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

2019

The challenge

More than 85,000 family violence intervention orders (FVIO) are filed each year across 52 courts in Victoria. Up until now, the FVIO form has been paper-based and processed manually, resulting in numerous complexities for applicants who successfully lodge a form and potentially even more for those unable to complete the process.

Impact opportunity

We had an opportunity to bring one of Australia's most important forms online for the Magistrate's Court of Victoria, bringing people greater access to a much-needed service in times of crisis.

The process

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Discovery

We studied the existing paper form and spoke with stakeholders, court employees and public servants to understand its background, history and intent.

From a vast set of necessarily complicated requirements, we were able to deliver a robust user application form and a streamlined portal for court registrars. We integrated new features like an alert system for applications that hadn't progressed in a while, to help reduce the chance of an important case slipping through the cracks.

Testimonial

We engaged Today to design and deliver digital user research, user experience design, build, cloud hosting and release services for a highly complex online form, incorporating back office workflow and integration with our legacy case management system.

Their insightful user research informed the redesign of the prototype online form to significantly improve the user experience, reduce user data entry and streamline the presentation of the form pages.

They worked collaboratively with the business and IT teams to ensure successful online form technical build and integration, adjusting their approach to accommodate our evolving business requirements to ensure maximum benefit to the client and our operations.

I highly recommend Today to any organisation seeking a talented, collaborative and agile technology delivery partner.

Richard Hodge
Court Experience Manager, MCV

A platform built for growth

Recommendation 74 from the Royal Commission into Family Violence was to increase access to intervention orders and deliver an online FVIO application form across Victoria. This project was not only important for Victorian violence survivors using the form, but incredibly important to decrease the chance for human error, inefficiency and similar challenges when using a paper-based system.

In designing the solution we were conscious that applicants needed to feel supported and at ease when interacting with the FVIO. Our intent was to remove potential and actual blockers from the process to improve rates of form completion. This included simplifying the form into everyday language to reduce cognitive load and removing questions that cause anxiety or give false expectations.

"What does it mean when you answer questions like 'How long have you left respondent'?" — Support worker

Once the form is lodged, registrars complete the processing by making contact with the applicant and allocating the case to the right person. We worked to create a solution that made sure registrars had the ability to prioritise form data relevant to them, included a robust search function, and highlighted important, unallocated and pending applications.

We delivered a resilient and secure platform that can grow in technical ability to reflect the Magistrates' Court of Victoria's strategic goals.

Awards

This project was awarded Gold at the 2020 Good Design Awards in the Social Impact category and Gold at the 2020 Melbourne Design Awards in the Digital—Government Services category.

Outcome

As of early February 2020, this is the first online form for a family violence intervention order in Australia. Over the course of the coming months, we are working with the Magistrate’s Court of Victoria to help enhance the form and design and facilitate a change management program across Victoria’s 52 courts.

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