New RMIT course to address domestic and family violence

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RMIT has launched a new dual-focus qualification for community service workers who deal with domestic and family violence, amid growing demand from the sector.

The Graduate Certificate in Domestic and Family Violence will be offered for the first time in semester two 2019 and is designed for community sector professionals, as well as graduates in social work, youth work, criminal justice and allied fields.

It comes in the wake of Australia’s first Royal Commission into Family Violence from which came 227 recommendations, including several to improve standards of training and education for workers in Victoria.

RMIT program manager Dr Anastasia Powell said the new qualification, designed in consultation with industry, was unique because it focused on primary prevention, or efforts to address the underlying drivers of family violence before the abuse occurs, as well as response.

“The program is among the first nationally to offer a dual-focus of equipping students to respond to those already experiencing family violence, as well as the development of primary prevention approaches,” Powell said.

With a growing number of specialist roles in both response and prevention being created, there is more demand than ever for qualified professionals, however the sector is facing a critical shortage.

RMIT industry partner the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV) consulted on the development of the new program and CEO Emily McGuire said it reflected the changing needs of the workforce.

“Domestic and family violence has unique dynamics and risks and we know that the needs of victim survivors are very different from those experiencing other forms of violence,” McGuire said.

Our Watch, Australia’s national independent organisation for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children, has also previously identified a need for workforce development specifically in prevention.

Further, prevention has been identified as a priority area under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children which is endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

The new program is designed to be studied flexibly around working commitments and takes a year to complete part-time.

RMIT already offers several undergraduate degree programs in social work, youth work, criminal justice as well as combined studies in criminology and psychology.

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