Who is leading the change
Court Services Victoria
The Victorian Government ensure that Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal members receive training and education to ensure that they have adequate expertise in the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) and family violence matters.
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. Integral to this work is considering the particular needs of the VCAT members.
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 (See recommendation 216).
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.
A family violence awareness program was held in December 2017 for VCAT members and staff.
This awareness raising twilight seminar presented by the Honourable Marcia Neave AO assisted VCAT Members and staff to better understand:
- the nature and dynamics of family violence
- how family violence presents in VCAT matters
- support available at VCAT for parties experiencing family violence
Further planning is underway for programs for 2018 and beyond.
A Family Violence in the Courtroom program will be available for VCAT members to attend. This cross-jurisdictional program will examine how judicial officers in the court/tribunal room can manage risk, maximise rehabilitation, promote behaviour change and make appropriate orders in family violence matters.
This recommendation is linked with recommendations 175, 215 and 216.