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Edition 4

What’s been happening

New family violence advertising campaign

Respect Women - For Our Children's Future

On 15 December 2016, the Victorian Government’s new family violence behaviour change campaign was launched. The first phase of the campaign is focused on mass awareness of the issue of family violence and features two television commercials supported by a print and digital campaign.

Each advertisement has two parts – 45 seconds to demonstrate the problem and a separate 15 second feature showing ways to get support and help.

This is the first stage of the campaign and as it progresses, more targeted efforts for specific communities including Aboriginal, LGBTI, CALD, young people and older Victorians in the next stages. These will be developed based on evidence and consultation with specific communities.

Support information is available on the website or call Safe Steps on 1800 015 188.

Family Violence Has No Good Days

There’s Nothing Good About Dads Who Abuse Women

Warning: this video contains distressing images.

16 Days of Activism – Victoria Against Violence

Victoria Against Violence

The government’s Victoria Against Violence campaign united Victorians across the state for 16 days of activism against family and gender violence. The campaign, now in its second year, runs from 25 November, the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women to 10 December, Human Rights Day.

The campaign commenced with the Walk Against Family Violence at Federation Square and received tremendous support throughout the 16 days, from local landmarks lit brightly in orange, to community activations such as #GE4ME and #16coffeecups.

Other great events across the state, included the inaugural Breakthrough Conference, an industry leading gender equality event and the screening of ’The Hope Project’, a new film produced in partnership with Domestic Violence Victoria. Landmarks that supported the campaign in ’going orange’ included: Government House, Arts Centre, State Library Victoria, Southern Cross Station Clock Tower, Federation Square Atrium, AAMI Park, Royal Exhibition Building, MCG, Bolte Bridge, Melbourne Star, Treasury Building, Trades Hall and McCrae Lighthouse.

As part of the 2016 Victoria Against Violence campaign, the Victorian Government and City of Melbourne are partnering to create a permanent memorial for victims and survivors of family violence. Widespread consultations are being held from 30 November to 19 December 2016. The memorial will create a dedicated and permanent space for all members of the community to reflect and heal from the devastating impacts of family violence.

Victorians are encouraged to share their thoughts on the design and look of the memorial. To complete the online survey please visit the Participate Melbourne website.

Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria

Group of women from the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Service Victoria

Joining the international campaign ’16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence’ the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service (FVPLS Victoria) held a morning tea to bring together the Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community with supporters from across Government and the community sector. FVPLS Victoria CEO, Antoinette Braybrook, spoke of FVPLS Victoria’s work supporting Aboriginal victim survivors of family violence to access justice, and drive the solutions to violence in their communities.

Ms Braybrook emphasised the need for increased resourcing to meet the level of need for FVPLS Victoria’s services across the state, noting that Victorian Aboriginal women are 25 times more likely to be killed or injured by family violence.

Attended by Natalie Hutchins, the Honourable Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, FVPLS Victoria’s morning tea was an opportunity to renew a collaborative commitment to working together and recognise the work that is being done to support Aboriginal women and children. It was also an opportunity to reflect on Aboriginal women’s leadership and ensure that Aboriginal victim survivors voices are heard. Often silenced and marginalised, this was an important moment for Aboriginal victim survivors to speak out that Aboriginal women are not the problem.

Designed by Aboriginal women, FVPLS Victoria launched the ‘I Am Not The Problem’ campaign during the 16 Days of Activism and shared the call for action with all participants at the morning tea -that Aboriginal women are strong in culture and their safety matters.

Ms Braybrook urged and encouraged those present to take action not only during the ’16 Days of Activism’ but every day to reverse the epidemic of violence against Aboriginal women.

You can support FVPLS Victoria’s powerful ‘I Am Not The Problem’ campaign through social media and more information is available on their website.

On 7 December 2016, the government announced $500,000 in funding to extend prevention programmes designed by Aboriginal women, for Aboriginal women for an additional two years. Read media release.

Three women surrounded by donated bags

Also, in conjunction with Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE), the #itsinyourbag organisation kindly donated 400 bags to FVPLS Victoria for Aboriginal women in the lead up to Christmas. The bags are filled with goodies to make the women feel special at this time of year.

