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Marla's experience

Through the reformed family violence system, Marla and her children receive tailored support from a range of services, from the police to legal assistance and financial counselling.

An illustration of a woman holding her child and speaking to a police officer.

Safe

Marla phones 000. The police arrive. Based on their risk assessment of
Marla’s safety (all police are trained in family violence risk assessment), as well as up-to-date information accessed via their mobile device—including the last report and the most recent Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO)—they assess that Marla is at serious risk.

The police arrest Marla’s husband for breaching the FVIO and support Marla to contact the local Support and Safety Hub through a L17 (Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Report) formal referral. Over the coming months, the local police Family Violence Team continue to play a key role by participating in Marla’s ongoing safety and  planning. This planning is coordinated by the Hub in conjunction with her family violence service and other supports. This work includes ongoing police contact, engagement with her husband and his  compliance with the FVIO and other interventions that have been put in place.

An illustration of a woman reading to her children as a locksmith changes the locks on her front door.

Safe to remain at home

As part of Marla’s safety assessment and planning, the Hub finds Marla emergency housing. However, ultimately Marla’s choice is to stay safe at home. The Hub ensures that Marla’s home is made safe and that her ongoing safety is monitored with the police being active partners in keeping the family safe. Through the Support and Safety Hub, key changes are made to the home to encourage and deter the perpetrator from re-entering the home. These measures are flexibly introduced in line with Marla’s choices.

An illustration of a woman speaking to a lawyer.

Legal supports

Within the safe environment of the Support and Safety Hub, and based on an initial assessment of her legal needs, Marla is immediately connected with legal information and advice. Under the family violence information laws, Marla’s lawyer is able to access Marla’s information and current police and court documents so that she only has to give any new or updated information instead of repeating her whole story. The Support and Safety Hub helps Marla to make  arrangements for the care of her children on the day she goes to court.

Marla is given a time to come to court and doesn’t have to wait around all day. At court,  Marla is able to wait in a separate, safe room. As a family violence matter, the case is heard in a specialist family violence court. The Magistrate understands the unique safety risks presented by Marla’s husband to Marla and her children. The Magistrate also understands the relationship with the other areas of law that are not being dealt with that day, including child protection and family law. The Magistrate identifies a range of interventions to hold Marla’s husband accountable for his actions. The Magistrate explains to Marla and her husband what has been decided and what the orders mean.

A case manager works with Marla’s husband to support and monitor his participation in the programs ordered by the Magistrate.

An illustration of a woman and her son speaking to a counsellor.

Support for children

Through the Support and Safety Hub, family violence and family services experts will work together through collaborative practice and share information to be able to holistically assess the safety and recovery of Marla and her children. The Hub will ensure that as part of Marla’s plan both of her children have access to trauma counselling. This counselling will not be limited by a number of visits but by when the outcomes are achieved for Marla’s children.

Marla’s navigator will connect with her children’s school, and together will develop a learning and wellbeing plan that helps Marla’s children catch up and feel supported. This plan also helps Marla feel that she is welcome, safe and supported within the school community.

An illustration of a man speaking to a group about his problems.

Perpetrator accountability

In assessing and planning for Marla’s safety and ongoing recovery, the Hub identifies that Marla’s husband has issues with alcohol and drugs. The Hub is able to ensure that services are coordinated to provide support to Marla’s husband. The Magistrate also makes a Family Violence Intervention Order for a period of 12 months, which prevents him from coming to Marla’s home. Marla’s husband receives case management which books him into drug and alcohol and mental health services, as well as his ongoing Men’s Behavioural Change Course—with
lack of engagement being a trigger to update Marla’s safety plan.

When the FVIO is approaching expiration, the Hub is notified through the Central Information Point. The Hubs team are able to inform Marla, re-assess Marla’s safety plan and assist her to reconnect with her lawyer to seek an extension of the FVIO. Information about Marla’s husband’s progress through behaviour change and other programs is provided to the Magistrate, including an updated risk assessment by the Community Corrections Officer.

An illustration of a woman paying for her groceries.

Financial security

The Hub supports Marla with a support package to alleviate financial stress. The Hub links Marla to financial counselling that has specialist family violence expertise to help remove herself from joint accounts and set up her own bank accounts, deal with the fines incurred by her husband and set a budget. Marla is able to access family violence leave through her terms and conditions with her employer.