Evaluation of eSafety’s Dedicated Project Officer Grants Program

The Dedicated Project Officer Grants Program was part of the Australian Government’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.

The program ran from December 2020 to June 2022.

The grant funding allowed Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to engage a Dedicated Project Officer to develop culturally appropriate resources and training for frontline workers who support women experiencing technology-facilitated abuse as an extension of domestic and family violence.

In July 2022, eSafety commissioned the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at the University of Technology Sydney to conduct an independent evaluation of the program. 

The evaluation is part of eSafety’s commitment to continuous improvement and building the evidence base for online safety initiatives.

Evaluation process

The Institute for Public Policy and Governance used a mixed-methods approach to conduct the evaluation. Methods included desktop and literature reviews, semi-structured in-depth interviews and an online survey. 

The evaluation aimed to:

  • assess the suitability of the grant for different types of organisations 
  • understand how Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations used grant funds to achieve project goals  
  • review the grant-making model and recommend how the administration of the program could be improved. 

Summary of key findings

Program impacts and effectiveness

The evaluation found that the Dedicated Project Officer Grants Program:

  • enabled the development of culturally safe and appropriate services and resources 
  • increased awareness of technology-facilitated abuse and eSafety within Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and the communities they serve 
  • strengthened the capacity of organisations to respond to technology-facilitated abuse 
  • helped to build and strengthen community relationships. 

However, it was found that the funding provided by the program was not enough to cover all costs for organisations to meet their program goals.

Program design and management

The evaluation found that the Dedicated Project Officer Grants Program addressed a significant and ongoing need for investment in helping First Nations communities deal with technology-facilitated abuse as part of the broader experience of domestic and family violence. 

eSafety’s engagement with and support of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations during the program was highlighted as positive.

The Institute for Public Policy and Governance made recommendations to inform the design of future rounds of the grants program, or similar First Nations-specific programs run by eSafety or other government agencies. 

Most notably, it recommended to increase the funding available and reduce allocation restrictions so organisations can be sufficiently resourced to meet the unique needs of the communities they serve. 

Program implementation 

The evaluation found that all grant recipients used consultation and co-design processes to design, develop and promote resources to support their clients' needs and ensure cultural safety. 

The program successfully reached and engaged the target population and educated service providers and the community. The reach of the program extended beyond the target population to non-Indigenous people in the community.   

The evaluation highlighted the importance of community-led projects and activities, such as those funded under the program, that are flexible to local needs and co-designed with the community. 

It was recommended that similar, future programs consider the time it takes to build relationships with and within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and fund accordingly.

Resources for First Nations communities

eSafety has developed a suite of online safety resources for First Nations people that includes video and audio content in multiple languages.

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