Safer Pathway evaluation released

ARTD’s evaluation of Safer Pathway found the program is delivering a consistent, effective and timely response to victims across NSW.

Safer Pathway is a key initiative under the NSW Domestic and Family Violence Blueprint for Reform 2016–2021, led by Women NSW and delivered by the Department of Justice. Rather than an individual service or program, Safer Pathway provides state-wide service system infrastructure designed to ensure all victims of domestic and family violence in NSW receive a timely, effective and consistent response, regardless of where they live. It offers victims a tailored, coordinated service based on their needs and the level of threat to their safety.

Women NSW engaged ARTD to conduct an independent evaluation of Safer Pathway over 2017-18.

What did we find?

Using a realist-informed, mixed-method approach, we found that the initiative has been implemented largely as intended and is generally meeting its intended objectives. As a result of Safer Pathway:

  • victim’s safety is being routinely assessed by NSW Police and victims at serious threat are being prioritised throughout the Safer Pathway service response
  • a single, streamlined referral pathway has replaced the previous service fragmentation and duplication, helping victims to access the support they need and facilitating information sharing between service providers to prevent threats to a person’s life, health or safety
  • there is now a standard level of service for victims across NSW, with victims at high risk now receiving a more consistent, coordinated response across NSW and across service providers.

We also identified 23 recommendations to improve the service model and delivery. These related to:

  • expanding referral pathways from other agencies and services
  • continuing to provide and strengthen state-wide training
  • revising the current Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool to enhance its predictive ability
  • investigating strategies to engage hard-to-reach groups and address service gaps
  • developing and implementing more systematic data collection for monitoring and evaluation.

Download the full report here: https://www.women.nsw.gov.au/download?file=650328

What’s next?

Women NSW and partner agencies are using the evidence and recommendations in the report to strengthen the service response to victims of DFV in NSW, documented in their response to the report.

Hayley Foster, NSW Director of the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services (a key Safer Pathway service provider) is calling on all political parties to “pay attention to these important evaluation findings and what they tell us about what is working and what is needed.”

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