a mechanism for exclusion.
In addition to being provided with recognition for their expertise, survivor advocates will be financially remunerated for their time, contributions and expenses when they provide significant input into policy and practice.
There is clarity of purpose and information to support survivor advocates make participation decisions, including the degree of influence, nature of engagement and time commitments. Feedback will be given to survivor advocates about how their contribution influenced change.
Engagement with survivor advocates is subject to regular review, evaluation and accompanied by clear complaints and feedback mechanisms.
Options for trauma-informed support and appropriate supervision are made available to enable survivor advocates to participate in collaboration.
Relationships between services and survivor advocates will be collaborative and built on trust. Power imbalances are addressed by reducing traditional barriers and by genuinely involving survivor advocates in decision-making.
Engagement with survivor advocates will promote mutuality and will be governed by shared information exchange and learning.
In order to gain insight into family violence from a broad range of perspectives, efforts will be made to look for and engage diverse victim survivor voices that might not usually be heard.
Formal engagement with survivor advocates is adequately resourced to allow longer term work, for partnerships to be built and key learnings to be shared across the family violence sector.