'Safe at Home' responses to domestic and family violence: what we know about an evolving policy and practice field

Stream: Family violence
Date: Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Time: 1.35 pm – 3.15 pm


It is timely to look again at ‘Safe At Home’ (SAH) responses offered across different Australian jurisdictions, and whether they are effectively supporting women and children experiencing domestic and family violence to stay safely in their homes, if they choose to do so. SAH responses have been shown to be promising in previous research, including a 2015 national study conducted by Breckenridge and colleagues. However, this study also raised questions about the lack of national standards and definitions in SAH responses, and their effectiveness for different population groups.

This paper reports on subsequent research, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services, to ascertain the outcomes of additional SAH responses funded by the Women's Safety Package, announced in September 2015. It describes preliminary findings of three case studies of SAH responses, and the experiences of key population groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, older women, and women with disability. The case studies provide tentative evidence on the extent to which different SAH responses produce are effective for different groups in diverse locations and circumstances. These findings will be discussed in relation to the other activities of the research project, which is the development of an operational framework and practice principles to underpin best practice SAH approaches across Australia in the future.


Jan Breckenridge (Presenter), UNSW Sydney
Jan is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW and is the Co-Convener of the UNSW Gendered Violence Research Network. Jan has undertaken extensive work and research in the areas of trauma, domestic and sexual violence, gender issues and child abuse since 1986. Her research provides a focus for her commitment to developing evidence-informed practice in these areas.

kylie valentine (Presenter), Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
kylie works at the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW. She researches human services delivery and service systems

Kyllie Cripps (Presenter), UNSW Sydney
Kyllie is a Scientia Fellow and Associate Professor in the Law Faculty at UNSW. Kyllie as a Pallawa woman has worked extensively over the past tweny years in the areas of family violence, sexual assault and child abuse with Indigenous communities, defining areas of need and considering intervention options at multiple levels. She has led three major Australian Research Council grants in the areas of Indigenous family violence including one defining and contextualizing, Indigenous and non Indigenous, community and service sector, understandings and practices of partnerships in the family violence sector.