At Family Safety Victoria we are motivated and inspired by delivering an ambitious reform program to ensure family violence and the inequalities which underpin it are no longer tolerated in Victoria.
Since 2017, we have driven much of Victoria’s nation-leading efforts to create transformative change across systems and services, and our three-year Strategy comes at a critical time for the strategic reforms underway in Victoria.
Between 2021-2024 we will continue to deliver the state-wide 10-year plan to end family violence, to ensure services are more connected, sustainable and deliver better outcomes for survivors, for children and for families.
We embed an Aboriginal-led approach to family violence reforms in Aboriginal communities, informed by the long-term agreement with government Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families. Our approach centres Aboriginal communities’ self-determination and strengths and places the expertise of specialist services and people with lived experience at its heart.
Our work over the next three years builds on achievements delivered in collaboration with our partners, which are all the more remarkable given the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2020, specialist services reported increases in the frequency and severity of violence against women and an increase in the complexity of women’s and children’s needs. This trend of rising reports of family violence, which started prior to the pandemic, is expected to continue as reporting rates more accurately reflect the levels of family violence in our community.
We recognise that increasing demand for services requires workforce growth, development and resourcing. Improving data and evidence, stimulating innovation and improvement, and facilitating and supporting sustainability for specialist services and our systems will be an essential part of our work.
We will continue to build a family violence, sexual violence and primary prevention workforce that is valued, skilled, empowered and supported, in accordance with Building from Strength: 10-year Industry Plan for Family Violence Prevention and Response.
We will also continue to lead the cross-government coordination and delivery of the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) Framework which, together with the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and Child Information Sharing Scheme, is being expanded to many more workforces from 2021.
We prioritise working in partnership with peak bodies, services, and other stakeholders. We also resource and support delivery of state-wide and local specialist family violence services, sexual violence services, perpetrator services, Aboriginal services, and services that support children and young peoples’ safety and wellbeing.
The establishment of The Orange Door network remains a priority, which provides help and support for family violence, and for families in need of support with the wellbeing of children. As at October 2021, The Orange Door Network now operate in more than ten of 17 government areas and forms an integral part of the family violence and family services systems in Victoria.
In order to maximise access to safety and specialist support, we also continue to lead the refuge reform program, and aim to ensure crisis accommodation and support pathways offer expanded and more stable housing options to help more families. Building on the cross-government plan to hold perpetrators to account, we will continue to work with the specialist and wider sector to ensure interventions with people who use violence are effective and accessible. This includes expanding community-based perpetrator interventions beyond men’s behaviour change programs to case management and targeted services for people in different communities.
We continue to prioritise delivery of the highly acclaimed Central Information Point, a multiagency system which provides comprehensive information about perpetrators’ family violence history and patterns of behaviour, to support risk assessment for better informed and targeted safety planning.
Our stewardship role in delivering whole of government reform is a vital part of our role. We work collaboratively with other government departments to ensure legislation, strategy and policy is informed by expertise held by people with lived experience and by specialist services. This includes, for example, delivering a research agenda which will provide deeper insights and opportunities for innovation that have emerged from the pandemic, and supporting the development of a whole of government Sexual Violence and Harm Strategy.
From November 2021, we are excited to be working within the newly established Department of Families Fairness and Housing, which will enable even closer collaboration with Housing and Homelessness, Child and Family Services and Child Protection work programs. We will also continue to work closely with other departments, Victoria Police, courts and legal services to maximise access to effective support and to hold perpetrators to account.
What unites us across Family Safety Victoria is our values and knowing that how services are delivered is as important as what is delivered. We are committed to person-centred, strengths-based approaches, to Aboriginal self-determination and to giving greater visibility to children’s rights.
We also aim to ensure survivors most disadvantaged and discriminated against by systems and services are at the centre of system and service reform, and that the action we take helps dismantle the intersecting structural inequities that limit the lives of people we work with in our
We’re at the halfway point of the state’s 10-year plan to rebuild Victoria’s family violence system and there’s still a long way to go. We know that family violence is not inevitable. It is entirely preventable with the necessary public and political will and resources allocated to achieve this goal. We now have a great chance of achieving this in Victoria.
This Strategic Plan demonstrates Family Safety Victoria’s collective commitment towards building a service system that is connected, inclusive and works together to help keep adults, children and families safe and supported. It also sets out our contribution towards survivors living in freedom from violence and oppressions, and towards our shared goal of preventing family violence, sexual violence, and all forms of violence against women and children, for good.
Eleri Butler, CEO Family Safety Victoria