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Part B: System architecture and accountability

Part B: System architecture and accountability

The aim of the Framework and this supporting document is to increase the safety and wellbeing of Victorians by ensuring all relevant services are effectively identifying, assessing and managing family violence risk, consistent with their roles in the service system.

To achieve this, the organisations prescribed are required to align with the Framework through regulations or State service agreements.

Professionals and organisations are supported through these changes with the policy and practice advice, outlined in this document and supporting resources. The system architecture, through the legislative, policy and practice elements, are mapped out at Figure 1, and described further below.

Figure 1

The diagram consists of the Family Violence Protection Act (2008) at the top. This states that the Act empowers responsible Minister to approve framework and places a requirement on framework organisations to align policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools with the approved framework. It also places obligations on Ministers such as reporting, review of Framework, legislative review.
Figure 1

The diagram consists of the Family Violence Protection Act (2008) at the top. This states that the Act empowers responsible Minister to approve framework and places a requirement on framework organisations to align policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools with the approved framework. It also places obligations on Ministers such as reporting, review of Framework, legislative review.

This first block points down to 3 second-level blocks. The first second-level block is title ‘Evaluation’ and contains information on the 5-year reviews and 2-year review.

The next second-level items are similar blocks (collectively labelled with ‘Legislative’, with titles ‘Regulation’ and ‘Legislative Instrument’. Both contain information on what defines these terms: “Regulation”: describes prescribed matters for Ministers to report on, and prescribes framework organisations. “Legislative instrument”: Defines what framework organisations should align to. Both these blocks point down to a third-level block collectively labelled ‘Policy’. This block has the title “Framework Policy and Practice document”. It provides evidence based policy direction, describes system architecture and accountability mechanisms, and expands on the pillars in the legislative instrument.

There is another level below this, collectively titled ‘Practice’. This block has the title “Supporting materials”, which contains operational practice guidance for risk assessment and management, guidance to support services to embed the Framework, training for practitioners and organisational leaders, and development of a maturity model approach to alignment.

Download Figure 1

Legislative environment

Part 11 of the FVPA authorises the relevant Minister to approve a family violence risk assessment and risk management framework (the Framework) as a legislative instrument and requires framework organisations to align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools to it.

Under the Framework, each Pillar contains a requirement to which Framework organisations must align (Framework requirements). It also requires Framework organisations to consider the Principles, in their activities of alignment.

Creating the Framework as a legislative instrument in the FVPA aims to establish consistent service system-wide family violence risk assessment and risk management practice. Services will need to align to the Framework progressively over time, from specialist family violence services, support or intervention services, to universal services.

Remember

Alignment is defined as:

Actions taken by Framework organisations to effectively incorporate the four pillars of the Framework into existing policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools, as appropriate to the roles and functions of the prescribed entity and its place in the service system.

The FVPA also allows the relevant Minister to amend the legislative instrument. The requirement to review and update the Framework and this supporting document will ensure it remains current and incorporates contemporary evidence-based best practice over time.

Part 5A of the FVPA creates the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (the Scheme), which authorises prescribed information sharing entities to share information for the purpose of assessing and managing family violence risk. Further details on the Scheme can be found in the Scheme Guidelines.

The MARAM Framework outlines how organisations can demonstrate their alignment, as required under Part 11 of the FVPA, by implementing the requirements of each Pillar, and reflecting relevant Principles within their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools.

Further guidance on each Pillar will be provided in supporting resources.

System-wide accountability is measured through reporting and review

Annual Ministerial reporting requirements, established in Part 11 of the FVPA, provide accountability to Parliament and the public.

Remember

Under these requirements, all Ministers with responsibility for a Framework organisation must prepare an annual report on the implementation and operation of the Framework, and the relevant Minister must provide a consolidated report to Parliament on the implementation. Ministers will provide a report that summarises actions from the preceding year.

The FVPA and the regulations require the report to include:

  1. actions taken by a public entity or a public service body to support Framework organisations in relation to the implementation and operation of the approved Framework; and
  2. a summary of the progress of implementation of the approved Framework by Framework organisations; and
  3. proposed future actions to be undertaken by public entities and public service bodies to support ongoing implementation and operation by Framework organisations with the approved Framework.

