PATRICIA project: inter-agency collaboration in domestic and family violence services

The PATRICIA project (PAThways and Research In Collaborative Inter-Agency working) was initiated by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS).

The PATRICIA project is investigating how services are working together to respond to the needs of women and their children who have experienced domestic and family violence (DFV) and are involved with statutory child protection agencies. The project will gather, analyse and synthesise evidence on how to develop greater cross-sector collaboration to respond to the needs of women and their children.

ANROWS commissioned the Parenting Research Centre and The University of Melbourne to produce a report on the ‘state of the knowledge’ on inter-agency working. Drawing on The University of Melbourne team's expertise on DFV and the review methodology expertise of the PRC, we produced a report on inter-agency collaboration between child protection services and specialist DFV services and family law.

We used a scoping review methodology to determine the state of the knowledge, conducting a systematic search of academic databases and the websites of key organisations. This approach helped us to identify published and unpublished international evaluations of 24 models of inter-agency working in the fields of child protection, DFV and family law.

Our analysis identified how agencies work together in these fields, such as establishing governance structures, and revising management and operations processes in order to support the shift towards collaboration.  

We also identified the processes reported to be involved in collaboration with child protection, including the following:

  • development of formal agreements for working together and sharing information
  • development of operations manuals for inter-agency work
  • development of shared theoretical frameworks, goals and vision
  • initiation of co-location of child protection with other agencies
  • formation of shared data management and security systems
  • formation of committees involving child protection
  • appointment of agency representatives and coordinators or liaisons
  • allocation of specific child protection funding
  • establishment of role clarification of personnel from different agencies
  • development of shared intake and referral procedures
  • use of common risk assessments
  • development of agreements to include child protections in various aspects of services
  • provision of training on inter-agency working with child protection
  • provision of cross-agency leadership.

These findings are informing an investigation of services in the field to determine how collaborative processes are actually used.

Read the report and learn more about the project on the ANROWS website.

Partner: The University of Melbourne

This material was produced with funding from the Australian Government and the Australian state and territory governments.  

The PATRICA Project gratefully acknowledges the financial and other support it has received from Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) towards this research and, through it, the Australian Government and Australian state and territory governments. The views reported in this presentation are those of the authors and cannot be attributed to ANROWS or to the Australian Government, or any Australian state or territory government.