Growing and retaining a workforce for the future

Growing and retaining a workforce for the future

Currently our sector is experiencing significant challenges in attracting qualified and/or suitably capable workers, often exacerbated in regional, rural, and remote locations across Queensland. We also know through strong anecdotal evidence that current workforce pressures are increasing, contributing to feelings of overwhelm and burn out making retention more complex.

In addition, reform activities driven by the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce Reports and Commonwealth Government Action Plans will result in further growth across the Domestic and Family Violence, Sexual Violence and Women’s Health and Wellbeing sector in the coming years. These anticipated workforce reforms and drivers include:

  • Commission of inquiry recommendation of 300 highly trained and qualified DFV victim support workers to be embedded into police stations at various locations across QLD.
  • Commonwealth commitment to employ an additional 500 community workers nationally to support victims of DFV (a portion of which, to be located in rural and regional areas).
  • Ongoing reform and growth in the perpetrator intervention / men’s behaviour change services space.

On current forecasting, it is estimated the sector’s workforce will need to increase by up to one half of current levels.Growth in the sector is welcomed as a meaningful pathway to ending violence.

The Queensland Government has recognised the importance of workforce capacity and capability during this time of dramatic change. As identified in their response to Hear her voice Report One’ WorkUP Queensland is being supported in a new project dedicated to attracting, recruiting and retaining a skills workforce.

This project brings an exciting and unique opportunity to promote longer term change. Successful implementation will support clearer and more sustainable pathways along with other workforce initiatives to attract and retain a vibrant and talented workforce.

The immediate goal of the project is to develop an evidence-based, inclusive and integrated Growing and retaining a workforce for the future strategy (the Strategy) for early 2024 release. This will set out a ‘roadmap’ of specifically tailored workforce development actions and initiatives. Successful implementation will enable improved sector readiness to absorb new roles, building on current workforce strengths and assets of the sector.

Meeting the challenges of achieving attraction, recruitment, and retention will require a mix of dedicated and proactive short, medium, and longer-term workforce solutions in areas such as (but not limited to):

  • Increased rigour and capacity in tailored workforce data analytics and insights.
  • Strategic and targeted career promotions and communications campaigns.
  • University, Vocational Education and Training (VET) and sector partnerships and strategies to improve pathways into the sector, as well as supporting retention.
  • Better utilisation of traineeships and apprenticeship programs that are fit for purpose, where appropriate.
  • Support and enablement of training pathways for prioritised entry roles.

The next steps of the project include:

How to get involved

For the project to produce something that is useful for our sector, we need to continue to work closely and build on our strong relationships with sector stakeholders.

For now, please consider being part of an industry wide working group to help guide and influence the direction. Terms of Reference are being establish over the next few weeks.

Stay tuned for further opportunities to contribute and provide input.

For further information or to request a chat, reach out to us at

Respect Based Training Program for Funded Youth Services

Respect Based Training Program for Funded Youth Services

WorkUP Queensland is excited to introduce the Respect Based Training Program for Funded Youth Services!

The Department of Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services has recognised that young people who are not engaged in formal education do not have access to the Respectful Relationships Education program delivered by the Department of Education. This new project is a primary prevention initiative to influence young people’s perspectives on gendered violence and recognises youth workers as well placed to explore healthy and respectful relationship concepts with the young people they are working with. This project will support youth workers to have meaningful conversations with young people who are disengaged with their communities and will build on the current strengths and knowledge of the youth services sector.

We are grateful for the continued insight and advice that the Domestic and Family Violence, Sexual Violence and Women’s Health and Wellbeing sector has shared with us, and we honour your progressive efforts in creating and delivering programs for young people. We are now asking for your support on this new journey towards supporting youth workers funded through Youth Support and YHARS programs to be involved in gendered-violence prevention.

As experts in this sector, we would like to know:

  • What type of content would you like to see developed in this training?
  • What would you hope that youth workers would know upon completion of this training?
  • Would you like to be involved in the development and delivery of this training?

If you have any questions about the project or any information that you would like to provide, please reach out to Kirstie at

Workforce Capability Framework Update

Workforce Capability Framework Update

It’s fantastic to see the Workforce Capability Framework being utilised and shared across our sector. The Framework authentically and genuinely describes the capabilities required by our specialist workforces in Queensland to deliver safe, effective, and respectful responses for those impacted by violence. It has been created with sector stakeholders and seeks to reflect the language and true nature of the work across our diverse sector and service types.

The WorkUP team has commenced working closely with some organisations that are choosing to embed this framework across their human resource and organisation development processes more deeply. We look forward to sharing the insights and lessons learnt, and continuing to evolve the framework as implementation develops and matures.

If your organisation is interested in doing a deep dive to embed this framework, please be in touch.

We have been busy working alongside sector leaders to develop a suite of practical resources and tools that are informed by and hang off the foundational framework. This includes:

  • A supporting resource – tips for implementing the Framework, including scenario-based examples.
  • Reflective Question resource that aligns with the capability domains in the framework
  • Job interview question bank for recruitment purposes
  • Series of new thought-provoking videos with practical suggestions, featuring leaders in our sector around themes of Supporting, Connecting, Sustaining and Growing our Workforce.

Stay tuned for iterative releases of these valuable resources. We are mailing out a copy of the framework and other resources to services in the coming month and new resources will be available online.

