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Our vision

We want a future where all Victorians are safe, thriving, and live free from violence, and children grow up in environments built on gender equality and respectful relationships, in families that promote their health, development and wellbeing.

Our purpose

To achieve our vision, we focus on:

  • facilitating person-centred and inclusive services so people receive the help they need, when they need it
  • keeping perpetrators accountable, connected and responsible for stopping their violence
  • working across government and with the family violence and sexual assault sectors and with family services to build a sustainable and coordinated service system
  • partnering with those who have specialist expertise including lived experience to guide what we do
  • building the evidence base about what works
  • leading the family violence reform agenda to influence policy and strategy across government

Our values

We commit to delivering our work in accordance with the Victorian Public Service and Department of Families Fairness and Housing values and behaviours:

  • responsiveness
  • integrity
  • impartiality
  • accountability
  • respect
  • leadership.

We will work for the protection of human rights and challenge inequalities and discrimination to achieve social change for the benefit of all, because we know family violence is a violation of human rights and is entirely preventable.

The root causes of family violence and sexual violence are:

  • gender inequality and discrimination, shaped by economic, political and social factors, systems and norms, policy and legal frameworks
  • historical factors (e.g. cultural practices, colonisation)
  • structural distinctions on the basis of sex, gender identity, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, age, class, income and other characteristics.

The following values have also been identified by our people as underpinning our approach to this work:

We are honest and transparent

We share information whenever we can and show consistency between our words and our actions.

We focus on our impact

We are purposeful, courageous and determined to achieve meaningful outcomes for our clients, stakeholders and the community. Our people are valued not just for the work that they do, but the way that they do it.

We are inclusive and work for social equity

We take responsibility for valuing and including everyone equally and for ensuring fairness and cultural safety wherever we do our work.

Our People and Culture Strategy sets out our goal of ensuring our people are valued, empowered, connected, inspired, and growing.

Health and wellbeing, and psychological and cultural safety, are as valued as productivity, and we strive to create an inclusive workplace culture, free from any type of discrimination. We encourage our people to have a strong voice, with opportunities to demonstrate leadership at any level, to have visibility and access to information and be involved or informed about decisions that directly affect them and their work.

We want our people to collaborate and feel connected, to each other and to our vision. We aspire to be a learning organisation, in which our people inspire each other and our partners, and are supported to develop the capabilities they need to excel.

Our approach

The principles of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination, lived experience and service system partnership are embedded throughout our work and inform our approach to all our strategic priorities.

  • Intersectionality is a prism for seeing the way in which various forms of inequality often operate together and exacerbate each other.

    Kimberlé Crenshaw

    Gender inequality is an underlying determinant of family violence, particularly violence against women, which is why our work is founded on achieving gender equality in public life and personal relationships.

    Informed by decades of advocacy by Black feminist and anti-colonial movements, we adopt an intersectional approach to achieving gender equality and to dismantling oppressive systems and structures, because people’s experiences of sexism, racism, homophobia, colonialism, or inequalities based on class, gender identity, age and ability often intersect and exacerbate each other.

    Long histories of violence and systematic discrimination have created deep intersecting inequities that disadvantage many from the outset. The Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement sets out the government’s 10-year vision for a more inclusive, safe, responsive and accountable family violence system.

    The system we are building needs to be inclusive, non-discriminatory and accessible to all. We are building a system in which all services respect, recognise and respond to diversity. This means focusing on policy, programs and practices which meet the intersectional needs of victim survivors and children and families and provide tailored and culturally appropriate interventions to perpetrators.

    You’ve got to look after each part of the acronym LGBTIQ. We are people who sit under each of those letters. And we have very different needs.

    Quote from VSAC member
  • Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families is the Aboriginal led 10-year agreement to address family violence in Aboriginal communities.

    First response is so important: In terms of when you finally decide to do something about the violence, at whatever level and whatever part of the community you are in, it is important that the people you speak to are understanding and reinforce that you have choices to be supported.

