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Family Violence Reform Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023

Working towards a Victoria free from family violence


Message from the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence

Gabrielle Williams, Minister for Prevention of Family Violence

In 2016 the Victorian Government announced an ambitious plan: 10 years to rebuild Victoria’s family violence system. The commitment to implement all 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence provided the basis for this reform.

This Rolling Action Plan will guide us through the next three years of the reform. It is delivered through this web portal as a digital product setting out our focus of activities to 2023 in the context of our 10-year plan to end family violence: ‘Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s plan for change’. 

We do not have a too-hard basket. We know that what is difficult is also often important.

Gabrielle Williams, Minister for Prevention of Family Violence
18 September 2020

By presenting the Rolling Action Plan as an interactive digital product you will not only be able to read about this plan, but by using the links provided, you can also navigate to the range of reform activity across government departments and agencies.

  • We recognise the diversity of Aboriginal people living throughout Victoria. Whilst the terms ‘Koorie’ or ‘Koori’ are commonly used to describe Aboriginal people of southeast Australia, we have used the term ‘Aboriginal’ to include all people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who are living in Victoria.

    The use of the words ‘our’ and ‘we’ throughout this document refers to the Victorian Government. Unless otherwise stated, our use of the term "the government" refers to the Victorian Government.


Author:
Department of Premier and Cabinet
Date:
December 2020

Introduction

Family Violence Reform Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023

Family reading a book together

In 2016 the Victorian Government announced an ambitious plan: 10 years to rebuild Victoria’s family violence system. The commitment to implement all 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence provided the basis for this reform.

Over the last four years we have invested more than $3 billion to establish the key elements of our new system.

The reform in the context of 2020

The Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023 has been a coordinated effort across government. It was developed while Victoria was deep in the second wave of coronavirus (COVID-19) and is being delivered as Victoria continues to respond to the global pandemic.

We know that the need for family violence response and prevention is greater than ever. There are many victim survivors yet to seek help, and perpetrators who must be held to account and supported to change their behaviour. 

The government has reaffirmed that the family violence reform remains a priority as part of the social and economic recovery of Victoria. The two are inseparable: the continued rollout of our family violence reform will support Victoria’s recovery, and a strong recovery will help reduce the stressors that contribute to perpetrators choosing to use violence.  

The bushfires at the beginning of this year and then COVID-19 have created additional challenges for our community: increased anxiety, social isolation, financial stress.  

We know from evidence here and internationally that these factors increase the incidence and the severity of family violence and that we must be prepared to meet those challenges. 

We will consider what we have learnt from the changes and innovations that have already taken place as we assess the impacts of these events on the system and continue to deliver the reform.

Despite the extraordinary context of 2020 in Victoria, the reform has kept going, continuing to build a system that is stronger, better joined up, more flexible and more resilient. 

Woman and child playing together

Next steps

We are four years into our 10-year reform and making good progress.   

Royal Commission into Family Violence:
167 recommendations implemented, 60 still to go

Each recommendation implemented is another step towards a reformed family violence system. But there is still much to do. 

Maintaining our focus on bringing together key elements of the reform will support an effective response to all Victorians who need to access the family violence system, or indeed, multiple systems. 

We know we have to: 

  • keep improving how the system works together   
  • get the fullest possible picture of who is accessing the system and how it is working for them 
  • strengthen our evidence base by improving the quality of data we collect, sharing it more widely and commissioning more research  
  • continue to build a specialist family violence workforce which is highly trained and culturally safe  
  • continue to develop innovative and targeted approaches to preventing family violence

We are in the embedding phase of the reform. The first rolling action plan (2017-2020) laid a solid foundation with investment and activities implementing 167 of the 227 recommendations. The Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023 builds on this, with more new areas of focus, so that by 2023 we have a system that is more connected, sustainable and demonstrably delivering better outcomes for victim survivors.   

The roadmap to 2023 

The Rolling Action Plan provides an overview of where we have made progress, where we will improve, and what we will be working on.

It will be our roadmap from now until 2023, developed across government and with input from the broader family violence sector, people with lived experience and the community.

Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023

  • continues the delivery of reform programs and projects already underway
  • sets out the delivery of new activities with projected timelines 
  • provides an overview of key government initiatives and how they integrate with ongoing projects and programs, and other social services reforms  
  • reflects the impacts of COVID-19 on the family violence system and sets out how we will build on and learn from the changes and innovations introduced as a result of the pandemic

We acknowledge the contribution of the sector to the reform. We note that much more reform and change is being delivered across government and the broader family violence sector beyond that contained in this plan. 

The Rolling Action Plan also reflects feedback from the several hundred Victorians, many with lived experience of family violence, who have provided additional insight during the consultation. They will continue to inform our actions as we enter this next phase of the reform.

Man and child holding hands and walking

Acknowledging the foundations 

As we set out our planned activities it is also a moment to capture a big picture overview of the reform progress to date. There is much to be proud of, but we know there is still more work to do.  

Our activities for the next three years build on the foundations that have been laid during delivery of the first rolling action plan (2017-2020).

We have established two agencies to oversee Victoria's family violence prevention and response:

Respect Victoria is a world-first independent statutory authority dedicated to the primary prevention of all forms of family violence and violence against women.

Family Safety Victoria has been established to coordinate the delivery of response and support services by bringing organisations together to create new and better ways to respond to family violence.

Progress highlights since 2016

  • Respectful Relationships

    More than 1,500 Victorian schools have signed on to a whole of school approach to prevention, creating a culture of gender equality and respect and changing the story of family violence for future generations.

    Gender Equality Act 

    The Gender Equality Act 2020, the first legislation of its kind in Australia, was enacted on 25 February 2020 to improve workplace gender equality across the Victorian public sector, universities and local councils.

  • The Orange Door network

    The Orange Door network has opened in seven areas, providing a visible and accessible entry point to the support system for people experiencing family violence, people who use violence and families who need support with the care, development and wellbeing of children.  

    Housing

    Investment in housing, crisis accommodation and support pathways is helping more families, providing expanded and more stable housing options. 

  • MARAM

    The Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) along with the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) and Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS) are being expanded to more workforces to improve risk identification and assessment, and further broaden information sharing.

    • 23,000 workers have received MARAM and FVISS training 

    Central Information Point

    The Central Information Point (CIP) is operational and helping to deliver a comprehensive view of perpetrator risk which supports more targeted safety planning.  

    • 3,467 CIP reports delivered in 2019-20
    • 72 per cent of practitioners surveyed said that CIP reports had changed their risk assessment level
    • 100 per cent of practitioners surveyed said the CIP was either ‘useful’, ‘significant’ or ‘essential’ for their work
  • Victoria Police

    Australia's first Family Violence Command is strengthening Victoria Police’s strategic and operational response to family violence, sexual offences and child abuse.  

    Courts

    The first specialist family violence courts are operational and remote hearings are being piloted to support the safety and wellbeing of victim survivors.

    We have increased access to legal assistance to assist victim survivors and perpetrators to receive access to justice. 

    Legislation

    Changes to the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) are supporting better safety for victim survivors and improving early intervention.

  • Perpetrator interventions

    The delivery of community-based perpetrator interventions has expanded beyond men’s behaviour change programs to include case management and targeted services for specific cohorts.   

    The Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions was established to advise government on the suite of family violence perpetrator interventions that should be available in Victoria to ensure the safety of more women and children.

    Their report explored ways to strengthen existing and emerging perpetrator interventions.

We have a partnership with Aboriginal Victorians establishing a forum and an agreement: Dhelk Dja: Safe our Way.

The partnership supports an Aboriginal-led approach to the delivery of our family violence reforms in our Aboriginal communities, building on the foundational work of Indigenous Family Violence Regional Action Groups.

Victoria – towards a state of respect

We now have a deeper understanding of the causes and impacts of family violence. We understand far better now than we did four years ago that family violence is experienced differently for different people in different communities and therefore requires a range of prevention, early intervention and response activities.

Addressing gender inequality remains at the heart of achieving a Victoria free from violence. We know that gender inequality creates the social conditions that enable violence to occur.  

The Rolling Action Plan sets out how we are applying our increasing understanding of the dynamics and different forms of family violence, and different types of family relationships to better prevent and respond to people across Victoria’s diverse community. 

Measuring progress

Many of our programs are truly world firsts. This is why we have adopted a continuous improvement approach of incorporating new knowledge as we design and deliver policies, programs and services.

We have refreshed our Family Violence Outcomes Framework and developed a staged approach for comprehensive outcome measuring and reporting.

This approach will help us track progress and show how the reform is making a difference. We will also continue to build the evidence base, encouraging collaboration and a joined up approach to research and evaluation.

Connecting and strengthening

The family violence system is complex because it relies on multiple systems, including justice and police, family violence and community services, health, child protection, housing and education - all working together to deliver services and support. The family violence reform also intersects with other key social policy reforms in justice, housing and the findings of the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System.

The family violence system is getting stronger as each part of the system is reformed and connections across the system are built.

Some of these collaborative practices and working relationships have come about by careful planning, drawn from the recommendations of the Royal Commission. But other connections are being developed in response to new conditions, fast-tracked in many cases because of the 2019-2020 summer bushfires and COVID-19.

Delivering the ultimate goal of generational behavioural change can only be achieved by the community, sector and government:

  • listening to and working with the diversity of Victoria's communities 
  • forming partnerships to maximise our understanding of what is happening on the ground: with the community, services, across government and from people with lived experience 
  • sharing what we know, learn and do
Close of image of hands folded together

Listening and learning 

We’ve built the Rolling Action Plan by talking with Victorians who are experiencing family violence, victim survivors of family violence, those working to stop family violence before it starts and those who support victim survivors, from family and friends through to support services and the community.  

We can't just rely on government campaigns to change society's attitudes, society needs to be involved in fixing its problems.

Victim Survivors' Advisory Council
Rolling Action Plan consultation workshop
August 2020

We’ve heard that, overall, the changes we are making are effective:

  • Our prevention activity is opening new community conversations and changing attitudes. 
  • Victim survivors are better supported to be safer and to get on with their lives.  
  • We are improving our interventions so that perpetrators are more accountable now for their actions than they were four years ago.   
  • With more and more happening – new services, supports and prevention campaigns coming online - we need to provide more information about what we are doing.   
  • This web platform for the Rolling Action Plan is an example of how we will communicate better about the connection of activities across the reform. 

Overview

Guide to the Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023

Introduction

This is the second of the three rolling action plans to guide delivery of our 10-year plan to build a Victoria free from family violence.

During the first phase we began to roll out the foundational reform projects and programs and established two new agencies to strengthen primary prevention and response: Respect Victoria and Family Safety Victoria.

We are seeing the system come together. Over the next three years we will continue our planned expansion of programs and projects and delivery of the activities outlined in this second rolling action plan.

Man holding boy and looking up at boy smiling.

Evolving from outputs to outcomes

Around a quarter of the 227 Royal Commission recommendations remain in progress.

We will increasingly use the Family Violence Outcomes Framework as the organising framework of the reform.

Our focus is to show a clear picture of an integrated set of activities for each priority, how they connect to other reform activity – and how their delivery will enable us to achieve our objectives under each of the four Family Violence Outcomes Framework domains:

The four domains of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework

Domain 1, Family violence and gender inequality are not tolerated. Domain 2, Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive. Domain 3, Perpetrators are held accountable, connected and take responsibility for stopping their violence. Domain 4, Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.
The four domains of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework
Download The four domains of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework

    The Framework is supported by an implementation strategy that outlines our approach to comprehensive annual outcomes reporting. It sets out the actions we are taking to improve outcomes measurement, data collection and data quality and is supported by a whole of government approach to research and evaluation.

    Index to the Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023

    Children and Young People

    Children and young people are recognised as victim survivors in their own right and some young people who have experienced violence and trauma will also use violence in the home.

    This page outlines the differentiated support and safety needs of Victorian children and young people across the reform priority areas.

    Sexual Assault and Family Violence

    We know that sexual assault within an intimate relationship is often experienced by a victim of family violence.

    This page recognises that sexual assaults on women and children share the same roots in gender inequity and power imbalance as other forms of family violence and outlines the family violence system response to sexual assault.

    Reform-wide Priorities

    Across the family violence system, we are designing our reforms, services and programs to be inclusive, equitable and accessible from the outset to better support all Victorians.

    Three reform-wide priorities underpin the reform and guide delivery.

    The principles behind the reform-wide priorities are set out in detail on these web pages; the activities that apply them are embedded throughout the Rolling Action Plan.

    Intersectionality

    Considering the needs of diverse communities and people at different life stages who face additional barriers to accessing support in delivery of the family violence reform​

    Aboriginal Self-Determination

    Embedding the social, cultural and economic needs of Aboriginal Victorians in the design and delivery of a culturally safe, holistic family violence reform

    Lived Experience

    Working with people with lived experience of family violence to inform policy development, service delivery and the broader reform to support better outcomes for all Victorians

    Priorities for 2020-2023

    We have identified 10 priority areas for 2020-2023 which are critical for enabling and progressing the reform. They include the continued rollout of major projects and cross-cutting themes that support consolidating the reform across government.

    The actions and activities for the next three years for each of the priority areas are the core of the Rolling Action Plan. Each priority has its own page setting out why it’s important, what we have done so far and what we plan to do next.

    The Rolling Action Plan does not capture all activity across the reform. This is particularly so for projects and programs that are already fully delivered and transitioning to business as usual.

    The 10 priority themes and projects for 2020-2023 are:

    Courts
    Reforming the court response to family violence

    Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way
    Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families 2018-2028: a 10 year agreement for delivery of family violence services​ for Aboriginal Victorians

    Housing​ 
    Access to safe, secure and stable housing

    Legal Assistance
    Improving legal assistance access, representation and integration across the family violence system

    MARAM and Information Sharing
    An overarching legislative framework providing a shared approach to family violence risk assessment and management across justice, community, education and health​

    Perpetrators and People Who Use Violence
    A system-wide approach to create an effective web of accountability​

    Primary Prevention
    Effecting long-term behavioural change to stop family violence before it starts​ 

    Research and Evaluation
    Coordinating research and evaluation across the family violence reform​

    The Orange Door Network
    Delivering an accessible and visible service for people experiencing family violence and children and families in need of support

    Workforce Development
    The development of a dynamic, collaborative and specialist family violence workforce based on Building from Strength: 10-year Industry Plan

    Showcasing reform delivery

    Focus on two examples of family violence reform delivery:

    Victoria Police
    Victoria Police are transforming their response to family violence through a range of reforms including specialist policing resources, new operational guidance and the establishment of the Family Violence Centre of Learning to provide tailored career-long learning

    Respectful Relationships
    Respectful Relationships has been rolled out to more than 1,500 Victorian schools, driving change through a whole of school approach

    Oversight

    A revised governance and reporting framework will guide delivery of the next phase of the reform. This page outlines our approach.

    Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    During the pandemic, prevention and response to family violence has remained a critical priority for the government; all Victorian family violence and sexual assault services continued to operate.

    This page summarises the key impacts of COVID-19 on Victoria’s family violence system: how we adapted and what we have learnt from the experience as we continue to rollout the reform.

    Summary of Rolling Action Plan activities 2020-2023


    Children and Young People

    Meeting the differentiated needs of younger people

    Children and young people as victim survivors

    The changes we are making in Victoria recognise the distinct needs of children and young people as victim survivors of family violence in their own right, and the cumulative harm that living with family violence creates.

    We’re building a system in which children and young people will be able to access information, support and safety when and where they need it. We know we still have a lot of work to do. 

    Lived experience

    Natasha Anderson, now a young adult, was a member of the inaugural Victim Survivors' Advisory Council. In 2019, Natasha wrote, illustrated, narrated and directed an animation of her experience growing up with family violence.

    Her story tells us of the cumulative and devastating effects of family violence on children and young people and her family’s experiences of the system.

    Listening to and validating their lived experience will help us build a better system for our children, which prioritises their safety and supports child victim survivors to ultimately thrive.

    Natasha’s award-nominated film is shared with her permission. It is a powerful reminder for us to heed the voice of children.

    WARNING: This video contains challenging content about family violence.
    Tash - A short film by Natasha Anderson

    Progress since 2016

    The Royal Commission found that children and young people had been the 'silent victims' of family violence, but this was shifting. It also found resources were insufficient and not tailored to meet the distinct needs of children and young victim survivors.

    Since 2016, significant progress has been made in strengthening our response. The foundations are being put in place that enable children and young people to be recognised as victim survivors in their own right and to drive change across all the places where children and young people interact with the system.

    Information sharing

    • MARAM, Victoria’s family violence risk assessment framework, has been designed with children as victim survivors in their own right. This means that the risk assessment tools, safety plans, practice guides and training are in place to assess and work with children and young people as victim survivors.
    • Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and the Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS) prioritise the rights of children and their safety over any person’s right to privacy, promoting wellbeing and preventing the potentially devastating consequences of not sharing information.

    The Orange Door network

    • The Orange Door network is bringing together family violence, child and family and perpetrator services. This enables the system to take a whole of family approach which considers the individual needs of all family members, including children and young people.

    Justice

    • Victoria Police are asking questions specific to children and young people when responding to incidents. They are improving their consistency in referring children and young people to services and ensuring children are consistently recorded as protected persons on family violence protection notices.
    • Court Support 4 Kids is a trauma-informed service which has been made available at some courts for victim survivors with children.
    • Upgrades to the database enable child protection practitioners and practitioners in The Orange Door to search historical Victoria Police family violence (L17) reports back to August 2004.

    Support

    • The Preventing the Cycle of Violence Fund and Community Initiatives Fund have supported a number of trauma informed and strengths based initiatives specifically targeted to at-risk and vulnerable Aboriginal children and young people.
    • Therapeutic interventions, flexible support,and counselling for children and young people is provided to keep children and young people safe and to support them to recover from their experience of family violence and sexual assault.

