Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victorian Government

Voices of Hope: Co-designing a better family violence system with DPC


The Royal Commission into Family Violence highlighted that the current system isn’t working and needs to change. Huddle was engaged to create a human-centred approach to the government and service system decision-making process.




Desired outcome

Building capability


  • The Royal Commission into Family Violence highlighted that the current system isn’t working and needs to change.

  • DPC wanted to help the government and service system understand the lived experiences of family violence by people who have dealt with it.

  • Huddle approached the project from a co-design perspective with family violence experts to put victim survivors at the heart of the reform and create a human-centred approach to the government and service system decision-making process. 

  • We designed tools that would help DPC in supporting the victim survivor experience within the Family Violence system.


The Royal Commission into Family Violence created a blueprint for government to implement reforms in Victoria. In July 2016 Huddle was engaged to help the government and the people working in the services system to understand the lived experiences of people who have dealt with family violence in Victoria.


We gathered existing research to build a picture of what is already known about family violence to ensure this project could build on that understanding. We also interviewed people working in the service system to build a picture of known issues and opportunities and were guided by them about the best way to engage with their community. We complemented this with Aboriginal cultural awareness training and LGBTI awareness training to ensure our approach was respectful and was designed from a place of cultural sensitivity.


Because of their expertise and experience working with victim survivors, we partnered with specialist family violence services throughout the project. We embraced them as partners in our research and co-designed bespoke approaches tailored to the unique needs of different communities. We also prototyped and tested the activities with them plus a team of expert advisors from the Victim Survivors Advisor Council (VSAC). In this way we created safe, respectful, trusting environments in which to work with Aboriginal people, people from CALD backgrounds, the elderly, and the LGBTI community. In this work, we sought to deeply explore victim survivors’ realities and values. Our research was conducted as a stand alone program as well as being incorporated into existing workshops, such as the Dilly Program facilitated by the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service (FVPLS). During this phase our co-pilots provided expert guidance and support for victim survivors during research.

Tools used

These tools were designed for co-design and collaboration between government, victim survivors, and people working in the family violence system so that a balance of perspectives is addressed. They are designed to be used—to springboard ideas, and refine concepts, test, prototype, and assess the outcomes of change. 

  • Experience Principles: The virtues of the future family violence system that align us on how we need to be for the victim survivors the system is in service of. This tool was designed for creating ideas, testing concepts, and assessing outcomes.
  • Change Framework: A practical guide to assess how a change might impact people and services across the system. It helps DPC centre decision making around the perspective of victim survivors.
  • Vision stories: The way we imagine people will feel experiencing the service system when the reforms have taken place. These help people visualise change. Vision stories are used to describe how the concepts might feel from a victim survivors’ perspective. They’re helpful for storytelling and focusing on the experience of change.


Huddle co-designed what a better experience with the service system might look like with victim survivors. We undertook deep analysis and synthesis of our findings to uncover current and future state insights, and then used these to create a set of tools for government and the service sector to use to enable human-centred decision making throughout the reform process.

By taking a co-design approach, DPC were able to demonstrate new ways of working with the service sector. Throughout the project, government adapted a new human-centred way of working, co-designing with the people who will use the reformed service, as well as the people who work in the system, enabling everyone to continue in this new way well after the project has finished.

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Huddle Melbourne
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Huddle acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the true custodians of the land in which we live and work.

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