Look forward to seeing you at our upcoming activities to hear and learn more:

If you have any questions, reach out to us at

Connecting the dots: A new practice framework for working with children and young people with disability who experience domestic and family violence

Connecting the dots: A new practice framework for working with children and young people with disability who experience domestic and family violence

Around 30 per cent of children who have experienced Domestic and Family Violence are children with disability. These children and their families often face multiple challenges and barriers when seeking help from different service systems, such as health, justice, police, DFV and child protection.

In response to this gap, ANROWS has published a new practice framework  “Connecting the dots“, which outlines the key principles and elements of strength-based practice when working with children and young people with disability who have experienced DFV. The framework is based on evidence from research, practice theories, ethical principles and lived expertise. It aims to help practitioners and practice designers across sectors understand the needs and priorities of children and young people with disabilities and their families, and to collaborate effectively to provide holistic and tailored support.

The framework highlights the importance of recognising children and young people with disability as victims and survivors of DFV, and of respecting their agency, voice and choice. It also emphasises the need to adopt a trauma-informed, intersectional and human rights-based approach that acknowledges the diversity and complexity of their experiences. The framework provides practical guidance on how to build trust, rapport and safety; how to engage in respectful communication; how to assess risk and safety; how to plan and deliver interventions; and how to evaluate outcomes.

If you are interested in learning more about the framework and how to use it in your work, you are invited to register now for our SPARK webinar held on October 12. The webinar will feature presentations from the researchers and practitioners involved in the development of the framework, as well as a Q&A session. You will also hear from children and young people with disability who have shared their stories and insights for the project.

You can read more about the research report behind the framework on our resource hub

SPARK Webinar – Enhancing Practice at the Intersection of Disability, Violence and Youth panellists

Professor Sally Robinson

Associate Professor Georgina Sutherland

Elly Desmarchelier

Find out more and register for the SPARK webinar here.

If you miss the webinar, a recording of the event will be available on the WorkUP Queensland website soon after.

Growing and Healing with Cultural Safety: A critical framework for our sector

Growing and Healing with Cultural Safety: A critical framework for our sector

Domestic, Family and Sexual violence is a pervasive issue that affects people from all walks of life. However, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and communities, the challenges are compounded by historical, cultural, and systemic factors. To address this issue effectively, it is imperative that workers in the domestic and family violence, sexual violence and women's health and wellbeing sector embrace cultural safety and strive for cultural appropriateness when providing services to First Nation peoples, who may access their services during crisis.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience domestic violence at higher rates than non-Indigenous Australians. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from 2018, Indigenous women are about 32 times more likely to be hospitalised due to family violence than non-Indigenous women.

Domestic violence and sexual assault among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is believed to be significantly underreported due to various nuanced factors such as distrust of authorities, fear of retaliation as well as complex relationships and community expectations.

The Growing and Healing with Cultural Safety project is a pilot project being delivered firstly in South EastQueensland, with aims to help our sector to have the confidence and support to create an environment where Indigenous clients feel respected, understood, and valued.

Growing and Healing with Cultural Safety will explore the impacts of colonisation, intergenerational trauma from dispossession, and how institutionalisation has contributed to the vulnerability of Indigenous peoples to sexual assault and violence.  It also aims to provide opportunity for Sector workforce to unpack unconscious biases in a safe environment.

Consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leaders, workers and members across the pilot region of South East Queensland has taken place over the last four months and WorkUP Queensland look forward to moving into Phase 2 of the project with the design, development and delivery of workshops, resources and tools.

This not only nurtures a more culturally inclusive and appropriate services for First Nations clients but also contributes to the broader goal of eliminating systemic racism. It is WorkUP Queensland’s hope that this training will be ongoing and become a crucial element of foundational training opportunities for our sector Statewide.

Collaboration with local Indigenous community organisations and leaders will be part of the processes implemented to gain insights into the specific needs and preferences of the local community. Building partnerships are a huge part of co-designing culturally appropriate and responsive wrap-around services, which greatly increases the chances of breaking the cycle of violence and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victim/survivors in their journey to safety and healing.

We will be sending out a survey in the very near future, so if your service is in the SEQ and you would like to have input in the survey, please reach out to Lenore Wasaga or Rona Scherer at to be placed on our stakeholder engagement email lists.

Scholarship round 7 opens in October!

Scholarship round 7 opens in October!

Are you looking for an opportunity to enhance your skills and knowledge as a worker in the domestic and family violence, sexual violence and women's health and wellbeing sector? If so, you might be interested in applying for a WorkUP scholarship. WorkUP scholarships are designed to support the professional development of workers in domestic and family violence, sexual violence and women's health and wellbeing services in Queensland. These scholarships are a key strategy of WorkUP Queensland which is funded by the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General.

The current scholarship round opens 3 October 2023 and will close on 31 October 2023 at 5pm. You can apply for a scholarship to cover the costs of a qualification that is relevant to your role and work within the sector. Up to $15,000 per scholarship is available. You are asked to demonstrate how the qualification will benefit your practice, your organisation and the sector as a whole. You will also need to have your application endorsed by your employer.

To find out more about the eligibility criteria, the application process and the available qualifications, you can attend a free information session on Tuesday 10 October 2023 at 10am. Register here also go to our website .

Contact if you have questions.

Don't miss this chance to advance your career and contribute to the prevention and response to violence against women in Queensland. Apply for a WorkUP scholarship today!

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