    Delivery to 2023

    More needs to be done to meet the needs of children and young victim survivors and to ensure their voice is heard. Building on the foundations, the focus over the next three years will be to continue to drive a consistent approach across the whole system. This includes:

    • continued delivery of reform initiatives, including The Orange Door network
    • delivery of evidence-based therapeutic support
    • delivery of core and cluster refuges
    • collecting data and evidence to inform the design and delivery of services
    • The specific and long-term effects of family violence on children and young people is profound. We are working to deliver more integrated responses to their needs to ensure we can intervene earlier to prevent harm to children and young people.

      We will improve the consistency of our approach through:

      • an assessment of the impact of family violence on child health and development
      • embedding co-located specialist family violence positions within the child protection program that will strengthen integrated family violence risk assessment and integration across systems for children and young people
      • embedding therapeutic support services for women, children and young people who are victim survivors of family violence
      • supporting specialist family violence case management services to respond to the needs of children and young people, including within refuge and crisis accommodation
    • From April 2021, Phase 2 of MARAM and the Family Violence Information Sharing scheme is being rolled out to universal services. This means workers in early education, primary and secondary schools, community-managed mental health and housing services, public health services and hospitals, refugee and migrant services will use MARAM as part of their work.

      Phase 2 includes 5,800 government and non-government organisations, covering approximately 370,000 additional professionals.

      This is an important step in ensuring no matter where or how people who are affected by or experiencing family violence engage with services, there is an appropriate, consistent and capable response.

      It means early identification and intervention with children and young people at risk of, or experiencing family violence, specifically through early childhood services and schools.

    • Children and young people of all ages will have improved access to refuge accommodation through the core and cluster redevelopments. The new amenities will ensure greater privacy and independence while maintaining connections with the community and schools.

    • The Victim Survivor domain of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework includes a focus on making sure victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive.

      The domain will be reviewed as part of our ongoing refinement of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework to better reflect outcomes for children and young people as victim survivors in their own right.

      It continues to be challenging to capture data on children and young people impacted by family violence. This limits the ability to make evidence-based decisions with regards to service design and delivery. The Victorian Family Violence Data Collection Framework released in 2019, provides important standards that will drive consistency and support to organisations to improve data collection. The Family Violence Outcomes Framework Implementation Strategy will help improve the quality and quantity of data over time, including leveraging data collected by the sector.

    • The courts are continuing to support children in the courts system to ensure that they are supported and not marginalised. This means promoting their needs, wishes and voices through the implementation of less adversarial practices, and access to supports that are better targeted to their individual needs.

      Court Attendance Safety Plans under development at the Melbourne Children’s Court are an important step in continuing to prioritise the safety of victim survivors, including children.

      This may include arranging for remote witness facilities, staggered departure times, and arrangement of appropriate support when entering court rooms and participating in proceedings.

      Legislative reform

      The Victorian Government will amend the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) to clarify that the Children’s Court of Victoria has the same jurisdiction to make Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) parenting orders as the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.

    CISS implementation

    CISS allows authorised organisations to share information to support child wellbeing and safety and is being rolled out in alignment with FVISS and MARAM.

    When Phase 2 of MARAM and CISS is rolled out, education workforces including education and care services will be prescribed under the CISS.

    The video provides a perspective on how child information sharing will benefit children.

    Child Information Sharing - How sharing can make the difference

    Adolescents who use violence

    Adolescent violence against family members occurs in a specific context and requires interventions that treat it differently from adult-perpetrated family violence.

    Given young people’s need for care and protection, services responding to adolescent family violence require a specialist approach.

    Royal Commission into Family Violence
    March 2016

    Adolescents who use violence in the home are a distinct group where the approach to intervention is not the same as it would be for an adult perpetrator. Young people who use violence against a family member are often also themselves victim survivors.

    The justice system and the police response recognise their legal status as minors and the complex circumstances and factors over which they may have had little or no control and which might have contributed to their behaviour.

    The Royal Commission said that adolescent violence in the home needed to be better recognised and understood and better resourced. The wellbeing of the young person who is using violence should be the prime consideration: diversionary and therapeutic responses are considered preferable to any punitive interventions available.

    Approach to adolescents who use violence

    42 per cent of children and young people involved with the youth justice system have been witness to family violence.

    Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2020-2030

    Adolescents who use violence in the home is a complex issue and requires a different approach from traditional interventions available to victim survivors and perpetrators of family violence.

    Since the Royal Commission, we have been building the evidence base for intensive and early intervention approaches for adolescents who use violence.

    • This program is delivered in the Barwon, Bayside Peninsula and Central Highlands regions.

      It provides:

      • an intensive case management program for young people aged 12-18 and their families
      • an Aboriginal service for adolescents who use violence in the home operates in the Mallee region

      Recognising the benefits of early intervention and the impact of COVID-19, the service capacity was boosted for 2020-21 to provide support and intervention to additional young people and their families.

      The evaluation included as part of the following Royal Commission recommendation is due in late 2020.

    • In 2020 Family Safety Victoria partnered with the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare to co-design specific practice advice on responding to Adolescent Family Violence during coronavirus (COVID-19). This guidance will form the basis of standalone MARAM guidance and practice tools for supporting adolescents, their siblings and their families.

    • The Sexually Abusive Behaviours Treatment program provides therapeutic treatment services to support children and young people up to 17 years old who are displaying and/or engaging in problem sexual behaviour or sexually abusive behaviours towards others.  It is available state-wide and provides services to 1150 children and young people each year.

      In 2019, provisions in the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 commenced, enabling Child Protection to receive and investigate reports about young people aged 15-17 years who engage in sexually abusive behaviour.

      Previously, the provisions in the Act applied to children aged 10 years and under 15 years. These provisions have addressed the gap in service treatment for young people in this age cohort.

    • Activity is ongoing to provide crisis and longer term supported accommodation for young people including adolescents who use violence in the home.

      The Department of Health and Human Services is working with the housing sector, young people and the broader Victorian community to design and cost options that better meet the individual needs of young people and ensure they develop independence and resilience, and receive support to address their violent behaviours.

      It is expected that work on designing and improving accommodation options for young people experiencing homelessness will also contribute to addressing the needs of young people who use violence in the home.

    • Since 2016 there have been changes to the justice system response to better support adolescents who use violence.

      Youth Justice is improving coordination between police and the broader service system to address the impacts of family violence by intervening early to divert children from the criminal justice system.

      The Youth Justice case management model and the custodial operating model are also gender-responsive, taking into account the specific needs and risks of girls and young women.

      Victoria Police

      Victoria Police’s Family Violence Investigation Model was implemented in 2018 providing greater support for adolescents who use family violence including engagement with Family Violence Liaison officers, Youth Resource officers and Youth Specialist officers.

      Youth Justice Case Management Framework

      Following the Armitage and Ogloff review (2018), Youth Justice implemented the Youth Justice Case Management Framework in February 2019, with evidence-based assessment tools including MARAM, and integration with the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and Child Information Sharing Scheme.

      Youth Offending Program

      Youth Justice has also implemented a new Youth Offending Program to address dynamic risks for adolescents with family violence-related offending requiring rehabilitation.

      Melbourne Children's Court

      The refurbishment of the Melbourne Children’s Court has expanded focus on adolescents who use family violence.

      • There are specialist applicant and respondent practitioner services and a family violence registrar position.
      • A new statutory statewide Youth Diversion Scheme is now operating in the Children’s Court.  
      • The Children’s Court Youth Diversion Scheme provides an opportunity for eligible children and young people to address the harm caused by their offending by taking responsibility and completing a diversion activity or activities.
      • On successful completion of the diversion activity or activities, charges are discharged, with a non-disclosable criminal record for the offences subject to the diversion order

      The RESTORE program

      RESTORE is a program facilitated by Jesuit Social Services operating out of the Melbourne Children’s Court to support families in situations where young people are using violence in the home. This service is available for young people who appear before the Court as respondents to family violence intervention order applications.

      Youth Justice Strategic Plan

      As set out in the Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2020-2030, Youth Justice is committed to supporting the transformation of the child and family violence system under the ‘Roadmap for Reform: strong families, safe children’ and ‘Ending family violence: Victoria’s plan for change’.

      Youth Justice will also continue to work with Family Safety Victoria on evaluating and strengthening restorative family violence approaches.

      Youth Justice Strategic Plan


    Sexual Assault and Family Violence

    Sexual assault within a family violence context

    Overview

    Sexual assault is often experienced within a family violence context. 

    Safe Steps, Victoria’s 24/7 family violence response line, found that 28 per cent of women who used their services in 2016-2017 reported that they had been sexually assaulted by the perpetrator. 

    The intersection between sexual assault and family violence is well-established:

    • The 2016 Personal Safety Survey noted that for 66 per cent of people who had experienced sexual assault in the last 12 months, this was perpetrated by a current or former partner, boyfriend or girlfriend or date.
    • For those who have experienced sexual violence since the aged of 15, 87 per cent was perpetrated by a known person, including by intimate partners, other family members, friends, housemates, acquaintances and colleagues.

    The reform will continue to address the connection between sexual assaults on women and children and family violence and its root cause in gender inequity and power imbalance.

    Royal Commission sexual assault recommendations

    The Royal Commission recognised that sexual assault is a common form of family violence and often an indicator of heightened family violence risk. As with other forms of family violence, intra-familial sexual assault is underreported, and women and children are overwhelmingly the victims. 

    The Royal Commission made two recommendations aimed at greater coordination and improved collaboration between family violence and sexual assault services. 

    While the recommendations are not yet fully implemented, progress is being made. Sexual Assault Services Victoria (previously Victorian Centres Against Sexaul Assault Forum) provides support and intervention to people who have been sexually assaulted. It is a prescribed organisation within MARAM, the new multi-agency risk assessment framework.

    Strengthening our response to sexual assault

    A joint project overseen by Sexual Assault Services Victoria and Domestic Violence Victoria has found that specialist family violence and sexual assault services complement one another and are often interconnected:

    • They both provide different specialist services, sometimes to the same client, and a high level of collaboration already exists across the sectors.
    • They share underpinning frameworks including a gendered understanding of family violence and sexual assault and commitment to trauma informed practice.
    • These commonalities provide a solid foundation for further work that recognises the occurrence of sexual assault in all its forms, including in the context of family violence.

    Key initiatives

    1  Sexual assault strategy

    In recognition of the range of forms that sexual assault manifests, and the complex service system interrelationships, a comprehensive sexual assault strategy will be developed. It will be informed by victim survivors and developed in partnership with the sexual assault and family violence sector.

    2  Interface with The Orange Door network

    Sexual Assault Services Victoria and Domestic Violence Victoria will shortly complete a joint project exploring how they can better interface with The Orange Door network to provide integrated support to victim survivors of family violence where sexual assault has been a feature of their experience.

    3  Intermediaries Program

    Successful pilots of an Intermediaries Program delivered assistance to people with a cognitive impairment who are complainants in sexual offences.  $2.2 million was provided in the 2020/21 State Budget to continue the Intermediaries Program in 2020/21.

    4  Sexual Assault Support Services

    Following funding increases in 2019/20, access to sexual assault support services have improved to help meet increased community demand.

    Funding to boost the capacity of sexual assault services was also provided as part of the Government's response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

    As part of Victoria's recovery from COVID-19, the Government has also announced $8.1 million to build the sexual assault and family violence workforce, supporting coordination of up to 240 traineeships across the state.

    5  Support for Aboriginal Victorians

    Specific initiatives to support Aboriginal people, families and communities who have experienced sexual assault, including:

    • a training package and practice tools to support the Aboriginal workforce in responding to disclosures of sexual abuse
    • three Aboriginal designed and led sexual assault service pilots for victims and survivors of sexual assault, including child sexual abuse.

    6  Sexually Abusive Behaviours Treatment Service

    We will continue to roll out the Sexually Abusive Behaviours Treatment Service, which is available for all age groups up to and including 17-year-olds, providing interventions for children and young people displaying harmful sexual behaviours.

    7  Victoria Police

    Policing Harm, Upholding the Right: Victoria Police Strategy for Family Violence, Sexual Offences and Child Abuse 2018-2023 takes an integrated approach to responding to family violence, sexual offences and child abuse, recognising the links between these crime themes and their cumulative harm.  

    1  Victorian Law Reform Commission

    The Victorian Law Reform Commission is reviewing Victoria's laws relating to rape, sexual assault and associated adult and child sexual offences to identify opportunities to:

    • embed and build upon previous reforms to sexual offence laws
    • identify barriers to reporting and resolving sexual offences
    • make recommendations to improve the justice system's response to sexual violence.

    The Commission’s report is expected to be delivered to the Attorney-General on 31 August 2021.

    2  The Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2020

    The Justice Legislation Amendment (Supporting Victims and Other Matters) Bill 2020 was passed by Parliament in November 2020.

    • The Bill amends the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act 1958 to make it easier for victim survivors of sexual offending to tell their stories, and to give permission for others (for example, family members or the media) to do so, without court involvement.
    • The reforms will also make it easier for victim survivors to control how and when their stories are told, by allowing them to tailor their permission (for example, a victim survivor may give permission to publish their name, but not their image).
    • Following further consultation with victim-survivors, family members of deceased victims and other stakeholders, further amendments to the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act 1958 will be developed and presented to Parliament in 2021 to amend the law relating to identification of deceased victims and other related issues.

    Reform-wide Priorities

    The reform through the lens of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience


    Intersectionality

    Delivering the reform for Victoria's diverse communities

    Overview 

    We all know that people from diverse communities have fundamentally different experiences of family violence. Those differences are often shaped by social attitudes, which in turn create structural barriers and long-term disadvantage and marginalisation including from the family violence service system.

    Leah van Poppel, Co-Chair, Diverse Communities an Intersectionality Working Group
    CEO, Women with Disabilities Victoria

    Each person’s experience of family violence is different. Many Victorians face additional challenges and are at greater risk of violence, because of social structures of disadvantage that marginalise their cultural or social identity or their personal circumstances. 

    Adopting an intersectional approach allows us to consider the range of factors that can affect the risk, severity, frequency and diverse ways in which an individual might experience or perpetrate family violence. 

    For example, women with disabilities experience all kinds of violence at higher rates, at a higher severity and duration of abuse than women who do not have disabilities. 

    The Royal Commission into Family Violence recognised the additional barriers faced by people from diverse communities when seeking and obtaining help.

    The Royal Commission called for more accessible, inclusive and non-discriminatory service provision, and an improved understanding of how family violence is experienced by people from diverse communities.

    The Royal Commission identified the following diverse community groups:

    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
    • culturally and linguistically diverse communities
    • faith communities
    • lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) communities 
    • people with a disability 
    • people experiencing mental illness issues 
    • older people 
    • women in or exiting prison or forensic institutions 
    • people working in the sex industry 
    • rural, regional and remote communities 
    • male victims 
    • young people and young adults (12–25 years of age). 

    Since the Royal Commission report in 2016 and the subsequent launch of the Victorian Government's 10-year plan to end family violence, fundamental changes have been introduced. These are strengthening the system to ensure intersectionality is considered in designing and delivering the family violence system.  

    Everybody Matters: roadmap for a safe and inclusive family violence system

    In 2019 the Victorian Government released the Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement.   

    The statement sets out government’s 10-year vision for achieving a more inclusive, safe, responsive and accountable family violence system for all Victorians. 

    The vision is to build a system founded on inclusion and equity where people are supported to be safe and free from violence; a system that is accessible to them and responsive to their unique needs.

    A service system where individuals can choose where they go to receive a service and know that they will always receive the right service for their needs.

    Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement

    Everybody Matters recognises that a range of characteristics define both how people might experience family violence and differentiates their needs. These factors often overlap and compound the barriers to support and include:  

    • age 
    • gender 
    • ability 
    • sexuality 
    • ethnicity 
    • culture 
    • religion.

    Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement

    The first Everybody Matters Inclusion and Equity Blueprint 2020-2022, due for release in late 2020, will outline the actions and initiatives that will be delivered to achieve the Everybody Matters Statement's 10-year vision of a more inclusive, safe, responsive and accountable family violence system for all Victorians.

    In this video which was released in 2019, representatives from diverse community groups explain why the Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement is so important.

    Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement

    Embedding intersectionality

    These are some examples of how we are applying an intersectional approach to building the new family violence system.   

    It is not a comprehensive list; further detail, activities and actions are reflected elsewhere on this page, and in the individual Rolling Action Plan priority areas.   

    • 2018-2022     Respect Older People 
      • Respect Older People: ‘Call it Out’ campaign to raise awareness around financial abuse and older people 

      Respect Older People: ‘Call it Out’ campaign
      2018-2020     Safer and Stronger Communities Pilot 
      • $3.1 million project across five regions to pilot an integrated primary prevention model in migrant and refugee communities  
      • The pilot will be evaluated in 2021.
    • 2020-2022     The Rainbow Door
      • Online and phone support and entry point for LGBTIQ+ Victorians to access mental health and family violence services
        2020-2021     Statewide Women Exiting Prison Inclusion Advisor
        • Funding to build the capacity of specialist family violence services to better support and respond to the complex needs of women victim survivors exiting prison.
        2020-2022     Family Violence and Disability Practice Leader initiative
        • Three Family Violence and Disability Practice Leaders to:
          • increase the capacity of the specialist family violence and sexual assault support sector to work with adults, children and young people with disabilities
          • provide practice leadership, secondary consultation and expert advice
          • strengthen relationships, understanding and referrals between family violence and sexual assault specialist services and disability and NDIS providers.

      People with disabilities

      The family violence reform is improving responses to the needs of children and families affected by disability.  

      • Women with Disabilities Victoria

        In partnership with Women with Disabilities Victoria the reform is supporting several initiatives to improve family violence workforce capability to better support and respond to Victorians with disabilities who are experiencing family violence. 

        Achievements include: 

        • strengthening collaborative relationships across a range of universal and specialist services  
        • a mapping and consultation report for the Victorian Government in consultation with 28 organisations on available training on family violence and disability: how disability was addressed in general family violence training and in safeguarding and abuse training. 

