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Designing and building a digital platform for survivors of violence and crime with Department of Justice and Regulation


The challenge

More than 60,000 crimes against person—when someone is hurt or physically impacted by the crime— were reported in 2017 in Victoria.

Support is available for victims of crime, but the digital service offering was in need of a considered human-centred design process to fully support the needs of survivors of violence.

Impact opportunity

Victims have diverse needs across psychological and emotional support, physical and personal safety support and legal support.

We welcomed the potential social impact of collaborating with the Community Operations and Victims Support Agency to redesign their digital offering.

Community led design

Through a series of workshops, interviews and remote digital testing we engaged with more than 100 people to understand the needs, barriers and preferences of victims and potential victims of crime.

This included consultation with some hard to reach cohorts, such as people who speak English as a second language and people living with disability.

Understanding language and prototype testing with users who speak Hindi and Arabic.

A new channel mix and communication strategy

We built a journey and channels map framed around behavioural archetypes.

We defined new service principles to inform how victims would access the support they needed:

1—Simplify with consistency
2—Support the supporters
3—Extend the reach
4—Reinforce safety
5—Be transparent

The channel mix for the Community Operations and Victims Support Agency details when and where people are accessing services and information. By applying new service principles across the entire experience, we are able to transform content to provide the user with an optimal experience in their time of need.

We designed prototypes for the final digital experience including a live chat option. A designed prototype goes a step further than the screen designs. It responsively showcases the look, feel and interaction across different screen sizes and is particularly useful when there are multiple channels or ways for someone to engage with the service. The prototype reduces barriers and enables any development team to pick up the concept by using it as a reference point to build from scratch.


This work supports people or families who have been hurt or lost their lives as a result of violent crime. There were many real and poignant moments during the co-design process—which included many diverse participants—through quantitative methods as well as interviews and focus groups.
The impact of expanding and increasing visibility of the Victims Support Agency is undeniable.

Rebecca Heffernan
Content and UX Design Lead , Today


We worked with the COVSA team to co-design solutions that would have the most impact to the organisation and users of the service, backed by insights gathered from our research and testing.

The recommendations are live; helping victims of crime feel more supported with choice on how they access the services that can help them.

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


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