Types of roles

Careers in family violence

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There are diverse roles in the specialist family violence workforce at local and statewide levels including direct service, management and leadership, and policy and advocacy.

‘Specialist family violence services’ are funded to work directly with victim survivors of family violence – including children – providing resources, advocating for their rights, and responding to safety and support needs. They can operate as standalone organisations, programs within other types of community organisations, or work with other agencies (such as courts).

Direct service roles

Workers provide case management, family violence risk assessment, risk management, safety planning, crisis responses, and advocate for victim survivors’ rights and access to resources and service entitlements. 

Direct service roles can be situated in local family violence support services, police stations, sexual assault services, crisis accommodation, or services focusing on specific communities (such as Aboriginal family violence services).

Roles include:

Intake and assessment
Intake and assessment officers are often the first point of contact for people seeking help and provide information and advice, risk assessment, safety planning and referrals.
Case management
Case managers work closely with people experiencing family violence and service providers to secure resources to support safety, wellbeing and recovery, including support for children. They need to keep accurate case notes and records to comply with laws and guidelines, keep victim survivors’ voices front and centre, and keep perpetrator risk in view.
Crisis support
Crisis support workers provide immediate emotional support, information and advice, and manage immediate threats to victim survivors’ safety including organising emergency accommodation.
Working with individuals or groups, counsellors deliver therapeutic programs for adults, children and young people who have experienced family violence to support them to process the family violence experience, improve their health and wellbeing, and heal and recover from trauma. Counsellors can also work with young people who use family violence.

There are minimum qualifications required for practitioners entering the sector from 1 July 2021 who provide direct specialist services to victim survivors or people using violence (such as safety planning, assessment and intake, case management and service navigation). Read about the mandatory minimum qualifications.

Court and legal support

Often working in specialist family violence services, court and legal support officers work with court staff to help victim survivors to go through the court system.

Service managers and leaders

Senior roles include team leaders and managers, or those overseeing a specific project or program. Service leaders engage and share knowledge with other leaders in the sector, identify opportunities to improve the service or sector, and support the wellbeing and development of staff.

Policy and practice professionals

These roles combine excellent communication skills and an understanding of the determinants, dynamics and impact of family violence to inform and influence public policy development, particularly in the context of the Royal Commission into Family Violence reforms. They collaborate with stakeholders to develop policy positions for the organisation and work both strategically and responsively.

Survivor advocacy

Survivor advocates are people who have experienced family violence and are formally engaged to advise and help inform service delivery and policy. Lived experience is fundamental to the specialist family violence sector as it provides powerful information about the impacts services have and where services can improve. 

There are opportunities to participate in survivor advocacy within the sector. To receive information about this work, sign up for our Experts by Experience e-Bulletin.

Primary prevention

There are a number of roles in the sector working in the prevention of family violence and violence against women. For information about the types of roles and how to get started, visit the Careers in primary prevention section.

Working with perpetrators

Working with perpetrators is challenging but important work. There are a range of roles providing immediate response or long-term behaviour change programs. For more information about perpetrator services and training and professional development options, visit No to Violence – the largest peak body in Australia for organisations and individuals who work with men to end family violence.


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