Workforce Planning Update

Workforce Planning Update

Our team has recently been delivering workforce planning workshops across the state and online. Thank you to everyone who participated. It was really nice to meet and connect with you all and gain insights into the wonderful work you do. Your feedback was important, as it will assist WorkUP to continue to support you to build a strong and sustainable workforce and inform the development of our five-year workforce plan.

Some of the key themes we are hearing across the board include:

  • A desire for more face to face professional development opportunities
  • A focus on growing the workforce and retaining staff
  • Services experiencing high demand and resourcing pressures

We look forward to meeting with others across Queensland. Please join us in Cairns on Thursday 13th July for another face-to-face Workforce Planning workshop. To register please visit:

We also encourage service providers and all staff to complete the Organisational and Workforce Surveys. This will help us have a better understanding of workforce needs and the data gathered may also support services in their work. You can access the surveys here: Workforce Survey

If you aren’t able to attend an event in person, you can send us your thoughts and feedback via

Criminalising Coercive Control

Criminalising Coercive Control  

Queensland is leading the charge nationally to address coercive control with legislative changes that have impacts for practice and for victim survivors. While there is a broad agreement that coercive control is a problem, there is less unity about how we should respond. This article examines different perspectives on coercive control and the status of reform in Queensland.  

While there is no single definition of coercive control, it is generally understood to describe a pattern of behaviour designed to dominate and control another person through an assault on a personal autonomy, liberty and equality (ANROWS. 2021). Importantly, coercive control is not understood as a type of violence per se, rather, it describes the overarching intent and impact of a range of strategies including physical, emotional and sexual violence and tactics of surveillance and isolation (Beckwith et al., 2023).  

Over time and across national and international jurisdictions, there has been increasing momentum to address coercive control through criminalisation. Supporters of criminalisation argue that doing so: 

  • Recognises the distinct features and non-physical patterns of abuse and control 
  • Contextualises victim survivors' experiences within a pattern of abuse, rather than stand-alone incidences 
  • Punishes perpetrators, reflects social views about the need to condemn this behaviour and reinforces the value of women’s safety and freedom  
  • Expands evidence gathering opportunities 
  • Reduces the misidentification of victim-survivors as predominant aggressors 
  • May reduce domestic and family violence homicides (Beckwith et al., 2023).  

However, some First Nations peoples have expressed concerns about the potential unintended consequences of criminalising coercive control, especially for First Nations women and men (see for example, Hobson, Salter and Stephenson 2023). These concerns include: 

  • The risk of over-incarceration and misidentification of First Nations peoples as perpetrators or victims of coercive control, due to systemic racism and bias in the criminal justice system. 
  • The lack of cultural safety and appropriateness of mainstream services and interventions for First Nations peoples who experience or use coercive control. 
  • The potential for further disempowerment and trauma for First Nations peoples who are already marginalised and oppressed by colonisation and intergenerational violence. 
  • The need for self-determination and community-led solutions for First Nations peoples, rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all approach that may not suit their needs and preferences. 

Released in 2021, the first report of the Women’s Safety and Justice TaskforceHear her voice - Report one - Addressing coercive control and domestic and family violence in Queensland produced 89 recommendations all of which were supported or supported in principle by the Queensland Government. One outcome is he Domestic and Family Violence Protection (Combating Coercive Control) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 which strengthens exists laws and is the first step towards criminalising coercive control in Queensland.  

The government has stated that further system-wide reforms will follow, and coercive control will be criminalised by the end of 2023. System wide reforms, some of which are already underway include: 

  • Co-designing a specific strategy with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to address over-representation in the criminal justice system. 
  • Developing an evidence-based and trauma-informed framework to support education, training and change management across the DFV ad justice systems. 
  • Establishing a state-wide network of tailored perpetrator intervention programs. 
  • A focus on growing, retaining, developing and sustaining the DFV workforce. 

You can read more about the reform agenda here: Response to Report One from the Taskforce | Department of Justice and Attorney-General. You may also be interested to read a progress report prepared by the Office of the Independent Implementation Supervisor in December 2022 which describes the actions undertaken so far. 

This article was prepared as part of WorkUP’s Knowledge Translation plan with the aim of connecting the sector with new and emerging research to enhance evidence-based practice.  

