In 2007, the Victorian Government introduced the Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework (the Framework), often referred to as the common risk assessment framework or ‘CRAF’.

The Framework has been used by many professional groups and specialists who come into contact with people experiencing family violence, to build a shared understanding of, and responsibility for, identifying, assessing and managing family violence risk.

The Commission’s report, delivered in March 2016 made 227 recommendations to improve Victoria’s responses to family violence that aim to improve the foundations of the family violence service system, transform how individual professionals and organisations identify, assess and respond to family violence risk, and to build structures and systems to guide and oversee long-term family violence system reform.

Findings of the Commission, the Coronial Inquest into the Death of Luke Geoffrey Batty, other family violence coronial inquests and the 2016 Review of the Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework[1] found that the Framework provided a strong foundation for family violence risk assessment and management practice while identifying areas for improvement.

In response to these findings the Framework has been redeveloped. More than 1,300 stakeholders from the public, private and non-government sector contributed to the redevelopment, including specialists from family violence, child and family services, health, community services, justice and education professionals.

The Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework is now a legislative instrument under Part 11 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) (the FVPA).

The Framework legislative instrument, and this supporting MARAM Framework, covers early identification, screening, risk assessment and management (including through collaborative arrangements), encompassing risk management planning and intervention, safety planning, stabilisation and recovery.

This MARAM Framework document provides further guidance on the Framework legislative instrument, and should be used by all services that come into contact with those experiencing family violence.

A range of entities will be prescribed as ‘Framework organisations’ through the regulations under Part 11 of the FVPA to align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools to the Framework. The MARAM Framework document should be used by these organisations to understand the requirements of alignment and practice approaches for risk assessment and management.

Implementation of the MARAM Framework will be a phased, with a range of capacity building measures, organisation-level systems (policies and procedures) and cultural change management activities. Organisations will be supported to progress their alignment over an initial period of transition. To support an understanding of how this process is progressing, and inform future policy and program decisions in family violence response, an independent review of the MARAM Framework will be conducted within five years.

Structure of this document

Part A of this document provides contextual information about family violence, the aims and scope of the redeveloped Framework and associated reforms, and the importance of family violence risk assessment and risk management.

Part B outlines the system architecture (legislative and policy environments and the service and justice systems) supporting the Framework, and the approach to system accountability.

Part C contains supporting information for each of the Framework pillars:

  • Pillar 1: Shared understanding of family violence
  • Pillar 2: Consistent and collaborative practice
  • Pillar 3: Responsibilities for risk assessment and management
  • Pillar 4: Systems, outcomes and continuous improvement.

Supporting resources will help professionals apply the Framework in practice, and will include:

  • core knowledge practice guidance (covering understanding the family violence system and family violence knowledge around the spectrum of presentations and seriousness of risk)
  • operational practice guidance on risk identification and screening, assessment (and associated tools, including perpetrator assessment) and risk management
  • materials and guidance to embed the Framework into organisations’ policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools
  • training and further education resources.

This document does not include all supporting resources as these are still in development and are being consulted on separately.

Use of Terminology

Language used to describe experiences of family violence, and personal identities across communities, is complex and evolving. The language in this document will not apply to everyone and some people or professionals may identify with or use different terms. Definitions areon page 53 of this document.

Family violence is deeply gendered — overwhelmingly the majority of perpetrators are men and victim survivors are women and children. It is acknowledged that broader conceptions of gender apply to individuals’ identities, experiences and manifestations of family violence. Therefore this document does not use gendered language to describe every form of family violence. In line with the Commission and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme Guidelines, this document refers to victim survivor and perpetrator in recognition that these are the terms most widely used in the community.[2] The term victim survivor refers to adult and children.

Recognised variations from this language include:

  • Aboriginal people and communities that may prefer to use the term ‘people who use violence’
  • For adolescents, the term ‘adolescent who uses family violence’ is used. This reflects that this is a form of family violence requiring distinct responses, given the age of the young person and their concurrent safety and developmental needs, as well as common co-occurrence of past or current experience of family violence by the adolescent from other family members
  • An older person who is experiencing family violence is often described as experiencing ‘elder abuse’.

Supporting resources will provide more detail, however, this document recognises that in practice, professionals and services will use the language that works for their service users in place of terms such as perpetrator and victim survivor.

Aboriginal people

Throughout this document, the term Aboriginal people is used to refer to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Family violence is not part of Aboriginal culture. However, Aboriginal people are disproportionately impacted by family violence. Family violence perpetrated against Aboriginal people and communities includes a range of physical, emotional, sexual, social, spiritual, cultural, psychological and economic abuses that occur in families, intimate relationships, extended families, kinship networks and communities.

It extends to one-on-one fighting, abuse of Indigenous community workers as well as self-harm, injury and suicide. Family violence experienced by people in Aboriginal communities acknowledges the spiritual and cultural perpetration of violence by non-Aboriginal people against Aboriginal partners which manifests as exclusion or isolation from Aboriginal culture and/or community.[3]

Please see Pillar 1 for further information about family violence against Aboriginal people, on page 6.

[1] Monash University, Review of the Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework (CRAF) (the Monash Review).

[2] Different parts of the system may use specific terms, such as applicant or Affected Family Member (AFM), and respondent or person who uses violence.

[3] State of Victoria, Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families: Towards a safer future for Indigenous families and communities — 10 year plan, Second Edition, 2008.