Relationships Australia Queensland

Four sites four programmes

I feel re-energized and now understand the key concepts a lot better. The learning examples and ideas were very helpful and the practical suggestions for how to incorporate games and activities into learning was outstanding!

Relationships Australia Queensland staff member

The Background

Relationships Australia Queensland (RAQ) has been providing family and relationship support services for 65 years. Originally founded as the Marriage Guidance Council of Queensland in 1949 and changed its name to Relationships Australia (QLD) in 1996. Now with a team of over 380 staff in 21 venues and multiple outreach centres. RAQ’s mission is to promote healthy and respectful relationships, particularly where individuals, young people, families and communities are at risk or vulnerable and has been assisting over 100,000 people each year.

The Challenge

RAQ has contracts to deliver men’s behaviour change programs in four sites across Queensland (Cairns, Rockhamption, Brisbane city, and Towoomba. Each site is uniquely different and has divergent clientele, meaning that program facilitators require a high degree of flexibility to adjust according to site. For some sites closed program methodologies work best given the volumes of while for others open programs are more suitable.

The Solution

HMA is committed to supported good learning transfer and supporting implementation through to business as usual. Being committed to building internal capacities of organisations and agencies to maintain work once we have left is also part of our strategy. We approached this project in the following ways:

We undertook site visits, talked to staff, observed practice where possible, and where this was not possible interviewed facilitators, supervisors, site managers by video link or phone. This gave us a very real understanding of the challenges facing the agency delivering in this space.

We then provided a program that the agency could use across the multiple sites. Before training staff over a four day period, we worked with managers and supervisors, knowing that they would be key to successful implementation. During the implementation phase it was agreed that we would supervise the supervisors to ensure integrity of the program was maintained during initial implementation.

Before immersing staff in the program occurred over a four-day period, we had them complete a number of e-learning knowledge modules. Programs are more than what is written on paper – it is the feel for the program, the heart and how it is delivered that is key. Monthly webinars for delivery staff and partner support workers, along with a helpdesk to clarify content issues, was also part of the implementation design.

The Return on Expectation

The outcomes we are seeking from this project (it is early days) are a consistent delivery from RAQ throughout the state. Good program integrity around delivery of the new program will mean better front-end engagement of the men and better retention in the program. We know that outcome is influenced by successful completion of programs.

There exists little specialist learning opportunities for facilitators in the family violence area. By engaging fully with the staff from RAQ we are able to support best practice, develop skills in newer workers, and build internal capacity and knowledges.

This project also puts RAQ in the drivers seat of delivering evidenced based interventions in Queensland. With funding bodies wanting a return on investment, i.e. a reduction in violence within families, ensuring that best practice underpins work in this area also allays anxieties around supporting men’s behaviour change programs.

Take a look at what else people had to say:

The program design provides a fluid model of practice that is useful, practical, and user friendly as well as being purposeful and impacting.


The concept of assessment as a discussion was invaluable and will add value in my practice.