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2021). Defining and responding to coercive control: Policy brief (ANROWS Insights, 01/2021). ANROWS. 
Beckwith, S., Lowe, L., Wall, L., Stevens, E., Carson, R., Kaspiew, R., MacDonald, J. B., McEwen, J., & Willoughby, M. (2023). Coercive control literature review: Final report. Australian Institute of Family Studies. 
Hobson, C., Salter, M., & Stephenson, J. (2023). The contributions of First Nations voices to the Australian public debate over the criminalisation of coercive control. British Journal of Social Work, 0(0), 1–19. 

Global Rights for Women Forum - Videos Now Available

Global Rights for Women Forum - Videos Now Available

WorkUP Queensland is excited to announce the launch of video recordings from a two-day forum hosted in Loganholme in March 2023, co-facilitated by Global Rights for Women.

Global Rights for Women provides legal reform and systems change support using a survivor centred, coordinated community response prioritising equality and safety. As international facilitators, Global Rights for Women bring a wealth of experience as former executive directors and founders of “the Duluth Model.”

This forum was a one of a kind gathering that showcased inspirational local stories as well as invaluable global insights. The theme of the forum, titled "Looking In Looking Out: Locally connected, Globally informed," aimed to create a platform for critical conversation, knowledge sharing, and reflection on everyday practice. By highlighting the significance of both local connections and global awareness, the event aimed to strengthen the voice of local sector professionals while exploring the wealth of insights and lessons learned from around the world.

The series of videos created at the forum serve as a powerful practical resource anyone wishing to explore local and global ideas in ending  violence against women.  We invite you to watch them individually and with teams and reflect on the insights shared by Melissa, Kay and Lori and local speakers Lyn, Rona and Karina.

Video 1: Following the Voice of Victim-Survivors with Melissa Scaia, Kay Arola and Lori Flohaug

This video presentation provides a comprehensive analysis of the lessons learnt by Global Rights for Women during its 40 years of experience in implementing coordinated community responses. It specifically highlights the importance of following the voices of victim-survivors as the primary driving force for any change process.

Video 2: Safety, Solidarity and Sacredness Panel hosted by Lori Flohaug including panellists Rona Scherer, Karina Hogan and Lyn Anderson

A panel of local indigenous women share their inspiring personal and professional stories, conveying messages of strength, solidarity, and empowerment. The panel discussion revolves around the importance of creating culturally safe spaces and aims to inspire.

Video 3: Four Pillars of Accountability with Melissa Scaia

This video examines the Four Pillars of widespread violence against women. Melissa Scaia discusses that whenever a group of people occupy a dominant position over another group and the relationship is one of exploitation and control, four pillars support it. These pillars are the social structures that support violence against women.

Video 4: Art of Dialogue when Working with Victim/Survivors or Perpetrators by Melissa Scaia

In this video presentation, Melissa Scaia invites participants to reflect on their role in respectfully challenging others and explores the barriers that can often hinder true dialogue.

You can view the videos here

The Feminist Governance Toolkit – Coming soon!

The Feminist Governance Toolkit – Coming soon!

We are excited to let you know that the development of the Feminist Governance Toolkit is underway. This toolkit is designed specifically for boards of DFV, SV and WH&W services in Queensland.

Using your feedback, we are developing self-paced learning modules to support board members to understand the context of the work and also will offer specialist governance skills training to ensure compliance with relevant governance requirements.

Understanding the context of the work is crucial in ensuring that people doing the work are well supported and women are safe.

The toolkit may be used to support recruitment and induction of board members and as a helpful resource to connect current board members with their role and responsibilities.

To ensure the toolkit is easily accessible to busy board members the final toolkit will include 3 videos and paced activities. The three modules include:

  • Self and Connection to purpose
  • Board member capabilities
  • The nature of the work

The Feminist Governance Toolkit will be delivered online for testing and feedback from the sector during November and December. Once this is completed the modules will be online and freely available to all services. Keep a look out also for specialist Not For Profit governance skills development later in the year. This may include financial and legal responsibilities and specialist skills development for boards of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services.

Used in conjunction with specialist NFP governance training board members who participate will be well equipped to contribute purposeful, sustainable, and strategic governance of DFV, SV and WH&W services.

You may also wish to check out these new Governance resources developed by QCOSS -

Please contact Christine at if you would like any further information. Interested board members, CEOs and leaders are invited to register here for the workshops

How do Australians view violence against women and gender inequality in 2023?

How do Australians view violence against women and gender inequality in 2023?

The latest results from ANROWS’s National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) are out, and they reveal that while Australians’ understanding and rejection of domestic and sexual violence have generally improved, we still have a long way to go.

