Whittlesea CALD Communities Family Violence Research Report 2012 - Page 10

Evaluator’s Report Dr. Deborah Western Monash University Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability Unit Project evaluation began in late 2013 and will be a continuing component of the project. More specifically, the evaluation will appraise and review the project model. As each element is funded, developed and implemented, the activities and processes in that element will be evaluated. Then, the overall model will also be evaluated to see how successful it was as an integrated approach for family violence reduction and prevention in CALD communities in Whittlesea. The evaluation activities will provide information and ideas that can contribute to knowledge and practice in preventing family violence in CALD communities. We will also look at how the elements of this model might be able to be adopted/adapted by other organisations in their prevention of violence against women work. Evaluation activities included focus groups, interviews and an electronic survey, as well as consideration of evaluation gathered internally from project facilitators. In 2013-2014 two elements of the model were evaluated. These elements were: 1. The coordination/integration component which is primarily the responsibility of the Steering Group. 2. The empowerment of CALD women through Women’s Support Groups. The coordination and integration activities of the Steering Group are being successfully achieved. Many original priorities have been met, such as the appointment of a project worker, completion of the first round of Women’s Support Groups, contact with religious leaders, and consolidation of the roles and responsibilities of Steering Group members. The Steering Group members represent a wide range of organisations and communities, and strong partnerships have been made with a focus on action and achieving tasks, rather than solely networking. This was unanimously seen as a key feature of the Steering Group and driver behind the project’s successes in 2014. Foundational work around all the elements of the project, including those that are yet to be funded or fully implemented has been undertaken. The thoroughness of this work has contributed to the legitimacy with which the community and organisations view the project, as well as ensured momentum continues across all project elements. Future challenges for the Steering Group will be maintaining strong and consistent attendance by members over time, ensuring new and continued funding can be secured so that all elements of the project can be implemented, and coordinating and managing the project as new elements are funded and the workload grows. A key priority identified was ensuring funding was secured for the Project Worker position, which was unanimously seen as central to the success of project implementation. Initiatives and planning are currently underway to tackle these challenges. The first round of Women’s Support Groups were successfully facilitated and acquitted. Feedback from participants included appreciation of the connections and friendships made, increases in their confidence and independence, and the opportunities to share their experiences whether these were about family violence, living in Whittlesea, or ideas for cooking and recipes. A range of activities were available for women, depending on the group they attended, and this contributed to women learning about community resources and supports available to them, about family violence, human rights and self-care, and learning about different cultures. Women became more confident in seeking referrals to other organisations such as the legal centre and reported feeling increased confidence in supporting friends or family experiencing violence. In order for women to feel confident in attending groups, the groups need to be held in safe and easy to access locations, and the atmosphere within the group needs to be safe and accepting of differences amongst different women. Evaluation demonstrated that women felt the groups achieved this and were a strong setting for participating in community legal education about family violence. Evaluations will start again in early 2015, expanding to include the Women’s Advisory Group and Arabic-speaking Men’s Family Violence Group, as well as shared learnings between this project and the Our Watch-funded prevention project. 9