COAG National Summit on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children

3 children, Quote: Part of looking after me is looking after my kids - Victim Survivor

The COAG Summit on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children was held in Brisbane on 28 October 2016. Delegates included Commonwealth, State and Territory Premiers, Chief Ministers and Women’s Safety Ministers, academics, experts in family violence and leaders from the community sector. Delegates joined round table discussions, which focused on a range of issues, including the family law system, the effect of family violence on children and Aboriginal insights and experiences.

The Premier, Daniel Andrews MP, addressed delegates at the National Summit and focused the presentation on the Victorian Royal Commission into family violence.

At the COAG meeting, 9 December 2016, the Premier presented a paper on the Royal Commission’s recommendations and sought the support of the Commonwealth Government and fellow state and territory leaders to consider the following actions:

  • changes to the family law system
  • a new Medicare item for family violence counselling
  • paid family violence leave in the National Employment Standards
  • protection for migrant victims of family violence under Australian law
  • extending funding agreements on homelessness and expanding resourcing of legal services.

Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change

Rosie Batty speaking

Victim Survivors' Advisory Council Chair, Rosie and council member Nicole delivered moving and significant speeches at the launches of the 10 Year Plan in Melbourne and Geelong. They acknowledged how victim survivors are now at the decision table, at workshops, in conversations, speaking with law makers and working with Government to create systems that work for people affected by family violence.

By no longer silencing this deeply rooted societal problem it allows all Victorians to understand why these changes are needed.

The launch of the plan was welcomed across the networks and marked a significant step for Victoria’s stand against family violence.

The Age article acknowledged the work across the sector and government in developing the plan to show how government will deliver against each of the 227 recommendations made by the Royal Commission into family violence.

We would like to share with you on a smaller scale how the plan can even fill little hearts with hope. Watch the beauty and innocence of this child as she realises her picture is on the front cover of the plan.

Ending Family Violence: Victoria's Plan for Change - Introduction to the plan from Dept of Premier & Cabinet Vic on Vimeo.

Read the 10 year plan on the family violence website.

‘Engine room’ wrap-up

Victim Survivors Advisory Council (VSAC)

The voice of victims survivors are being kept front and centre as members of VSAC, continue to raise awareness and understanding about family violence its impacts and the need for change. Read the VSAC message.

VSAC members, in different ways, took a stand against gender-based violence during the 16 days of activism. Kristy, Daniela, Tarang, Liana and Nicole were official ambassadors for Victoria Against Violence, 16 days of activism.

1800 Respect

Rosie Batty and former AFL footballer Jimmy Bartel launched 1800RESPECTS’s toolkit and a video for frontline workers, friends or family members to give women the support they need. Watch the video and access the toolkit on the 1800 respect website.

For online counselling, information and support call 1800 737 732.

1800 Respect media release.

’Thankfully, the days of blaming women for the violence are rapidly passing’

Phil Cleary has penned a great piece in the Guardian about Emma Hauser and the need to stop men hijacking the conversation of family violence.

Read the article.

’Men’s violence isn’t a women’s problem. It’s a man’s problem’

Tarang Chawla, has recently become an ambassador for White Ribbon Australia and has raised important point about the need to challenge the way we talk about family violence as a society. Read Tarang’s article.

In support of White Ribbon Day, Tarang and Kristy McKellar raised awareness of family violence in Austrailan workplaces by sharing their experiences with Medibank.

Elder Abuse & Family Violence Awareness at McCrae Lighthouse

VSAC member, Jeanette was instrumental in putting the spotlight on the issue of elder abuse by including McCrae lighthouse to ‘go orange’ in support of Victoria Against Violence campaign. At this event, on 2 December, the government announced a new Ambassador for the prevention of elder abuse, Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians as well as $1 million support program to assist victims of elder abuse through family violence.

Read the news article.

’I don’t wanna play house’

Tammy Anderson

’I don’t wanna play house’ is a one-woman play, written, directed and produced by VSAC member, Tammy Anderson.

