Dr Deborah Western BA, BSW, PhD, GCAP
Deb is a social worker with extensive practice experience in the fields of child and family welfare, sexual assault and domestic violence. She has worked in metropolitan and rural areas with children, young people, adults and families. She has worked for the peak body for family violence organisations in Victoria (Domestic Violence Victoria) and sat on the Committee of Management of the Centre for Non-Violence Bendigo; the Board of Governance of Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria and on the Committee of Management of Safe Futures Foundation.
Deb has been employed as an academic in various universities in Victoria and NSW; most recently she worked in the Department of Social Work at Monash University. In addition to teaching and supervising social work students at the Honours, Masters and PhD levels, she has undertaken research and evaluation in relation to family violence service delivery and prevention of violence strategies with a number of family violence and community organisations. This included an evaluation of a women’s health organisation’s first prevention of family violence regional strategy and an evaluation of a CALD Communities Family Violence Project in Melbourne’s north. Deb has a strong commitment to feminist action research methodologies and works to ensure that these approaches are informed and underpinned by participatory/empowerment models.
Deb has collaborated in the development and implementation of the Social Work Graduate Year in Family Violence Practice Program with the Bayside Peninsula Integrated Family Violence Partnership which supports social work graduates’ transition to work in the family violence sector. This program is now included in the Victorian government’s action plan.
Deb’s doctoral research explored women's experiences of depression and how group work, journalling and methods of consciousness-raising could assist women with their understanding and recovery from depression. Her research interests include feminist practice and research; prevention of violence against women; feminist social work supervision and critical reflection; gender analysis; and women and mental health.
Deb is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) and her work has been published in journals and books.