Safe and Equal @ Work
About the program
The Safe and Equal @ Work program will inform and develop workforce pathways, training supports and job creation for family violence victim-survivors. We will enhance safety, help address women’s financial insecurity and gender inequalities in the workplace and produce economic benefits through greater workforce participation.
The Safe and Equal @ Work program recognises that:
- Family violence can take women out of the Victorian workforce,
- Family violence can impact the degree of their contribution when in the workforce, and
- Family violence can prevent women from entering the workforce.
Core Team View
Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon is an internationally recognised researcher in the field of family violence, criminal justice and service system responses to violence against women, and the impact of criminal law reform in Australia and internationally. She has significant experience in qualitative research methods including focus groups, interviews and surveys with a range of hard to reach and diverse communities.
Fitz-Gibbon has received research funding from the Australian Research Council, ANROWS, Australian Institute of Criminology, Family Safety Victoria, Victoria Police and the Department of Health and Human Services. She has led multi-year projects with significant stakeholder engagement. In 2018 Fitz-Gibbon was appointed to the Victorian Government’s Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions, the Monash City Council Gender Equity Advisory Committee and the inaugural Board of Directors of Respect Victoria. She has recently been appointed to the Victorian Government’s MARAM and Workforce Implementation Working Group.
Dr Rebecca Stewart
Rebecca is an interdisciplinary researcher whose experience and interests focus on primary prevention and behaviour change in the gender equality field. Rebecca completed her doctoral studies as part of the highly-competitive Behaviour Change Graduate Research Industry Partnership program, an interdisciplinary collaboration between BehaviourWorks Australia and VicHealth. Her recently submitted doctoral thesis investigated healthier masculinities from a gender equality perspective, focusing on primary prevention interventions. Applying a behavioural science lens to the project, she presented a framework to support program design and impact, by looking at how programs support participants to engage in deliberate processing of information, which leads to stronger attitude formation and is a good predictor of behaviour change.
Rebecca has extensive research experience, particularly in qualitative data collection and analysis. She also has a passion for making research accessible and is experienced in adapting outputs across a variety of platforms and mediums, including but not limited to academic publications, government-funded reports, publications such as The Conversation, and presenting to a variety of audiences.
Emma is an expert educator and specialist in feminist philosophy. Currently completing her doctorate at Monash University Schools of Languages, Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics, her PhD thesis interrogates prominent Anglo-American critiques of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. Emma is the recipient of the Cecile Parrish Memorial Scholarship, and completed a Masters of Philosophy on feminist theory in 2016. She is a Teaching Associate in both Monash’s School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics and Media, Film and Journalism.
Emma is also a registered Victorian secondary school teacher and has developed and implemented gender equality and LGBTQI+ inclusive educational suites at secondary schools in the UK and Australia. She is the founder and Director of Melbourne Centre for Feminist Philosophy, is an Editorial Assistant at Simone de Beauvoir Studies Journal and has published widely on feminist theory.
Liana is an expert in gender equality and the workplace, a victim-survivor advocate, lawyer, consultant, and Government Board member. Liana was an inaugural member and Deputy Chair of the Victorian Government’s Victim Survivor Advisory Council, she is a member of the Respect Victoria Board of Director and previously served as Chair of the Victorian Speaking Out Advocate Committee. Liana has provided expert advice to Victoria Police, Victorian Department of Premier & Cabinet, Magistrates Court of Victoria, Victorian Legal Aid, and to several Victorian Local City Councils.
Rosie became an outspoken crusader against family violence following the murder of her son, Luke, in February 2014. Through her personal tragedy she stepped into a leadership role to advocate for victims impacted by family violence and to challenge the victim-blaming narrative. She was named Australian of the Year in January 2015 and made the most of her position of influence by advocating for systemic reform and gender equality.
During her tenure as Australian of the Year, Rosie was made Deputy Chair and Foundation member of the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and in 2016 became the inaugural Chair of the Victim Survivor’s Advisory Council for the Victorian Government. Rosie has been inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women and is a recipient of the Pride of Australia National Courage Medal. She received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Sunshine Coast for her contribution to raising national awareness and action concerning family violence, and an Order of Australia in the 2019 Queen’s birthday honour’s list.
Rosie is also a Board Director for the Royal Women’s Hospital, Patron of both the Australian Childhood Foundation and Doncare Community Services, and Co-Chair of the White Ribbon Advisory Council.
Harshita is the Program Officer for the Safe & Equal @ Work Program, managing all administrative and professional aspects of the projects under this program.
Why is this program needed? View
Women experiencing family violence are at higher risk of exiting the workforce during their experiences of violence and of experiencing barriers to gaining paid employment during or following their experiences of violence. Research has consistently found that women who are financially independent are more likely to be able to leave an abusive partner, maintain that separation and recover from the otherwise lasting adverse effects of family violence. The financial hardships experienced by women who have experienced family violence are evident in state-wide statistics which consistently identify family violence as the leading cause of women and children’s homelessness. This program of work reflects the identified need to improve employment opportunities, participation and supports for women experiencing family violence. The COVID-19 pandemic, and its associated gendered and economic impacts, have heightened the risks of family violence for women and children across Victoria and created additional barriers to seeking help.
Victoria has led the world in investing in evidence-based responses to and the prevention of family violence. COVID-19 has given new prominence to the social and economic impacts of family violence and the importance of financial independence for victim survivors. This program of work will ensure that Victoria continues to lead globally. It will provide the evidence base needed to secure women and children’s safety from family violence in the home and violence against women in the workplace as we move through the recovery from COVID-19.
A key focus of this program of work and the research to be conducted is on gender equality and realising the commitments made by the Victorian Government through the legislation of the Victorian Gender Equality Act 2020. This work program will generate the evidence base and industry supports needed to realise this commitment to improving gender equality across Victorian public sector workplaces. This is critical given the documented increase of family violence along with women’s loss of employment and consequential loss of financial independence during the current pandemic as well as recently well documented gender inequities and experiences of violence against women in the workplace.
Research outputs View
- Gender Equality Act 2020 (Vic) Research Brief
- Paid Family Violence Leave Research Brief
- Strategies for Effective Family Violence Education Research Brief
- Victoria Attorney General's Office (VAGO) Report: Sexual Harassment in Local Government Research Brief
- Australian Human Rights Commission: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces Research Brief