Tammy is a proud Palawa Aboriginal woman from Tasmania. She is a graduate of the Swinburne University Indigenous Performing Arts Course, and received a scholarship to the John Bolton Theatre School.

Since its debut in 2001 at the Playbox Theatre, Tammy has toured across Australia – including at the Sydney Opera House - with her play, as well as internationally in Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, the United States and Canada to high acclaim.

In recognition of the 16 days of activism and to further raise awareness of family violence in Aboriginal communities, Tammy took to the stage for a special performance at the ACMI.

The Special Minister of State, Gavin Jennings MLC, introduced Tammy’s play, acknowledging her courage and powerful influence in addressing family violence through the arts.

It is her dramatised memory of her childhood and adolescent experience- through a variety of personalities from her life and portrays the violence and abuse endured by Tammy and her family. This play brings to the forefront confronting themes and experiences of family violence and child abuse.

Fellow VSAC member, Tarang Chawla recounted Tammy Anderson's play as a ’moving performance of the intergenerational impacts of family violence.’ He further remarked ’Tammy is powerful, yet sensitive, and brings an authenticity to her performance that resonates with the audience and has left me thinking for days about what more I can do to end family violence. I thoroughly enjoyed Tammy's play and hope others experience the opportunity to see her perform it live.’

Muriel Bamblett, CEO of VACCA (Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Community), commended Tammy for sharing her story.

Ms Bamblett joined Tammy during the Q&A session and talked about the role of self-determination in ending family violence for Aboriginal people.

Ms Bamblett highlighted the importance of building awareness within the community about family violence and encouraged people to share a video ’Violence Is Not Our Culture’ commissioned by VACCA in June.

The video focuses on the importance of community to stand against family violence. It highlights the generational impacts of family violence from the experience of two Aboriginal people. The video also builds awareness of the support available to help victims and perpetrators to overcome the cycle of violence.

Watch the short video on Violence Is Not Our Culture.

Indigenous Family Violence Partnership Forum

The Indigenous Family Violence Partnership Forum, the community-led partnership between Aboriginal communities and government, met in Macedon on 1-2 December to continue a strong dialogue to address family violence.

Partnership Forum members acknowledged that Victoria’s 10 Year Plan – Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change had a strong commitment to Aboriginal self-determination and builds on the foundations of the Indigenous Family Violence 10 Year Plan.

Key issues that were discussed included the review of the Partnership Forum, beginning the development of the next iteration of the Indigenous family violence 10 year plan and the key challenges of broader issues relating to access to data and sharing data across agencies and with the community at a local level.

In looking at the forward work plan for the Partnership Forum for 2017 and the opportunities through the family violence reform agenda, the forum reflected on the success of a number of programs and activities delivered throughout the course of 2016 such as ’The Footy Stands Against Violence DVD’, ’Strategy Cultural Response training for Family Violence in Aboriginal Communities Best pilot’ and ’Strengthening Cultural Security two day Workshop’.

Family Violence Steering Committee update

The Family Violence Steering Committee (FVSC) provided considerable input and feedback into the development of Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change, and developed a foreword that is featured in the 10 Year Plan for Reform. The Victorian Government thanks all members for their highly valuable contributions.

Fiona McCormack, FVSC Chair, also promoted the Committee’s message through the new Stories of Change section on the website. Read the Committee’s foreword.

In mid-November a series of stakeholder briefing sessions were held with the FVSC members in the lead-up to the launch of the Plan, to provide members with an overview of the 10 Year Plan. Following this, at the FVSC meeting held on 22 November members were briefed on the various aspects and features of the Family Violence Plan website and communications approach.

Social Services Taskforce

On 23 November, the Social Services Taskforce convened for a briefing from the Special Minister on State Ending Family Violence: Victoria's 10 Year Plan for Change.

The Special Minister of State briefed the Taskforce members on the details of the Plan ahead of its public release and critical role the Taskforce will play in ensuring the reforms identified in the Plan are aligned across the government's broader social service and justice system reform agenda. The Social Services Taskforce will continue to play a critical role in the social services reform agenda in 2017.