        The findings have been used to: 

        • develop workforce capability resources and training to support responses for people with disabilities across the four workforce tiers that intersect with family violence 
        • support other organisations to bring a gender and disability lens to family violence workforce initiatives and a gender and family violence lens to disability safeguarding and abuse training. 
        Women with Disabilities Victoria with Domestic Violence Victoria

        The two organisations are working together to pilot a new Statewide Disability Family Violence Inclusion Advisor position:

        • to improve the inclusion of people with a disability in family violence services
        • to build the capacity of the family violence sector to respond to people with disabilities. 
      • Domestic Violence Victoria and Centre for Excellence for Child and Family Welfare have been funded through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Workforce Development Steering Committee. The new context will mean: 

        • an increased priority focus on the NDIS interface 
        • development of resources to focus on building competency in working with people with disabilities and the NDIS interface, including practice guidance. 
      • Victoria is phasing out communal refuges for family violence victim survivors and building new independent units based on the contemporary 'core and cluster' model, giving residents greater privacy and independence while maintaining onsite support:   

        • 17 refuges across Victoria are being redeveloped in line with the new model, and an additional two new Aboriginal-specific refuges will be built.
        • All refuges are scheduled to be completed by mid-2022. 
        • One unit at each facility will be built to platinum Liveable Design Standards, maximising safety and accessibility for people with disabilities, and families with young children. 
      • In December 2016 the Judicial College of Victoria published a Disability Bench Book: 

        • It was developed with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. 
        • Bench books are used as reference and educative tools by judicial officers within the legal sector. 
        • The Disability Bench Book provides extensive practical tips to judicial officers about the adjustments that can be made in court proceedings for people with disabilities.  

      People with disabilities and the Royal Commission into Family Violence

      There are 10 Royal Commission recommendations specific to the needs of people with disabilities who experience family violence.  Three are still in progress.  

      Culturally and linguistically diverse people

      People from migrant and refugee communities experiencing family violence face additional barriers that make it particularly difficult to identify their needs and for them to get appropriate, timely and culturally safe support.  

      Residency status

      • they may be on a temporary visa
      • this can be weaponised by a perpetrator who might suggest they can’t leave or their visa will be cancelled  

      Social isolation

      Social isolation can be an issue:

      • particularly when newly arrived and with no or low English language proficiency and limited understanding of Australian law and our human rights standards 
      • these can be additional risk factors if appropriate supports in accessible languages are unavailable or inaccessible 

      Actions since 2016 to support Victorians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds include: 

        • $9.2 million invested in specialist support programs to support people from multicultural communities experiencing family violence. 
      • InTouch is a specialist support organisation for migrants and refugees: 

        • funded to take a lead role in building the capacity of the specialist family violence sector to recognise and respond to people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities experiencing family violence 
        • includes building workforce capacity through the development of specialist training  
        • in partnership with InTouch, the Department of Health and Human Services has developed a Child Protection e-learning module on family violence in multicultural communities 
        • Family Safety Victoria funded InTouch to strengthen family violence responses for people from multicultural communities at The Orange Door network. 
        • funding for trials of perpetrator interventions targeted to people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities 
        • the trials have provided valuable information to inform future service system design. 

      Prevention and early intervention

      The 2020/2021 State Budget has provided $9.7 million over four years to support programs that strengthen the capacity of multicultural, faith and ethno-specific organisations to prevent family violence at its earliest stages.

      Multicultural communities and the Royal Commission into Family Violence

      Of the 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission, seven are specific to people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Three recommendations are still in progress:

      LGBTIQ+ people 

      Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people also experience violence in their relationships or from family members.   

      During consultation for the Rolling Action Plan we heard from several LGBTIQ+ victim survivors of family violence about their experience. They told us that the family violence system needs to continue to address barriers to the identification of family violence, accessibility of services and the need for individualised responses.   

      A 2014 report by the University of New South Wales, “Calling it what it really is”, found that: 

      • 34.8 per cent of all LGBTIQ+ participants reported that they had been abused sexually or physically by a previous partner 
      • rates of sexual and physical abuse were higher (52.5 per cent) for trans and gender diverse and intersex participants
      • only 12.9 per cent made a report to the police and 31.3 per cent never sought support, information or advice on the abuse. 
      • Rainbow Door is a free specialist LGBTIQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Gender Diverse, Intersex, Queer, Asexual, BrotherBoys, SisterGirls) helpline. It provides: 

        • information, support, and referral to all LGBTIQ+ Victorians, their friends and family during coronavirus (COVID-19) and beyond 
        • advice, referral and support from an experienced LGBTIQ+ peer 
        • help for people to navigate the system to access the right supports.  
      • The Victorian Government requires all funded family violence services to achieve Rainbow Tick accreditation. The Rainbow Tick is a quality framework that helps organisations show that they are safe, inclusive and affirming services and employers for the LGBTIQ+ community.

        Family Safety Victoria have funded 26 service providers, including six Aboriginal services, to undertake accreditation. To date seven services have received accreditation.  

        • Priority is given to providing funding support to at least one family violence service provider in each of the 17 Department of Health and Human Services regions in Victoria. 
        • All family violence service providers are encouraged to undertake the HOW2 “Rainbow Tick Ready” LGBTIQ inclusive practice training program. 
      • A guide to primary prevention of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ+ communities was launched in June 2020.

        The Pride in Prevention Evidence Guide was produced by the LGBTIQ Family Violence Prevention Project 2019-2021, led by Rainbow Health Victoria and funded by the Office for Women in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet.

        Pride in Prevention summarises the available evidence on the drivers of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ+ communities and provides recommendations for priority interventions. 

        Pride in Prevention Guide

      • Family Safety Victoria has funded two LGBTIQ+ family violence positions:

        • a Statewide Inclusion Advisor based at Domestic Violence Victoria to build inclusion across the specialist family violence sector
        • an Aboriginal Rainbow Tick Project Worker, based at Elizabeth Morgan House, to support the six Aboriginal services funded to attain Rainbow Tick accreditation.  

        LGBTIQ+ Family Violence Capacity Building Initiative (Mid 2020-Mid 2022):

        • building the capacity of specialist family violence services and sexual assault support services to better support people from LGBTIQ+ communities.

      LGBTIQ+ and the Royal Commission into Family Violence

      Of the 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission, four relate to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities. Three recommendations are still in progress:

      Older Victorians

      Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust, usually a family member. The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological and/or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect. 

      The Royal Commission into Family Violence also highlighted elder abuse as family violence, recognising the unique dynamics between the older person and a family member, and that it can include intimate-partner violence or intergenerational family violence (such as an adult child).  

      Elder abuse is a significant, complex and sensitive community issue. Available evidence suggests that the causes of elder abuse may be gender inequality and ageism. 

      Evidence about the prevalence of elder abuse is limited in Victoria, although international research suggests up to 14 per cent of older people experience elder abuse in a given year. 

      Progress since 2016

      Reform actions relating to older people and family violence include: 

        • A free confidential telephone helpline provided by Seniors Rights Victoria
        • Providing referral and support services, including advocacy and legal advice about elder abuse  
        • The Integrated model of care for responding to suspected elder abuse initiative builds capacity to improve elder abuse prevention and response. 
        • Five health services lead the trial.  
        • Components include: workforce training, counselling and mediation services (including financial counselling), liaison officers at health service sites and an Elder Abuse Prevention Network. 
        • The implementation of the trial was evaluated and found that it was effective in supporting a service system response to elder abuse.
        • The 2020/21 State Budget included $1.9 million to continue the initiative in 2020-21 to help address elder abuse.
        • A specialist family violence counselling and mediation service to interface with The Orange Door network in five areas
        • To work with older people and families at risk or experiencing elder abuse  

      Delivery to 2023 

      The next phase of the Integrated Model of Care evaluation is underway. It will capture the client experience and inform future policy work and sustainable reforms. 

      We will develop an Elder Abuse Statement across the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice and Community Safety, and Family Safety Victoria. The statement will: 

      • set out the shared commitment to ending elder abuse in a family violence context 
      • outline the partnerships and intersecting sectors that need to work together to support older people experiencing family violence   
      • set the expectations for the family violence service system to support older people experiencing family violence, including the role of The Orange Door network. 

      Aboriginal Self-Determination

      Aboriginal self-determination and the family violence reform

      Overview 

      Aboriginal people know what is best for themselves, their families and communities. We acknowledge the right of Aboriginal Victorians to have decision-making control over the issues that affect their lives.

      Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework
      2018-2023

      Family violence has a disproportionate impact on Aboriginal people in Victoria, particularly women and children, regardless of whether they live in rural, regional or urban areas.  

      Victorian Aboriginal women are 45 times more likely to experience family violence and, where violence occurs, 25 times more likely to be killed or injured than non-Aboriginal women. 

      We acknowledge that colonisation, dispossession, child removal and other discriminatory government policies have resulted in significant intergenerational trauma, structural disadvantage and racism with long-lasting and far-reaching consequences. We recognise that family violence is not part of Aboriginal culture and that family violence against Aboriginal people is perpetrated by both non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal people.     

      Embedding Aboriginal self-determination in the family violence reform aims to ensure a holistic, culturally safe approach to our delivery of prevention, response and intervention activities. 

      In a family violence context, Aboriginal self-determination requires a systemic shift of power and control from government and the non-Aboriginal service sector. It requires the transfer of power, control, decision-making and resources to Aboriginal communities and their organisations.

      The bigger picture 

      Victoria has a nation-leading agenda to progress Aboriginal self-determination. In partnership with Aboriginal Victorians we are creating policies and establishing structures that put Aboriginal communities at the heart of decision-making on the matters that affect their lives.  

      The necessary reform to achieve and embed Aboriginal self-determination is large and will take time. Perhaps most significantly, this is being progressed through the Victorian Government’s commitment to advancing a treaty process with Aboriginal Victorians via: 

      2018

      • Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018
      • Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission 

      2019 

      • Establishing the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria

      2020

      • Developing a truth and justice process for Aboriginal Victorians to reckon with injustices perpetrated against Aboriginal Victorians 
      • Commencing formal treaty discussions

      Since 2014, the Victorian Government has been committed to self-determination as the guiding principle in Aboriginal affairs. This is expressed in the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2018-2023 (VAAF), which recognises government practices and institutions have systematically discriminated and excluded Aboriginal people.  

      The VAAF commits government to undertake systemic and structural transformation to better enable self-determination. The VAAF applies to the family violence reforms.  

      The VAAF identifies four critical enablers for self-determination which require government action:  

      • prioritise culture 
      • address trauma and support healing  
      • address racism and promote cultural safety 
      • transfer power and resources to communities. 

      Aboriginal self-determination and the family violence reform

      Systemic change to embed these enablers will take time. However, family violence reform activities are working to progress the enablers and to support the achievement of key VAAF goals. For example: 

      Nargneit Birrang Family Violence Holistic Healing Framework

      • launched in 2019 
      • an Aboriginal-led, culturally safe initiative to​ develop holistic healing approaches for Aboriginal families, children and young people to respond to trauma and promote wellbeing 

      Umalek Balit  

      • a Magistrates’ Court service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men who are attending for family violence related proceedings 
      • available at Melbourne, Mildura, Ballarat and Shepparton Magistrates’ Courts 

      Aboriginal Housing Victoria

      • During 2020 we completed the handover of 1448 properties from the Victorian Director of Housing to Aboriginal Housing Victoria. 

      Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families 

      • It is one of the 10 Rolling Action Plan priority areas for 2020-2023.
      • Dhelk Dja is an Aboriginal-led agreement to address family violence in Aboriginal communities. 
      • It commits Aboriginal services and government to work together and be accountable for ensuring Aboriginal people, families and communities are stronger, safer, thriving and free from family violence. 
      • Dhelk Dja is built upon the foundation of Aboriginal self-determination. 
      • The Dhelk Dja Family Violence Fund is for eligible Victorian Aboriginal organisations and community groups. 
      • It funds a range of Aboriginal-led tailored responses for victim survivors and people who use violence.  
      Two young women performing an Aboriginal dance

      Royal Commission into Family Violence  

      The Victorian Government has committed to implement all 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.   

      Of the recommendations left to be implemented, five relate to Dhelk Dja.   

      Download the frameworks


      Connections to existing strategies 

      The Self-Determination Reform Framework and the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2018 are both critical to Victoria’s commitment to self-determination and support delivering self-determination across government.  

      They work alongside and align to existing strategies, including:

      Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families

      • 10-year Aboriginal-led family violence agreement

      Korin Korin Balit-Djak (Growing very strong)

      • Aboriginal health, wellbeing and safety strategic plan 2017–2027  

      Wungurilwil Gapgapduir (Strong families)

      • Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement

      Lived Experience

      Embedding lived experience of family violence into policy development and service delivery

      Overview

      Out of tragedy you can make good, so I do recognise that for many victims of family violence it's really difficult to be heard.

      But when you have someone with an experience, not just like myself but everybody else, it's very hard not to be emotionally challenged and realise that you have a duty to do something about this issue.

      Rosie Batty, Inaugural Victim Survivors' Advisory Council Chair 2016-2019

      Embedding lived experience of family violence and the family violence system into policy development and service delivery will lead to better outcomes for victim survivors and for Victoria.

      Through the First Rolling Action Plan (2017-2020) we have seen the benefits of taking the time to understand how victim survivors experience the system.

      Lived experience practice in family violence is an emerging field. Over the next three years, in partnership with the family violence sector, survivor advocate groups and academia we will draft an agenda to develop this discipline. This includes more work focusing on children and young people’s experience and how to better hear and incorporate this into our reforms.

      Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council

      The most visible element of our commitment to embedding lived experience is the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council (VSAC).

      ... through their courage to share their personal stories, VSAC members have made a difference and started to shift and challenge thinking about family violence and disrespectful behaviours towards women.

      Gabrielle Williams
      Minister for Prevention of Family Violence
      December 2019

      VSAC Members represent their own diverse lived experience of family violence and include representatives from communities including Aboriginal communities, multicultural communities, people with disability, regional and rural Victoria, LGBTIQ+ communities, older Victorians, sex workers, criminalised women, family members who have lost relatives to family violence and people who experienced family violence as a child or young person.

      Over the last four years VSAC has: 

      • contributed to the development of foundational strategies including our 10-year plan, 'Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change', as well as strategies for inclusion and equity, gender equity and primary prevention
      • advocated for change and reform in family violence by sharing personal stories and providing keynote speakers for events
      • provided advice across multiple government portfolios, relating to the design of courts, intersections with the NDIS, behavioural change campaigns and the design of a family violence memorial
      • advised on legislative changes, including the Victorian government’s Justice Legislation Amendment (Family Violence Protection and Other Matters) Act 2018 and the Gender Equality Act 2020
      • provided feedback and insights for the Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023 through participation in four deep-dive workshops on priority areas of members’ choosing: Primary Prevention, Housing, Legal Assistance and Courts.

      Liana Papoutsis is a victim survivor of family violence and was a member of the inaugural Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council. She explains how the reform benefits from embedding lived experience at every stage.

      Liana Papoutsis talks about collaborating with people with lived experience

      Victim Survivors' Advisory Council

      Progress since 2016

      People with lived experience have informed and influenced policy development and service design activities across the reform

      Lived experience central to developing The Orange Door network

      • People with lived experience were instrumental to the design of The Orange Door network: development of the concept, service model, website, communications, branding and physical buildings.
      • People with a range of lived experiences were consulted as part of this work, as appropriate, including: service users of family violence services, family services and perpetrator services.
      • The Orange Door Client Partnership Strategy has been co-designed with people with lived experience and outlines a vision and roadmap to embed clients as partners in all aspects of work related to The Orange Door network. 

      Lived experience delivered the Voices of Hope Project

      • For the first time, victim survivors from across Victoria came together to identify what a better experience with the service system might look like.
      • The project created a human-centred approach which positioned victim survivors at the heart of designing many of the family violence reforms.
      • The collaboration created tools for government and service providers to use in policy development and service design.

      Lived experience developed the Nargneit Birrang Framework

      • An Aboriginal-led family violence holistic healing approach for Aboriginal communities across Victoria. 

      By including lived experience as one of our reform-wide priorities for the next three years we are signalling our continued commitment to embedding the wisdom and expertise of people with lived experience across the breadth of family violence reform.

      Delivery to 2023

      All four domains of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework integrate lived experience as an essential element.

      VSAC and people with lived experience will continue to contribute to the development of

      • policies and service delivery
      • evaluations of key family violence reform projects
      • advice to government agencies and ministers.

      2020 - 2021

      • design and implement a refreshed VSAC model
      • existing VSAC members complete their term
      • refresh the Terms of Reference and Terms of Engagement
      • continue to best reflect trauma-informed and strengths-based practice.

      2022

      • the third VSAC council will be appointed.

      Royal Commission into Family Violence

      Embedding lived experience into the family violence reform delivers on this remaining recommendation, but also influences the delivery of many other recommendations.


      Priorities for 2020-2023

      10 priority themes and projects are the focus of reform activity for 2020-2023


      Courts

      Reforming the court response to family violence

      Building momentum

      The legal system and the courts themselves are the most 'unreal' place for many victim survivors. They are like a foreign land, with its own language and landscape. Victim survivors are vulnerable, hyper alert, fearful and anxious…

      Engage Victoria stakeholder survey response
      August 2020

      Court is a crucial part of a victim survivor’s journey when seeking protection from family violence. We are committed to having a court system where victim survivors of family violence feel physically, emotionally and culturally safe – a court that is accessible and where our diverse Victorian community, including Aboriginal Victorians, have equal access to justice.

      Four years on from the Royal Commission into Family Violence, the courts have been transforming their response to family violence to make court safer, ensure people have the support they need, and keep perpetrators in view.

      Specialist family violence responses, such as family violence applicant and respondent practitioners, are currently available at all headquarter courts.

