Components and Methods of PATRICIA

There are 5 components to the PATRICIA Project, each component with its own methodology:

  1. The State of Knowledge component used a scoping methodology to locate evaluations of models in which child protection, domestic and family violence and family law collaborate and examined ways of working together (available at ).


  1. The Pathways component involves analysis of child protection datasets from Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. As datasets are organised differently across the different jurisdictions, each will be analysed individually. Whilst retaining their jurisdictional specificity the following analyses will be conducted:
  • Descriptive – comparing family demographic and case characteristics with identified domestic and family violence reported to the Child Protection system with families reported without domestic and family violence identified
  • Assessing effects of triage on the system
  • Cross-jurisdictional issues (to the extent that the three datasets contain measures of comparable data). The main change – and influence on the progress of the methodology – concerns adding a third dataset (that of Western Australia) to the two original datasets (New South Wales and Victoria). This added further complexity and thus time to advancing the methodology for the expanded project, given that at the project’s start, researchers only had detailed knowledge of one dataset (New South Wales).


  1. The Case Study component includes one case study site in each of five states: Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. This component focusses on current collaborative practices occurring between child protection (CP), family law (FL), and domestic/family violence (D/FV) services. Based on interviews with workers involved in an innovative collaborative initiative, observation of meetings, and analysis of project-related documents, the case studies when analysed (individually and collectively) will address the question of How will identified criteria for effective collaboration elucidate an understanding of the barriers and facilitating factors for collaborative work across CP, D/FV services, and services provided in the FL area? The case study work will be conducted by multiple investigators, in site-based teams (see Research teams across the states) but collectively investigators are serving on the same research team.


  1. The Perpetrator Accountability component of the project is comprised of two linked parts.
  • A documentary analysis of legislative policy and practice documents in each state and territory that guides the work of child protection workers. Using predetermined categories, the 8 jurisdictional approaches to working with families (including perpetrator and adult and child victims) in the context of domestic and family violence will be identified in consultation with project advisors. This work provides the background context to the project (particularly, the Case Study, Pathways and Case Reading process) and will be included in the final report.
  • A Case Reading Analysis of child protection practice within the context of collaborative work will be undertaken in the 5 participating states (Queensland, NSW, Victoria, SA and WA). It will focus on the quality of CP practice in relation to perpetrators of D/FV in specific (de-identified) cases. In each site, a team, including two senior child protection workers, specialist D/FV worker and researcher will be trained over two days and supported to conduct case readings, over two further days, of four de-identified CP files. Key questions are: What is the quality of CP screening for D/FV and What is the quality of D/FV practice in cases where it is identified at the point of referral? Training in undertaking the case reading, the resources with which to conduct the process, and ongoing support during the case reading will be provided by David Mandel & Associates, developers of the Safe and Together approach to a domestic violence informed child welfare system. Results of the case reading process will be reported as themes, trends and practices (i.e. neither as an audit of individual workers’ work nor identifiable by jurisdiction).


  1. The Workshops: An action research methodology underpins the design of the project creating a strong overarching collaborative process across all of the research components as well as within each of the above-mentioned components as they progress. The ‘formal’ or planned aspect of the action research component involves the three workshops over the life of the project (involving the Project Advisory Group drawn from the initial three participating states’ child protection agencies, specialist and peak domestic and family violence services, the Parenting Research Centre, and researchers from all five of the participating states). As each component of the project progresses, however, further (less formal or planned) action research is occurring through iterative cycles in which the ‘right’ interested stakeholders are brought together to plan, analyse and reflect on data and consider potential for new collaborative practice.