Family Violence Housing Assistance Implementation Taskforce

The Family Violence Housing Assistance Implementation Taskforce (the Taskforce) has met eight times since it was established in May 2016. In August 2016, the Taskforce established three working groups comprised of Taskforce members, DHHS and DPC officials, community services sector, academic and victim-survivor contributors. Each working group has met at least twice to progress key pieces of work as follows:

Following an open tender process to conduct an independent evaluation of the $152 million initial housing blitz announced in April 2016, the Evidence working group anticipates that the successful bidder will commence the evaluation in early 2017.

The Housing Supply working group has commissioned a short report to estimate the shortage of long-term social housing in Victoria and is developing the scope for a more detailed long-term housing demand and supply model, including a focus on family violence.

The Support Services working group is providing guidance on an independent evaluation of the Flexible Support Packages and on the redevelopment of guidelines for providers of these packages. The group is also scoping work to better understand the experience of women and children who access refuges and is providing guidance on the work to redevelop family violence refuges to core and cluster models.

For more information on the taskforce and its work, please email: FVHT@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

Diverse Communities and Intersectionality Working Group

The Diverse Communities and Intersectionality Working Group held its third meeting on Tuesday 6 December. The group’s membership continues to evolve to ensure comprehensive representation of all diverse experiences of family violence.

At this meeting the group discussed the Victorian Government’s Family Violence Outcomes Framework and how to ensure outcomes for diverse communities are captured. They also discussed the Government’s cost, price and demand project. Further engagement on both of these important pieces of work will occur at future meetings.

Members were thanked for their input in co-designing the Diversity and Intersectionality Framework, which was included in Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change. This is an important step toward ensuring the new family violence service system is comprehensively designed to meet the needs of Victoria’s diverse communities.

Read and share the personal stories of members from the group.

Jen Hargrave from Women with Disabilities Victoria, also a member of the Diverse Communities and Intersectionality Working Group, shared a story during the International Day of People with a Disability and the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. Read the story.

Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions

Holding perpetrators to account is a basic objective of the family violence system. The Royal Commission into Family Violence concluded that the current response to perpetrators is under-developed and requires a broader range of interventions based on contemporary evidence of ‘what works’ in changing family violence perpetrators behaviour and keeping victims safe.

The Victorian Government has established the Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions (the Committee) to provide independent advice to the government.

The membership of the Committee includes members with lived experience, expertise in a variety of academic disciplines and practice approaches, and with experience in working directly with perpetrators and victims of family violence, including those from diverse communities.

The first meeting of the Committee was held on Monday 21 November 2016. The meeting was chaired by Robyn Kruk AM. The Committee noted its Terms of Reference for its 18 month term, and endorsed its high-level work plan and protocols. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday 20 January 2017.

Roadmap for Reform

On 4 November 2016, Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos co-chaired the third meeting of the Roadmap Implementation Ministerial Advisory Group (RIMAG).

During the meeting, the group was briefed on the recently announced out-of-home care reforms being trialled in the state’s south and member’s advice was sought on other opportunities to promote and test innovative, evidence-based models. The discussion also focused on the progress made in establishing a Learning System, as well as an update on the Intensive Support in the Early Years Program. The Department of Premier and Cabinet provided an update on the work being undertaken from a whole of government perspective.

The Advisory Group was updated on work being done to safeguard against abuse and early identification of risks of abuse through initiatives such as Child Safe Standards and a Reportable Conduct Scheme. As part of the discussion, the Advisory Group was asked to consider a vision for future safeguarding in Victoria.

The three working groups recently established under the RIMAG are meeting on a fortnightly to monthly basis to address key Roadmap priorities around universal services, out-of-home care the learning system and practice implementation. The working groups comprise of representatives from the community sector, academia, unions and government, and report their progress back to the RIMAG every month.

What’s new

Launch of Gender Equality

Speech bubble - Today I am, safe, Today I am free, I pledge to speak out until everyone is free.

On 5 December, the Victorian Government announced a series of reforms to support women and girls to be safer and stronger in their homes, workplaces and community.