      Specialist Family Violence Courts build on this and provide further specialisation. Three Specialist Family Violence Courts are now operating, with another four to be delivered. Key features include:

      • enhanced safety features, such as separate entrances for victim survivors and remote hearing facilities
      • magistrates and court staff with training in family violence
      • processes that give victim survivors more choice about how they want to participate in their court proceedings, for example, in person or remotely
      • magistrates who have powers to mandate that perpetrators of family violence engage in programs to change their behaviour
      • a dedicated service for Aboriginal Victorians
      The Shepparton Family Violence Court building
      Shepparton Family Violence Court

      This trauma-informed approach to family violence means that victim survivors have more control over their court experience and have greater access to support services that can help them at court and beyond.

      The safe waiting space provided me with a sense of control because I was given a choice.

      Specialist Family Violence Court user

      Coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed how the courts operate and has prompted courts to quickly adapt and make greater use of technology.

      • The new Online Magistrates’ Court allows court users to participate in their hearing remotely.
      • The fast-tracked Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) online form offers more choice and control for victim survivors when they apply for a FVIO.

      The Magistrates’ Court will continue to develop and refine these initiatives with a view to expand and embed their use in the coming years.

      While courts have made considerable progress to improve the safety and experience of victim survivors, there is still more to do. Courts will continue to improve their service to all Victorians, to keep victim survivors and their families safe through the court system and to ensure that perpetrators of family violence are appropriately held to account.

      Progress since 2016

      Court reforms are fundamental to Victoria’s 10-year plan to end family violence. Key activities which have been delivered since the Royal Commission have been grouped here into five areas.

      1. The courts are working to improve access to justice and help victim survivors feel supported and safe when they encounter the justice system, wherever they are in Victoria.

        Safety and support

        Online Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO)

        • The new Family Violence Intervention Order online form has been rolled out statewide, making the application process more accessible and convenient for victim survivors who are able to complete their application online without attending court.

        Family Violence Contact Centre

        • The Contact Centre is providing timely and consistent advice.

        Between launch in May 2018 and 31 October 2020 the Contact Centre responded to 187,376 inquiries.

        Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM)

        • The MARAM Framework is being implemented jointly across the Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts.
        • Professionals within the courts are able to identify and assess risk when engaging with victim survivors.
        • This ensures they respond appropriately, including referring to specialist services to get victim survivors the help they need such as legal assistance or access to a refuge.

        Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS)

        • A dedicated FVISS team has been established to respond to information requests from family violence agencies to enhance risk assessment and management.

        Online hearings

        • Courts have commenced hearing family violence matters online, to ensure victim survivors can have their matters heard and perpetrators continue to be held to account during COVID-19.

        Umalek Balit

        • Umalek Balit, the court-based Koori Family Violence and Victim Support Program, is available at Melbourne, Mildura, Ballarat and Shepparton Magistrates’ Courts.
        • It offers culturally relevant support to Aboriginal Victorians attending court.
      2. Three Specialist Family Violence Courts (SFVC) are operational in Ballarat, Moorabbin and Shepparton and two more are under construction at Frankston and Heidelberg.

        Additionally, a SFVC will be built as part of the Bendigo Law Courts redevelopment and also as part of new law courts to be developed at Wyndham.

        People attending these courts receive a trauma-informed response. The courts provide a safe physical environment and experience, including the following features:

        Safe physical environment

        • enhanced safety features that include separate court entrances and a safe waiting space with amenities for applicants and their children

        Safe practices

        • specialist family violence magistrates to hear family violence matters
        • related matters being heard together by the same magistrate (where possible) through a new listings policy
        • specialist family violence practitioners available for victim survivors and perpetrators
        • Court Mandated Counselling Order Program at each SFVC, which allows specialist family violence magistrates to order male perpetrators of family violence to attend men’s behaviour change programs
        • new SFVC listings policy and SFVC operational guidelines which detail how the SFVCs will operate, and work with legal services to establish the SFVC legal practice model

        CASE STUDY – Specialist Family Violence Court 

        A victim survivor was due to attend court with a young child with additional needs.

        The court team discussed and planned for the family’s needs at the daily coordination meeting. 

        The victim survivor arrived with their child and court staff directed them to the safe waiting area. The victim survivor immediately complimented the facilities as unexpected and welcomed the non-traditional environment.

        The victim survivor and their child used the safe waiting area facilities and child-friendly space and the court directed services to them as needed. The victim survivor kept saying this was not what they were expecting and it was so much easier.

        Throughout the day the victim survivor was coming and going between the space, meeting with services, and preparing snacks for the child.

        These facilities made the victim survivor and child feel more comfortable during their court experience.

      3. Remote hearings are a way for victim survivors to participate in the court process without having to come face-to-face with the perpetrator in a courtroom.

        They reduce the risk of violence at court, remove the trauma associated with face-to-face interactions with perpetrators and increase a victim survivor’s choice as to how they participate in their court hearing.

        A Remote Hearing Pilot has enabled victim survivors to participate in their hearing at a location other than the court building.

        CASE STUDY – Remote Hearing Pilot, January 2020

        Victoria Police were applying for an indefinite extension to an existing order.

        The perpetrator had persistently breached the order and was on remand for related criminal charges. On one occasion he called the victim survivor hundreds of times over a three-day period and she was extremely fearful of the perpetrator.

        The Remote Hearing Applicant Practitioner contacted the victim survivor prior to the hearing and undertook further risk assessment on the day.

        The victim survivor arrived at the remote hearing location and was able to speak to the Police Family Violence Liaison Officer via video.

        Her matter was heard by video conference shortly after.

        She had a newborn and was able to return to her baby within the hour.

        As she left, the victim survivor said she felt much more comfortable and that the remote hearing was much less stressful than the other occasions when she had attended court.

        Funding was provided in the 2020/21 State Budget to expand remote hearing services to further locations across Victoria.

      4. Court processes can be adversarial, often dealing with people’s rights and demands.

        The courts are continuing to support children in the court system to ensure that they are supported and not marginalised.

        This means promoting their needs, wishes and voices through the implementation of less adversarial practices, and access to supports that are better targeted to their individual needs.

        The RESTORE program

        RESTORE is a program facilitated by Jesuit Social Services operating out of the Melbourne Children’s Court to support families in situations where young people are using violence in the home. This service is available for young people who appear before the court as respondents to family violence intervention order applications.

        RESTORE utilises family group conferencing to assist the young person and their family to develop practical solutions that will keep them safe and prevent further violence occurring. This also increases the safety of other family members living in the home, including child victim survivors.

        Melbourne Children's Court

        Dedicated family violence practitioners at the Melbourne Children’s Court support both child victim survivors and adolescents engaging in family violence.

        Plain language, multimedia information is available for court users in public areas at the Melbourne Children’s Court. It includes specific information about court processes tailored to the experience of those attending the Children’s Court for family violence proceedings.

        Court Support 4 Kids

        A trauma-informed service has been made available at some courts for victim survivors with children.

        Risk Assessment

        MARAM is being implemented jointly across the Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts to increase the safety and wellbeing of Victorian families, by helping assess, identify and manage family violence risk.

        Koori family violence support

        Koori Family Violence Practitioners support clients who are community connected – that is, clients who have a partner who is Aboriginal or have an Aboriginal child in their care.

      5. Significant investment has been made in the court workforce, providing staff with a trauma-informed understanding of family violence that focuses on the needs and safety of victim survivors.

        Family violence training delivered to 460 court employees since July 2019

        • Courts have increased the capability of court security teams and Court Network volunteers to support the service delivery objectives at Specialist Family Violence Courts (SFVC).
        • Courts have delivered extensive training with the Judicial College of Victoria for each new SFVC location to support magistrates to manage family violence matters, including intersectionality training for Family Violence Lead Magistrates.

        Judges – our lives, our safety is based on a judge… we rely on them.

        Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council
        Rolling Action Plan consultation workshop
        August 2020
        • An enhanced learning and development program for staff includes a focus on pre-court engagement, early identification and referrals to appropriate services.
        • Family Safety Victoria’s Strengthening the Foundations, First Rolling Action Plan 2019 – 2022 and the Responding to Family Violence Capability Framework have been embedded in workforce recruitment, building workforce capability and wellbeing.
        • MARAM training continues to be delivered to court staff, with 190 staff trained to comprehensive-level. Training transitioned to online learning during COVID-19.

        Intersectionality and cultural safety

        • Courts have developed training materials in consultation with Aboriginal people and members of the LGBTIQ+, culturally and linguistically diverse, and victim survivor communities.
        • Where Umalek Balit has been launched, a cultural safety professional development program has been implemented, improving safety and access for Aboriginal people.

      Delivery to 2023 

      Activities for 2020-2023 will continue to progress the courts’ family violence reform. This overview groups delivery of our planned courts activities to 2023 under the relevant Family Violence Outcomes Framework domains.

      1. Activities
        The court will establish Specialist Family Violence Courts at four further locations, Heidelberg, Frankston, Bendigo and Wyndham

        The Specialist Family Violence Court at Wyndham is part of a new investment in Law Courts for Wyndham announced in the 2020/21 State Budget

        2021 (Heidelberg and Frankston)

        2023 (Bendigo)

        TBC (Wyndham)

        CSV
        Review the implementation approach for the remaining Specialist Family Violence Court recommendations in the context of broader court reform including recent court innovations, post coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery and infrastructure planning 2021 DJCS CSV
        Remote hearing services will be expanded to several additional locations across the state

        Pilots will continue to inform ongoing policy around addressing the safety of victim survivors, and making it easier for people to participate in their court hearing

        2020-2023 CSV
        Court attendance safety plans are under development at the Melbourne Children’s Court to prioritise the safety of victim survivors, including children

        This may include the arrangement of remote witness facilities, staggered departure times, and appropriate support when entering court rooms and participating in proceedings

        2020-2023 CSV
        The Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) online form will be expanded to allow applicants to extend, vary or revoke an existing FVIO application online

        This is the most commonly requested service enhancement to complete the FVIO application cycle

        These changes mean that a victim survivor will not need to physically attend a court building to apply for changes to their intervention order or receive court services

        2020-2023 CSV
        The court will work with peak organisations to develop family violence training for court interpreters, including innovative pilots, such as the VideoLink model where court interpreters are available remotely 2020-2023 CSV
        A strong focus on learning and development for judiciary and staff specialising in family violence

        This includes multi-disciplinary training which will bring workers from across the sector to share a consistent message and approach, and result in a better experience across the system

        2020-2023 CSV
        The court will continue to run the Delivering Culturally Safe Court Services program to provide court staff with the capability to deliver a culturally sensitive, trauma-informed service to Aboriginal court users 2020-2023 CSV
        The court will implement the Specialist Family Violence Court Capability Development Pathways to support the ongoing specialisation of the Specialist Family Violence Court staff 2020-2023 CSV
      2. Activities
        Deliver the Koori Cultural Safety Initiative, in collaboration with an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation, to support mainstream men’s behaviour change program providers to deliver culturally safe and appropriate programs to court-ordered Aboriginal people who use violence 2020-2022 CSV
        Continue to operate the Court Mandated Counselling Order Program to keep more perpetrators accountable and in view 2020-2023 CSV
        Trial an evaluation of the Integrated Counselling and Case Management Program pilot, a new perpetrator intervention program that addresses the complex interplay between family violence, alcohol and other drugs, and/or mental health issues and provides greater opportunity to tailor responses for a wider range of perpetrators 2020-2023 CSV
      3. Activities
        Evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of the Koori Family Violence Intervention Order Breaches pilot in Mildura 2020-2021 CSV
        The court will continue to implement the MARAM Framework in full across the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and Children’s Court of Victoria and embed it into practice 2020-2023 CSV
        The Family Violence Contact Centre will continue to be expanded to support additional court locations, including to all specialist family violence court locations 2020-2023 CSV
        Growing demand for information sharing across the family violence service sector will continue to be addressed, providing fast response through the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme 2020-2023 CSV
        Development and implementation of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria Koori Family Violence Strategy will guide how the courts approach family violence in the Aboriginal community 2020-2023 CSV
        All-encompassing process and outcome evaluation of the Magistrates' Court-led family violence reforms, with a focus on the implementation and effectiveness of the Specialist Family Violence Courts and associated reforms 2019-2023 CSV
        Implementation of an information sharing protocol between the Magistrates’ Court, Children’s Court and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to ensure that when a parent seeks a new or amended family violence intervention order, the Magistrates’ and Children’s Court can seek information held by DHHS in relation to family violence risk 2020-2023 CSV

      Connecting courts across the reform

      The ongoing delivery of connected reform activity is building further strength into the court reforms. For example:  

      • strengthening legal responses to family violence incidents through exploring opportunities for new legislation
      • providing more funding and training to integrate legal assistance earlier in the response to family violence and improving family violence legal literacy to support better court outcomes
      • extending MARAM training to other workforces intersecting with family violence
      • integrating services across the reform and providing clearer referral pathways from courts to better support victim survivors with wraparound services

      Reform-wide priorities

      Activities to strengthen court services are informed by our reform-wide priorities of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience.

      Intersectionality

      Victim survivors from diverse communities face a range of challenges and barriers when accessing the court system and processes. Initiatives to address this include:

      • dedicated family violence practitioners at every headquarter court to support victim survivors and perpetrators during their court experience
      • LGBTIQ+ family violence practitioners at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre, Melbourne Magistrates’ Court and Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court provide specialised practitioner support to the LGBTIQ+ communities
      • the Umalek Balit program provides a dedicated support service for Aboriginal Victorians

      The courts will continue to build on specialist programs which reflect the trauma-informed approach to family violence such as the LGBTIQ Family Violence Practitioners Pilot.

      Intersectionality Overview

      Aboriginal self-determination

      Logo of the Aboriginal family violence support program, Umalek Balit. Large concentric circle in the center, with six smaller concentric circles around it.
      Umalek Balit logo

      Umalek Balit, which means ‘give strength’ in& Woiwurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations, is a dedicated Aboriginal family violence support program.

      Umalek Balit supports self-determination and aims to redress the historical inequities experienced by Aboriginal people within the justice system. Umalek Balit has been developed in conjunction with representatives from Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, Elders and Respected Persons, Dhelk Dja, Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committees and court staff.

      A cultural safety professional development program is introduced at each court location prior to Umalek Balit being implemented, enhancing workforce training and safeguarding Aboriginal court staff, including Elders and Respected Persons, who are involved in family violence-related hearings.

      The Umalek Balit program:

      • builds the court’s knowledge of Aboriginal people in Victoria and the barriers faced in accessing the justice system
      • provides culturally safe and appropriate support, information and referrals to services
      • improves the court’s capacity to engage with Aboriginal respondents and applicants in family violence matters
      • improves the Victorian Aboriginal community’s confidence in the courts and justice system
      Koori Family Violence Project logo. Six figures on a hill holding hands.
      Koori Family Violence Project logo

      Women’s and men’s practitioners work with Aboriginal people to guide them through the court experience. This includes offering culturally relevant, non-legal expertise regarding family violence matters. 

      Since Umalek Balit was established, the dedicated Koori Practitioner services have enhanced safety and improved perpetrator interventions. Umalek Balit improves alignment to Aboriginal self-determination through stronger engagement with Aboriginal community support services and creates greater cultural safety for Aboriginal clients and court staff.

      Koori Practitioners are available at Melbourne, Shepparton, Mildura, and Ballarat Magistrates’ Courts.

      I’m pleased that Aboriginal people are supporting Aboriginal people.

      Umalek Balit service user

      Koori Family Violence Practitioners support the Umalek Balit program.

      This case study was collected from information provided by a Koori Women’s Family Violence Practitioner.

      CASE STUDY – Koori Women's Family Violence Practitioner

      Fiona* met with the Koori Women’s Practitioner in a culturally safe space at the local court. As they introduce themselves, the practitioner builds rapport and creates a culturally appropriate and safe space where Fiona feels comfortable to share her story.

      She explains that she has been in a relationship with Brian* for 3 years and they have one child together, Abby*, aged 2.

      Fiona has issues with her memory following a head injury she sustained after Brian assaulted her. She said that throughout the course of their relationship Brian would hit her in front of Abby, control her by isolating her from family and friends, make threats and would damage property.

      Brian has been charged with unlawful assault. Fiona has had enough of Brian’s behaviour and no longer wants to be in a relationship with him. The Koori Women’s Practitioner talks with Fiona about what her options are, and what supports are available, now that she has decided to end the relationship.

      After the initial consultation, the Koori Women’s Practitioner makes sure Fiona understands the court process and conditions of the intervention order and talks with Fiona about how she might report a breach of the order to the police.

      The practitioner works with Fiona on safety planning and makes a referral to a service of Fiona’s choosing. The practitioner provides a list of other services, both mainstream and Aboriginal.

      She advises Fiona that she may be eligible for Victims of Crime Assistance (VOCAT) to assist with recovering personal items as a result of the offences committed against her and Abby.

      The Koori Women’s Practitioner continues to support Fiona throughout the course of the intervention order matter as well as the VOCAT process if she wishes to proceed with an application.

      *Note: Names have been changed.

      Aboriginal Self-Determination Overview

      Lived experience

      Lived experience informs the courts’ family violence reform.

      A family violence consultant advises the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria on lived experience for victim survivors and their families. They provide advice on the design of new service models, operational processes and policies developed as part of the courts' family violence reform.

      The views and experiences of court and family violence service users are regularly engaged during evaluations, such as the Remote Hearing Pilot Evaluation and the Evaluation of the Magistrates’ Court-led Family Violence Reform.

      The courts are working to improve access to justice and help victim survivors feel supported and safe when they encounter the justice system, wherever they are in Victoria.

      Lived Experience Overview

      Measuring outcomes

      Family Violence Outcomes Framework 

      Delivering the activities for this priority area will likely have the greatest impact in achieving outcomes against the following domains:

      Domains 2, 3 and 4

      Domain 2, Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive. Domain 3, Perpetrators are held accountable, connected and take responsibility for stopping their violence. Domain 4, Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.
      Domains 2, 3 and 4
      Download Domains 2, 3 and 4

      Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way

      Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families

      Building momentum

      Dhelk Dja is the only enduring Aboriginal-led strategy to address family violence in the country.

