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Why a Job in the Family Violence Sector Might Be a Great Move for You

September 2021 by Heather Catterall

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As a Family Services consultant at Tradewind, I have the opportunity to liaise with an amazing bunch of passionate and inspiring clients and candidates dedicated to helping society’s most vulnerable – those experiencing family violence.

In recent years, I’ve witnessed a vast amount of growth in the sector. With so many diverse Family Violence jobs currently on offer, this could be a great time to move into this rewarding specialisation.

If you’re a Social Worker looking for a role that allows you to make a real difference in our communities, here’s what you need to know about working in Family Violence.

 

Rising Demand for Family Violence Professionals 

According to the Centre for Workforce Excellence at Family Safety Victoria, about one-quarter of Australian women have experienced a violent incident at the hands of an intimate partner. In addition, family violence is the greatest health risk factor for young Australian women is higher than smoking, alcohol and obesity.

While these are devastating statistics, much has been done to address them, including a Royal Commission into Family Violence in 2015. After findings were tabled in parliament, a raft of policy changes ensued, as did numerous initiatives to address domestic abuse in women and children. This included the government injecting millions of dollars into the area, which resulted in a positive uptick in jobs.

Labour market forecasting recognises the health and social assistance industry will be the fastest-growing sector in Victoria. By 2024, Welfare Support Workers will grow by nearly 23% nationally, with Health and Welfare Services Managers close to 19%. As the specialisation continues to grow, there will be plenty of opportunities available, and Social Work professionals with the right skills will be in high demand among employers.

 

The Benefits of a Family Violence Job

While working in Family Violence has its challenges, the rewards are great. Here are some of the key perks to consider:

  1. A meaningful impact
    Perhaps the greatest advantage of working in Family Violence is the direct and often immediate impact you can make in a person’s life. It might be helping a person leave a dangerous situation, or connecting them with ongoing services that will keep them safe. It could even address root causes by counselling abusers to alter their behaviour.
     
  2. Experience diverse work
    The scope of work available in the Family Violence industry is as diverse as the clients you’ll meet and help. There’s intake and assessment to provide immediate support, alongside case management to ensure ongoing access to the right resources and counselling. There are options to work in court advocacy, training or research spaces, as well as roles to prevent family violence from occurring in the first place, either through policy change or in perpetrator services. You also have the opportunity to work with specific communities, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, or youth aged 12-25.
     
  3. Become an agent for social change
    It’s widely acknowledged that certain sections of society are at greater risk of family violence. These include those from certain ethnic and cultural communities where language is a barrier; those in the LGBTIQ+ community; those experiencing mental health or disability issues; older Australians; and sex workers.

    By taking up a Family Violence role, you’ll have a chance to work with these extremely vulnerable groups, where the impact you make can be a catalyst for true social change.
     
  4. Use your transferable skills
    Family violence is multifactorial, so it benefits from Social Workers with experience in wide-ranging fields. It could be mental health, child protection, housing and homelessness services, or drug and alcohol support. If you’re a Social Worker with skills in any of these areas (or others!), your talents are easily transferrable into a Family Violence role and vice versa.
     
  5. Benefit from a supportive work environment
    Since 2014, the Victorian government has invested close to $2.8 billion into building and supporting the Family Violence workforce. As such, it has healthy in-built staff supports to help you not only look after your clientele but yourself in the process. This includes formal family violence training, clear frameworks for supervision and debriefing, as well as a carefully managed workload.
     
  6. Enjoy a great remuneration package
    Across the board, many Family Violence jobs come with competitive salary packages with room for negotiation (which we can take care of for you!). Here in Victoria, most now offer portable long service leave.
     

The Types of Roles Currently Available

Here at Tradewind, we’re seeing a huge demand for a full range of frontline Crisis Response and Case Workers, as well exciting new opportunities to work therapeutically with individuals and families impacted by or perpetrating violence. There are also numerous opportunities for those interested in management, be it a Team Leader for a Women’s Refuge or Managing a Therapeutic Family Violence Program.

If you’d like a further understanding of what some of these roles involve, have a read of these case studies. Even better, contact me directly to discuss your potential move into the Family Violence sector – I’m happy to answer any questions you might have