Gender-based violence policy reform: assessing the risks and public value of co-production with survivors

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Governments worldwide are increasingly engaging service users to reform public policies and services and enhance public value. Survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) are one group seeking to be heard by governments and gradually being engaged to improve policy outcomes. However, the history of the victims’ rights movement and feminist scholarship on political institutions indicate significant risks for survivors in these engagements with the state. This article examines the nature of these risks and how they are experienced and challenged, through a case study analysis of the implementation of the Australian state of Victoria’s Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council. Analysing government reports and interviews with survivors and policymakers, the article investigates how the state asserts control over survivors under the guise of co-production, inadvertently compromising public value creation. Informed by a feminist institutionalist lens, our analysis finds that efforts to address the power imbalances and gendered norms reflected in the informal rules of co-production are likely to better realise public value in terms of improved outcomes for all members of society, especially those experiencing GBV. The co-production risks we highlight and the ways to mitigate them we suggest are also relevant to other areas of co-production with other marginalised service users.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Gender-Based Violence
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

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