Who is leading the change
- Family Safety Victoria
The Victorian Government and other relevant parties, in designing the recommended Statewide Family Violence Action Plan and implementing the Royal Commission into Family Violence’s other recommendations:
- give priority to reducing family violence in rural, regional and remote communities
- improve access to services by victims and perpetrators of family violence in such communities
- investigate and fund the use of technological solutions to provide access to service providers - among them those with experience in safety planning and counselling
- when contracting for and funding services in these communities, recognise:
- the importance of building the capacity of universal services to deliver family violence services in order to facilitate an effective, locally based response
- the need for flexibility in contracting and funding arrangements in order to facilitate collaboration between different services and providers
Across the implementation of key family violence reform areas such as workforce, funding reforms, justice reforms, service system reform and prevention, the government is taking account of the nuanced needs of those experiencing or at risk of family violence in rural and regional communities by ensuring accessible services across these communities.
Priority is being given to reducing family violence in rural, regional and remote Victorian communities by ensuring the needs of people across these communities are considered across the implementation of all recommendations, and through ensuring:
- Family violence experienced in the context of diverse communities, including rural and regional communities has been considered within Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change (10-Year Plan) and the Family Violence Rolling Action Plan 2017-2020.
- Support and Safety Hubs (The Orange Door Network) are established in each of the 17 Department of Health and Human Services areas across the state to improve access to services victim survivors and perpetrators including those living in rural, regional and remote communities. As at November 2020 The Orange Door Network is operational in 7 Department of Health and Human Services areas; Barwon, Bayside Peninsula, Inner Gippsland, Mallee, North East Melbourne, Central Highlands and Loddon areas.
- The establishment of 3 Aboriginal Access Points which will provide culturally safe and appropriate family violence supports to Aboriginal Victorians.
- The establishment of Specialist Family Violence Courts (SFVCs) which will improve access to specialist family violence court services for people in regional and rural areas. Three SFVCs are now operational including in Ballarat and Shepparton.
Government is delivering initiatives that will improve service access for victim survivors and perpetrators in rural and regional areas. State Budget investment has supported the implementation of this recommendation through various reforms including:
As at November 2020 The Orange Door Network is operational in 7 Department of Health and Human Services areas; Barwon, Bayside Peninsula, Inner Gippsland, Mallee, North East Melbourne, Central Highlands and Loddon..
- Through Building from Strength: 10-Year Industry Plan for Family Violence Prevention and Response, attraction and retention strategies will be developed for the specialist family violence and primary prevention workforces with considered tailored approaches for rural and regional communities. This includes by undertaking long-term workforce planning to forecast the size, skill and location requirements of these workforces; and through the “So, what do you do?” state-wide recruitment campaign launched in May 2020 which aims to promote awareness of the family violence sector and its values, the diversity of jobs, and seeks to attract people with the quality and skills the sector needs.
- The government, led by the Department of Education and Training, is developing short accredited training courses in family violence response and prevention in consultation with family violence industry experts to ensure that family violence training is available to workforces intersecting with family violence. Delivery of this training will be through dual sector universities, TAFEs and other registered training organisations to ensure its availability state-wide, including within rural and regional areas. A first accredited course in family violence response for existing and future workforces across Victoria, Course in Identifying and Responding to Family Violence Risk (22510VIC), has been developed and commenced delivery online, due to the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. This is the first accredited course to deliver foundational family violence knowledge and skills in family violence response consistent with the MARAM Framework. To support broad access, participants may be able to access exemptions to eligibility criteria for government-funded training places, which will have no tuition fees.
- Family Safety Victoria is leading work in partnership with the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum on the establishment of 3 Aboriginal Access Points, a complementary service model to The Orange Door Network which will provide culturally safe and appropriate supports for Aboriginal Victorians experiencing or at risk of family violence. In January 2020, the Partnership Forum endorsed Barwon, Mallee and Bayside Peninsula as the regions where the Aboriginal Access Points will be established. Work is continuing on the development of the operating and service delivery model for the access points, and it is anticipated that the first site will become operational by mid-2021.
- 2 new Aboriginal-specific family violence refuges are being 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 2 regional locations for the new Aboriginal family violence refuges.
- The establishment of five Specialist Family Violence Courts (SFVC) across the State including in Shepparton and Ballarat. The Shepparton Magistrates’ Court was the first SFVC to commence operation in October 2019, and the Ballarat SFVC became operational in December 2019. The investment in these courts will facilitate:
- Providing specialist magistrates, registrars, applicant and respondent practitioners, as well as dedicated police prosecutors and civil advocates
- providing facilities for access to specialist family violence service providers and lawyers
- expanding the number of court rooms available for family violence matters so that more cases can be heard each day
- upgrading courts associated with the expansion of the SFVC model to improve safety and security, modernise courts and improve victim survivors’ experience at court through capital improvement works
- Koori Family Violence Police Protocols have been launched by Victoria Police in regional areas - initially in Morwell, Warrnambool, Swan Hill and Horsham, with oversight from the Aboriginal Justice Forum. In October 2018, government announced a funding allocation to enable the state-wide delivery of this initiative.
- 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 $2.7mover 2 years to support organisations to deliver Aboriginal-led family violence prevention and early intervention initiatives across Victoria, including in regional and rural areas. Eleven organisations were successful in the inaugural funding round for 2018 - 20.
- In 2018, the government delivered an ongoing funding boost of $450,000 per year towards the Aboriginal Community Initiatives Fund (CIF), an Aboriginal-led local primary prevention and early intervention initiative coordinated by the Dhelk Dja Regional Action Groups. This takes the annual funding allocation to $1.1m across Victoria which is distributed across the 11 Dhelk Dja Regional Action Groups. The CIF supports Aboriginal-led prevention initiatives in local regional areas across Victoria.
This recommendation is being implemented given the significant investment in services, program, workforce and reform initiatives across the state which has resulted in an increase in accessibility of a range of family violence services across rural and regional communities recognising that this work continues to be ongoing and part of business as usual practice in designing and implementing royal commission recommendations and service developments.
Forecast implementation date: 30 June 2022.
Reviewed 07 January 2021