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Develop and strengthen guidelines for further engagement with perpetrators of family violence


Who is leading the change

  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Victoria Police

The Department of Health and Human Services, together with Victoria Police, develop and strengthen its current practice guidelines to facilitate further engagement with perpetrators of family violence with the aim of:

  • exhausting all efforts to interview the alleged perpetrator of the violence
  • protecting the safety of child protection practitioners who must work with alleged perpetrators of family violence
  • developing ‘feedback loops’ with Victoria Police and other relevant agencies—including the recommended Support and Safety Hubs, once established—in order to obtain and share information about family violence perpetrators and so assist with risk assessment and risk management
  • A core focus of our work has been to better equip the child protection workforce to engage and intervene with perpetrators of family violence through the development of practice advice, policies and procedures.

    The Child Protection Family Violence Steering Committee (the Steering Committee) has been established to ensure that interventions are strengthened at the source (the person perpetrating the violence), and to provide specialist advice on other recommendations relating to child protection practice and systems. Recommendations 25, 26 and 27 are being driven by the Steering Committee.

    The Steering Committee includes representatives from across government, the family violence sector, family services and Aboriginal services, who had been meeting monthly since August 2016, recently moving to bi-monthly meetings.

  • Existing child protection practice advice has been strengthened and guidance has been developed for child protection practitioners about working with perpetrators of family violence. The new advice and guidance emphasises the importance of working collaboratively with Victoria Police, family violence services and men's services to ensure a statewide application of best practice approaches with clear promotion of worker safety. 17 specialist family violence workers have been embedded in Child protection offices. This will help improve the way child protection practitioners undertake family violence risk assessments, safety planning and make referrals to services to facilitate collaboration and learning.

    This was informed by research on best-practice approaches to engaging and intervening with perpetrators in a child protection setting. Collaboration is also underway with Victoria Police to explore opportunities to enhance ways of working with perpetrators who avoid child protection and to improve information sharing between child protection and Victoria Police.

    While this recommendation has been implemented,changes to policy and practice advice in the child protection workforce will continue to be carried out, and improve the child protection system's capability to work with perpetrators of family violence. This approach acknowledges that child protection practices will evolve as the redeveloped Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework, the Support and Safety Hubs and the advice of the Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions are implemented.

    The 2017–18 State Budget has provided funding to increase the capacity of the child protection system.

    The 2018-19 State Budget includes funding for initiatives that will contribute to this work, including $225.5 million over three years to provide continued support for children at risk by maintaining an additional 450 child protection positions and continuing funding for child protection after-hours responses.

  • Implemented.

Reviewed 17 May 2020

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