Collaborating to build a world leading family violence and primary prevention workforce

Thursday, 10 June 2021 at 1:09 am

Ending family violence in our communities is long-term legacy work. The Royal Commission into Family Violence made clear this will not succeed without growing and supporting  our specialist workforces, and investing in coordinated efforts to build capability and expertise across the continuum from prevention to response. The Victorian Government’s focus and investment places it as a world leader.

As the peak organisations for Victoria’s specialist family violence services working with both victim survivors and people who choose to use family violence, we have celebrated those initiatives outlined in the 10 year family violence industry plan -  Building from Strength -  that have enabled specialist expertise to lead and shape industry reform and workforce capability building.

Our sectors are emerging from a major period of reform, while also recovering from the unprecedented disruptions and challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19). For those of us at the front lines these last few years have often felt akin to rebuilding a raft while navigating rapids. There is still much long-term work to be done, and the path ahead remains complex.

The introduction of mandatory qualifications for specialist practitioners is both incredibly important and also an implementation challenge.  

Similarly, the introduction of the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) and information sharing schemes has required an intensive focus on capability building across all workforce tiers.

Our organisations will continue to work closely with government on implementing these workforce capability reforms to continue to build the skills and expertise of our specialist workers, alongside providing family violence expertise to help embed new MARAM responsibilities across other prescribed workforces. It remains difficult to resource our specialist services. Key – and necessary – intersecting social reforms have created jobs across the human services sector which are competing for the same pool of potential candidates.

Our workforces are exhausted after a horrific 2020; which is not letting up. While lasting respite can only come through the attraction and retention of more skilled people, it’s also critical that we nurture the wellbeing of existing specialist professionals. We hope to see the investment into recruitment approaches continue to be supported in the longer term through resourcing that continues to improve employment conditions, job security, and flexibility.

Our organisations are committed to continue our work with the Victorian Government to ensure we have a world-leading family violence and primary prevention workforce. The progress we have made to date provides us with hope for the future, as we continue to strive for a community where all of us can live free from fear and violence.

Editorial by Tania Farha, CEO of Domestic Violence Victoria (DV Vic) and Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV) and Jacqui Watt, CEO, No To Violence (NTV).