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Building Safe and Respectful Cultures

Download the project outline in Plain English (pdf, 456kb)

Preventing Abuse Before it Starts: Building Safe and Respectful Cultures is a pilot research project looking at culture across all levels of a disability service provider. It is inclusive of people with disability, family members, support staff and senior leaders.

The principal objective of this research is to pilot a series of interventions designed to address the cultural issues necessary to prevent abuse. Three disability service providers, delivering a range of disability services in both metropolitan and rural locations, have agreed to participate in the research project.

Who is leading the research project?

There are three key academics leading this project:

  1. Professor Peter Oakes (University of Hull and Staffordshire University)
  2. Associate Professor Sally Robinson (Southern Cross University – Centre for Children and Young People)
  3. Melissa Murphy (University of Melbourne)

We also have three paid community researchers who are also involved in conducting interviews and collecting data for the project.

Click here to see all researcher profiles

We have a number of people on our Project Advisory Group, including people with disability and representatives from the Transport Accident Commission, VALID, National Disability Services, the Office of the Public Advocate and the Department of Health and Human Services.

What activities are involved with this research project?

Baseline Measures and Initial Workshops

September – December 2018

  • Interviews with people with disability, family members and staff across the three services.
  • Interactions between staff and people receiving services will be measured by the Quest Observation Profile.
  • Staff, managers, family members, and people who receive services will be invited to attend a workshop introducing the Indicators of Concern.
  • Staff with supervision responsibilities will discuss and be trained in effective supervision.
  • Staff, managers, family members and people who receive services will be invited to a series of music workshops designed to promote positive and equal communication and a sense of shared community.
  • Service Managers will join an Action Learning Set designed to meet the leadership challenges involved in keeping people safe and promoting positive cultures in their respective organisations.

Follow up Measures

December 2018

  • Interviews with people with disability, family members and staff across the three sites (repeat measure)
  • Interactions between staff and people receiving services will be measured by the Quest Observation Profile (repeat measure)
  • Incident recording – documentation of the number of complaints, feedback or conversations had about issues of concern.
  • The quality of supervision will be measured using the Supervisory Alliance Questionnaire.
  • Organisational culture will be measured using Asset: a published measure of Occupational Stress that accessing elements of organisational culture.
  • Qualitative elements in the form of interview material will be analysed using iterative categorisation and themes discussed with entire research team.

What can we expect after the pilot research project is completed?

Part of the learning from the pilot will be the appropriateness of the measures and the possible gaps in measurement. All quantitative measures will be published and validated.

Knowledge translation and exchange (KTE)

Research findings can help to prevent and reduce violence against people with disability. To promote and support the use of evidence, we want to ensure we are bridging the research to policy and practice gap.We will deliver the following outcomes.

  • Accessible report – Plain English
  • Community of practice guide with details of all parts of the intervention
  • Research practice guide for researchers, community researchers and organisations looking to commission applied research
  • Findings will be presented at the Having a Say Conference in February 2019

We will explore other avenues for dissemination and this will be guided by the Project Advisory Group. If you would like to have us speak about the project at a conference, support group, or service, please contact us.

Download the project outline in Plain English (pdf, 456kb)

Why did we choose to do this project?

In doing an environmental scan of what projects were already underway that look at prevention and reporting of violence, abuse and neglect, we realised that there are already a number of excellent projects that are being funded by the Victorian Government through their Disability Abuse Prevention Strategy. Given our own time and resource restraints, we decided not to replicate any existing initiatives and focus on three key areas:

1. Influence

Drawing on our expertise and data, we will seek to contribute to and influence the development of projects being undertaken by other organisations within the sector that are aimed at supporting people with disabilities to live a life free of violence, abuse and neglect.

2. Resources

We will develop and share resources for people with disability, service providers, families, carers and volunteers to enhance people’s capacity to prevent and respond to violence, abuse and neglect.

3. Training

We will build the capacity of the sector to prevent and effectively respond to violence, abuse and neglect by developing and delivering relevant training and content.

In influencing, we are on advisory panels for a number of projects and initiatives run by other organisations. This results of this pilot research project, Building Safe and Respectful Cultures, will become the starting point of Resources and Training.

Level 20, 570 Bourke Street,

Melbourne, Victoria, 3000 Australia

Call for enquiries or complaints - 1800 677 342

Email for enquiries or complaints - complaints@odsc.vic.gov.au