[GOV20]

YourCase: A better justice experience for family violence victim-survivors [DRAFT]



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Project Overview

Victim-survivors of family violence are some of the most vulnerable users of our court systems. We wanted to improve their experience of the court system. We co-designed, developed and launched YourCase in February 2020. YourCase is a digital tool that helps to create a better experience for victim-survivors who are attending court whilst they are going through the process of applying for a family violence intervention order.

YourCase provides clear and accessible information about every stage of the court journey. It’s simple, secure and free to use. As a team, we keenly observed recommendations coming out of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, particularly those relating to technology and the court experience for victim-survivors. We then worked closely with family violence victim-survivors to understand their needs and co-design a tool that would provide the necessary support before, during, and after their day at court.

YourCase’s development featured partners that include Victoria Police, the Public Sector Innovation Fund, Berry Street, Family Safety Victoria, the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, and the Federal Department of Social Services. His Honour Peter Lauritsen, Chief Magistrate of Victoria, lent his support to our exploration to improve court events around family violence intervention order cases. The Victim Survivors' Advisory Council was also engaged as a partner to provide the voice of victim-survivors throughout the design process, including Nicole Lee who is featured in the case study video for YourCase (https://youtu.be/ZrFqlGZsNYI). The product has gained widespread support across the sector.

Organisation

Portable

Team

We self-initiated the project by coming up with the original idea and then we sourced and found our own clients and project supporters. YourCases development featured partners that include Victoria Police, the Department of Premier and Cabinet's Public Sector Innovation Fund, Berry Street, Family Safety Victoria, the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, and the Federal Department of Social Services. His Honour Peter Lauritsen, Chief Magistrate of Victoria, also lent his support to our exploration to improve court events around family violence intervention order cases. The Victim Survivors' Advisory Council was also engaged as a partner to provide the voice of victim-survivors throughout the design process, including Nicole Lee who is featured in the case study video for YourCase (https://youtu.be/ZrFqlGZsNYI).

Experience YourCase for yourself here: https://www.yourcase.com.au/

Read more about the project here: https://www.portable.com.au/work/yourcase

Project Brief

The process of applying for a family violence intervention order is an experience that can cause re-traumatization – exacerbating the original trauma through the prospect of facing the perpetrator, inaccessibility of information, stress-related memory loss, and the possibility of deferments that can leave interim orders in limbo for up to a year.

One of the key recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence led us to question how we might, as designers, empower victim-survivors and minimize further trauma in the lead-up to their day in court and beyond.

YourCase doesn’t aim to change the court system itself and it can’t impact the outcome of cases, but it can give victim-survivors the knowledge they need for a better experience, one in which they are more informed, in control and feel better about their day in court. That’s our mission.
Portable led the initiative from the ground up, finding funding from partner agencies also interested in solving these problems. We proactively reached out too and were subsequently supported in this vision by the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Public Sector Innovation Fund, who then got matched support form the Federal Government Women’s Safety Package, which enabled us to create YourCase as a way of bridging the experience across service providers. Portable have also contributed considerable amounts of our own time in kind to the project as we are passionate about improving the experience of victim-survivors of family violence in accessing justice and support.

Project Need

YourCase provides measurable benefits to citizens, court staff, courts, and governments by utilizing a human-centred approach to design.

It is a digital solution: there is currently no digital solution to let citizens know what is happening to them at any moment in time.
It uses agile methodology: through planning work in a series of sprints with a clear understanding at the outset of what we’re going to achieve across design and development.

It was co-designed with real users: every court is unique and we worked with real users to tailor the solution.
It is citizen-centered: the citizens are the most important users.
It is data-driven: everything is validated with data and changes made to enhance engagement.
Working with our evaluation partners and Victoria Police we identified the scope of YourCase pilot and put together a pilot plan. We engaged with police stations in two areas: Heidelberg and Ballarat. This included the creation of referral tools including posters and cards that could be handed out by members of police to the affected family members they interacted with during the pilot period.
Through this process we created multiple prototypes of varying fidelity to test our assumptions on a range of participants. Starting out with a paper prototype, we gradually increased the fidelity into a series of clickable, high-fidelity wireframes, which we shared with the design group, as well as with the Victim Survivors Advisory Council, chaired by advocate Rosie Batty and Family Violence Command at Victoria Police.

User Experience

The terms ‘human-centered’ and ‘justice experience’ were new concepts at the time, so we had to create a framework for the partners to work together in a safe but experimental way. As a result, we created a dedicated project space at Portable and established a weekly workshop environment that brought our partners together to conduct research, user testing and to design possible solutions. We had a victim-survivor join our design team who had lived experience, which helped ensure we were always viewing processes, operations, opinions and insights through the lens of the people who would be using our product.
Over a six month period, this process brought together:
Police prosecutors to understand how victim-survivors intersect with police through their journey through a matter
Victorian Legal Aid caseworkers
Registry staff from Victoria courts in order to get a sense of the system issues
Case-workers from Berry Street, to understand how referrals were taking place between their service and the Heidelberg Magistrates Court
A court Magistrate and their support staff
Members of staff from Safe Steps who took us through the referral process
Victim-survivors with lived experience so we could understand their experiences
We also conducted:
Site visits and contextual observation at specialist family violence courts, VCAT and Children’s Court
A comprehensive literature review of existing work in the sector to gather insights and to ensure that no duplication occurred
Our initial research was captured in a Define Report which we shared publicly (https://portable-reports.s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/YourCase-Define-Report.pdf)

Project Marketing

By co-designing the solution with users themselves, testing prototypes and rapidly refining them we were able to ensure that the final result provides users with the best possible experience and meets their needs. YourCase is intended to be a ‘pocket guide’ to for victim-survivors of family violence providing users with a helpful step by step guide and support for attending court.
In February 2020, Portable formally launched YourCase (https://www.portable.com.au/events/neighbourhood-drinks) . It provides users with:
An accessible web app on mobile and desktop
The ability to enter upcoming court hearings and events directly into the app
Educational information and plain language related to specific court experiences, i.e. courts in Ballarat and Heidelberg
It also provides information about the court they are attending, including how to get there, where to park and court facilities.
Text messages and notifications to alert victim-survivors to upcoming matters and to outline how they can prepare for them
The ability to upload, save and store important documents and information throughout the court journey, such as business cards and photos of intervention orders
Reminder notifications at the expiry of intervention orders
There is also a quick exit feature throughout the platform to ensure that users can exit safely and quickly if they need to.

We know YourCase can be expanded and applied to many other cases. Empowering citizens with knowledge can be beneficial in countless scenarios, and Portable looks forward to discovering YourCase’s potential for more users in more and different jurisdictions.




This can be any expanded existing service or application from a new initiative or internal startup to an established department. We're not just after bells and whistles, but true innovation that exceeds expectations and fills a previously unmet need. in all categories with updates and developments that truly enhance the user experience and take your app or service to another level.
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