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Case study: Apply the scheme when family violence is present

In this case study: voluntary information sharing, family violence, wellbeing and safety, seeking the views of children and families, maintaining engagement with children and families and record keeping.

Scenario 1

Julia is a case manager in a specialist family violence service. At the start of service provision, Julia informs her clients about her obligations around handling their information, including sharing where appropriate.

What this means under the schemes

  • Julia’s organisation is a prescribed Information Sharing Entity (ISE) under both schemes and the MARAM.
  • Julia talks to her clients about her obligation to share information under the schemes.

Scenario 2

Her clients, 15 year old Campbell and his mother Danni, have recently been forced to leave their home due to Campbell’s father’s escalating physical violence towards them.

What this means under the schemes  

  • Family violence has been assessed as being present. Information can be shared between ISEs for a protection purpose.

Scenario 3

Julia uses the MARAM Framework and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme to assess and manage family violence risk to Danni and Campbell in an ongoing way, noting the impacts of family violence on the wellbeing of children and young people such as Campbell.

Consistent with the scheme, Julia shares information with Victoria Police and other relevant child and family  services, prescribed ISEs under the schemes.

What this means under the schemes

  • Campbell is a young person (classified as a child under the schemes as he is under 18) therefore Julia does not need the consent of Danni or Campbell under either scheme to share information about them that is relevant to Campbell’s wellbeing or safety. 
  • She shares information under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme to assess and manage family violence risk to both Danni and Campbell.

Scenario 4

During the early stages of their engagement, Campbell mentions to Julia that he has been taking drugs as it helps him forget his father’s violence. Campbell has been attending appointments with a youth alcohol and other drug specialist, Sasha, to assist with his drug rehabilitation.    

What this means under the schemes

  • Julia talks to Campbell about other services that he is engaged with.

Scenario 5

At an appointment with the specialist family violence service, Campbell appears uncharacteristically distressed and withdrawn.

When Julia asks Campbell if he is all right, Campbell says that he is a bit high. She offers to arrange counselling for him, but he reacts angrily and becomes defensive.

Julia is concerned that Campbell’s drug use may be increasing.

What this means under the schemes

Campbell’s increased drug use is likely to be detrimental to his wellbeing and potentially his safety.

Julia believes that collaboration with the youth alcohol and other drug service would help promote Campbell’s safety and wellbeing.    

Scenario 6

Julia considers that sharing information under the Child Information Sharing Scheme could support his wellbeing and/or safety. 

What this means under the schemes

  • Julia decides to find out whether she can share information with Sasha. She checks and confirms that the youth alcohol and other drug service are also prescribed as an ISE under both schemes.
  • Julie identifies a service it would be useful to share information with or request information from.
  • She confirms that they are a prescribed ISE under the relevant scheme.

Scenario 7

Julia is unsure whether Sasha is aware of the recent family separation, or that Campbell has been using drugs again. 

Julia believes Campbell requires support to address his drug taking. She recognises that Sasha is best placed to deliver that support. 

Julia has information relevant to Campbell’s wellbeing and safety, and she believes Sasha can use the information to deliver support to Campbell, to promote his wellbeing and safety by supporting him to address his drug use.

Julia is also cognisant that Sasha may have information or advice that may support the specialist family violence service to promote Campbell’s wellbeing and safety.

What this means under the schemes

  • Julia believes that sharing information may help Sasha to provide a service.

Scenario 8

Although Julia talks to Campbell in relation to most decisions to share information, she decides that it is not appropriate in this instance as he was not in a state of mind where he was able to provide an informed opinion. She makes a note to talk to him when he is no longer drug affected.

What this means under the schemes

She also decides that seeking Campbell’s views when he is drug affected is not appropriate.

Scenario 10

Julia recognises Campbell as a victim survivor in his own right, and he has previously expressed views that he does not want to involve his mother unless absolutely necessary as she is upset that he is using drugs.

What this means under the schemes

  • Julia considers seeking the views of the Danni and decides it is not appropriate to seek her views, given the strain already on their relationship.

Scenario 11

Julia contacts Sasha to inform her that Campbell and his mother have experienced family violence and their accommodation arrangements are currently unstable.

She also explains the services and supports that she is providing to Campbell.

Julia tells Sasha that she has met with Campbell several times, but that at their most recent appointment, he was drug affected.

She is concerned that during this difficult time Campbell’s drug use may be increasing.

What this means under the scheme

  • Julia voluntarily shares information under the Child Information Sharing Scheme with Sasha about Campbell’s drug taking and the behaviours she has observed to assist Sasha in her provision of support to Campbell.
  • She shares relevant information in a safe and secure way.

Scenario 12

Julia explains to Sasha that there are safety plans in place for Campbell and Danni due to the family violence perpetrated by Campbell’s father. Given the limits set by the safety plans, she does not disclose Campbell’s current address.

What this means under the scheme

  • As family violence risk is present, she shares information according to a relevant safety plan.

Scenario 13

At their next appointment, Julia tells Campbell that she contacted Sasha after their last appointment. She lets him know about her conversation with Sasha and the information that had been shared.

Julia explains to Campbell why she shared his information and how it will be used to support him. Campbell is not pleased that she told Sasha about his increased drug use, but grudgingly thanks her for being up-front with him. 

What this means under the scheme

  • Julia informs Campbell that his information has been shared.
  • She also notifies Danni’s family violence case worker about the information she has shared with Sasha.

Scenario 14

Julia keeps a record of the information shared and a copy of the relevant safety plan. She notes the details of what she shared, the date she shared them and why she shared. Julia also records that the views of Dannii and Campbell were not initially sought in relation to sharing information regarding Campbell.

What this means under the scheme

Julia keeps accurate and complete records.

Scenario 15

The next week, Julia follows up with Sasha to see how she used the information provided. Sasha explains that prior to Julia making contact, the service had not heard from Campbell for several weeks and that he had missed their last two appointments.

In light of the information Julia had provided, Sasha made multiple phone calls to Campbell and eventually made contact and organised an emergency appointment. During the appointment, Campbell shared of his own accord what had been happening and that the circumstances had triggered an increase in his drug use.

Sasha tells Julia that now that they have a full picture of what is happening for Campbell, she will be making regular contact and providing additional support to encourage him to remain engaged in the service.

Julia continues to work with Campbell to manage his risk of family violence and to support him through the trauma he has experienced.    •    Sasha uses the information to promote Campbell’s wellbeing.

What this means under the scheme

Julia and Sasha commit to ongoing information sharing as Campbell’s circumstances change so that their services can be as responsive as possible and identify and respond to any new risks as they arise.

Reviewed 17 January 2019