Safe Steps – Family Violence Accommodation Register

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  • 2018

  • Digital Design
    Apps and Software

Designed By:

  • Conduct

Commissioned By:

Safe Steps

Department of Health and Human Services

Designed In:

Australia

The Family Violence Accommodation Register was developed for safe steps Family Violence Response Centre, an organisation that works to eliminate violence against women and their children. Conduct developed a tool to better match women and children experiencing, or at risk of, family violence with appropriate places of safety.


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  • The design challenge for Conduct was to reimagine the Refuge Resource Register to better match women and children experiencing, or at risk of family violence, with appropriate places of safety. The existing process was time intensive to maintain and required significant manual intervention, requiring critical resourcing that was needed elsewhere. Daily calls to around 30 refuges were required to check and update refuge vacancies with high levels of information double handling. The use of email and fax to exchange confidential client information with refuges fell short of Government security standards of maintaining highly sensitive information.

  • Conduct used a human-centred design approach to develop a solution to the needs of safe steps. The project began with a research and discovery period, interviewing and shadowing staff to pinpoint actual needs. The next process step analysed the situation from the refuge’s perspective with a number of state-wide collaborative design workshops. During the discovery and iterative design stage, Conduct moved from sketches to a high-fidelity prototype. At each stage, the designs were tested and refined with input from users and stakeholders. This meant the project delivered core user needs with minimal scope change, resulting in high user adoption.

  • Women impacted by, and fleeing family violence are vulnerable and anxious to seek safety and secure housing for themselves and their children. The creation of a highly secure platform that streamlines and expedites the referral process assists in relieving anxiety during this time of crisis. The new Family Violence Accommodation Register is more personalised as to what is an ‘appropriate’ refuge, and its parameters are customisable based on individual safety requirements for the woman. The system now allows instant access to real time data about refuge availability across Victoria at any moment, helping to speed up the response time.

  • The new Family Violence Accommodation Register means that women are better informed as they seek urgent rehousing, empowering them to move forward with their lives. It was of the highest importance for this project that Conduct ensure adequate security controls were in place appropriate to the required security classification. To do so, Conduct enacted a System Risk Management Plan to assess the risk and effectiveness of these controls to mitigate the threat level. In accordance with the DHHS Information Security Classification Policy, the data transmitted and stored within safe steps needed to be classified as ‘Protected’. The new Family Violence Accommodation Register made the referral process more secure for sending documents, allowing for increased confidentiality for the women using the service. Further, it increased the duty of care and accountability for both refuges and safe steps case workers. Early feedback has been very positive and adoption has been successful across the board. A Case Manager told us “the register has been going really well and it has saved me SO much time in the referral process”. Conduct will continuously monitor usage, efficiency gains, and feedback reports.