Commissioned research

The dignity by design project: survivor-led system redesign

  • Therapeutic responses
  • Victims & survivors
  • Workforce
Project Length
36 months
Project Budget
(funded by National Centre)
Funding Stream

Project Lead

Professor Susan Heward-Belle, The University of Sydney

Project Team

Professor Judy Cashmore, The University of Sydney

Professor Donna Chung, Curtin University

Professor Rita Shackel, The University of Sydney

Associate Professor Ruth Phillips, The University of Sydney

Dr Alison Evans, Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing (WA)

Dr Betty Luu, The University of Sydney

Dr Sarah Ciftci, The University of Sydney

Mary Jo McVeigh, The University of Sydney

Patrick Shepherdson, The University of Sydney

Tara Hunter, Full Stop Australia

Background and Aim

In partnership with survivors, this project will design, implement and evaluate innovative, place-based tools and resources to foster dignity-driven, trauma-informed, culturally safe and inclusive practice and policy development. The project will seek to understand the messages that young victims and survivors have for practitioners and policy actors within mental health and alcohol and other drug services. Further, the contributions that participatory action research can make to policy and practice redesign and developments that better serve young victims and survivors who access these services will also be investigated. Finally, this project will examine the legislative, policy and practice barriers and enablers to dignity-based and compassionate responses to young victims and survivors.


Dignity by Design is a survivor-centred, participatory action research project that will build the capacity of policymakers, practitioners and service leaders to change systems that compound trauma. The project is a collaboration between people with lived and living experiences of child sexual abuse, professionals, policy and legal actors and researchers.


This project will generate new knowledge to better understand the needs of young victims and survivors. It will improve service design and develop innovative practice and policy tools that offer prevention and intervention pathways to protect and improve health and wellbeing.

Related posts: 
  • Therapeutic responses
  • Victims & survivors
  • Workforce
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Delivering trauma-informed support for child sexual abuse victims in Victoria: mapping the knowledge gaps and training needs of the specialist sectors

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