A helping hand for domestic violence service
Domestic violence is a huge issue in Australia. In 2018, . While media coverage and public outcry over this issue has increased over the past few years, funding for organisations that help survivors and their families has remained scarce. as a result of domestic violence, while 18 have died as of May this year
Despite little financial support, groups such as the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services NSW (WDVCAS) continue to provide a helping hand to survivors of domestic abuse.
WDVCAS NSW is the peak, state-wide body representing the 28 individual WDVCAS services across NSW, who support women and their children who are experiencing domestic violence and are seeking legal protection from the courts.
In 2017, a group of UTS Visual Communications students were tasked, as part of their coursework, with creating a new visual brand for the organisation to help explain and demystify the court process and experience to women who will be appearing in court to obtain AVOs.
Including work integrated learning in the UTS curriculum is an important element of student life at UTS. It provides students with a real-life opportunity to learn new skills and put them to use, while gaining an appreciation of the not-for-profit sector and specific courses.
“We really wanted to fully understand and be able to empathise with the experience that survivors of domestic violence endured," said UTS Visual Communication student Jessica Faccin. "This meant that we became completely immersed in their stories.”
The team worked closely with Renata Field, Director of WDVCAS, who provided them with valuable information about the process survivors of domestic violence had to go through, and provided them with insights they wouldn’t have been able to obtain through simple research.
Issues surrounding confidentiality meant the students weren’t able to access detailed reports of incidents from the organisation, so instead they listened to podcasts and even attended domestic violence related cases in court.
“This was a critical part of developing empathy for the survivors of domestic and family violence,” Jessica explained.
“It gave us a greater understanding of the emotional impact of the process, so we could be fully immersed in their experience. It helped us think about the emotions we wanted to convey in our designs, and take on personas to think about how users may interact with the organisations website and collateral.”
Having undertaken this research, the students were able to produce a number of products for WDVCAS including a website, printed material to facilitate access to services, and an information tool that explains and demystifies the court process and experience to women who will be appearing in court to obtain AVOs.
They also wrote and produced an insightful and thought-provoking animation 'Rewrite your story,' about the hardships women and children endure escaping violence.
WDVCAS used all the design outcomes produced by the students, which not only saved them a lot of money, but has also enabled them to connect with and inform a broader audience, including regional and rural NSW.
The Visual Communication team received a High Commendation in the Creative Media Social Justice Award category at the 2018 UTS Human Rights Awards for their work with WDVCAS.