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Ending family violence: annual report (2021)

Reporting on the 2020 and 2021 progress of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework and the Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023

Department of Families, Fairness and Housing
April 2022

A message from the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence

Aboriginal acknowledgement

We proudly acknowledge Victoria’s Aboriginal communities and their ongoing strength in practising the world’s oldest living culture. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters on which we live, work, learn and play, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

We acknowledge the ongoing leadership role of the Aboriginal community in addressing and preventing family violence. We join with First Peoples to eliminate family violence from all communities.

Acknowledgment of victim survivors of family violence

We pay our respects to victims and victim survivors of family violence and violence against women. We acknowledge their resilience and courage. They remain at the forefront of our work.

In 2015, the Victorian Government established the Royal Commission into Family ViolenceExternal Link following a series of family violence-related deaths in Victoria. In its final report, the Royal Commission set out the case for focused, coordinated leadership backed by new investment and approaches. Its recommendations aim to prevent family violence, support victim survivors and hold perpetrators to account.

The government committed to implementing all 227 recommendations, setting out its plan in Ending family violence: Victoria’s plan for change (the 10-year plan). The plan’s goal is to establish a nation-leading family violence system. It also seeks to create a Victoria where all people live free from family violence, and where women and men are treated equally and respectfully.

In 2022, only 23 of the 227 Royal Commission recommendationsExternal Link remain to be implemented.

This report is part of the Victorian Government’s annual reporting commitments on the progress and impact of the family violence reform. It uses the Family Violence Reform Rolling Action Plan 2020–2023 (the Rolling Action Plan) and the Family Violence Outcomes Framework (the Outcomes Framework) to do this.

This website, which will be updated annually, helps ensure accountability to the community for the commitments made in the 10-year plan and the impact of the reform.

Momentum for this once-in-a-generation reform cannot be lost.

    • Language relating to family violence is always evolving and varies between communities and government and non-government agencies.

      It is important to use language that community members who may use the system are comfortable with, as this can help build trust. This section provides an overview of language used commonly in the family violence sector and throughout this report. The Glossary of terms provides a more detailed list of terminology.

      While acknowledging that family violence is gendered, this report does not use gendered language to describe every form of family violence. This is to capture the full array of victim survivors who may experience family violence, including those who historically may have had difficulty being recognised.

      The family violence system is diverse, and different language is used to refer to people who experience or use family violence. This report adopts, where possible, the terminology used by government and non-government agencies across the family violence sector. However, it uses the terms victim survivor and perpetrator, because these are the terms most widely used in the community.

      • The term victim survivor refers to adults, children and young people who experience family violence. Under the Family Violence Protection Act, children are considered victim survivors if they experience family violence directed at them, or they are exposed to the effects of family violence. This includes being present at or witnessing a family violence incident.
      • The term perpetrator refers to an adult who uses violence or threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour against family members (as defined in the Family Violence Protection Act) in current or past family, domestic or intimate relationships.

      Family Violence Protection Act 2008

      Variations of language this report uses to describe family violence include the following:

      • Aboriginal people and communities may prefer to use the term ‘people who use violence’. In this report, the term Aboriginal is used to refer to both Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.
      • This report uses the term ‘adolescent or young person who uses violence’ rather than ‘perpetrator’ for children aged 10–17. Young people who use family violence need distinct responses, tailored to their age, safety and developmental needs. Young people who use family violence are often also victim survivors.

      Other terms for different functions or points in time within the family violence system include the following:

      • Police use the terms ‘affected family member’ or ‘victim’ to refer to the person deemed to be most harmed and affected by events occurring during a family violence incident. Police make an assessment of risk, considering past family violence and any recorded criminal history to identify who is being harmed and affected the most during an incident.
      • Police use the term ‘respondent’ to describe the main person who is harming others. The term ‘respondent’ is also used in family violence intervention order applications to describe the person against whom an order is sought. The term ‘offender’ describes a person who has been found guilty of an offence.

    Reviewed 14 February 2023

    In an emergency call

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