This annual process will encourage government and service providers to continually assess the progress of alignment, identify where additional attention and support may be needed and use this to inform priority setting for the following 12-month period. The annual report from each Minister to the relevant Minister will be a summary, rather than a report on each individual Framework organisation’s performance.

The periodic reviews of the Framework and the implementation of Part 11 will provide an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the accountability system and consider any recommendations to strengthen it over time. Part 11 requires:

  • a review of the approved Framework to assess whether it reflects the current evidence-based best practices of family violence risk assessment and management; and recommendation of the changes required (if any) to ensure it is consistent with best practices (periodically up to every five years)
  • a review of the operation of Part 11 to assess if the objective of providing a framework supporting consistency in family violence risk assessment and management practice; and to recommend changes required (if any) to improve the effectiveness of Part 11 (within 5 years).

A key focus of the review will be to improve communication of feedback between the support for alignment provided by government (or other relevant bodies), the alignment activity undertaken by Framework organisations, and Ministerial reporting. This will build on work underway across government to improve communication, regulatory and contractual arrangements, data collection and reporting requirements in each service sector.

Governance

Clear governance is vital to the effective implementation of the family violence reform agenda, and the operation of this Framework. Across the Victorian Government, key structures are responsible for overseeing these reforms. These include:

  • the responsible Minister
  • Ministers responsible for framework organisations
  • Cabinet Sub-committee
  • Victorian Secretaries Board Sub-committee
  • A number of standing inter-departmental committees and working groups.

Policy environment

The Framework drives the policy environment for family violence risk assessment and management practice in Victoria. This MARAM Framework provides the supporting guidance for Framework organisations to understand their obligations under the FVPA.

The scope of the family violence practice includes work across a victim survivor’s and perpetrator’s interaction with the service system, and reflects the spectrum of presentations and risks. Practice applies to all stages, including risk identification for early intervention, screening (including routine screening, where applicable), risk assessment and management responses encompassing victim survivor safety, stabilisation and ongoing recovery, and perpetrator accountability and interventions. Each of these elements responds to the dynamic nature of family violence risk, and recognises that assessment, safety planning and recovery may be ongoing and not discrete incidents.

Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s 10 Year Plan for Change is the Government’s overarching response to the Commission’s recommendations. It outlines the vision of a Victoria free from family violence. This plan and the associated Family Violence Outcomes Framework will be the standard for measuring outcomes and progress towards the aims of family violence reform.

This is also supported by Free From Violence: Victoria's strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women, which aims to prevent family violence before it starts by focussing on settings where inequality and violent behaviour are shaped — such as schools and workplaces.

Dhelk Dja: Aboriginal 10 Year Family Violence Agreement (‘Dhelk Dja’) is the key Aboriginal-led Victorian Strategy that commits the signatories — Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal services and government — to work together and be accountable for ensuring that Aboriginal women, men, children, young people, Elders, families and communities are stronger, safer, thriving and living free from family violence. It articulates the long-term partnership and directions required at a state-wide, regional and local level to ensure that Aboriginal people, families and communities are violence free, and to build upon the foundation of Aboriginal self-determination.

The Indigenous Family Violence (Aboriginal Family Safety) Partnership Forum and its members are the strategic leaders for Dhelk Dja.

Remember

The Framework sits alongside the Family Violence Outcomes Framework which creates outcomes and measures for services and programs responsible for assessing and managing family violence risk. It aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Family violence and gender inequality are not tolerated
  • Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive
  • Perpetrators are held accountable for their actions and behaviours, engaged and connected
  • Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.

Practice environment

This MARAM Framework will be accompanied by supporting resources to provide operational practice guidance for family violence risk assessment and management. Supporting resources may be tailoredfor different practice settings to help organisations embed the Framework into their operations. These operational practice guides include associated risk identification, screening and assessment tools, which can be used by professionals in the form provided in practice guides, or key elements can be incorporated into existing assessment tools that are already used by organisations.

Other materials include guidance for organisations to review their operations and practices to achieve Framework alignment. Change management activities and resources, toolkits focusing on staff capability, training and culture change, and guidance around data collection and analysis will be available. More material based on the toolkits is expected to be produced over time by government departments and peak bodies, focusing on the specific needs of different service sectors.

There are a range of risk assessment tools and frameworks used by the Victorian service system to support family violence risk assessment and management practice. To support a common understanding of family violence across the system, Framework organisations are required to align their existing tools and frameworks with the MARAM Framework

Reviewed 17 March 2021

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