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Workforce development priority area

Strengthening the specialist family violence and primary prevention workforces

Strengthening the capacity and capability of the people who work to prevent and respond to family violence is critical to reform success.

The specialist family violence and prevention workforce is a distinct workforce with a specific focus and expertise.

We are also building the family violence capabilities of broader workforces that intersect with family violence. These include community services, health, police, courts, schools and early years services.

The focus for the Rolling Action Plan is to continue to strengthen our specialist prevention and response workforces.

We are achieving this by:

  • recruiting and retaining people with skills from diverse backgrounds
  • working to create clear career pathways that develop expertise and knowledge
  • providing training and skills development
  • creating a workplace where people feel valued and supported.

What has happened

Since 2018 under amendments to the Family Violence Protection Act 2008, organisations across the many parts of the social service system are prescribed by associated regulation to align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools with the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) Framework.

As at April 2021, there were more than 6,700 organisations and more than 370,000 professionals prescribed under MARAM, and more than 8,300 organisations consisting of 408,000 professionals prescribed under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme.

Family Violence Protection Act 2008

    • The Best Practice Education Model for accredited primary prevention and family violence training delivery was completed in July 2021. The model outlines the relationship between vocational competency, assessment methods, and professional development. It was informed by extensive consultation with Vocational Education and Training, Family Violence and Aboriginal cultural experts, as well as disability, LGBTIQ+, CALD stakeholders and unions. The model supports trainers and TAFEs to deliver accredited family violence prevention and response training. It also builds trainer capability to increase the number of trainers across the vocational education and training sector.
    • MARAM supports workers across the service system to better understand their responsibilities to undertake identification, risk assessment and management. It has been introduced through the tertiary education system. Providers are encouraged to offer delivery models that recognise the training needs of different workforces.
    • MARAM guidance for professionals working with adults using family violence was released in July 2021External Link , and course development and delivery has commenced.
    • The Building Family Violence Evaluation Capacity Project began in 2018. It has established a centralised whole of department evaluation function to support Department of Justice and Community Safety business units to undertake family violence evaluations. It has been extended to June 2024. Benefits include:
      • evaluations are initiated and completed within faster time frames
      • enhanced quality and consistency of family violence evaluations
      • a robust evidence base for understanding broader, whole of DJCS reform impacts
      • reduction of the siloed nature of family violence evaluation initiatives.
    • The health and wellbeing of our workforce is a key priority. We will continue to ensure we understand their perspectives. We will keep their health, safety and wellbeing in focus by:
      • conducting a workforce census every two years. The 2019–20 census identified three target audiences. These are the specialist family violence response workforce, primary prevention of family violence workforce, and the broader workforce that intersects with family violence. The census provides many insights. These include what activities staff are engaged in, how well supported they feel, stressors they face in their work environment, and their motivations for working in the sector. This information is used to inform the development and implementation of training, recruitment and wellbeing programs and policies.
      • developing a Family violence workforce health, safety and wellbeing guide, based on the PERMAH (Positive Emotions, Engagement Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment and Health) model of wellbeing.

    Attracting and recruiting the right people

    Recent recruitment campaigns focused on attracting students and graduates, career seekers and people from diverse communities to enter the sector. They also sought to attract people specifically into the perpetrator services, sexual assault services and the traineeships program.

    One phase of the campaign focused on attracting people from diverse communities, including through radio and newspaper advertising, as well as rural and regional audiences.

    Career insights events provided interested people an opportunity to pose questions of current workers about what it is like to work in the sector.

    More than 500 people attended these sessions.

    Since the campaign started:

    • more than 2,550 people have registered for the family violence jobs portal since the May 2020 launch
    • there have been more than 150,000 visits to the family violence jobs hub and portal.

What is next

Upskilling and training both the sector and across other key industries and workforces remains a focus moving into 2022:

  • The Best Practice Education Model is being piloted internally by Safe and Equal (previously Domestic Violence Victoria and Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria). It is also being piloted with TAFEs and TAFE trainers through the VET Development Centre.
  • Accredited training courses are being finalised. These include Course in Contributing to the Prevention of Family Violence and Violence Against Women and Course in Intermediate Risk Assessment and Management of Family Violence Risk. Training and assessment resources will support the delivery of these courses through the VET sector.
  • Delivery of the Fast Track Professional Development Program will continue.
  • The Mandatory Minimum Qualifications policy was introduced on 1 July 2020 for the specialist family violence response workforce. This will be implemented over a five-year transition period. The Mandatory Minimum Qualifications Transition Monitoring Advisory Group will monitor implementation collecting and analysing data and assessing policy gaps and challenges. The new requirements will support the increased visibility and professionalisation of the specialist family violence response workforce. This will ensure that the workforce is drawn from a range of disciplines, experience, and backgrounds.
  • Development of a Family Violence and Sexual Assault Traineeship model has begun. This will accelerate training pathways for the family violence and sexual assault support workforce across the state.
  • The Family Violence Workforce Project will support understanding the design of job roles in the family violence specialist sector. This will include developing roles to support current and future requirements of the system.
  • Ongoing work for the implementation of the Family Violence Workforce Health, Safety and Wellbeing Guide will be occurring.

What this means for outcomes

  • The focus on upskilling the broader workforce will support the changing conversation within Victoria of our understanding of family violence and all forms of violence against women. This will help to shift the understanding and attitudes of the broader community. Work over this period has set the scene for a more strategic approach to building sustainable workforce capacity and capability specifically for primary prevention. This is in specialist prevention roles and across a wide range of contributing workforces.

  • Specialised training, clear policies, procedures and tools equip the workforce to be able to better support victim survivors. Training for the MARAM Framework is supporting a shift in the understanding and management of risk assessments. It also supports better information sharing and embedding an intersectional approach into service delivery. Having more Victorians trained in assessing the potential risks of family violence supports early intervention. This better serves victim survivors by preventing the escalation of family violence.

  • Specialised training will support implementation of guidance for professionals working with adults using family violence. This is an important step towards a more consistent and collaborative practice across departments and agencies to identify, assess and manage risk. Increasing the workforce’s awareness and knowledge will in turn lead to more informed and targeted interventions. This will help to manage risk more effectively and support behaviour change. Improving the coordination of interventions across services will support the system, workforce and individuals to hold perpetrators to account. This includes encouraging perpetrators to take responsibility for their choice to use violence, including the impact on their children.

  • Our focus on developing our workforce is key to delivering on the outcome ‘family violence and broader workforce across the system are skilled, capable and reflect the communities they serve’. The 2019–20 workforce census indicates the activities being delivered are supporting the upskilling and capability of the workforce. More than 50 per cent of respondents (for specialist family violence services and primary prevention) feel very or extremely confident in their level of training and experience to complete their role.

Reviewed 14 April 2022

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