connectEDspace - support for young people

Young people can face all sorts of pressures – including problems at school, with friends or at home.
connectEDspace is a website by Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV), dedicated to young people to help provide all the information they need to deal with the stuff they go through each day.

Aboriginal Family and Relationship Support


RAV provides support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and individuals to help strengthen family relationships.

Counselling provides an opportunity to talk with a professionally trained person to discuss couple issues, conflicts with friends, relationship breakdown, parenting, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, grief, sexual problems, childhood sexual abuse, stress and work related tensions and disputes.

visit deadlyrav.com.au

Evaluation and research

We evaluate our services and undertake research to enable us to highlight issues, service gaps and areas for improvement, and measure the effectiveness of our services.

Relationships Australia Victoria is committed to evaluation and research to highlight issues, service gaps, areas for improvement, and contribute to service development and practice. Our evaluation and research projects help us to understand current issues and improve our service delivery.

 

Evaluation

Outcomes Survey

Our annual Outcomes Survey measures how our counselling services affect our clients' wellbeing, family and relationships. In 2017 the survey, which involved voluntary client participants who had recently attended at least one counselling session with RAV, indicated positive service outcomes.

  • 79% had gained knowledge and new strategies to help them deal with their issues
  • 69% felt better about their situation
  • 84% reported that they knew where to go for help if issues arose
  • 90% reported that they planned to return to RAV.

Counselling, family dispute resolution and Family Relationship Centres

We evaluated our funded counselling, family dispute resolution (FDR) and Family Relationship Centre services in 2017 through Standard Client Outcomes Reporting (SCORE). Evaluations from over 10000 clients indicated that overwhelmingly, these services support clients to feel listened to and understand, and work on and talk about what is important to them. Clients also reported significant satisfaction with the services provided. 

  • Over 98% of clients were satisfied with the counselling, FDR and Family Relationship Centre services that they received.
  • Over 98% of clients reported that they felt better able to deal with the issues for which they sought help. 

Repair-enting evaluation

In 2016/17, we conducted a preliminary evaluation of our Repair-enting group program for dads who have used violence in their relationships. The evaluation was designed to measure the program's effectiveness in enhancing the insight, empathy and ability of parents who had used violence to relate safely. The results indicated significant positive changes in parents' skills and knowledge, including their capacity to emotionally regulate, ability to recognise their child's needs, understanding of the impact of violence on their child, and knowledge of how to safely engage with their child and their child's mother. 

Our Repair-enting program has gained emerging program status on the Communities for Children Facilitating Partners Evidence-based Programme list with the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

I like, like you UP evaluation

Our I like, like you UP  family violence prevention and mental health promotion program for primary schools also gained emerging program status on the Communities for Children Facilitating Partners Evidence-based Programme list with the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Our evaluation of the program, which involved consultations with teachers and students, indicated that the program increased participants' ability to understand their own and others' feelings, and their knowledge of how to communicate in healthy ways. 

"As a result of learning these things, I will listen to my feelings more often and I will investigate other people's feelings as well. I know I will ask for help if I have a problem." - I like, like you UP participant. 

i-Connect evaluation

A 15-month evaluation of our Family Mental Health Support Service revealed that i-Connect clients experienced positive changes in areas relating to personal and family safety, family functioning, mental health, wellbeing and self-care, after engaging with the service. After accessing i-Connect services, clients also had increased skills, knowledge and access to information, and enhanced knowledge in making decisions. The evaluation also indicated that the service is successful in meeting longer-term goals, including enhancing family wellbeing and resilience, and improving community engagement for at-risk or vulnerable families. 

Continuous evaluation of other programs

We continue to evaluate our ATTUNE, Ready Set Kids and Tuning in to Kids programs, as well as our early matters Home Visiting and Single Session Consultation services

Research

My Service, My Story

In 2016/17, our Kew Centre participated in a nationwide Department of Social Services Data Exchange Client Survey pilot project, designed to independently measure outcomes for, and satisfaction of, clients in core, funded services, through online client surveys. Responses and feedback from the project will inform the implementation of a longer-term evaluation project.

Relationships Australia Family dispute resolution (FDR) Outcomes Study

Relationships Australia (RA) is undertaking a national research project designed to generate evidence on the outcomes and efficacy of RA FDR services, in both parenting and property disputes. The study will identify variables that contribute to effective FDR outcomes, as well as the barriers to reaching durable agreements.

A major component of this study is a nationwide survey of FDR clients. Over 2000 clients will be recruited from seven states and territories to participate in the study. These participants will complete a survey prior to commencing FDR, as well as follow-up surveys approximately 3 months and 12 months after commencing FDR. Clients will answer questions about their wellbeing, the wellbeing of their children and their relationships with their former partners (including any experience of abuse), as well as their post-separation arrangements, issues for resolution and progress towards parenting and/or property agreements. 

