The Royal Commission into Family revealed the devastating prevalence and impact of family violence across Victoria. It cuts lives short, inflicts unspeakable trauma, creates cycles of intergenerational trauma and violence1, and costs more than $5.3 billion a year2.
Ending family violence in Victoria is a huge challenge. It requires a holistic, joined-up approach, sustained over a generation. We must continue to work together to prevent and respond to all forms of family violence. This work is informed by victim survivors, and it takes place in our schools and hospitals, our courts and our community centres, across specialist family violence workforces.
The Family Violence Outcomes Framework provides a common set of goals that unite this diverse group of people and organisations. The Outcomes Framework has four domains:
- Prevention – family violence and gender inequality are not tolerated.
- Victim survivors – victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive.
- Perpetrators – perpetrators are held accountable, connected and take responsibility for stopping their violence.
- System – preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.
Family Violence Outcomes Framework
Each year, this website will be updated to reflect progress against the Family Violence Outcomes Framework and against the Family Violence Reform Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023.
How we are tracking
To understand how we are tracking, we must first understand the intent of the Royal Commission . These lay the foundation for short, medium and long-term change.
The Royal Commission noted that its task was to make practical recommendations on the most effective ways to:
- prevent family violence
- improve early intervention to identify and protect those at risk
- support victims – particularly women and children – and address the impacts of violence on them
- make perpetrators accountable
- develop and refine systemic responses to family violence – including in the legal system and by police, corrections, child protection, legal and family violence support services
- better coordinate community and government responses to family violence
- evaluate and measure the success of strategies, frameworks, policies, programs and services introduced to put a stop to family violence.
Having a theory of change is vital to this work and informs what we do. We understand that to see change occurring we must first improve the system that supports our prevention of, responses to and understanding of family violence.
This is why we are:
- developing a coordinated family violence system
- investing in prevention, early intervention and response
- prioritising evaluation, learning and continuous improvement.
This approach will support victim survivors and hold perpetrators to account, with the goal of ending family violence in Victoria.
This website combines the progress report on the Rolling Action Plan with the latest data on the Outcomes Framework. Our assumption is that if we implement the Rolling Action Plan, we will see changes occurring that support the achievement of our outcomes.
The final 23 of the 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission are on track to be implemented in 2022.
With these recommendations in place, the foundations of our system are strong. However, our efforts to build the system continue, as does our long-term prevention work to change the attitudes, behaviours and power imbalances that lead to family violence.
While it is still early in this generational reform, we remain committed to sharing our progress and challenges.
Significant progress has been made
The Rolling Action Plan 2020–2023 outlines our focus for this phase of the reform. This report shows progress against the actions committed to in the Rolling Action Plan, including:
- the continued establishment of The Orange Door network, a free service for adults, children and young people experiencing family violence, where they can access the support they need from a range of specialist services. Two new Orange Door sites opened in 2020 and another six in 2021. Since its commencement in May 2018, The Orange Door has received more than 200,000 people, including more than 80,000 children (as at February 2022).
- the establishment of another three Specialist Family Violence Courts, with five now in operation and plans for another nine across Victoria
- the construction of 349 new homes in line with the Big Housing Build and nine new core and cluster refuges completed and operational by October 2021
- the continued implementation and training for the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) Framework to ensure an effective and consistent approach to assessing and managing the risk of family violence. With the roll out of Phase 2 of the MARAM over 370,000 practitioners (as at April 2021) are now prescribed from organisations across the health, education, justice and social service system
- the development of primary prevention practice across key settings including local government, TAFEs, universities and perinatal settings
- investment in innovative prevention initiatives led by diverse communities, including Aboriginal-led organisations, multicultural and faith-based organisations and other community groups in Victoria
- more than 1,950 government, Catholic and independent schools signing on to a whole-school approach to Respectful education, and more than 35,000 school staff and 3,500 early childhood educators participating in Respectful Relationships professional learning
- high-impact public campaigns conducted by Respect to raise awareness of family violence and how to prevent it. Evaluation of these campaigns demonstrated a high level of community recognition and understanding of the key messages
- equipping those working in family violence services, as well as those whose work requires them to be aware of the risks of family violence, with the training they need to do their jobs effectively. Workforce census data indicates that at least half of those who responded from specialist family violence services and from across the primary prevention workforce felt very or extremely confident in their level of training and experience to complete their role.
Adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic
Some of our activities have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, our focus was on supporting those most in need, given the heightened risk of family violence. To limit the impact of the pandemic, we have:
- provided $20 million for short-term accommodation for victim survivors who did not feel safe isolating or recovering from COVID-19 at home
- provided $20.2 million to help Victorian family violence services meet the expected increase in demand during the coronavirus pandemic and provide critical help for victim-survivors
- implemented the Multicultural COVID-19 Family Violence Program, which provided one-off funding to 20 multicultural, faith-based and ethno-specific organisations to help raise awareness of the drivers of family violence and support early intervention activities
- continued to provide crisis accommodation and all family violence, sexual assault and The Orange Door services. We worked with the sector to strengthen these services during the pandemic
- launched Operation Ribbon, where police proactively reached out to victim survivors to check on their safety and wellbeing, and to perpetrators to monitor their behaviour and keep them in view
- established the Men’s Accommodation and Counselling Service for men who use violence, providing crisis accommodation, wrap-around support to address immediate concerns and link men to services to address their offending behaviour
- increased the accessibility of Men's Behaviour Change Programs by moving to online groups and one-on-one engagement to keep men who use violence in view. We also continued to provide support when face-to-face groups were suspended.
Understanding our impact
With the foundational elements of the reform in now in place, we can begin to use the Outcomes Framework to demonstrate our impact.
We have strong data across our family violence and justice system that tells a story about the incidence of family violence and use of services.
Victorian Family Violence Data Portal
However, we know we have more work to do to strengthen the consistency of data across government and the family violence sector, so that it gives a more comprehensive and nuanced picture of the impact of our reforms.
The data that has informed this first report is just the starting point. We will update this data annually as we continue to work with stakeholders to improve its availability and quality. Through this process, we will identify and develop new measures. We will also apply an increasingly sophisticated analysis to existing measures to help us better understand the impact of the reforms.
Our immediate focus is on linking existing datasets. This will help us better understand the different points of contact and engagement victim survivors and perpetrators have across the service system and how this affects their outcomes.
Family violence incidents recorded by police are rising in line with our expectations
There has been a general trend of increased reporting of family violence incidents to police since 2016. This is in line with what we expected to see at this stage of our 10-year plan. The COVID-19 pandemic has also likely impacted the significantly higher numbers of incidents in 2020.
There were 91,144 family violence incidents in 2021, a 1.5 per cent reduction on 2020 (92,513). Despite this modest decrease, the number of incidents in 2021 was still 7.8 per cent higher than in 2019.
Our investment and reforms have:
- helped raise awareness of family violence across the Victorian community
- made services more accessible to those who need them
- supported victim survivors to report violence committed against them.
These year-on-year increases are likely to continue in these early stages of changing the way we address family violence. This is because community awareness is growing, women are beginning to feel safer and more confident in support systems, and, importantly, we are improving justice responses for victim survivors and hold perpetrators to account.
Incidences of family violence by month - 2017 to 2021
At just over halfway in the implementation the 10-year plan, more than $3.5 billion has been invested to prevent family violence, support victim survivors and hold perpetrators to account.
Victorians are more aware than ever of what family violence is and the help that is available to them. Sadly, many people will still need to access that help in the years to come.
This is why we must maintain our focus and investment to realise the full intent of the Royal Commission and bring an end to family violence.
In 2022, we will continue to deliver the Rolling Action Plan and implement the remaining 23 recommendations of the Royal Commission. We will continue to be informed by the lived experiences of victim survivors. We will also apply an inclusive lens that recognises how factors such as race, age, disability, culture and gender affect people’s experience.
We will begin to implement the Free from Violence Second Action Plan and finalise the Sexual violence and harm strategy, which will respond to the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s report on Improving the justice system response to sexual offences.
We will continue to work closely with the family violence sector to ensure victim survivors and people who use violence receive more consistent, better integrated services. The goal of this work is to end the cycle of violence and minimise retraumatisation.
This will help build a family violence system that is responsive and resilient to further shocks. It will also equip us to better understand the impact of our efforts and continually strengthen them.
1 State of Victoria 2016, Royal Commission into Family Violence: Summary and recommendations, Parl Paper No 132 (2014–16).
2 KPMG 2017, ‘The Cost of Family Violence in Victoria: Summary Report’, prepared for the Department of Premier and Cabinet in Victoria.
Reviewed 09 May 2022