Social Innovation Accelerator Propels Forward to Prevent Domestic Violence

 

Apr 5, 2022

Microsoft Australia Managing Director Steven Worrall

The Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce New South Wales (AICC) in partnership with Microsoft and Mission Australia, and a broad coalition of government, university, industry, service providers and victim-survivor advocates are creating innovative technology solutions to prevent domestic and family violence (DFV) in Australia. 61 commitments were recently made to move the Social Innovation Accelerator to the next stage.

A long-time supporter of the initiative the Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello recognised the need to move beyond the current silo-based model for domestic and family violence victims. Instead, he is advocating for human centered delivery that “evolves and revolves around the individual and their needs.”

 

AICC CEO Michelle Blum speaks at the workshop

The inspiration behind the Social Innovation Accelerator came from the Israeli-based Michal Sela Forum (MSF), whose aim is to save lives and prevent domestic violence through innovation and technological solutions. AICC NSW CEO Michelle Blum explained to the online and in person attendees from 36 different organisations, “We want to create an eco-system that will amplify what already exists here to help prevent domestic violence.”

 

Lili Ben-Ami, CEO of MSF explained that by bringing together a cross section of broad collaborators including engineers and entrepreneurs from Israel’s high performing tech sector, with intelligence and counterterrorism experts plus social welfare agencies and domestic violence survivors the forum has used “out-of-the-box thinking” to build solutions that identify digital warning signs for violence in relationships. Through multiple hackathons their accelerator has already created a number of start-ups using digital data to prevent domestic violence. The MSF is planning to support the creation of 100 start-ups working to end domestic violence.

Brett Lightfoot, Microsoft Director Industry Public Sector – State Director QLD/NT

“DFV is a super wicked problem” explained Brett Lightfoot, Microsoft Director Industry Public Sector – State Director QLD/NT. He noted the tremendous, ongoing cost of DFV, with 32,000 assaults annually in NSW, translating to 87 a day, or 3.6 every hour. These numbers place an enormous strain on the systems in place, including 50% of all policing time. Adding that the lack of current synergies has translated to missed opportunities to save lives. Instead, he advocated for a “proactive, rather than a reactive process”.

There were over 219 challenges identified at the recent workshop, the third in the series, about the best ways to reduce DFV. The group selected 24 challenges to focus on, including:

  • Providing clear digital pathways to empower survivors to find the right services.
  • Allowing survivors to choose which personal information they want to securely share with selected providers.
    • Survivor-initiated data sharing provides better service and coordinated cross sector response.
    • It reduces the need for survivors to have to ‘retell’ their often traumatic story.
  • Enabling automated cross sector reporting to measure impact and provide data on identifying successful outcomes.
  • Designing digital services to include protection from technology-facilitated abuse.

Plans are to kick off the priority projects as innovation pods in early May. Contributions of cross sector time, expertise and funding will help create these agile units to focus on progressing the work of the specific challenges identified by the workshop and bringing the Social Innovation Accelerator to life.

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