      Dhelk Dja workshop participant
      Rolling Action Plan consultation
      August 2020

      We are committed to a community-led response to end family violence against Aboriginal people, underpinned by self-determination.

      We recognise that family violence is not part of Aboriginal culture and that family violence against Aboriginal people is perpetrated by both non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal people.

      We acknowledge that colonisation, dispossession, child removal and other discriminatory government policies have resulted in significant intergenerational trauma, structural disadvantage and racism with long-lasting and far-reaching consequences.

      Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families 2018-2028 is the key Aboriginal-led Victorian Agreement that commits Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal services and government to work together and be accountable for ensuring that Aboriginal people, families and communities are stronger, safer, thriving and living free from family violence.

      Dhelk Dja sets out six guiding principles to achieve this vision:

      • self-determination
      • collaboration and partnerships
      • strengths based
      • culturally and trauma informed, resilience and healing-based approaches
      • safety (cultural, physical and community)
      • accountability, transparency and honesty of all parties

      The Dhelk Dja definition of family violence:

      • includes an acknowledgement of the impact of violence by non-Aboriginal people against Aboriginal partners, children, young people and extended family on spiritual and cultural rights
      • notes that it manifests as exclusion or isolation from Aboriginal culture and/or community
      • includes elder abuse and the use of lateral violence within Aboriginal communities
      • emphasises the impact of family violence on children

      Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum

      The Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum and its members are the individual and collective champions and strategic leaders overseeing the Dhelk Dja 10-Year Agreement. It is their responsibility to work closely with the community and stakeholders to implement Dhelk Dja and ensure that the principles of self-determination are at the heart of the Partnership Forum’s work.

      The Partnership Forum, which meets three times a year, is the mechanism through which the Agreement comes to life. The agenda for each meeting reflects both the lived experience and the many voices and stories of Aboriginal people living across Victoria.

      Dhelk Dja Agreement

      The Dhelk Dja Agreement commits to the development of three-year action plans to articulate the critical actions and supporting activities required to progress the Dhelk Dja Agreement’s five strategic priorities.

      Image of the Dhelk Dja agreement's five strategic priorities. Priority one, Aboriginal culture and leadership. Priority two, Aboriginal-led prevention. Priority three, self-determining Aboriginal family violence support and services. Priority four, system transformation based on self-determination. Priority five, Aboriginal-led and informed innovation, data and research.
      The Dhelk Dja Agreement's five strategic priorities

      Each of these priorities recognise the need to invest in Aboriginal culture, leadership and decision-making as the key to ending family violence in Victorian Aboriginal communities.

      The Dhelk Dja 3 Year Action Plan 2019-2022 is providing a strategic framework for the implementation of significant priority investments.

      In this video, Aboriginal Victorians explain why the Agreement is important and how the community is working together to deliver it.

      Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way

      Dhelk Dja: the symbolism in the image

      Dhelk Dja are the Dja Dja Wurrung words for ‘good place’ pronounced ‘delk ja'.

      The Dhelk Dja artwork in this video represents the 11 Dhelk Dja Action Groups that are working with Aboriginal communities to address family violence.

      Creating the Dhelk Dja artwork by Trina Dalton-Oogjes

      Progress since 2016

      The key Dhelk Dja activities which have been delivered since the Royal Commission are grouped here into four areas.

      1. We have strengthened investment in Aboriginal-led community family violence services.

        $119.3 million funding to deliver the Aboriginal family violence reform which includes the Dhelk Dja Agreement and Aboriginal family violence services.

        • This investment includes the establishment of the $18.2 million Dhelk Dja Family Violence Fund which opened to submissions in October 2020 to support holistic healing and frontline service responses.

        From 2018 there was an increase to the Aboriginal Community Initiatives Fund from $650,000 to $1.1 million:

        • annual investment to 11 Dhelk Dja Action Groups to support local Aboriginal community-led family violence prevention and education projects
        • the Fund has invested in 166 projects since 2016

        The Preventing the Cycle of Violence Aboriginal Fund includes a $2.7 million investment:

        • two-year funding grants currently supporting 11 projects for Aboriginal-led family violence prevention and early intervention initiatives

        The Victorian Government has provided $3.197 million under the Aboriginal Family Violence Primary Prevention Innovation Fund since July 2018.

        • The Aboriginal Family Violence Primary Prevention Innovation Fund currently supports 11 projects.
        • It delivers a range of innovative Aboriginal-led prevention activities across the state. 
        • The Fund supported Djirra’s YoungLuv program.

        The YoungLuv workshops are focused on promoting healthy and respectful relationships and aim to equip young Aboriginal women with information and skills to challenge unhealthy relationships, and to practice positive and safe behaviours.

        Djirra Engage Victoria survey response
        September 2020
      2. We are increasing the cultural safety of prevention programs and family violence support and response.

        • Community consultations informed the Concept Model and Design Elements of Aboriginal Access Points for The Orange Door network. The access points will resource Aboriginal services as primary partners within The Orange Door network.
        • We have improved the cultural safety of mainstream services, and court and police responses.
        • An Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation family violence sector forum was established in April 2020, to provide information on government activity in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) and funding announcements consistent with information provided to other forums.
      3. We are building a specialist Aboriginal workforce.

        • The Dhelk Dja 3 Year Action Plan (2019-2021) will strengthen Aboriginal representation across the family violence workforce.
        • Aboriginal frontline family violence services are being strengthened through the design and implementation of the Dhelk Dja Fund and the Aboriginal Family Violence Industry Strategy.
        • An Attraction and Recruitment Campaign has been developed to encourage Aboriginal applicants and increase representation across the family violence workforce.
      4. The Dhelk Dja Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability Plan has been developed to accompany the Dhelk Dja Agreement. It lays out the monitoring and evaluation strategy for the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum throughout its life.

        The Plan will include Aboriginal-led and defined indicators and measures of success to respond to and prevent Aboriginal family violence. It includes a focus on cultural determinants and enables Aboriginal communities and services, through the governance mechanisms of the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum, to effectively monitor progress against the Dhelk Dja Agreement.

        An Aboriginal Data Mapping and Data Needs project to support baseline understanding of Aboriginal family violence and build the evidence base for prevention and intervention has begun.

        The defined data, indicators and measures will support annual reporting to the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum and inform strategic decision making and priorities.

      Delivery to 2023

      Activities for 2020-2023 will continue to progress Dhelk Dja's family violence reforms. We have grouped the planned actions for this priority under four headings

      1. We are strengthening family violence prevention through updating the Indigenous Family Violence Primary Prevention Framework.

        We are implementing an Aboriginal prevention campaign and education program to intervene early to address causal factors that can lead to family violence.

        Prevention must be grounded in cultural strengthening, cultural expertise and education that is Aboriginal community-led and driven.

        Activities
        Finalise review and update of the Indigenous Family Violence Primary Prevention Framework aligned to Dhelk Dja Mid 2021 FSV
        Respect Victoria
        Dhelk Dja
        Aboriginal Data Mapping and Data Needs project to support baseline understanding of Aboriginal family violence and build the evidence base for prevention and intervention Mid 2021 FSV
        Extensive design process for the Aboriginal family violence prevention campaign Late 2021 FSV
        Implement the Aboriginal family violence prevention campaign and education programs Late 2022 FSV
      2. We are strengthening Aboriginal frontline family violence services by funding Aboriginal-led tailored responses for victim survivors and people who use violence.

        As part of the rollout of The Orange Door network, we are designing and establishing culturally responsive Aboriginal Access Points. The Aboriginal Access Points workforce will:

        • include designated Aboriginal women's, children's and men's 'Journey Walkers' roles that will walk with the client
        • provide information about services and supports available
        • create access through engagement, education and awareness to navigate referrals across the broader service system
        • support victim survivors, vulnerable children and families and those who use violence to access services that meet their needs and aspirations

        Activities
        Dhelk Dja Fund established and successful submissions funded Late 2020 FSV
        Final service design model for Aboriginal Access Points tabled for endorsement by the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum Early 2021 FSV
        Aboriginal Family Violence Industry Strategy endorsed by the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum Early 2021 FSV
        Commence strengthening cultural safety in The Orange Door network Early 2021 FSV
        Establish the first Aboriginal Access Point in The Orange Door network Mid 2021 FSV
        All Aboriginal Access Points established in line with the Orange Door network rollout Late 2022 FSV
        Expand the Koori Family Violence Police Protocol to provide statewide coverage Late 2022 Victoria Police
      3. The Dhelk Dja Action Groups are comprised of local community members across Victoria including men, women, Elders and young people. They are leading the development of Regional Action Plans which complement and inform Dhelk Dja and its actions, ensuring appropriate outputs and measures.

        The Dhelk Dja Action Groups and the subsequent action plans are key mechanisms for driving local and regional action to prevent and address family violence in partnerships between:

        • Aboriginal communities
        • Aboriginal services
        • government
        • mainstream services
        • the broader community

        Activities
        Regional Action Plans developed by the 11 place-based Dhelk Dja Action Groups presented to Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum and launched locally Late 2020 Dhelk Dja 
        Review and update progress against Regional Action Plans Late 2021 Dhelk Dja 
      4. The Dhelk Dja 10-Year Investment Strategy will be developed to provide a mechanism for the Dhelk Dja Koori Caucus and Partnership Forum to inform the government’s budget development process. The strategy will be considered by the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum in late 2021.

        The Dhelk Dja Koori Caucus shape the Aboriginal-led family violence agenda to develop and propose practical actions designed to meet the overall strategic intent of Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way - Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families and other relevant family violence reforms and issues.

        Activities
        The Dhelk Dja 10-Year Investment Strategy considered by the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum Late 2021 Dhelk Dja FSV

      Connecting the Dhelk Dja Agreement across the reform

      The Dhelk Dja Agreement recognises the need to respond to all forms of family violence experienced by Aboriginal people, children, families and communities.

        The definition recognises that the cycle of family violence brings people into contact with many different parts of the service system.

        Efforts to reduce violence and improve outcomes for Aboriginal people and children must therefore work across the family violence services:

        • police
        • the justice system and the courts
        • housing and homelessness services
        • child and family services
        • child protection and out-of-home care
        • health, mental health, and substance abuse

        The Dhelk Dja Agreement connects across the breadth of reform activities. For example:

        The Orange Door network

        • Three Aboriginal access points are being delivered to complement The Orange Door network at Mallee, Barwon and Peninsula Bayside areas with the first due to be established in mid-2021.

        Primary Prevention

        • Primary prevention campaigns delivered by Respect Victoria will include a specific campaign for Aboriginal Victorians.

        Housing

        • Family Safety Victoria are increasing accommodation options for women and children escaping family violence.
        • Department of Health and Human Services are supporting Aboriginal people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness through the new Victorian Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework, Mana-na worn-tyeen maar-takoort: Every Aboriginal Person Has a Home. The framework will build a new approach to ensuring Aboriginal Victorians have safe, secure and stable housing.

        Victoria Police

        • Victoria Police are improving how they capture data through a new methodology and a compliance framework.
        • The framework will standardise how Victoria Police measures Standard Indigenous Question (SIQ) compliance against legislation and policy requirements.
        • Increased referrals for legal support through Djirra.
        • A formal referral pathway between The Orange Door network and Djirra was finalised in July 2020 to provide legal advice and support.

        Courts

        • Court Services Victoria has implemented Umalek Balit, a dedicated Aboriginal family violence support program, where women’s and men’s practitioners work with Aboriginal People to guide them through the court experience.
        • This includes offering culturally relevant, non-legal expertise regarding family violence matters.

        Reform-wide priorities

        Activities to deliver a community-led response to end family violence against Aboriginal people are informed by the reform-wide priorities of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience.

        Intersectionality

        The recognition in the Dhelk Dja Agreement of the need to respond to all forms of family violence experienced by Aboriginal people supports an intersectional approach to the delivery of the reform.

        This approach must value the strength, knowledge and rich diversity of Aboriginal people, families and communities:

        • Aboriginal people with disabilities and mental health issues
        • LGBTIQ+ people
        • Elders and older people
        • children and young people
        • people in or exiting out-of-home care
        • people leaving State Government services such as prisons
        • people living in rural and regional areas
        • families comprising Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal family members

        For example, Family Safety Victoria funded six Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to undertake Rainbow Tick Accreditation and a Statewide Rainbow Tick Project Worker to support Aboriginal services' efforts towards accreditation.

        This initiative builds and supports collaborative working relationships between LGBTIQ+ specific services and provides advice on culturally-appropriate content for the workforce development aspect of accreditation.

        Intersectionality Overview

        Aboriginal self-determination

        We heard in our consultations with communities that to support Aboriginal self-determination it is important to embed Dhelk Dja across the family violence sector. Dhelk Dja is best supported through a holistic whole-of-community approach.

        Aboriginal members of the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum developed and agreed operating guidelines for the Dhelk Dja fund. This included prioritising funding streams and setting evaluation criteria to ensure that Aboriginal organisations are prioritised to deliver Aboriginal family violence services.

        Further activities include:

        • Nargneit Birrang is a Woiwurrung word meaning “To see the river”. The Nargneit Birrang Framework guides the flexible design, funding, implementation and evaluation of Aboriginal-led holistic healing programs for family violence in Victoria.

          Self-determination is a complex concept. In this framework it is understood as promoting agency, voice and empowerment at both the individual and community level. Self-determination becomes the foundation for achieving holistic healing.

          Nargneit Barrang Framework, 2019

          The Framework aims to better support Aboriginal families, children and young people to respond to trauma and promote wellbeing, based on six integrated principles:

          • self-determination is fundamental
          • safety is a priority
          • culture, country and community are embedded in healing
          • the past impacts on the present
          • healing is trauma-informed
          • resilience and hope make a difference.

          Nargneit Barrang Framework

        • Cultural safety is being advanced through:

          Cultural Safety Communities of Practice

          • an opportunity for practitioners to discuss and share best practice approaches

          Dispute resolution

          • development of an Aboriginal culture-informed family violence dispute resolution framework for the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum and its associated governance structures

          Aboriginal Access Points

          • will work alongside The Orange Door network in three areas (Mallee, Barwon and Peninsula Bayside), providing a culturally safe referral pathway for Aboriginal people impacted by violence
          • commenced a series of workshops with key Aboriginal stakeholders to inform the service delivery elements for the Aboriginal Access Points

          Cultural safety in the workplace

          • developing a framework for assessing and implementing a culturally safe workplace, delivery in 2021

          Strengthening Cultural Safety project

          • the project is an example of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and family violence funded mainstream organisations working together
          • conducting cultural safety reviews and developing action plans to ensure their organisations and services are culturally safe for Aboriginal staff, and women and children
          • The Draft Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan aims to embed inclusion, access and equity in The Orange Door network.
          • The development of a best practice model will support Aboriginal staff and clients in The Orange Door network.

        Aboriginal Self-Determination Overview

        Lived experience

        Including the knowledge and insight of Aboriginal people with lived experience of family violence ensures the reform meets the needs and aspirations of the Victorian Aboriginal community, including in the design, delivery and evaluation of services.

        Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum membership is representative of the Aboriginal community and Aboriginal family violence sector.

        The Aboriginal community in Victoria is represented on the Victim Survivors' Advisory Council.

        Lived Experience Overview

        Measuring outcomes

        Family Violence Outcomes Framework

        Activities in this priority area contribute to achieving outcomes against all the Family Violence Outcomes Framework domains:

        Domains 1, 2, 3 and 4

        Domain 1, Family violence and gender inequality are not tolerated. Domain 2, Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive. Domain 3, Perpetrators are held accountable, connected and take responsibility for stopping their violence. Domain 4, Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.
        Domains 1, 2, 3 and 4
        Download Domains 1, 2, 3 and 4

        *We acknowledge that while the Family Violence Outcomes Framework references the term ‘perpetrators’ the Nargneit Birrang Family Violence Holistic Healing Framework prefers use of the term ‘person/people who use violence’.

        Royal Commission recommendations

        The Victorian Government has committed to implement all 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

        Of the recommendations still in progress, five relate to Dhelk Dja.


        Housing

        Improving access to safe and stable housing options

        Building momentum

        The Royal Commission into Family Violence found that family violence is the number one cause of homelessness for women.

        Understanding and responding effectively to the housing needs of victim survivors is key if we are to meet the reform’s ambition to ensure victim survivors are safe and supported to recover and thrive.

        Meeting the housing needs of Victorians experiencing family violence is complex with each victim survivor bringing different needs and considerations.

        While emergency accommodation may be the first response in a crisis, we know that many victim survivors want support to stay in their own homes.

        The biggest trauma in your life is happening in what should be the safest place in your life, your home…

        Victim Survivors' Advisory Council
        Rolling Action Plan consultation workshop
        August 2020

        For those who can’t stay at home, they need assistance beyond short-term refuge. A stable home in a suitable location will help deliver the best outcomes: security and support to meet their needs for stable work and education.

        Housing supports for someone experiencing family violence may include:

        • a safe and supported place to stay in an emergency
        • access to longer term social housing
        • financial assistance to keep or obtain a private rental
        • help to stay in their own home if they choose to

        While the goal is to provide a pathway to stability so that families can move on with their lives, supporting victim survivors requires different responses at different stages.

        Our priority is safety, whether that’s supporting victim survivors to stay at home or to leave.

        It can be really challenging to know when is the right time to leave – when a woman has made that choice, it is essential to get her out.

        If people in family violence situations don’t know that their physical needs like housing can be met, that traps them.

        Victim Survivors' Advisory Council
        Rolling Action Plan consultation workshop
        August 2020

        Our focus is now on:

        • continuing to minimise risk at points of crisis by supporting victim survivors to exit safely from a family violence situation
        • delivering the long-term solutions that will be most effective in re-establishing stability for victim survivors, including children

        Some of the ways we will do this is to:

        • continue to replace our communal refuges with new core and cluster model refuges providing greater privacy and independence
        • increase support for victim survivors to stay in their own homes
        • build more new social housing homes

        Progress since 2016

        The key housing activities which have been delivered since the Royal Commission are grouped here into three areas.