The RA FDR Outcomes Study is jointly managed by RA Victoria and RA Queensland. If you would like more information about the study, please contact: 

Dr Genevieve Heard
Senior Researcher
Relationships Australia Victoria
Ph: (03) 8573 2216 or email

Dr Aditi Lohan
Senior Research Officer
Relationships Australia Queensland
Ph: (07) 3423 6904 or email 

FDR Outcome Measurement Trial

Through our membership of the Partnership of Victorian Family Relationship Centres, RAV is participating in an FDR Outcome Measurement Trial, funded by the Attorney-General's Department and the Department of Social Services. The pilot project seeks to identify or develop a tool that measures the parenting outcomes of FDR, such as the development of parenting plans, increased parental awareness of the impact of conflict on children and a reduced need for litigation or the involvement of lawyers.

Perpetrator interventions

In 2016/17, we engaged with RMIT's Centre for Innovative Justice to undertake research on perpetrator interventions in the criminal justice system. This research will help the sector to better understand and establish an evidence base for interventions with men who use violence. 

Social media use by separating or separated families

With Victoria University, we are conducting a research project on the use and abuse of social media by couples and within families who are separating or separated. The research will help inform practice and policy recommendations to maximise the benefits of social media while minimising the opportunities for misuse.

Fathering, family and domestic violence and intervention challenges

We are one of 23 government and non-government organisations taking part in the Australian Research Council-funded four-year research project, led by the University of Melbourne and also involving researchers from the universities of South Australia and Western Australia. The project's ultimate aim is to improve the parenting experience of children whose fathers have used domestic and family violence.

Family violence and the FDR process

The outcomes of our four-year study with La Trobe University, funded by the Australian Research Council, into the impact of family violence on the FDR process has been disseminated and discussed, including through the publication of a peer-reviewed research paper in the Australian Institute of Family Studies Family Matters journal. 

The research has attracted international interest, including from academic institutions and policy-makers, and it continues to influence models of practice for working with clients affected by family violence. 

Loneliness in older adults

We have partnered with Swinburne University of Technology to investigate loneliness in older adults in residential aged care and community settings, through the university's Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults. The project seeks to better understand the prevalence of loneliness, and the predictors of loneliness and emotional wellbeing among older adults. The project's findings will assist counsellors and other health professionals to develop more specific interventions to prevent the negative health consequences associated with loneliness. 

Relationships Australia Monthly Surveys

Each month Relationships Australia conducts an online survey to capture the Australians' views and opinions on relationship, social and current community issues and concerns. The survey is accessed via the Relationships Australia National website and the Relationships Australia Victoria website homepage. Summaries of survey results on the Relationships Australia National website.

Previous research

ARC research projects

RAV has been involved in major projects funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), reaffirming our commitment to research to better inform our clinical practice and service delivery.

The long-term benefits of counselling and group courses

RAV has completed a three-year research project with La Trobe University to investigate the long-term benefits of couple counselling and our Good Connecting relationship education course. In addition to producing better outcomes for our clients, this significant study will have national and international impact upon the practice of couple counselling and relationship education.

Diversity in Australian life

The Work, Love and Play in Diverse Australian Family Life project ran in partnership with with Relationships Australia National, the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University and The Bouverie Centre.

The five-year study examined same-sex parenting and children's outcomes. It provides a broad and in-depth examination of a variety of factors that can impact on child outcomes: how parents balance their working commitments and domestic arrangements; characteristics and quality of the parents' relationship and how they parent together; and the family's social, financial and practical resources and social networks.

Collaboration in the mental health sector

We researched the systemic, organisational and individual factors that optimise or impede effective collaboration. The research aimed to develop evidence-based guidelines for achieving effective collaboration, and the identification of knowledge gaps and areas for future research. 

Social media and relationships

In partnership with Victoria University, and with support from their Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing, we completed research into the effect of social media engagement on relationship satisfaction in 2016. The findings illustrated that relationship satisfaction is impacted by how, rather than how often, social media is used. 

The effectiveness of Men’s Behaviour Change Programs (MBCPs)

In 2016, we undertook a literature review into the most current research on the efficacy of MBCPs. This review forms the foundation of a significant wider research project to evaluate the effectiveness of MBCPs, led by RAV and involving Relationships Australia South Australia and Relationships Australia Western Australia.

Relationships Indicators Survey: 2011 results

In 2011, Relationships Australia National surveyed the population to find out what the main issues and concerns that Australians had in their relationships at the time.
Click here for a copy of the 2011 survey, undertaken in partnership with Credit Union Australia and conducted by Woolcott Research across Australia.

Dads and kids

RAV partnered with primary schools, kindergartens and maternal and child health centres to run programs for fathers and children called Fathers Utilising Networks for Kids (FUN for Kids). These programs allowed fathers to examine their parenting styles, establish networks, have more effective communication with their kids, share with other dads and have fun. FUN for Kids is not currently being run.

The Potter Foundation funded an independent evaluation of the program by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS). The final report indicates some very positive outcomes for dads, partners, children and communities.