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Specialist family violence services

…the calming effect of having a qualified and skilled worker with real knowledge of this area made an immense difference to my recovery.

— Victim survivor

Specialist family violence workers understand the escalating risks of family violence and how to plan for the safety of victim survivors. They have a unique understanding of the services women and children require.

Their response in a time of crisis is essential.

Embedding specialist expertise

These services are currently overwhelmed by demand, which is limiting the response they can provide to victim survivors.

There has been a failure over time to invest in this sector and workforce. That is why we are putting this specialist expertise at the core of our reforms by:

  • building the capacity and capability of specialist family violence services
  • effectively resourcing specialist family violence service responses that are high-quality, accessible, consistent and equitable across the state
  • placing advanced practitioners at the Support and Safety Hubs to build on the expertise of the specialist sector and offer strong career pathways for case workers
  • building a family violence workforce for the future by attracting and retaining diverse staff with ongoing training and development
  • creating consistent and standardised practice across all specialist services, so that victim survivors and their children receive a consistent care
  • drawing on the expertise of the specialist family violence sector to build the capacity of community health services, mental health services, hospitals, schools and legal services to identify and respond to family violence
  • building strong links between multi-disciplinary centres for sexual assault and Support and Safety Hubs.

Specialist practitioners

Specialist family violence advisor positions will be created in major mental health and drug and alcohol services across the state. This will ensure family violence expertise is made available to staff so they can identify and respond to family violence.

It will also mean that victim survivors using these services will get better support earlier.

We are also establishing principal practitioners to provide leadership and support to workers and programs in family violence across:

  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Education and Training
  • Department of Justice and Regulation.

These roles will ensure specialist practice, knowledge and leadership is strengthened across the range of workforces involved in family violence.

Making navigation easier

We are making it easier for people to access services with the creation of Navigators.

Navigators will be highly-skilled specialist workers who support women, children, young people and perpetrators to find the services they need. Navigators will have the flexibility and capacity to support women and children from crisis through to recovery.

These roles will be closely linked to:

  • intake
  • assessment and planning
  • ongoing risk assessment
  • safety planning
  • achieving outcomes.

We are working closely with our Industry Taskforce so that all people across Victoria, particularly people from diverse communities, will have access to navigation support.