As a service the DVCS has pioneered innovative, creative and ethical practices for working with people whose lives are affected by domestic violence and the multifaceted problems they face. From its inception as a primarily feminist-informed service a commitment to critical reflective practices has resulted in changes towards more ‘narratively informed’ practices.
The primary emphasis of these practices has been to promote the safety of those people subjected to domestic violence, and to locate the responsibility for violence and abuse with those people who use it. These practices have both informed, and been supported by, an evolving and grounded service philosophy. This philosophy - which is increasingly informed by the principles of collaboration, inclusiveness, respect for difference and accountability - promotes a context that is conducive to the further development of creative, rigorous and ethical practices. This integration of practice and philosophy, which is driven by the staff, continues to produce services for the community that have integrity and substance.
The functioning of the Management Committee is congruent with this service philosophy, and the "Management Committee Governance Policy" reflects this appropriately. The spirit of governance reflected in this policy is one of the Management Committee assuming a responsibility for supporting, and contributing to, the ongoing development of practices and philosophy by the service, in accordance with its mission statement. This responsibility is augmented by a duty to ensure that the operation of the service is accountable to its constitutional requirements.
A world free from violence and abuse.
The objects of the Domestic Violence Crisis Service are to address violence and abuse in personal relationships and to promote respect and fairness in personal relationships.
The Domestic Violence Crisis Service recognises that the majority of people subjected to violence and abuse in personal relationships are women and children, and that children are particularly vulnerable.
The Domestic Violence Crisis Service operates within a framework that emphasizes human rights and social justice and gives priority to personal safety.
The Domestic Violence Crisis Service:
(a) provides crisis intervention, advocacy, referral, information, support and practical assistance for people subjected to, or using, violence and abuse in relationships, giving priority to those subjected to violence;
(b) encourages those who use violence and abuse in relationships to take responsibility for, and cease, this behaviour;
(c) addresses the problem of violence and abuse in personal relationships, and associated issues by—
(i) working collaboratively with other agencies;
(ii) providing education and information;
(iii) promoting and being the embodiment of leading practice policy and programs; and
(iv) initiating and participating in data collection and research.
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DVCS began as a primarily feminist-informed service in 1988. DVCS's commitment to reflective practices bought a review of the service in 1997. With this review, the service was changed structurally and it was identified that the victim/perpetrator model was too simplistic and did not adequately address the complexities of domestic violence.
More information may be obtained about how this occurred can be obtained from here:
DVCS practises are informed and underpinned by a framework of feminist and narrative ideas. While the following practices are ones that most services in Canberra would identify in their ‘good practice’ guide; the meaning that DVCS makes of the following terms is discussed below:
DVCS focuses on the unique features of every person, honouring and respecting their story, while concurrently addressing the primacy of safety and the politics of violence and abuse. Being client focused is about listening anew, even when DVCS may have many previous contacts with a person.
A focus on the client’s preferred directions, honouring and respecting their life preferences while concurrently addressing the primacy of safety and the politics of violence and abuse.
DVCS has a genuine interest in what it is that the client is hoping for their life, regarding their relationships/family, both long term and short term. Working with these preferred directions by continually clarifying the “what”, the “if” and the “how” questions while simultaneously keeping safety clearly on the agenda. DVCS will always check whose “voice” (i.e. the client’s voice, not the workers or the client’s partner) is being privileged in these conversations.
Working with what is present rather than what is absent. DVCS focus is on possible alternative stories rather than joining with the problem saturated story. What we listen for is critical in determining what is available to be explored with the person. That is, our work is drawn towards parts of the conversation that reflect people’s relationships with resilience, abilities, resources and what they consider to be their personal strengths.
DVCS is committed to listening to and acknowledging the experiences of the children and making their safety and wellbeing paramount. A common belief is that by working with the parent around their safety and strengths the children will automatically benefit. DVCS listens to and consults with children as they will also have ideas, resources, and knowledges about themselves, their safety and how they view the violence in their lives.
DVCS works collaboratively in relationships with other services that are involved in the lives of those affected by domestic violence. DVCS will invite other services to join them in order to work together with the person for more positive outcomes.
Sense of Agency
DVCS recognises that any person comes to any interaction with a variety of personal strengths and knowledges. ‘Telling’ clients can lead to a ‘worker knows best’ idea or alternatively, an idea that the worker carries ‘expert’ understandings about the client’s life and therefore knows what is best for them. A sense of agency can occur when a person ‘discovers’ something for themselves through curious questioning, as opposed to ‘telling’ by the DVCS worker. DVCS’s role is to uncover those strengths/knowledges and find out more about when a client moves towards or away from these strengths/knowledges. The ‘discovery’ is then further translated into actions that may be taken by the client or on behalf of the client.
DVCS would like to acknowledge the financial support of The BodyShop in the creation of this website