        1. Delivery of the $152 million Family Violence Housing Blitz package between 2016 and 2018 as part of Homes for Victorian strategy has:

          • provided quicker access to public housing for victim survivors by prioritising them on the Victorian Housing Register
          • helped victim survivors stabilise their lives faster by providing 185 social housing properties and access to private rental leases through the Rapid Housing Assistance program
          • continued to meet the individual needs of victim survivors including children by supporting them to remain safely in their home through provision of around 6,500 flexible support packages each year
          • provided financial support, advice and assistance in accessing or sustaining private rental tenancies through the Private Rental Assistance Program
          • New crisis accommodation units have been constructed and existing crisis accommodation units upgraded to better provide for the needs of women and children escaping family violence.
          • Four of the redeveloped ‘core and cluster’ family violence refuges are now open in locations across Victoria including regional refuges.

          Young people

          • Three new youth refuges have been built for young people experiencing homelessness, many of whom are escaping family violence.
          • The Hope Street First Response Youth Service in Melton opened in mid-2020 and will provide 24/7 support for an estimated 100 young people a year (aged 16-25).

          This video covers the journey Hope Street has been on over the past five years to create the refuge.

          The making of the First Response Youth Refuge in Melton
        2. Family violence victim survivors have access to:

          • 325 newly purchased long term social housing properties
          • 401 medium-term tenancies leased by government from the private sector

        Delivery to 2023

        The main housing activities include new activity and continued delivery of the significant long-term housing investments announced over recent years.

        This overview of our housing activities to 2023 is grouped into five areas.

        1. We have begun to phase out communal refuges. These can be confronting and challenging for victim survivors, requiring women to share kitchen and bathroom facilities, and share bedrooms with their children.

          The future of Victoria’s crisis accommodation is our core and cluster model: 19 redeveloped and new family violence refuges across Victoria, including two new Aboriginal-specific refuges.

          Individual family units with on-site support will provide greater independence, privacy and security for victim survivors, including children.

          • As refuges are redeveloped, capacity for after-hours support will be provided.
          • Four refuges are already open and the remainder will be operational by 2022.

          When the refuge redevelopment program is complete it will be able to accommodate approximately 160 households.

          The timeline reflects that the remaining 15 refuges are scheduled for completion by mid-2022.

          The 2020/21 State Budget committed $18.2 million over two years to support the operations for these 15 refuges as works are completed (including enhanced after-hours support and expanded capacity).

          New Aboriginal-specific family violence refuges

          Activities
          Construction has commenced for the first Aboriginal specific refuge Mid 2020 DHHS
          Location for the second refuge is being sourced Mid 2020 DHHS
          First refuge is due to open Mid to late 2021 DHHS
          Second refuge is due to open Mid 2022 DHHS

          Redevelopment of remaining family violence refuges

          Activities
          Three refuges expected to be completed Late 2020 DHHS
          Three more refuges expected to be completed Early 2021 DHHS
          Two more refuges expected to be completed Mid 2021 DHHS
          Five more refuges expected to be completed Mid to late 2021 DHHS
          All refuges expected to be operational By 2022 DHHS
        2. We know that many victim survivors would prefer to stay in their home if it is safe to do so.

          I had to leave my home for safety reasons but was severely disadvantaged …

          I was still on the same wage but now had huge additional expenses that left me with very little left over each week.

          At the same time my perpetrator got to stay in our home (which we owned) with no additional expenses at all.

          Engage Victoria stakeholder survey response
          August 2020

          Personal Safety Initiative

          • Following a successful pilot, the Personal Safety Initiative is now being expanded across the state.
          • It supports victim survivors with effective technology and security measures that allow them to remain safely in their own homes and communities.
          • It is supported by a case manager to sustainably assist in managing family violence related risk.

          Perpetrator accommodation options

          The reform is helping to support victim survivors to stay in their own home by providing alternative accommodation to perpetrators of family violence, where possible.

          As part of Victoria’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response perpetrators of family violence, or people who believe they are at risk of using violence, have been able to access short or longer-term accommodation, and receive support to change their behaviour.

          Why should children have to relocate from the family home - where possible the rights of children to remain in the home and therefore the schools etc should be a much higher priority.

          Family member of victim survivor
          Engage Victoria survey response
          August 2020
        3. People experiencing homelessness during COVID-19 are being supported in the short term with emergency hotel accommodation, before transitioning to medium-term accommodation.

          Some people seeking support through this initiative were experiencing or at risk of experiencing family violence.

          • Up to 1,700 properties sourced from the private rental market, spot purchases and from social housing to provide longer term accommodation for up to 18 months.
          • Access to flexible support packages including family violence, mental health support, and drug and alcohol support for those who need it.

          With more housing options and wrap-around support to go with it, we’re giving Victorians the best possible chance to find a path out of homelessness and get their lives back on track.

          Minister for Housing, Richard Wynne
          July 2020
        4. Homelessness affects both victim survivors and perpetrators. In 2018-19, 44 per cent of all clients seeking assistance from a homelessness service in Victoria cited family and domestic violence as a reason for seeking assistance.

          People escaping or who have escaped family violence now have priority access to public and community housing on the Victorian Housing Register. Therefore, every investment in housing also increases victim survivors' access to a stable home, including through these key initiatives:

          Big Housing Build

          The Big Housing Build, announced in November 2020, is investing $5 billion over four years to increase social and affordable housing stock in Victoria.

          More than 9,300 new social housing dwellings and 2,900 new affordable market homes for first home buyers and renters will commence construction over the next four years.

          Of these more than 12,000 new dwellings, 25 per cent will be in regional and rural Victoria.

          The chance to move into a safe home and rebuild lives in a new environment is something the Big Housing Build will give many Victorian women and children. The Big Housing Build is expected to deliver a safe home for as many as 1,000 victim survivors of family violence.

          10 per cent of new social housing dwellings will support Aboriginal Victorians.

          The Big Housing Build will work across four streams:

          Constructing new social and affordable housing dwellings on public land

          • 500 new social housing properties
          • 540 new affordable and market homes

          Community housing partnership developments on government land

          • 690 new social housing properties
          • 690 new affordable and market homes

          Accelerating the Social Housing Growth Fund

          • 4,200 new social housing dwellings

          Spot-purchasing existing and in-progress homes

          • 1,600 new social housing properties
          • 200 new affordable homes

          1,000 new public dwellings

          1,000 new public housing dwellings being built across Victoria are in areas of high housing need.

          • They include 800 one and two-bedroom properties and 200 three-bedroom properties.
          • The new homes will provide modern, comfortable and accessible accommodation and be well-connected to local neighbourhoods.
          • They will house approximately 1,800 Victorians, including women and children experiencing family violence.
          • They include developments in Geelong, Ballarat, Darebin, Maribyrnong, Stonnington and Whitehorse.

          Activities
          Building began on the first sites Late 2019 DHHS
          Completion of first 10 homes Mid 2020 DHHS
          Majority of homes completed Late 2022 DHHS

          Building works

          $500 million will be invested to provide upgrades to community and public housing as part of the government’s shovel-ready economic boost through the COVID-19 Building Works package.

          This includes:

          • maintenance and upgrades for more than 23,000 social housing dwellings across Victoria
          • upgrades to amenities in specialist disability accommodation
          • 168 new dwellings, including 12 new homes at Aboriginal Housing Victoria sites in Hampton Park and Dandenong
          • $10 million to accelerate the delivery of the family violence refuge redevelopment program
          • $115 million for rapid housing response projects that increase housing options for Aboriginal Victorians, people at risk of or experiencing homelessness and those leaving state government services such as prisons

          Social Housing Growth Fund

          • part of the Homes for Victorians plan announced in 2017
          • the $1 billion fund will continue to increase the supply of social and affordable housing and deliver public housing renewal and development programs

          Activities
          Expected delivery of more than 780 new social housing dwellings across 25 locations in Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria Late 2024 DHHS

          Low interest loans to housing agencies

          • We are making available more than $1.1 billion in low interest loans to the community housing sector to purchase social and affordable housing properties and increase the long-term housing supply.
        5. We recognise that while housing in rural and regional Victoria is not as expensive as in metropolitan areas there can be other barriers to obtaining suitable housing for those experiencing family violence.

          During consultation for the Rolling Action Plan stakeholders told us that:

          • it can be more difficult in rural areas to house victim survivors when the perpetrator may be close by
          • being offered housing that is too far away can pose problems for employment and children’s schooling and sever connections with the community

          We are providing incentives to community housing providers to build in rural and remote communities and we are establishing social housing planning incentives in negotiation with local councils.

          • At least 25 per cent of the $500 million maintenance and upgrade funding under the Building Works package will be allocated to regional areas.

          Social Housing Investment Planning Grants

          • $2.5 million for local councils to plan new social housing in their regions.
          • 15 councils in the first tranche including Mount Alexander, Frankston, Geelong and Warrnambool.

          Regional Estate Revitalisation Project

          Activities
          Agencies who already provide social housing will be collectively funded $9.6 million to provide an additional 84 units for women in non-metropolitan areas By 2022 DHHS
          $30 million to redevelop out-of-date public housing in Ballarat, Bendigo and Benalla over the next ten years To 2030 DHHS

        Connecting housing across the reform

        Connections across reform activity are building further strength into our delivery of housing solutions.

        Reform-wide

        • Services across family violence, homelessness and social housing are working collaboratively to provide holistic support to victim survivors where housing is considered in the context of their wider needs.

        Perpetrators and people who use violence

        • Perpetrator-focused services are coordinating with housing providers to find alternative accommodation for perpetrators so more victim survivors can stay in the family home.

        The Orange Door network

        • Flexible support packages available through The Orange Door network and other family violence services providers are providing tailored options for immediate assistance beyond temporary emergency accommodation.
        • $85.1 million over four years has been committed in the 2020/21 State Budget to continue providing flexible support packages.

        MARAM and information sharing

        • Extending the Multi Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework to homelessness service providers will help identify, assess and manage family violence risk for people using their services.

        Reform-wide priorities 

        Activities to deliver safe, stable and affordable housing are informed by our reform-wide priorities of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience. 

        Intersectionality 

        We are committed to meeting the needs of all Victorians when improving and expanding housing options. More housing options are already being delivered for people with disabilities, younger people, and large families. 

          • The Building Works package is delivering 168 new homes and upgrading 23,000 properties. These will be available to people on the Victorian Housing Register providing housing for:

            • women and children fleeing family violence
            • people with a disability (upgrades to 450 accessible properties)
            • older Victorians
            • Aboriginal Victorians
            • those leaving State Government services, such as prisons
          • People with disabilities

            • Redevelopment of the 19 family violence refuges will be accessible to people with disabilities.
            • The redeveloped family violence refuges will be accessible for victim survivors including children with disabilities, and one unit at each facility will be built to platinum Liveable Design Standards, maximising safety and accessibility for people with disabilities, and children and young people.

            Temporary visa holders

            • Refuge providers are receiving flexible financial support so they can assist victim survivors who are on temporary visas and have no income.

          Intersectionality Overview

          Aboriginal self-determination

          Government need to do more than seek input from Aboriginal organisations into service design and response – they need to give over the systems, resources, power and authority. Community need to be in control of all aspects including delivering our own self-determined programs.

          Dhelk Dja workshop participant
          Rolling Action Plan consultation
          August 2020

          Consistent across all the family violence reforms, the principles of self-determination underpin housing responses to family violence. Aboriginal-led initiatives form a combination of specific family violence reform activity and broader government activity to address the housing needs of Aboriginal Victorians.

          Both contribute to better outcomes for Aboriginal family violence victim survivors and those who use violence.

          • 'Mana-na worn-tyeen maar-takoort: Every Aboriginal Person has a Home’ is the Victorian Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework, launched in early 2020.

            Developed by the Aboriginal community as an act of self-determination, we believe this to be the most comprehensive Aboriginal housing policy framework so far produced in Australia.

            Mana-na worn-tyeen maar-takoort: Every Aboriginal Person has a Home
            February 2020

            The framework aims to achieve quality housing outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians within a generation.

            Initial government funding of $5.3 million is providing:

            • a two-year Aboriginal-specific Private Rental Assistance Program 
            • exploring future investment in Aboriginal housing
            • The transfer of 1,448 Director of Housing-owned properties to Aboriginal Housing Victoria has been completed.
            • Aboriginal Housing Victoria owns, manages and develops the properties on behalf of Aboriginal Victorians.
            • This delivers on the government’s commitment to support self-determination by transferring power and resources back to the community.
          • The Community Housing Aboriginal Cultural Safety Framework guides community housing organisations to improve their practices to address the housing needs of Aboriginal Victorians. 

            Led by Community Housing Industry Association Victoria with support from the Victorian Government, the framework was launched in July 2020. 

          • As part of a $23 million package to support Aboriginal Victorians through the pandemic, $13 million has been made available over two years to help Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations meet an increase in demand for their services.

            This will provide a variety of supports for Aboriginal communities, including homelessness services and stable housing.

            Aboriginal Victorians know what’s best for their families and their communities – that’s why we’re not only delivering more support but importantly, ensuring they make the call on where and how that support is delivered.

            Gabrielle Williams
            Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
            June 2020

          Aboriginal Self-Determination Overview

          Lived experience

          Embedding lived experience allows us to capture insights which only someone who has experienced family violence can provide.

          It supplements the data we collect and gives us a better understanding of what supports work. For example, victim survivors were consulted in the design for the new model of core and cluster refuges.

          Our housing workshop with the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council heard that moving to somewhere secure and private are the principle considerations in deciding when to exit.

          When you’ve lived through family violence and abuse, you actually live in a state of hyper-alertness for your own safety and that of your children…

          It’s really unfair or sad to be taking someone from an unsafe situation and placing them in another location where it still feels quite unsafe.

          Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council
          Rolling Action Plan consultation workshop
          August 2020

          We also heard that the sense of feeling unsafe never really goes away and hyper-vigilance becomes second nature.

          It emphasises the importance of providing a holistic response to victim survivors, not just a new roof.

          Listening to victim survivors

          We learnt that little things can make a big difference. During consultation for the Rolling Action Plan we heard one participant in a housing workshop say that in her community something as simple as a hot shower somewhere safe was an instant stress reliever.

          The video on this page tracks the five-year journey to open the Hope Street First Response Youth Service in Melton, in western Melbourne. A large proportion of the young people who go there will be escaping family violence.

          Young victim survivors were asked what they wanted in the new building. Their lived experience informed the design.

          The two things they asked for was really good wi-fi and a really nice bath.

          Emotional trauma and physical trauma can be a big part of their existence and just being able to crawl into a nice bath with a great outlook… is something they really said they wanted to be able to experience.

          Laurence Robinson
          Architect, Hope Street first response youth refuge
          July 2020

          Lived Experience Overview

          Measuring outcomes

          Family Violence Outcomes Framework

          Delivering the activities for this priority area will likely have the greatest impact in achieving outcomes against the following domains:

          Domains 2, 3 and 4

          Domain 2, Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive. Domain 3, Perpetrators are held accountable, connected and take responsibility for stopping their violence. Domain 4, Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.
          Domains 2, 3 and 4
          Download Domains 2, 3 and 4

          Improving legal assistance access, representation and integration across the family violence system

          Building momentum

          Legal assistance for both victim survivors and perpetrators is an integral part of the family violence service system. It is both a source of advice on legal matters and a gateway to other support services.

          Victim survivors need information about their legal options to support decisions about their family and safety needs and to advocate for their access to justice.

          Legal assistance also helps perpetrators to understand police and court processes and to meet obligations associated with court outcomes, such as adhering to any court orders and conditions, including attending men’s behaviour change programs.

          Legal assistance is integral to supporting better outcomes for children and young people who are experiencing family violence at home.

          We are committed to ensuring that family violence legal assistance is effectively embedded and integrated across the family violence system.

          The Royal Commission into Family Violence found that unequal access to legal assistance was facilitating perpetrators to abuse and exert control over victim survivors.

          It has commonly forced victim survivors to deplete their financial resources to access legal representation.

          The Legal Assistance reform priority is intended to address inequity to ensure that the justice system is accessible and effective for all.

          The first phase of the reform has been focused on establishing strong foundations in the legal assistance sector by increasing access to legal support services, building a specialist workforce and ensuring there is a specific focus on Aboriginal Justice through dedicated funding for Djirra and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.

          The family violence reform is ongoing and further work is required to strengthen the integration of the legal assistance sector with the broader family violence service system. 

          Our priorities are:

          • strengthening connections between legal services and the specialist family violence sector, including The Orange Door network 
          • increasing access, including to culturally safe legal services by investing in legal assistance for at-risk groups 
          • supporting the family violence, justice and legal assistance sectors through workforce initiatives to better identify and respond to client risks and needs 
          • working with the Commonwealth to embed family violence competency within professional development frameworks for legal practitioners

          We have heard that several issues require further examination and consultation, including: 

          • access to justice barriers 
          • perpetrators’ exploitation of legal processes 
          • stronger pathways between legal and related supports

          We are committed to addressing these issues through ongoing engagement with the legal assistance sector. This will ensure that the family violence service system continues to evolve to meet the needs of victim survivors and keep perpetrators in view. 

          Progress since 2016 

          Actions since the Royal Commission to improve access to legal assistance are grouped here into three areas. 