    Quote from VSAC member

    In 2020, FSV joined other Victorian government departments to report annually on how we are embedding self-determination in all that we do: our systems, our people, how we work to achieve outcomes and how we stay accountable to Aboriginal Victorians.

    FSV is committed to supporting all staff across the organisation to work in culturally safe ways and to be active allies in leading the Dhelk Dja implementation and bringing the vision of Dhelk Dja to life.

  • We recognise that specialist family violence services, sexual violence services and children and family services provide the foundation for the effectiveness of the reforms across the state, and value their expertise in contributing to and informing our work.

    We remain committed to ensuring we actively and meaningfully collaborate with all our partner agencies, across specialist services, core support services, mainstream or social support services, and universal services in our communities, to achieve our shared goals.

    We need to talk about people. People are going to make the system changes from within. The culture, the way we talk to victims. If we don’t bring the human connection, then the reforms won’t work.

    Quote from VSAC member
  • The Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council (VSAC), established in July 2016 to give people with lived experience of family violence a voice, and ensure they contribute to and influence the design and implementation of family violence reforms.

    Family Safety Victoria is committed to and has led engagement with people with lived experience of family violence and children and families in need of support in every part of how we design, implement, resource and measure services, systems and policies.

    I think it’s really great [to be involved at a strategic level], it speaks volumes to be part of the formative pieces of work. To shape the culture of the way people are thinking.

    Quote from VSAC member

    We know that to build a service system that works for victim survivors, we must actively empower people with lived experience to have a central voice in our work.

    We have designed structures and created opportunities for people with a lived experience to continue to influence, inform and contribute to the family violence reforms.

    The sharing of experiences and insights provides us with a deeper understanding of the needs, preferences, and values of people for whom the system exists and how to prioritise victim survivor safety, agency and choice.

    When people with a lived experience share their stories and experiences, it can influence change in perspectives, behaviours and organisational processes for government and the sector.

    The foundations of our engagement with people with lived experience can be summarised as:

    • Being inclusive of and respectful of the leadership of Aboriginal communities, and including the perspectives of people from diverse communities as well as children and young people.
    • Offering a value exchange for people with lived experience. We recognise the value of lived experience expertise and offer professional development opportunities and remunerate people for their time and expertise.
    • Providing transparency on what level of influence is possible during engagements.
    • Using trauma-informed approaches, with staff undertaking critical reflection activities to understand inherent power imbalances, sensitivities and the impact of language.
    • Providing space for respectful, safe and empowering experiences for people with a lived experience.

    Over the next 3 years, we will steward the work of engaging with people with lived experience across government and services through the development of a lived experience plan. This will outline how and why the organisation engages people with lived experience.

    It will also outline how expertise in engaging lived experience will be strengthened, through tools to build staff engagement capabilities, new approaches to hear a broader range of voices and to build connections across a range of lived experience initiatives, as well as evaluation approaches to ensure sustainability, continuous improvement and organisational learning.

    Family Safety Victoria continues to be led by the courageous and important voices of people with lived experience, who hold the organisation accountable to ensuring this work is delivered “with us not for us.”

    Poem from VSAC member

    In the beginning it was a
    sick feeling in my tummy.

    What he said, how he
    made us feel, the way he
    thought it was funny.

    I tried to tell people about
    this feeling, adults, my
    worker and teachers.

    But I didn’t have the words
    others would understand.
    I had the emotion though,
    and I felt the pain even
    deeper.

    As a child I didn’t see it
    coming from my dad, at
    first.

    The violence was from my
    brothers. I guess it was
    learnt.

    Mum was drinking but
    my brothers needed a
    different way to cope.

    I guess taking it out on
    their little sister was all
    they had, with no reason
    for hope.

    As I got older, I didn’t want
    to take it anymore.

    My dad hit me so bad, I
    screamed and that was
    the final straw.

    I tried running away from
    dad. Face the world on my
    own.

    But the police picked me
    up and took me straight
    back. If only they would
    have known.

    When you don’t hear
    from children and young
    people you miss stories
    just like mine.

    We need to speak our own
    words, in our own way.
    Listen, involve us, not once
    but every time.

Reviewed 14 December 2021

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