The use of peer workers is a recognised strategy in enriching and expanding drug treatment and recovery outcomes. While peer work is a well-established and proven treatment modality in the mental health sector, it is a currently a relatively small activity in the Victorian AOD sector.

This week the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced an immediate workforce lift to support the expansion of alcohol and other drug services. This initiative recognises the value of the emerging lived experience workforce.

Lived experience workforce: The government (DHHS) will support the Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC) to establish an Alcohol and other Drug peer workforce to ensure that the expansion of the peer workforce is evidence-based, consistent, effective and sustainable.

SHARC is liaising with the AOD consortium lead agencies to establish peer workers across the Victorian Alcohol and other Drug treatment sector, particularly aimed at bridging the gap between intake and admission to treatment, as well as expanding options for continuing care and recovery coordination post treatment planning (DHHS AOD Workforce Lift Communication 14th November, 2017).

As a well-established peer based organisation, SHARC is excited for the opportunity to imbed peer practice in the sector with the provision of the SHARC Peer Worker Model, which includes:

  • Peer Workforce Training and Continuous Professional Development
  • Peer Workforce Supervision
  • Intentional Peer Support training
  • Agency Training for Peer Workforce Readiness and Capacity Building

In addition, SHARC will provide the following as a framework to support the sector:

  • The development and maintenance of resources and standardised tools
  • A Peer Worker  Community of Practice to underpin sharing, resourcing and collaborative problem solving
  • A one-day peer workforce community forum

To maximise the success of the peer workforce, SHARC will actively strengthen partnerships with Central Intake and Consortium leads to develop a consistent understanding of peer work and best practice across the sector.

SHARC envisions that every peer worker receives consistent high level training and support to promote quality complex care and recovery and other treatment to clients. Agencies who employ workers will hold an authentic understanding of the role of the peer worker and the support required.

This initiative will commence in early 2018. For further information contact Victoria Monahan: M: 0414 313171 or