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Prioritise reducing family violence in rural, regional and remote communities


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:

  • Government has delivered 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:

    • The operationalisation of The Orange Door network (Family Violence Support and Safety Hubs). As at July 2021, eight sites are operational with six of these located in the regional and rural areas of Barwon, Central Highlands, Goulburn, Inner Gippsland, Loddon and Mallee. Planning is well underway for the establishment of the remaining nine Orange Door network areas. The Orange Door network helps adults, children and young people who are experiencing family violence connect directly to services and provides a coordinated response to a range of different needs, and where required, delivers a whole of family response including holding perpetrators to account.
    • Through Building from Strength: 10-Year Industry Plan for Family Violence Prevention and Response, attraction and retention strategies have been developed for the specialist family violence and primary prevention workforces with considered tailored approaches for rural and regional communities. This includes undertaking long-term workforce planning to forecast the size, skill and location requirements of these workforces; and through the “So, what do you do?” statewide 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 Victorian Government, jointly led by Family Safety Victoria (FSV) and the Department of Education and Training (DET)External Link , has developed 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)External Link , 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 Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) Framework. To support broad access, students receiving an eligibility exemption to complete a family violence accredited course will often pay no tuition fee. This will vary between providers as fees are not regulated in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system.
    • FSV is leading work in partnership with the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum on the establishment of three Aboriginal Access Points 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 they will become operational in late 2021.
    • Two new Aboriginal-specific family violence refuges are being built to ensure more Aboriginal women, children and families have access to safe, culturally appropriate accommodation, including $9.1 million in the 21/22 Budget to build and operate a new Aboriginal family violence refuge in the Horsham region, providing culturally appropriate support services, while also creating 8 new roles. The Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum endorsed Warrnambool and Shepparton as the two regional locations for the new Aboriginal family violence refuges.
    • The establishment of five Specialist Family Violence Courts (SFVC)External Link 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 2021-22 Budget expanded the network of courts to include the regional areas of Geelong and Latrobe Valley. 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 PoliceExternal Link 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 statewide delivery of this initiative.
    • In 2018, FSV 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 $2.7 million over two 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 Victorian 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 $1.1 million 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.

    Significant investment in services, program, workforce and reform initiatives has occurred across the state to implement this recommendation, 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 CommissionExternal Link recommendations and service developments.

  • Implemented.

Reviewed 22 September 2021

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