            • 2016/17 State Budget - $4.6 million for family violence legal assistance
            • 2017/18 State Budget - a further investment of $49.8 million over four years for legal responses to family violence and child protection, and further $11 million over 4 years for culturally appropriate family violence legal services for Aboriginal communities
          1. We have increased access to legal support services through the following initiatives:

            • people with complex matters received additional support through Victorian Legal Aid grants
            • extended hours for Legal Help Phoneline and dedicated responses to family violence related issues
            • access to family violence duty lawyer services for family violence and child protection matters increased by more than 33 per cent between 2017 and 2019, as recorded by Victoria Legal Aid
            • increased and enhanced access to legal support through initiatives such as funding grants for family violence-related legal assistance at 30 Community Legal Centres
            • legal services and financial counsellors have strengthened referral pathways to respond to the intersecting needs of victim survivors, with particular attention to debt reduction and supporting victim survivors to regain economic security: for example, Consumer Affairs Victoria provides funding for a financial counsellor to be integrated at Women’s Legal Service Victoria
            • access provided to a new Victoria Legal Aid office in Ballarat in June 2020

            The new office will help Victoria Legal Aid meet the needs of the growing region and continue to deliver critical legal services.

            Attorney-General Jill Hennessy
            speaking on the opening of the new Victoria Legal Aid office in Ballarat
            June 2020
          2. The specialist legal services workforce provides holistic family violence-related support. Achievements include:

            • Specialist Family Violence Court legal practice model established
            • training for legal professionals continues to reflect best-practice risk assessment guidance
            • training for specialist family violence practitioners to help them respond to their clients’ legal needs through Critical Legal Issues Map training, run by Women’s Legal Service Victoria and funded by Family Safety Victoria
            • Women’s Legal Service Victoria Safer Families program

          Delivery to 2023

          Legal assistance activities for the next three years builds on base funding and has a focus on early intervention, workforce capacity, service integration and responding to the impact of COVID-19.

          This overview of our planned legal assistance activities to 2023 is grouped into five areas.

          1. Increasing capacity for early access to legal support, case management and enhanced legal response will help reduce risk and prevent escalation and complexity of legal issues.

            Activities
            Review legal assistance recommendations from the Positive Interventions for Perpetrators of Adolescent Violence in the Home report, completed by Australian National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS) and Centre for Innovative Justice Mid 2021 DJCS
            Establish pathways for earlier legal assistance referrals Late 2021 DJCS
            Victoria Police
            CSV
            Work with Victoria Legal Aid on the continued implementation and evaluation of Specialist Family Violence Courts legal practice model 2021-2022 CSV
          2. Workforce capability building initiatives will further support the family violence, justice and legal assistance sectors to better identify and respond to client risks and needs.

            Activities
            Working with legal services to ensure that training aligns with the Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) where appropriate

            While legal professionals are not prescribed under the MARAM Framework, the training is informed and guided by the MARAM principles

            Ongoing DJCS
            Explore opportunities to continue Women’s Legal Service Victoria Safer Families program Mid 2021 DJCS
            Commonwealth, States and Territories Attorneys-General embed family violence competency into Continuing Professional Development frameworks for legal practitioners across Australia Late 2021 DJCS
          3. We will continue strengthening connections across legal, family violence and community-based services to increase the network of legal and family violence support available to victim survivors and people who use violence. This is already supported by a number of forums including the Regional Integration Committees.

            Embedding legal services within health, community and education settings increases access to justice and provides an opportunity to identify and address the complex systems and structures that compound disadvantage. 

            Activities
            Work continues between legal services and courts to pilot early referrals to legal services Early 2021 CSV
            Establish a statewide approach to the connection and coordination of legal services within The Orange Door network in every area 2021 DJCS
            FSV
            Explore opportunities to expand school lawyer programs delivered by Community Legal Centres

            These programs have a crime prevention focus and provide prevention and early intervention supports, including legal education on interacting with police and protective services officers, fines and consequences of getting a criminal record

            2021 DJCS
            DET
            Work with Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, Victoria Police and Family Safety Victoria to explore broader referral options for perpetrator interventions Mid 2021 DJCS
            Work with No To Violence men’s referral service, to establish referral pathways to legal services for men who use violence Late 2021 DJCS
            Increase legal assistance referral pathways for victim survivors Late 2021 DJCS
            Develop resources for integrated service providers to increase legal referrals Late 2021 DJCS
            Support Djirra to expand regional service delivery capacity Late 2021 DJCS
            Identify opportunities across the family violence, justice and legal assistance sectors to support improved identification of client legal risks and needs Early 2022 DJCS
            The statewide approach to the connection and coordination of legal services is embedded across The Orange Door network 2022 DJCS
            FSV
          4. Recovering from the COVID-19 will require new and innovative approaches to the provision of legal services.

            Social distancing restrictions made it harder for people to access legal help. However, additional funding of $17.5 million for frontline legal assistance providers to adapt to remote service delivery and meet increased demand enabled us to support Victorians with a range of issues including family violence-related matters.

            Additional funding during COVID-19 has enabled us to increase access to legal assistance, including to Victorians experiencing family violence.

            In addition, Victoria received $12 million over two years from the Commonwealth to support the legal assistance sector to meet the demands of COVID-19. Of this, $3.7 million is to be directed, where possible, to family violence services.

            The Victorian Government is committed to re-engaging people with these services as we recover from the COVID-19 to ensure victim survivors and perpetrators of family violence receive the legal help they need.

            This means heeding the important lessons and building upon the successful innovations that have emerged across the legal system, including the adaptation of legal assistance services to provide remote advice and representation.

            Remote legal assistance will help ensure equitable access to services across the state. Options for further embedding these innovations will be explored.

            Activities
            Explore opportunities to build on the Victoria Legal Aid Legal Help Phoneline and Legal Help Chat 2021 DJCS
            Explore opportunities to further embed and expand upon improved pathways from Victoria Legal Aid’s Legal Help to Duty Lawyer service for pre-court legal assistance 2021 DJCS
            Consider the benefits of complementing the Specialist Family Violence Courts model with remote service delivery and enhanced Audio-Visual Link technology, the use of which has been accelerated during COVID-19 2021 CSV
            DJCS
            Begin evaluation of options to continue the use of audio-visual link for remote service delivery at court locations Early 2021 DJCS
            Develop cohort-specific responses for alternative engagement methods, e.g. digital platforms, online referral tools, telephone etc. Early 2021 DJCS
            Review and assess COVID-19 pre-court legal assistance initiatives implemented by the courts, providing information and referrals earlier and electronically 2021 DJCS
            CSV
            Consider options for expanding early engagement methods Mid 2021 CSV
            Victoria Police
          5. I would have left earlier if I had more knowledge of what to do and where to go.

            Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council
            Rolling Action Plan consultation workshop
            August 2020

            A wealth of feedback was received from across the sector, academia and victim survivors. We are committed to ongoing engagement with the legal assistance sector to reflect upon and respond to the feedback received. Key activities will include:

            Activities
            Develop solutions to access to justice barriers, for example, perpetrators’ exploitation of legal processes, including deliberately creating conflict of interest issues to limit victim survivors’ access to legal assistance Late 2021 DJCS
            Identify avenues to better support access to legal assistance for children and young people Late 2021 DJCS
            Establish stronger pathways between legal services and related supports, with attention to the importance of financial counsellors Late 2021 DJCS

            Develop pre-separation legal information for victim survivors to ensure they are informed of their rights and responsibilities prior to making the decision to leave the relationship

            Late 2021 DJCS

          The reforms to increase access to legal assistance for family violence victim survivors and people who use violence connects and supports activities across the family violence reform. For example:

          • the continued rollout of The Orange Door network will consider how legal assistance can be best embedded  
          • embedding a client-focused approach to developing the Specialist Family Violence Courts legal practice model
          • strengthening knowledge of legal responses across other workforces which intersect with family violence

          Reform-wide priorities

          Activities to increase access to legal assistance continue to be informed by our reform-wide priorities: intersectionality, lived experience and Aboriginal self-determination.

          At-risk and vulnerable groups are disproportionately affected by inadequate access to legal assistance. Activities outlined below will assist in improving access and services.

          Intersectionality

          Victoria Legal Aid and Community Legal Centres around Victoria are continuing to adapt and provide nuanced support for the communities they service. For example:

          • Victoria Legal Aid is working with culturally specific services to identify the training and resources needed so their legal services are culturally safe environments.
          • Victoria Legal Aid provides free access to interpreter services and information about their services in more than 20 languages.
          • St Kilda Legal Service and Fitzroy Legal Service provide a free community legal service to assist LGBTIQ+ Victorians with their legal needs.
          • Senior Rights Victoria, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and Victorian Legal Aid provides a free, confidential helpline for advocacy and legal assistance.
          • Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre runs the Vietnamese Lawyer Project in partnership with the Vietnamese Women’s Association to deliver legal assistance in the Vietnamese language

          Intersectionality Overview

          Aboriginal self-determination

          Consistent with our commitment to Aboriginal self-determination, our legal assistance activities include Aboriginal-led, culturally appropriate options for Aboriginal Victorians.

            • initial investment of $11 million over four years in the 2017/18 State Budget
            • distributed equally between two Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and Djirra, to provide legal and support services to Aboriginal people experiencing family violence
          • Djirra logo

            Djirra supports Aboriginal people who are experiencing or have experienced family violence.

            Djirra provides legal services in a variety of locations around the state, based on their understanding of where the greatest needs are in the Aboriginal community.

            • Over the last four years, Djirra’s legal services have expanded to five locations across Victoria, with plans to open an additional access point in Geelong.
            • The Department of Justice and Community Safety has provided Djirra with a further $300,000 to expand their regional service delivery.

            In 2018-2019, Djirra’s Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Service:

            • helped 611 people with legal advice and representation
            • provided 2,410 legal assistance packages
            • provided financial assistance to people experiencing family violence through 164 flexible support packages
          • The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service funds specialised Family Violence Community Service Officers to provide advice about child welfare and family issues.

            Over the two years, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service assisted 581 clients around Victoria.

          • Victoria Legal Aid is funding an Aboriginal Community Engagement Officer based at the Ballarat Specialist Family Violence Court. 

          Aboriginal Self-Determination Overview

          Lived experience

          Embedding lived experience is a key feature of the legal practice model at specialist family violence courts and in the future design and delivery of legal assistance programs and services.

          Victoria Legal Aid - client-centred approach to legal practice model

          Victoria Legal Aid is working with clients, staff, community legal centres, Aboriginal legal services, the courts, police and family violence services to design and deliver the legal services at five of Victoria's specialist family violence courts.

          Actions include:

          • exploring clients’ experience of family violence legal services in a court setting at two specialist family violence courts
          • developing client stories and journey maps through interviews and discussions with clients about their experience
          • holding workshops about the justice response with people with lived experience of family violence
          • facilitating one-on-one consultations with people with lived experience

          This approach will help the specialist family violence courts to offer a more therapeutic model of justice that promotes safety and accountability, while giving people intensive and integrated support.

          Lived Experience Overview

          Measuring outcomes

          Family Violence Outcomes Framework

          Delivering the activities for this priority area will likely have the greatest impact in achieving outcomes against the following domains:

          Domains 2, 3 and 4

          Domain 2, Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive. Domain 3, Perpetrators are held accountable, connected and take responsibility for stopping their violence. Domain 4, Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.
          Domains 2, 3 and 4
          Download Domains 2, 3 and 4

          MARAM and Information Sharing

          A shared approach to risk assessment and information sharing

          Building momentum

          The Royal Commission identified that organisations working with victim survivors and perpetrators were failing to share information and to identify, assess and manage risk effectively. This was compromising the safety of victim survivors and not keeping perpetrators accountable for their actions.

          In response, we legislated the new Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework, known as MARAM, and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS).

          The Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS) was also introduced following numerous independent reviews and inquiries. It promotes shared responsibility for children’s wellbeing and safety and increasing collaboration across the service system.

          Phased rollout

          MARAM and the two information schemes are being rolled out in two phases:

          • Phase One: Commenced 2018 across 850 organisations, covering approximately 37,500 professionals.
          • Phase Two: Commencing April 2021 across 5,800 government and non-government organisations, covering approximately 370,000 additional professionals.

          Phase One organisations

          Phase Two organisations

          What will this approach achieve?

          The aim of MARAM is to ensure that people affected by, experiencing or using family violence are provided with an appropriate, consistent and capable response no matter where or how they engage with services.

          MARAM aims to establish a system-wide shared understanding of what family violence is, and how to respond to it. By improving knowledge across all services of how family violence can impact people from different backgrounds and at different stages of life we can ensure that people get the help they need.

          There is no one experience of family violence. MARAM recognises that each person's experience of family violence is shaped and influenced by multiple factors that may require specialised responses.

          MARAM provides guidance on how to work with different groups of people and communities such as Aboriginal and culturally, linguistically and faith diverse communities; children, young people and older people; people with disabilities and LGBTIQ+ people, so that we understand how family violence affects them and how services might need to be tailored.

          Understanding MARAM and information sharing

          MARAM
          • provides a comprehensive definition of family violence and supports workers to identify and assess family violence risk
          • applies to a prescribed list of organisations and workforces across the services system including specialist family violence services, child protection, maternal child health nurses, courts and Victoria Police
          • sets out the responsibilities of these workforces when they come into contact with individuals and families experiencing family violence
          FVISS
          • enables risk relevant information about victim survivors, perpetrators, alleged perpetrators and other people involved in family violence to be collected, used and shared between authorised workforces
          CISS
          • allows for broadly the same set of prescribed services and organisations to share information to promote the wellbeing or safety of children

          This video highlights the reasons for the three schemes and how together they will benefit the wider service system and the lives of Victorians.

          Helping end family violence - the Information Sharing Schemes and MARAM

          Supporting organisations to implement the schemes

          Relevant organisations are required to change how they work and make sure their policies and procedures align with MARAM, and comply with the requirements of FVISS and CISS.

          Tools, practice guides, training and grants are being provided to organisations and staff to support change management and help them implement the schemes.

          MARAM promotes collaboration between workforces who deal with family violence, through a shared understanding of family violence and supported by effective sharing of information between government and non-government organisations and agencies that intersect with family violence.

          MARAM and the information schemes have been developed to be adaptable, as we learn more through research and evaluation or as circumstances change. For example, additional material has been prepared for workers and organisations in response to changed conditions under coronavirus (COVID-19).

          In recognition of the size of the workforces, implementation is being rolled out in a way which recognises it will take time for organisations to change and for sufficient workers to be trained and use MARAM.

          It is a big task but each step counts. As each new health, community services, justice and education worker is trained and puts the training into practice, we are building a system or ‘web’ across the community with workers who can recognise family violence and offer help.

          During consultation, a family violence sector worker shared what MARAM and information sharing is – and what it does:

          MARAM gives us the tools to identify, assess and manage family violence risk. FVISS is the mechanism to share relevant family violence risk information. Training tells us what is relevant risk information. If the scheme is working well, there's little risk of important information not being shared.

          Engage Victoria survey stakeholder response
          August 2020

          Children and young people under MARAM

          MARAM recognises children and young people as victim survivors of family violence in their own right.

          It is a core principle of MARAM that children and young people who are victim survivors of family violence have a voice and should be heard. This recognises that children are present in one third of family violence incidents in Victoria.

          MARAM recognises risk factors caused by perpetrator’s behaviour which are specific to children. For example, perpetrators often engage in behaviours that damage the relationship between a mother and her child or children.

          Tactics that undermine confidence in parenting and undermine the child-parent relationship can have long-term effects on the psychological, developmental and emotional wellbeing of the children.

          This video explains how the MARAM Framework has been developed to consider the needs of children and young people as victim survivors.

          Children and young people under MARAM

          Progress since 2016

          The key MARAM and information sharing activities which have been delivered since the Royal Commission are grouped here into four areas.

          1. We’ve developed a structure that includes new family violence risk assessment and management responsibilities across the service system. Key actions have been:

            • amendment to the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 to require relevant organisations to align with MARAM and participate in the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme
            • the development of new resources, tools and practice guidance for organisations to help embed the new risk assessment and management responsibilities into their operations

            Central Information Point

            We have established the Central Information Point (CIP), bringing together critical information about perpetrators from Victoria Police, the Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts, Corrections Victoria and Child Protection.

            The CIP is one of the key recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

            The information gathered is provided in a single report to professionals, supporting informed and timely risk assessment and safety planning, keeping perpetrators in view and accountable.

            The CIP is operating in The Orange Door network.

            CIP reports are used to:

            • assess and manage the risk of a person who uses family violence
            • help services keep the person in view and hold them accountable
            • keep people safe

            CASE STUDY - Family violence sector worker

            The victim survivor told me a few things that raised some flags for me and so I requested a CIP report. It was unbelievable what came back. Not only did he have a whole lot of prior offending, 5 years back Child Protection had made a case note when one of his kids from a previous relationship described a family violence incident. Charges were never laid. But it was enough for us to know that he could be extremely dangerous – her life could be in imminent risk.

          2. The first phase of MARAM and information sharing was launched in September 2018 across 850 Victorian organisations and services including police, courts, family violence services, child protection, mental health and alcohol and drug services.

            To date more than 22,000 workers have been trained in MARAM and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme.

            We are embedding MARAM and information sharing across the system through funding specialised change management positions in relevant sectors, including:

            • Department of Health and Human Services
            • Department of Justice and Community Safety
            • Department of Education and Training
            • Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and Children’s Court of Victoria to embed MARAM in relevant jurisdictions

            The MARAM Organisational Embedding Guide was released in 2020 to support organisational leaders to align to MARAM. The guide includes specific key actions and activities to help leaders determine responsibilities for staff across their organisation.

            A range of peak bodies and other entities have received funding to embed MARAM and information sharing through the MARAM Sector Grants program.

            Victoria Police’s family violence response model is underpinned by a new risk assessment and management tool that reflects the evidence-based family violence risk factors within the MARAM Framework.

            MARAM screening and risk assessment questions have been embedded into hospitals and health services data systems, noting hospitals will be prescribed in Phase Two of MARAM.

            CASE STUDY - Magistrates Court

            A court registrar referred a woman from a culturally and linguistically diverse background who presented as anxious to a Court Network volunteer for emotional support in a police-initiated family violence matter being heard at the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.

            The volunteer was able to facilitate access to a quiet room to talk to the women about her immediate concerns and complete a screening and identification MARAM assessment via an interpreter that indicated that family violence was occurring, and that an immediate response was required.