The NCAS is a large-scale survey that measures how well Australians understand violence against women, how much we support gender equality, and how strongly we condone or reject violence against women. The NCAS is conducted every four years and has been led by ANROWS since 2017, providing us with a snapshot in time of Australia’s progress towards improved attitudes and understanding. The 2021 NCAS interviewed 19,100 Australians aged over 16 years and over via mobile phone.

Key findings from the 2021 NCAS include:

  • Overall, Australians have a good understanding of violence against women, and this has slowly but consistently improved over successive NCAS waves. Most Australians also reject attitudes that condone or reinforce gender inequality and violence against women.
  • Most Australians recognise that domestic violence and violence against women can take the form of many different behaviours, such as financial abuse and electronic monitoring.
  • There have been significant improvements in Australians’ understanding and rejection of sexual violence.
  • Concerningly, community understanding of the gendered nature of domestic violence has decreased, with 2 in 5 respondents mistakenly believing that domestic violence is perpetrated equally by men and women.
  • Some Australians still hold attitudes which minimise violence and shift blame to victims and survivors, which mistrust women, and which condone objectifying women or disregarding consent.
  • While most respondents (91%) believe that violence against women was a problem in Australia, only 47% believe that it is an issue in their own suburb or town.

These findings highlight the importance of continuing our work to prevent violence against women and promote gender equality in our communities. They can also help us to understand where we can focus our efforts and tailor our strategies to address the specific needs and challenges of different groups.

Join us for a free webinar on Thursday 29 June at 12pm AEST to learn more about the results of the 2021 NCAS and what they mean for your work. The webinar will feature a panel of experts who will discuss the NCAS findings and how they relate to prevalence data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Personal Safety Survey. You will also hear from a representative of Our Watch about how the NCAS can inform upcoming primary prevention activities.

To register for the webinar, please visit: You will receive a confirmation email with details on how to join the webinar. The webinar will be recorded and made available on the WorkUP Queensland website afterwards.

We hope you can join us for this informative and engaging session. Together, we can use the evidence from the NCAS and other sources to inform our policies and practices to end violence against women and their children.

Supporting, Connecting and Sustaining our Workforce

Supporting, Connecting and Sustaining our Workforce

“This work is hard and can be exhausting… connecting to purpose is invigorating.”

Being connected to purpose and feeling a strong commitment to making a difference in people’s lives is a shared driving force that brings us to the work we do. This is reflected throughout the Workforce Capability Framework, particularly in Domain 5 which focusses on the importance of bringing a reflective and self-aware approach to the work.   

Many of us in the women’s health and wellbeing and domestic, family and sexual violence sectors have a very strong sense of our purpose and why we show up to do the work we do each day. It’s important to recognise that our purpose must be balanced with boundaries and self-care so that it doesn’t become all-consuming, leading us to neglect other important aspects of our lives, such as our relationships, health, and wellbeing. 

Boundaries are the limits we set on our time, energy, and resources to maintain balance in our lives. They help us prioritise our values and ensure that we are investing in ourselves in a way that sustains us to continue to do meaningful work. When we find the right balance between purpose and boundaries we can approach our work with clarity – this is true for individual practitioners, leaders and for teams. We can align with our values and priorities and have a strong sense of our role and responsibilities and where they start and stop. This is vital for professional longevity. 

The Workforce Capability Framework is a great tool for conversations about supporting, connecting and sustaining the workforce. Here’s a few tips for bringing it to life in your service in meaningful and practical ways: 

  • Introduce self-awareness and reflective practice to new workers by embedding the Workforce Capability Framework in induction programs. 
  • Individually reflect on your own practice using the supporting capabilities (E.g., How am I going? How do I know? Do I need some support in this area?). To delve deeper, explore further in supervision. 
  • Explore the Organisation Reflective Questions as a regular part of your leadership group. 

Whether you’re a brand new or experienced practitioner or leader, the Workforce Capability Framework is a great tool to support your work. Check it out here: Workforce Capability Framework and keep a look out for additional supporting resources to be released over the coming months.   

We would also like to invite you to join us for the People, Culture and HR Forum on 15th November 2023. You can find out more and register here People, Culture and HR Forum.   

If you would like support to embed the Workforce Capability Framework into your organisation, please contact Christine at

This blog was written by Amy Wormwell and the quote is from one of the contributors to development of the Workforce Capability Framework.