This research was included in the ANROWS Register of Active Research (RAR). The research has concluded and the output has been added to the ANROWS library. Please visit https://www.anrows.org.au/register-of-active-research/ for more information on the RAR.
Safe Woman Safe Family WA
Amanda Bowen (University of Western Australia)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Children and young people
Culturally and linguistically diverse communities
People with mental health and/or drug and alcohol issues
Rural and remote communities
Women who have been incarcerated
People with disability
This project was undertaken as an evaluative study of a group of 49 women who had all experienced family and domestic violence, including sexual abuse, throughout their lives (including childhood). These women entered Safe Woman Safe Family WA's 15-week recovery and empowerment program in Pinjarra, Western Australia, with the hope of overcoming the long-term impacts that they recognised had kept them struggling to break free from the cycle of intergenerational transmission of violence and the associated cycles of welfare dependence, mental health issues, alcohol and other drug use, and their high risk of revictimisation.
This project aimed to provide an insight into the complexity of the issues this group of women were experiencing as well as the cycles they were caught in. The before and after interviews highlighted how the recovery and empowerment program created positive and sustained changes that enhanced the lives of the women and their children.
A combination of qualitative and quantitative evaluation measures were used to firstly determine whether the program's objectives had been achieved for the women who graduated from the 15-week program, and secondly to assess whether these changes had been maintained in the long term. This mixed method of evaluation included the use of pre-, post- and follow-up self-evaluative data to assess quantitative changes in participants' self-perception relating to program outcome objectives, as well as qualitative data collected though facilitator observation, analysis of pre-existing evaluation surveys and data collected during interviews.
The recovery and empowerment program offered at Safe Woman Safe Family WA recognises the ongoing and intergenerational effects of trauma and acknowledges that physical safety is not sufficient to ensuring women’s and children’s long-term health and wellbeing. To restore or create that wellbeing, the program is built on a philosophy of empowerment which acknowledges the importance of social and emotional wellbeing as key components in achieving optimal outcomes for survivors. The program's ability to create positive and sustained changes for women struggling to break free from the cycles, hardships and trauma inflicted by gender-based abuse is unique thanks to its holistic approach, which combines the psycho-educational aspects essential for preventing further victimisation along with evidence-based trauma recovery. The distinctiveness of the program itself thus makes this evaluative report one of a kind in the area of examining family and domestic violence programs within a social and emotional wellbeing promotion conceptual framework.
Alcoa of Australia Pinjarra Alumina Refinery Community Partnership Program and University of Western Australia Social Work Masters Program
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