Who is leading the change
Court Services Victoria
The Victorian Government provide funding to continue the development of comprehensive family violence learning and development training covering family violence, family law and child protection for court staff and judicial officers.
In various forms, family violence presents in all Victorian jurisdictions: Supreme Court, County Court, Magistrates’ Court, Children’s Court, Coroners Court and VCAT.
The Royal Commission into Family Violence recognised the prevalence of family violence in each jurisdiction’s case load and recommended education and training for judicial officers and court staff.
The Judicial College of Victoria is responsible for major aspects of this education and training program, especially developing knowledge and skills for judicial officers in all jurisdictions.
International and leading Australian experts as well as judicial officers skilled in family violence judicial practice are leading the programs, which are designed for cross-jurisdictional audiences and specific jurisdictions.
To complement this skills training, a comprehensive family violence curriculum is being finalised for each jurisdiction, including VCAT, as a road map for future training.
The College also hosts and updates a family violence bench book and other relevant publications. These are available to the judiciary and the public on our website.
The College considers judicial education on family violence an ongoing program of work with new programs to be developed based on need and rolled out in the next three years.
Following the Royal Commission into Family Violence, early Judicial College work entailed consultation, engagement and needs analysis; and intensive work in the Magistrates’ Court. College programs in 2016 and 2017 focused on the nature, dynamics and social context of family violence. In 2018 the focus has shifted to developing the judiciary’s skills in managing complex and difficult family violence cases in order to manage risk and maximise rehabilitation and community protection.
In consultation with the heads of jurisdiction and other judicial officers with family violence expertise, the College delivers a range of family violence specific programs and includes material or sessions on family violence in other programs.
The 15 programs scheduled in the College’s education and training calendar for 2018 offer a variety of content and learning opportunities, along with innovative approaches such as conducting courtroom scenarios. Programs are delivered in a range of formats – workshops, twilights, sessions at court conferences.
Family violence programs or sessions at the College for 2018 include:
- Magistrates’ Court Conference – New family violence information sharing regime (February 2018)
- County Court Conference – ‘Social context and essential knowledge’; ‘Pornography, young people and sexuality today’ (March 2018)
- Duluth: Working together to respond to family violence (May 2018)
- Using intermediaries in your courtroom (May 2018)
- Family Violence Lead Magistrates’ Workshop (forthcoming - June 2018)
- Family Violence in the Courtroom – cross-jurisdictional (forthcoming - June 2018)
- Dr Gabor Mate – drug use as a risk factor in family violence (forthcoming - August 2018)
- Specialist Family Violence Courts professional development for the multidisciplinary team at Shepparton (forthcoming - August 2018)
- Family Violence Lead Magistrates Workshop (forthcoming - August 2018)
- Children’s Court conference (forthcoming - October 2018)
- Family Violence Lead Magistrates Workshop (October2018)
More specific family violence programs or family violence components are expected to be added during the year as needs are identified and programs requested.
The College also hosts and updates a Family Violence Bench Book and a range of other relevant information updates and publications. The College has made various updates to the Bench Book throughout 2017 and 2018 to ensure its currency; and provided communications about updates in the law during 2018.
Additional updates or publications during 2018 include:
- a guide to explain the Family Violence Protection Amendment (Information Sharing) Act 2017 to help judicial officers understand the impact of the scheme (February 2018)
- Aa guide to explain the significant changes introduced by the Family Violence Protection Amendment Act 2017 which affect judicial officers (March 2018)
- a guide for judicial officers on working with victims of crime (forthcoming)
College resources about family violence are available to the judiciary and the public on the Judicial College of Victoria website.