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Online learning to build foundational knowledge

Online learning to build foundational knowledge

A woman using a laptop computer while flipping through a notebook with a pen in her hand.

This article features in the April 2019 edition of DVRCV Advocate.

DVRCV has been developing a comprehensive elearning package to build the foundational knowledge required to prevent and respond to family violence and violence against women.

Why is DVRCV developing this online foundational package?

There are huge challenges in the scale of education and training that is required across a wide range of sectors and professions if Victoria is truly going to achieve the vision of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. Given the limited specialist training expertise in the family violence sector and the scope and scale of the workforce reforms in this space, it is important to ensure that face-to-face training is primarily focused on building skills, developing practice expertise, expanding specialist knowledge and putting information and theory into practice. DVRCV have developed this elearning package. because we believe that face-to-face training will be more effective if training participants come to a session with the same foundational knowledge that they can then develop into practice.

DVRCV have specifically designed this training to ensure that it can be widely accessible and as relevant to as many professional groups as possible. The hope is that, regardless of which sector you work in or which role you hold, you will find this elearning useful in building the foundational knowledge that’s required to either prevent or respond to family violence.

We’ve also tried to make the elearning as comprehensive and as interactive as possible, and have ensured it is informed by the most recent research, evidence and practice wisdom.

It’s important to note that this elearning isn’t designed to replace face-to-face training, as skills and practice-based education is imperative when learning how to prevent or respond to family violence.

Who was involved?

The project was funded by Family Safety Victoria and DVRCV has worked with eLearn Australia to develop the training package.

In recognition of the need to ensure these modules are as relevant and useful for a wide range of sectors and professionals as possible, DVRCV has consulted heavily with a range of agencies who have reviewed unit design, provided feedback on the modules and offered advice and guidance along the way. These agencies include Victorian Healthcare Association, Monash University, Mind Australia, Seniors Rights Victoria, Youth Affairs Council Victoria, Western Region Centre Against Sexual Assault, Court Network, Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, City of Melbourne, Odyssey House Victoria, Women with Disabilities Victoria, and the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board.

In recognition of the need for self determination and the importance of enabling women from Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse communities to speak about their own experiences in their own voices, we have worked to ensure that the development of modules on family violence in Aboriginal communities, cultural safety and intersectionality were led by individuals and agencies with specific expertise in that space and with lived experiences of the issues the modules focus on.

What is the online elearning package?

The new elearning package is based on the recently released capability frameworks which articulate the knowledge, skills and expertise required by professionals working to prevent or respond to family violence across a range of sectors and settings. The elearning addresses the key foundational knowledge indicators within both the prevention and response capability frameworks, to make sure that practitioners have the knowledge to prevent and respond to violence against women and family violence. The aim is to ensure that everyone has the same foundational knowledge, regardless of whether they’re engaged in prevention or response, and regardless of what sector or field they work within.

The package is designed to address the baseline knowledge that is required when working in prevention or response, so that face-to-face training can focus more on building professionals’ skills and supporting them to put their knowledge into practice in a face to face training context.

The overarching aim of this online training is to ensure that any professional across Victoria has access to elearning that supports them to build their foundational knowledge around family violence and violence against women.

What kind of content will be included in the package and how will it be structured?

The elearning package is designed to be detailed and comprehensive. It is specifically designed to address the majority of the foundational knowledge indicators in the prevention and response capability frameworks so it is thorough and in-depth; violence against women and family violence are complex issues and it is imperative that any education – face-to-face or online – is designed to help professionals understand and work within that complexity.

It contains individual modules, and brief assessment tasks at the end of each module to help users understand what knowledge they have gained and where they may need further training. The training is designed so that users can work through each module consecutively, or complete modules one by one. Users can come in and out of the training and their progress will be tracked, and there is no time limit on how long you take to complete all 16 modules.

The main modules are divided into four ‘streams’: violence against women, family violence, intersectionality, and children and young people.

Stream one includes foundational knowledge around violence against women, including defining violence against women and its gendered nature, looking at prevalence, myths, the relationship between violence against women and gender inequality.

Stream two focuses on family violence more broadly, building on the previous stream relating specifically to violence against women. The modules in this stream address the definitions and forms of family violence, the dynamics of power and control, the impacts of family violence, and help users identify the warning signs of family violence. The final module in the stream focuses on Victorian referral pathways, because it’s imperative that professionals know which services to refer to and how to talk about accessing them in a way that doesn’t re-traumatise victim survivors.

Stream three, on intersectionality, introduces key concepts including diversity, intersectionality and systemic discrimination. It also includes a module about violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and cultural safety, informed by the Changing the Picture resource. This module was developed by an Aboriginal woman and Djirra also contributed to the development of this module. Cultural responsiveness is also part of this stream, and the lead authors for this module were InTouch Multicultural Centre against Family Violence.

Stream four focuses on children and young people’s experiences of family violence. This includes the nature, impacts and warning signs of family violence, the impacts on the child-parent/mother bond and attachment theory. Another key focus is supporting safety, which examines strategies like strengthening the bond between the non-offending parent or family member and the child. The important legislative and statutory requirements when it comes to children, young people and family violence is also a significant feature of the stream.

The overarching aim of this online training is to ensure that any professional across Victoria has access to elearning that supports them to build their foundational knowledge around family violence and violence against women. Over time, it is hoped this will build a shared and consistent understanding of family violence and violence against women across Victoria and equip professionals with the information and knowledge they need if they’re working to prevent or respond to family violence or violence against women.

When will the training be available?

The package is in the final stages of testing, with the training scheduled to be available in the second half of 2019.

To keep up to date about the progress of the elearning, sign up to DVRCV’s e-news.

This article features in the April 2019 edition of The Advocate.