Return home
Contact us
Multiple pairs of hands holding dirt with a plant.

Our dedicated research and evaluation team

As part of our commitment to evidence-based services, we have a dedicated research, evaluation and social impact department. This team is responsible for driving collaborative design, development and implementation of our outcome measurements and evaluations at Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV).

They also undertake relevant research to build the evidence base for our services, and guide practice improvements and developments both within our organisation, in the sector more broadly, and beyond.

Sandra Opoku

Senior Manager Evaluation and Social Impact

Sandra leads our organisation’s impact, evidence and innovation activities, so as to inform improvements of outcomes for families and communities. She has 15 years’ experience in addressing complex social issues in the social services and international development sectors, including mental health, family violence, family law, early intervention and prevention, alcohol and other drugs, employment and disability.

Dr Genevieve Heard

Senior Researcher

Dr Genevieve Heard has been an integral part of the organisation's research activities since 2016. She has led multiple projects investigating the outcomes of post-separation services, including family dispute resolution, property conciliation, and lawyer-assisted models. She has also led projects relating to the use of technology in post-separation parenting, including the remote delivery of family dispute resolution services and the risks and benefits associated with the use of specialised co-parenting apps. She is part of the Relationships Australia National Research Network. Dr Heard’s earlier research focused on patterns of family formation and dissolution. She is author of more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles in these fields and is editor of Family Formation in 21st Century Australia (Springer, 2015).

Melody Velasquez-Tan

Research and Evaluation Officer

Mel supports a variety of research and evaluation activities at RAV, including literature reviews, data collection, data analysis, and reporting. Prior to joining the organisation, she worked in consultancy in the market and social research industry on various public and private sector research projects, as well as in academia. Mel has postgraduate qualifications in social sciences and social research. Her research interests include families, children, social relationships, population, and diversity and inclusion.

Kate Matthies-Brown

Research and Evaluation Officer

Since 2022, Kate has supported RAV’s evaluation and social impact activities, including program evaluation, practice development, and evidence reviews. She is a qualified social worker with experience in family services, youth mental health and academia. Kate has experience with a wide variety of evaluation methodologies, theories and methods, and a particular interest in feminist, thematic, principles-focused, and systems approaches. This knowledge supports RAV to enhance practice and integrate evaluation into practice.

Learn more about Relationships Australia Victoria

Quick Exit