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Keeping children safe

Recognise that I’m not the only victim, and my kids are impacted too.

— Victim survivor

Children are deeply affected by family violence, no matter what form it takes. To stop the inter-generational impacts of family violence, we need to focus on prevention.

Until then, we are working to make sure children are seen and heard in the family violence system.

To keep children safe, we will:

  • integrate Child FIRST into the Support and Safety Hubs so that children are involved in planning and decision-making
  • improve child and family services to help vulnerable parents protect and care for their children
  • foster a better understanding of the dynamics of family violence in the Child Protection workforce
  • equip maternal and child health services, schools and early childhood and education services with the skills and resources to help children recover
  • work with families earlier to reduce the escalation of risk and help them to establish the conditions of a safe and healthy childhood
  • listen to children throughout every stage, from service design to delivery
  • improve information sharing to reduce the need for children to repeat their stories to multiple providers
  • support child victim survivors of family violence at risk of disengaging from education and training to stay engaged in learning
  • better resource Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to deliver culturally safe services to Aboriginal children and families.

Child Protection and out-of-home care

Another important part of keeping children safe is making sure we effectively discharge our statutory responsibilities through the child protection and out-of-home care system.

While improving our response to family violence will reduce the need for statutory interventions, we recognise that a strong child protection and out-of-home care system will continue to be required. We will:

  • continue to employ more workers, improve training, and implement new workforce structures
  • equip child protection workers to engage with other parts of the service system, including risk assessment
  • reduce the number of unallocated child protection cases to make sure families are appropriately supported  
  • increase access to family services and reduce re-reports, de-escalate risk, improve placement prevention and family reunification rates and work to keep siblings together, where this in their best interests
  • develop residential care as a therapeutic treatment service for young people to return to their families or to safe, home-based care placements
  • implement new safeguarding frameworks to protect children and people in Victoria who are vulnerable to abuse, neglect and harm, including while in out-of-home care.

Case study: Sam

Sam is an 8-year-old boy. His mother's new partner, Tim, physically abuses him and Sam disengages from his school and friends.

In the future, Sam experiences a coordinated response to his situation. The staff at his school refer him to a Support and Safety Hub, where he receives specialist support to recover.

For more, read: Sam's experience