Reform Delivery: Victoria Police

Transforming the police response to family violence

Police officer carrying a child

Victoria Police respond to a family violence incident every six minutes on average, making it our number one law and order issue.

Lisa Neville, Minister for Police and Emergency Services

Reforming the police response

The Royal Commission noted that police are an important part of the frontline response to family violence and are often the first point of contact for family violence victims.

The Royal Commission said that to improve Victoria Police's response to family violence there needed to be an increased focus on:

  • risk assessment and management
  • perpetrator accountability for contraventions of intervention orders
  • data-recording and data-sharing
  • problems associated with cultural norms and attitudes among some police members

Since 2016 Victoria Police have been transforming their response to family violence through implementing the Royal Commission recommendations. This includes:

  • rolling out a new evidence-based, actuarial family violence risk assessment and risk management tool to guide the police response
  • deploying 415 new specialist police roles to investigate family violence incidents including 277 detectives in 31 Family Violence Investigation Units across the state
  • establishing the Centre of Learning for Family Violence
  • trialling the use of body worn cameras to collect evidence and victim statements from family violence incidents
  • deploying mobile devices (iPhones and iPads) so that police officers can complete family violence risk assessments at the scene and access relevant criminal history in real time
  • expanding Koori Family Violence Police Protocols statewide

Behind the scenes of Victoria Police's family violence response

This Victoria Police video highlights police progress in reform delivery since 2016, narrated by the head of the Family Violence Command, Assistant Commissioner Lauren Callaway.

The video includes material from inside the new Centre of Learning for Family Violence which is providing career-long learning for police of all ranks - and explains how hundreds of new specialist family violence investigators are identifying and managing the most high-risk cases.

Victoria Police action on family violence reform

Connecting Victoria Police family violence response across the reform

Across the family violence reform this next phase of delivery has a particular focus on integrating activities across and between departments and agencies. Victoria Police is strengthening its relationship with the sector through:

  • sector-wide information sharing of law enforcement data to better support victim survivors, and improve risk assessments and safety planning
  • working more closely with courts and the justice system to ensure victim survivors are supported and we continue to hold perpetrators to account
  • strengthening the L17 referrals process to The Orange Door network and other support services for victim survivors including children, and those who use violence, to embed a whole of system response
  • continued membership on the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum and working collaboratively to enhance our policing response with the community

I would like to build on the relationship between the police force and family violence sectors in government; a lot of the hard work has to happen through government partners and support services.

Integrating these systems will give victims and survivors the best chance for safety.

Assistant Commissioner Lauren Callaway
Victorian Police, Family Violence Command
November 2020

Strategy to 2023

Victoria Police have implemented all the 26 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence which had been identified as their responsibility.

The focus going forward is to embed changes to culture and practice and improve collaborations with the specialist family violence and related workforces.

The Victoria Police strategy for family violence reform delivery until 2023 is set out in Policing Harm, Upholding the Right. The plan sets out four strategic priorities for reform:

  • victim safety - service delivery improves the safety and wellbeing of victims
  • offence and offender management - perpetrators are actively managed and held accountable
  • child safety is front of mind
  • our people - a capable and safe workforce

Over the next couple of years, Victoria Police will focus on:

  • further integrating the response to victims and perpetrators of family violence, child abuse and sexual offending, acknowledging that these crimes are related and often occur together
  • developing trauma-informed response options with system partners for children and young people who are victims of family violence, and those who then go on to use family violence
  • strengthening police operational response to elder abuse and offending involving people with a disability, and ensuring the police response protects children in out-of-home care
  • strengthening our response to family violence involving Victoria Police employees

Policing Harm, Upholding the Right

Reviewed 04 January 2021

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