Who is leading the change
- Family Safety Victoria
The Victorian Government give priority to providing adequate funding to Aboriginal community controlled organisations for:
- culturally appropriate family violence services for Aboriginal women and children
- family-centred services and programs—including programs that focus on cultural strengthening— therapeutic child-centred programs, and one-door integrated services where family members can obtain a range of supports
- culturally appropriate legal services for victims and perpetrators, to meet the increased demand for services and the need for statewide coverage
- crisis accommodation and support options for Aboriginal women and children based on core and cluster-style and best-practice models with access to longer term housing
- culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal men who perpetrate family violence—including access to suitable accommodation
- early intervention and prevention actions in Aboriginal communities—including whole-of-community activities and targeted programs
Work is underway to ensure ongoing, sustainable funding is built into business as usual activity, through the implementation of Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families and the first Dhelk Dja 3-Year Action Plan (2019-21).
To realise the government’s commitment to Aboriginal self-determination, is ensuring that the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum is involved in the process of informing and monitoring the implementation of this recommendation.
Progress on strategic priority and supporting activities is measured through the Dhelk Dja Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability Plan (MEAP), which will identify outcomes and use quantitative and qualitative data to track progress. The MEAP is expected to be finalised in late July 2020 after an endorsement process through the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum.
Government will remain transparent and accountable by reporting on progress of the 3-Year Action Plan in the following ways:
- as part of the Action Plan and MEAP reporting and monitoring obligations to the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum
- as part of the whole-of-government progress report to Parliament on the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2018-2023
- as part of the bi-annual Royal Commission into Family Violence (RCFV) Recommendation implementation updates
Funding boost during the COVID-19 pandemic
In May 2020, approximately $2.2m over 2 years was allocated to 21 Aboriginal community-controlled organisations (ACCOs). This additional funding will support Aboriginal family violence services to respond to the anticipated increase in demand and business continuity challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic
In June 2020, a further $250,000 over 2 years was allocated to Dardi Munwurro to support them to deliver a statewide crisis support service for Aboriginal men using violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Culturally appropriate family violence services and family-centred services
In May 2017, the Victorian government funded 26 demonstration projects to trial new ways to provide intensive therapeutic support to women, children, young people, and Aboriginal families and communities experiencing or recovering from family violence. Funding for the projects ceased in September 2019.
In January 2019 the Victorian government made a $21.2 million investment in therapeutic interventions for victim survivors of family violence. $5.2 million of this funding was dedicated to Aboriginal therapeutic responses to local community and client need with a focus on recovery and healing.
In August 2019 Family Safety Victoria and DHHS announced the successful family violence therapeutic providers including 11 Aboriginal organisations across the 17 DHHS Areas.
Family Safety Victoria is working closely with the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum and Aboriginal communities to design Orange Door Aboriginal Access Points. These Aboriginal Access Points are a complementary service model to work alongside The Orange Door Network providing a culturally safe referral pathway for Aboriginal people impacted by family violence. The Orange Door Network
The Orange Door Network model also includes Aboriginal Practice Leads in each area, and Aboriginal Advisory Groups set up to advise local governance groups on implementing the principles of self-determination, cultural safety, and engaging with Aboriginal community and services.
The Nargneit Birrang Aboriginal Holistic Healing Framework for Family Violence (Nargneit Birrang), which was co-designed with Victorian Aboriginal communities and endorsed by the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum in 2019, acts a guide for the flexible design, funding, implementation and evaluation of Aboriginal-led family violence holistic healing initiatives.
Funding was committed in the 2017-18 State Budget to implement the holistic healing initiatives which will be guided by the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum will guide the implementation of these approaches.
In November 2019, Family Safety Victoria approved the approach proposed by the Aboriginal Sexual Assault Support Service Working Group to design and test a new and/or build on existing sexual assault models and approaches. This includes the allocation of up to $300,000 per annum over 2 years for up to 3 trial locations across the state. The models and approaches are to be based on holistic healing principles and building on the Nargneit Birrang Framework. The Call for Submission targeted to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations was released in July and closed in September 2020.
The Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Initiative was trialled at 9 sites across Victoria in 2017-18 with the aim of improving access to and participation in the Universal MCH program, and supporting the delivery of culturally safe, responsive universal MCH services that are flexible to the needs of Aboriginal families.An evaluation of the trial reported positive outcomes overall and provided recommendations for enhancing Aboriginal families’ engagement in the service.
A further investment of funding supported the continuation and expansion of the Aboriginal MCH Initiative until 2020-21.
Aboriginal MCH providers have had access to comprehensive family violence training over the last 2 years, aligned to the new information sharing and family violence reforms. In addition, DHHS is working with Aboriginal providers to deliver cultural safety training to all mainstream MCH service providers in the second half of 2020 to improve the cultural safety of MCH services and ensure Victorian Aboriginal families have access to culturally safe care anywhere in Victoria that is welcoming, respectful and safe. This online training aligns practice with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Safety Framework and focusses on developing broad foundational knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history, and how to work in partnership in the provision of MCH services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. The training will be available to access until February 2022 for any new starters and students. Facilitated face-to-face reflection sessions are planned for after the completion of the online training to further embed culturally safe practice at the service-level.
Culturally appropriate legal services
The 2017-18 State Budget allocated $11 million over 4 years to provide culturally appropriate legal services for victims and perpetrators and culturally appropriate family violence services for Aboriginal women and children. This provides legal services for more people and enables state-wide service coverage. Funding was provided to Djirra (formerly the Aboriginal Family Violence and Prevention Legal Service) and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.
Funding was also provided to Djirra to establish its Koori Women’s Place, a unique initiative which supports Aboriginal women to lead strong, independent and positive lives as they confront the ongoing trauma of family violence.
The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria established the Aboriginal Dispute Resolution Program (ADRP), comprising a Program Manager and 3 Aboriginal Dispute Resolution Officers (each officer located in each of the priority regions: Loddon Mallee, Gippsland and North Metropolitan).
Crisis accommodation and support options for Aboriginal women and children
Ongoing funding is being provided for two existing Aboriginal family violence refuges. In addition, two new Aboriginal family violence refuges will be built to ensure more Aboriginal women, children and families have access to safe, culturally appropriate accommodation.
The Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum endorsed Warrnambool and Shepparton as the two preferred locations for the new Aboriginal family violence refuges.
Culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal men who use family violence
The 2017-18 State Budget secured funding for a residential family violence service for Aboriginal men delivered by Dardi Munwurro. Ngarra Jarranounith Place (NJP) is a 16-week program designed to support men who use, or are at risk of using, family violence to make positive changes in their lives through healing and behaviour change. The program offers intensive one-on-one support and group activities that focus on: strong spirit, strong culture, taking responsibility and healthy relationships.
In 2018, 2 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations received funding through Family Safety Victoria’s new Community Based Perpetrator Intervention Trials. Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) in partnership with Anglicare received funding to deliver A Better Way, a community-based perpetrator intervention based on the Safer Together model for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal fathers in Bayside Peninsula.
Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative (BDAC) in partnership with the Centre for Non-Violence, received funding to deliver a community-based intervention, primarily in bush settings, including healing and re-storying/reflective practice activities with Aboriginal fathers and non-Aboriginal fathers with Aboriginal families.
Early intervention and prevention actions in Aboriginal communities
In 2018, Family Safety Victoria established the Preventing the Cycle of Violence (PCV) Aboriginal Fund, a prevention and early intervention fund co-designed with the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum. The PCV Aboriginal Fund provides $2.7m over two years to support organisations to deliver Aboriginal-led family violence prevention and early intervention initiatives. 11 organisations were successful in the inaugural funding round 2018-20 and are currently implementing prevention and early intervention initiatives to their local communities. FSV has funded an evaluation into the PCV. The evaluators are currently working with organisations and/or community groups who were funded to evaluate their projects. The evaluation of the PCV Aboriginal Fund aims to make an important and significant contribution to the evidence base for what works in family violence prevention for Aboriginal communities.
From 2018 an ongoing funding boost of $450,000 per year was provided for the Aboriginal Community Initiatives Fund (CIF), coordinated by the Dhelk Dja Action Groups. This takes the annual funding allocation to $1.1 million across Victoria. The CIF supports Aboriginal-led prevention initiatives in local areas across Victoria.
- Forecast implementation date: 30 June 2021.
Reviewed 07 January 2021