The launch was attended by more than 400 Victorians from across the corporate, not-for-profit and government sectors. Participants were encouraged to make a pledge in support of gender equality and a stand against violence towards women.

Safe and Strong: A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy will address inequality, sexism and violence against women in all its forms.

The Royal Commission into Family Violence found that gender inequality is one of the key drivers behind family violence. Public forums held across Victoria canvassed views from more than 1,200 women and men including people from the Aboriginal, disability, culturally diverse, rural and regional and LGBTI communities.

The reforms and initiatives include:

  • a Gender Equality Act
  • a new agency dedicated to preventing family violence before it starts
  • reviewing laws against sexist advertising and gender based hate speech
  • gender audits across government and the public sector to create inclusive and flexible workplaces
  • scholarships to encourage young and emerging women leaders
  • gender equality programs in grassroots sporting clubs
  • HERPlace – a women’s heritage centre
  • hosting the first all women trade delegation to China
  • promoting women’s cultural activities, art and media.

The Government provided $9 million to women and gender equality initiatives in the Victorian Budget 2016/17.

Read the Safe and Strong: A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy on the Women Victoria website.

Support and Safety Hubs

The Support and Safety Hubs are one of the key features of the future services. They will require major system, practice and workforce change.

To lead the local design and implementation of the Hubs, five launch site areas have been announced: Barwon, Bayside Peninsula, Inner Gippsland, Mallee and North East Melbourne.

These sites are an opportunity for local communities and service providers to partner with government to design and implement the Hubs.

These initial sites will help build a better understanding of the local opportunities and complexities that Hubs will need to respond to, test new approaches and bring practical learnings to the state-wide design process. The government will work with stakeholders at launch sites to prepare for intensive local co-design opportunities and to establish the first Hubs in 2017.

Our key focus over the coming months is finalising a strong, state-wide concept for the Hubs, guided by the principles and elements outlined in the 10 Year Plan. This will ensure the Hubs deliver a core set of functions and services across the whole State. The development of the state wide concept began with a series of community consultations in October 2016 and is scheduled to be finalised in early 2017.

Preventative health approaches and behavioural change for the prevention of family violence

The Victorian government is committed to a co-design approach for the Prevention of Family Violence Strategy. This Strategy is a component of the 10 Year Action Plan, and was recommended for development as part of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

It has been informed by a co-design process and key evidence and research including: Change the Story, a preventative piece of work developed by the national prevention organisation Our Watch and is the national primary prevention framework.

The Ministerial Taskforce on the Prevention of Family Violence is leading co-design efforts for the Strategy, and other forms of violence against women. The taskforce includes experts in the prevention of family violence and violence against women, and include representatives from across Victoria.

The Victorian Government also hosted a workshop in mid-November with preventative health and behavioural change experts, such as those involved in anti-smoking campaigns and reducing the road toll campaigns, to learn about how they built their success over time.

Key themes emerging from the workshop included: the need to target particular groups, invest in long term approaches, handle backlash effectively and frame behaviour change in a way that does not focus on individual blame. For example, focusing on ‘smoking’ rather than ‘smokers’.

Insights garnered of other transformational preventative health campaigns will help inform the Prevention of Family Violence Strategy, and contribute to ensuring Victoria has a visionary and world-leading response to the prevention of family violence. The Strategy will be released in early 2017.

New community partnerships grants program to drive family violence prevention at the local level

Victorian businesses, schools and community organisations are being encouraged to help drive family violence primary prevention efforts at the local level with the announcement of $2.65 million in funding towards a new community partnerships grants program.

The Community Partnerships for Primary Prevention Grants Program, announced by the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Fiona Richardson MP, will award grants of up to $50,000 to individual organisations, and up to $150,000 for new or existing partnerships between community groups, businesses, institutions, educational settings and/or community organisations, seeking to form a local partnerships and develop an action plan to drive primary prevention efforts at the local level. Primary prevention activity focuses on stopping violence from happening in the first place.

The new program is part of funding announced in the 2016-17 State Budget under ‘Targeted Prevention Initiatives for all Victorians’.

