Rosie Batty as change agent and policy entrepreneurs

Ms Lisa Wheildon1

1Monash University, Clayton, Australia

In recent years, shining a light on, responding to and preventing the serious issue of domestic and family violence (DFV) has become a focus for governments, policy-makers and advocates alike. The rise of DFV to the top of the public agenda is in large part due to the influence of victim-survivor advocates sharing their lived experiences of violence and of systemic responses to DFV, such as the courts. In the Victorian context, one victim-survivor advocate, Rosie Batty, has been particularly significant in the development of public policy and service delivery through her influence, which helped precipitate the 2015–16 Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, and subsequently through chairing the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council (VSAC). This article considers the history of victim-survivors and the DFV movement in Victoria, which it is argued, provided solid foundations for Batty to act as policy change agent. It is also argued that Batty’s policy entrepreneurship as a victim survivor helped unite key players and challenge divisions, and will be useful to policy makers seeking to understand how best to centre the lived experiences of victim-survivor advocates.


Lisa has been the Director of Stakeholder Relations and Communications at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) since 2016. Prior to that, she played a key role in establishing Our Watch, the national foundation to prevent violence against women. Before joining Our Watch, Lisa spent ten years in senior communications roles in the Victorian public sector and completed the Executive Masters in Public Administration with ANZSOG in 2010.

Prior to joining the public sector, Lisa worked in consulting and was with ABC TV in public relations and marketing roles for over six years. Her early career was in radio journalism. Lisa is committed to initiating behaviour change in relation to the issues of violence against women and gender equality and has overseen several research projects in these areas for Our Watch.


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