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Design research in Victoria's family courts to build insights and recommendations for better information sharing with Department of Premier and Cabinet


The challenge

Information sharing in our courts can be complex—with significant amounts needing to be exchanged amongst many stakeholders.

In a family violence context, this results in victim survivors needing to retell their story over and over again, increasing the risk of re-traumatisation.

Impact opportunity

Improving information sharing was one of the key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. The Victorian Behavioural Insights Unit engaged us to better understand the gaps, barriers and opportunities within our Magistrates’ Court.

Ethnographic research

We conducted ethnographic research in Melbourne, Ballarat, Heidelberg and Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Courts. In each court, we conducted contextual interviews with staff including the Family Violence Registrar, Applicant Support Practitioners and Respondent Support Practitioners.

We identified 23 main actors involved in a typical family violence matter. Each of these actors both sought and shared information—often highly technical, mostly through conversation. Each court location functioned very differently due to the variation of the volume and type of family violence matters.


We set out to capture the day-to-day reality of how the courts functioned in order to assist policy makers in decision making.
The process of a Family Violence Intervention Order is not linear and it was important to understand the system and objects to make robust recommendations that would result in positive systemic change.

Adam Morris
Chief Design Officer, Today

Information design

Initially tasked with capturing and sharing raw research data, we soon found that the complexity of the situation would mean the data would be impenetrable. We used information design to distill a large volume of complex interactions down to insights that could be easily consumed and acted upon.


We translated a complex system of critical information sharing into actionable recommendations and visual aids.

Our insights and recommended next steps formed part of a report to inform future policy decisions to improve the experience in Victoria’s Magistrates’ Courts.

Want to learn more about our work in the justice sector? Reach out to Peter, Partnerships Director, at


Designing and building a new way to access online assistance during family violence with Magistrate's Court of Victoria

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