Applications are now open.

For more information visit www.vic.gov.au/women/family-violence-prevention/community-partnerships-for-primary-prevention-grants

10 Year Industry Plan & Workforce Census

Work to develop a 10 Year industry plan is underway to build and develop a family violence workforce with the right qualifications, experience and career progression opportunities to properly address and prevent family violence in Victoria.

Central to this project is a comprehensive census of the family violence workforce within Victoria.

The census will support the 10 year industry plan with an informed, detailed and comprehensive understanding of Victoria’s family violence workforce.

It will be carried out in three phases, with the first phase focused on workers whose core function is to provide family violence services and support, and workers who specialise in primary prevention work.

In the first phase, the census will seek to collect data relating to key challenges that are present in the specialist family violence and prevention workforces. This includes employment contract types, remuneration, training and professional development, workforce demographics (age, gender etc), workforce wellbeing and capability.

Data collection will be expanded to broader workforces who provide services to, or may come into contact with, people who experience family violence. During each phase a series of workshops will be held with representatives of the key workforces in scope to test and validate the survey methods.

Planning for phase 1 of the census began in October 2016 and is due for completion in March 2017.

The census is expected to be issued to the sector in late January/early February 2017. A final report will be submitted in October 2017 following the completion of phase 3.

L17 Framework Redevelopment

The government is investing $1.7 million in a new Risk Assessment Report Portal (L17 Family violence portal) to replace faxed referrals.

Each year, Victoria Police makes more than 71,000 family violence referrals to child protection, family violence services, men’s behaviour services and Child FIRST.

The new portal will capture more accurate information about individual cases, and make the referral process easier and ensure a faster response to family violence.

The Victorian Government worked with Victoria Police and child and family violence specialist services to develop the new portal, making sure it was fit for purpose to support initiatives such as the Risk Assessment Management Panels (RAMPs) and the planned Support and Safety Hubs.

The Government also announced a call for submission on the redevelopment of Victoria’s Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework (CRAF), a whole-of-government initiative.

Read media release.

Holiday wishes

Dog wearing Santa hat

Thank you for your continued support and contributions this year and we look forward to providing you with further updates on the progress of Government’s family violence reforms in 2017. The next newsletter is scheduled for late January.

Media articles

  • Former Police Commissioner, Ken Lay, speaks out about the painful personal stories behind statistics and the difficulties in challenging destructive attitudes. Read the article.
  • Big Bad Love - Australian comedian Becky Lucas sets out to understand what an abusive relationship looks like in a new documentary aired, in November, on ABC. It is available to view ABC iview.

In the loop

Break the Cycle: Preventing Indigenous Family Violence through Awareness and Empowerment

Supported by the Grampians Indigenous Family Violence Regional Action Group, with the funds provided by the Victorian Government Indigenous Family Violence Community Initiative Fund, and working in partnership with Ballarat & District Aboriginal Co-Op (BADAC) and Women’s Resource Information Support Centre (WRISC), an animation was commissioned to address the topic of family violence.

A powerful animation was created from children’s drawings, during art therapy sessions, telling the story from a child’s perspective to compel adult viewers to reach out if their families need help.

Watch the ‘I Wish’ Animation.

1800 Respect – Daisy App

1800RESPECT has developed the Daisy app to connect women who are experiencing, or have experienced, sexual assault, domestic and family violence to support services in their state and local area. By linking you to a local service, you will get help fast, be able to read information privately and also contact family or friends through the service. Download Daisy from Google Play or App Store.

Gathering Support Booklet

Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRC) has developed a brochure to support women living with violence. To support the booklet, two videos have also been produced highlighting the signs of family violence through the experiences of Victim Survivors and ways you can provide support to a family member or friend experiencing family violence.

Victim Survivor Council Member, Danielle Schneider, also shared her experience of family violence as part of these videos.

Watch DVRC videos.

Download the Gathering Support Booklet.

We want to hear from you

Do you have content to share? Send your photos, videos, key dates or any other information contact Mairead McFadden or Christine Panayotou.

We are also looking for updates and content for the family violence website.