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Develop an information sharing protocol between Department of Health and Human Services and the Magistrates' Court

Recommendation:
028
Status:
Implemented

Who is leading the change

  • Department of Health and Human Services

Pending finalisation of the recommended information-sharing regime, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) liaise with the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria to develop an information-sharing protocol to ensure that, when a parent seeks a new or amended family violence intervention order or Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) order in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, information held by the department in relation to family violence risk is provided to the court. Where necessary, a child protection practitioner should be made available to give evidence.

  • The Department of Health and Human Services is continuing to work with the Magistrates' Court of Victoria and Children's Court to finalise an information sharing protocol. Both the Magistrates' Court of Victoria and the department have established central information sharing teams that will support the operationalisation of the protocol and facilitate timely information exchange.

  • The information sharing protocol was not finalised prior to 30 June 2018 due to changing legislative arrangements that impacted the ability to settle final arrangements for the sharing of information.

    The department and Courts have continued to work through and resolve issues which include:

    • Clarity regarding the use of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (FVPA) as an authority for Court to request information from the department. It has been proposed that section 65 of the FVPA provides the legislative basis for the Courts to make requests under the protocol and this is currently being considered by the department
    • Consequential amendments made to the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (CYFA) on 27 September 2018 included the repeal of complicated and restrictive information sharing provisions. It is agreed this resulted in simpler authorisations for the sharing of information obtained in the course of child protection involvement with the courts

    The protocol sets out the agreement for the procedures for sharing information, management of information in the Court to maintain the safety of victims while respecting judicial procedures, requirements for child protection practitioners to attend and give evidence to the court and dispute resolution processes. The protocol commenced operation on June 2019.

  • Implemented.

Reviewed 17 May 2020

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