            The volunteer facilitated a referral to a legal service and specialist family violence service that supported her to access high security refuge.

          3. Delivery of MARAM and information sharing training moved online because of COVID-19 and social restrictions. This has enabled us to increase training availability across the workforce and has made training accessible to more workers, especially in regional and rural areas.

            Online MARAM training is tailored to different workers:

            • MARAM Comprehensive for new workers in the specialist family violence sector
            • MARAM Renewing Practice for existing specialist family violence workers who have previously completed the Common Risk Assessment Framework level 3 training and need to know what has changed
            • MARAM Leading Alignment for organisational leaders across all organisations under Phase One
            • MARAM Collaborative Practice for professionals from any workforce wanting to understand the foundational aspects of MARAM and how to collaborate to manage risk

            While information sharing training has been available online in some form since 2018, the movement to wide-scale online MARAM training has maintained momentum during COVID-19.

            Broadening access to online MARAM training will help with the rollout of the second phase of MARAM by providing more opportunities for workers from a range of different sectors to attend training.

            The VET unit targets workers in universal services to be prescribed under Phase Two of the reforms

            Activities
            An accredited Vocational Education and Training (VET) unit of competency in identifying and responding to family violence has been developed and commenced in July 2020 July 2020 FSV
          4. Through regular evaluation of MARAM, we are building a valuable evidence base which will help us as we continue to implement MARAM. These evaluations include:

            • implementation has been broadly effective, particularly around the evidence of increased sharing of perpetrator information
            • lessons have been learnt that can be used to improve implementation of Phase Two, such as continued investment in change management and tailored workforce training

            The first MARAM annual report (2018-19) on implementation of the framework was tabled in Parliament by the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence February 2020
            A review of the first two years of MARAM implementation found that more tailored sector-specific guidance would help organisations to understand what MARAM means for their organisation and where they fit into the overall risk assessment and management system

            Accountability and monitoring of how organisations implement MARAM needs to be included at each level of governance of the family violence system
            June 2020

            The legislated 2-year review of the FVISS made 22 recommendations. It found:

            • implementation has been broadly effective, particularly around the evidence of increased sharing of perpetrator information
            • lessons have been learnt that can be used to improve implementation of Phase Two, such as continued investment in change management and tailored workforce training
            August 2020

          Delivery to 2023

          This overview of our planned MARAM and information sharing activities to 2023 is grouped into five areas:

          1. The second phase of MARAM and information sharing will start rolling out on 19 April 2021, expanding to include a further 5,800 organisations which cover 370,000 professionals.

            This means workers in primary and secondary schools, community-managed mental health and housing services, public health services and hospitals, refugee and migrant services and state-funded aged care services will use MARAM as part of their work.

            Preparatory work, including sector consultation, began in early 2020.

            Phase Two is targeted at those organisations that do not directly deal with family violence but may encounter it and need to know how to respond and refer victim survivors and perpetrators to appropriate specialist services.

          2. We are working with peak bodies and other stakeholders to ensure organisations understand what MARAM means for them and how they can work across the social services system to consistently manage risk. Initiatives include:

            • the annual Sector Grants program started in 2019 which provides support to services prescribed under MARAM
            • a maturity model which will support services to align over time with MARAM and provide a way to measure and track progress
            • continuing to deliver tools and practice guidance to support workforces to understand, apply and standardise MARAM

            Other key actions: 

            Activities
            Adolescent focused MARAM practice guides for release Early 2021 FSV
            MARAM annual reports tabled in Parliament Commencing 2021 FSV
          3. A sustainable approach to workforce development underpins the success of MARAM implementation.

            Future MARAM training strategies will:

            • allow larger numbers of workers to access quality training
            • ensure the availability of accredited training options appropriate for all workforces
            • maximise use of online and hybrid (online plus in-person) training models
            • create a centralised bank of quality and tailored training resources
            • explore avenues to embed MARAM training in pre-service qualifications

            This approach will provide consistency of training quality and clarity for workers and organisations to understand their obligations under MARAM. Both are areas of concern raised during consultation.

            Activities
            We are introducing accredited MARAM training through the tertiary education system

            Providers will be encouraged to offer delivery models which recognise the training needs of different workforces

            • Course commences in Identifying and responding to family violence (August 2020)
            • All accredited courses being delivered cover all levels of MARAM responsibility from identifying and responding through to comprehensive risk assessment and management (2021)
            2021 FSV
          4. Practice guidance helps organisations embed the new risk assessment and management responsibilities into their operations.

            Tailored guidance for professionals engaging with perpetrators will ensure a common understanding of perpetrator presentations and an awareness of the risks that perpetrators pose to victim survivors.

            Specific practice guidance for working with people who use violence has been in development through 2020 to embed a focus on perpetrators in family violence risk management.

            The guidance will further support practitioners:

            • in homelessness, mental health, and alcohol and drugs services
            • services specialising in working with perpetrators, such as men's behaviour change programs

            Activities
            Release of MARAM practice guides focused on how to respond to perpetrators of family violence (for practitioners outside specialist family violence perpetrator services) Late 2020 FSV
            Release of MARAM practice guides focused on how to respond to perpetrators of family violence (for specialist services) Early 2021 FSV
          5. Continuing evaluations are important to drive effective collection of data and to know where we need to focus improvement. The information gathered from reviews and evaluations will inform future MARAM implementation and delivery.

            Activities
            MARAM and FVISS 5-year review commences

            CIP 5-year review commences
            Early 2022 FSV
            MARAM and FVISS 5-year review scheduled for tabling in Parliament

            CIP 5-year review scheduled for tabling in Parliament
            August 2023 FSV

          Connecting MARAM and information sharing across the reform

          The ongoing delivery of connected reform activity is contributing to growing the reach and strength of our risk assessment and management and information sharing. For example:

          • workforce capability and capacity-building is aligned to the implementation of MARAM
          • competency in applying MARAM and information sharing policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools is a key deliverable in the industry plan for workforce development
          • when fully implemented our risk assessment and management frameworks will support collaboration and consistency across the specialist family violence workforce and the workforces that intersect - in community services, health, justice and education
          • the reforms improve shared understanding of the structural inequalities and barriers experienced by Aboriginal and diverse communities and at-risk age groups

          This connected delivery will continue to contribute to better outcomes for victim survivors.

          Reform-wide priorities

          Activities to delivered MARAM and information sharing are informed by our reform-wide priorities of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience.

          Intersectionality

          Intersectionality is embedded as a core principle of MARAM. It recognises that social categorisations – such as gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, language, religion, class, socioeconomic status, gender identity, ability or age – can intersect in a way which compounds discrimination or disadvantage for either an individual or group.

          Under MARAM:

          • Family violence practitioners consider intersectionality as one of four key components of their structured professional judgement.
          • Guidance on reflective practice and unconscious bias are included in the MARAM Foundation Knowledge Guide.
          • The Intersectionality Capacity Building Project is developing specific tools to apply an intersectional lens in all family violence practice, building on MARAM Practice Guides.

          Intersectionality Overview

          Aboriginal self-determination

          We acknowledge the ongoing leadership role of Aboriginal communities in addressing and preventing family violence, and will continue to work in collaboration with Aboriginal Victorians to eliminate family violence from all communities.

          MARAM recognises:

          • broader Aboriginal definitions of family violence, including community violence
          • the need to reduce the disproportionate impact of family violence on Aboriginal people, particularly women and children
          • the need to continue to develop our evidence base to ensure effective and targeted responses for priority communities

          Aboriginal engagement in developing and implementing the MARAM Framework

          A range of Aboriginal stakeholders were consulted during the development of the MARAM Framework, including the risk assessment tools, practice guidance and training.

          In addition to attendance at the Aboriginal Co-Design Forum and Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum, representatives of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations were engaged directly on specific products.

          The MARAMIS Expert Advisory Group includes Aboriginal community sector membership.

          A range of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations have been funded to lead implementation of MARAM and information sharing schemes within Aboriginal-specific services; a working group composed of these organisations provides ongoing input and advice on reform implementation and design.

          Delivery of MARAM with Victoria's Aboriginal communities

          Some examples within MARAM of improvements to service delivery for Aboriginal peoples and communities include:

          • MARAM assessment tools
            • include specific questions for people who identify as Aboriginal, which aims to improve the quality of risk assessment and safety planning for Aboriginal people
          • Cultural safety as a MARAM principle
            • Principle 7 of MARAM emphasises that services and responses provided to people from Aboriginal communities should be culturally responsive and safe
            • the principle recognises Aboriginal understanding of family violence and rights to self-determination and self-management
            • it takes account of their experiences of colonisation, systemic violence and discrimination and recognises the ongoing and present day impacts of historical events, policies and practices
            • the principle applies to improving the cultural capability of mainstream services as well as supporting Aboriginal people to access Aboriginal community controlled services where they choose to
          • MARAM Practice Guides
            • include specific guidance on risk management for Aboriginal people, including asking whether people wish to be referred to an Aboriginal-specific service
          • The Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS)
            • FVISS Ministerial Guidelines include specific guidance on sharing information about Aboriginal people
            • MARAM/FVISS implementation for Aboriginal services and communities is driven by the Dhelk Dja Aboriginal Family Violence Agreement

          Aboriginal Self-Determination Overview

          Lived experience

          The Victim Survivors' Advisory Council was consulted during development of the MARAM Practice Guides.

          Victim survivor self-assessment of risk is the first consideration in the MARAM structured professional judgement model.

          Lived Experience Overview

          Measuring outcomes

          Family Violence Outcomes Framework

          Delivering the activities for this priority area will likely have the greatest impact in achieving outcomes against the following domains:

          Domains 2, 3 and 4

          Domain 2, Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive. Domain 3, Perpetrators are held accountable, connected and take responsibility for stopping their violence. Domain 4, Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.
          Domains 2, 3 and 4
          Download Domains 2, 3 and 4

          Royal Commission recommendations

          The Victorian Government has committed to implement all 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

          Of the recommendations still in progress, three relate to MARAM and information sharing.


          Perpetrators and people who use violence

          Developing a system-wide approach to keeping perpetrators accountable, connected and responsible for stopping their violence

          Building momentum

          To make a real and tangible difference to the safety and wellbeing of victim survivors, the many agencies and services that interact with perpetrators need to work together as part of an integrated system with a shared understanding of purpose.

          Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions, 2018

          Every time a person who uses violence interacts with the service system, there is an opportunity to affect behaviour change and intervene.

          Behaviour change is more likely to happen when the government, the broader service system, community and society are working together to prevent violence happening and intervene early when it does. This creates a web of accountability that:

          • centres on victim survivors and keeps women and children safe
          • stops perpetrators from committing further violence
          • holds them to account
          • keeps them in view
          • supports them to change their behaviour and attitudes

          ...to increase the accountability of family violence perpetrators (we) must shift the burden away from victim survivors who have had to bear responsibility for action for far too long...

          Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions, 2018

          Web of accountability

          The web of accountability includes the people, groups and services that must deliver mutually reinforcing messages & responses to achieve perpetrator accountability and keep victim survivors safe.
          Web of accountability

          The web of accountability includes the people, groups and services that must deliver mutually reinforcing messages & responses to achieve perpetrator accountability and keep victim survivors safe. The web includes three groups around the perpetrator:

          1. workforces providing a specialist response, core support or intervention (e.g. perpetrator interventions)
          2. workforces with opportunities to identify, respond & refer perpetrators (e.g. mental health services)
          3. community (e.g. sport clubs)
          Download Web of accountability

          While much of the family violence system has a long-standing role of keeping perpetrators in view, fully establishing an effective web of accountability will take time. It requires continuing cultural change across the whole service system, to tilt the focus of reform to the perpetrator.

          This ongoing shift will increasingly be reflected in our approach to reform delivery in areas such as:  

          • The Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) and information sharing
          • The Orange Door network
          • Victoria Police operational reforms
          • Justice and community-based perpetrator programs
          • Dhelk Dja initiatives focused on people who use violence
          • Central Information Point
          • Specialist Family Violence Courts

          Acknowledging Aboriginal terminology

          ‘People who use violence’ is the preferred term used by some Aboriginal people and communities, recognising that the term ‘perpetrator’ can create a barrier to engagement with people who use violence.

          Aboriginal-led prevention and response work with people who use violence is guided by frameworks such as ‘Nargneit Birrang’, the Aboriginal holistic healing framework for family violence. These approaches acknowledge the impact of intergenerational trauma, colonisation and racism, and the need for healing to be incorporated into behaviour change programs.

          In this video, Uncle talks about ways that people who are angry and frustrated can calm down when they feel overwhelmed: how to manage the build-up of tension and to think differently about triggers. Uncle also suggests ways that family members can help others to avoid explosive conflict.

          Courtesy of East Gippsland Dhelk Dja Action Group

          Adolescents who use violence

          Adolescent family violence is a distinct and complex form of family violence requiring a differentiated, whole of family response that is developed and trauma informed.

          Information about how the family violence reform is responding to the needs of adolescents who use family violence, is discussed in the Children and Young People page of the Rolling Action Plan.

          Adolescents who use violence

          Primary prevention of family violence

          While perpetrator accountability is critically important, we know that efforts to stop violence before it starts is equally important. Primary prevention aims to stop violence by addressing the underlying drivers.

          Primary Prevention

          Progress since 2016

          We have strengthened and broadened the intervention system, by working together with agencies and services that interact with perpetrators and people who use violence.

          Developing a new approach to perpetrators

          In 2016, the Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions (EACPI) was established in response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence. The EACPI was asked to consider how to increase the accountability of perpetrators and shift the burden away from victim survivors.

          EACPI’s final report and recommendations are informing our whole-of-system approach to perpetrator accountability.

          The key activities for perpetrators and people who use violence which have been delivered since the Royal Commission are grouped here into five areas.

          1. Victoria Police plays a critical role in responding to family violence and has introduced initiatives to better equip the workforce to manage risk. This includes:

            • enhanced risk assessment and management processes
            • a specialist investigative response, including 31 Family Violence Investigation Units across the state to work with high risk family violence cases and improve the safety of victim survivors
            • ongoing training, including delivering a purpose-built Family Violence Centre of Learning

            The Family Violence Protection Act (Vic) 2008 has been amended to better hold perpetrators to account by significantly improving the system of Family Violence Safety Notices (FVSN) and Family Violence Intervention Orders (FVIO), and the response of the justice system to family violence more broadly to maximise the safety of victim survivors of family violence, including children.

            The Court Mandated Counselling Order Program is an important mechanism for holding perpetrators to account. It provides more opportunities for group programs and more individual supports to address barriers to behaviour change.

          2. There are a range of justice and community-based programs and activities that strengthen and broaden the intervention system.

            Men’s behaviour change programs provide a forum for men to explore and challenge their beliefs, with the intent to initiate a change in behaviour and focus on making them accountable for their violence toward family members

            In recognition that 'one-size-fits-all' men’s behaviour change programs are not effective for all perpetrators, Family Safety Victoria, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice and Community Safety and Court Services Victoria commissioned trial interventions.

            The trials targeted specific cohorts including:

            • fathers
            • people with Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) issues
            • people who use violence in Aboriginal communities
            • women who use force
            • people from culturally diverse communities
            • LGBTIQ+ people
            • people with a cognitive impairment

            These trials have been extended, and evaluation will assist us to develop and build programs that are most effective for perpetrators. For example, the 2020/21 State Budget committed $6.1 million over four years to continue the Caring Dads program.

            The delivery of community-based perpetrator interventions in Victoria has expanded in recent years, beyond the provision of men’s behaviour change programs to include case management and targeted services for specific cohorts.

            Other programs and initiatives that hold perpetrators accountable include:

            • The continuation of expanded case management services for people who use violence with multiple and complex needs, including brokerage to provide practical supports that increase victim survivor safety ($4.6 million over four years has been committed in the 2020/21 State Budget to continue case management brokerage).
            • Expansion of the Aboriginal men’s crisis service run by Dardi Munwurro. This service is jointly funded by Family Safety Victoria and the Department of Justice and Community Safety.
            • The Brother to Brother hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and assists Aboriginal men who are struggling with relationships, family violence, and drug and alcohol issues.
            • The Dardi Munwurro’s Ngarra Jarranounith Place program is a 16-week residential healing and men’s behaviour change program for Aboriginal men.
          3. Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS)

            Sharing information is critically important in effective risk assessment for victim survivors.

            The FVISS is pivoting information sharing to the risk the perpetrator holds.

            Under the FVISS, the most commonly shared information by Victoria Police are Family Violence Safety Notices and Intervention Orders, family violence history and criminal history.

            This is improving the ability across multiple workforces (including Child Protection and The Orange Door network practitioners) to access critical information to inform risk assessment.

            Central Information Point (CIP)

            The CIP consolidates critical information about a perpetrator of family violence into a single report and provides a comprehensive view of perpetrator risk allowing for targeted safety planning.

            The CIP is currently accessible to practitioners in The Orange Door network and its information helps practitioners to keep perpetrators in view, understand their risk of using violence, and engage them safely and appropriately.

            Risk Assessment and Management Panels (RAMPs)

            RAMPs improve the safety of victim survivors who are experiencing the most serious and imminent threat from family violence.

            They bring together representatives from key agencies and organisations every month to facilitate the safety of victim survivors, and focus on perpetrators to prevent them from perpetrating harm and hold them accountable for their actions.

          4. The Orange Door network

            • The Orange Door network brings together practitioners from family violence (victim survivor and perpetrator) services and child and family services, to undertake risk and needs assessment and intervention planning that takes a whole of family approach.
            • This supports the coordination of responses that helps to keep victim survivors safe, whilst working with the broader service system to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions and connect them to services that aim to change their behaviour.

            Family Violence Jobs Portal

            • Family Safety Victoria has worked in close partnership with sector partners to develop an attraction and recruitment campaign to help grow the family violence workforce.
            • Launched in May 2020, the campaign promotes awareness of the sector and its values, the types of jobs that currently exist (including working with Aboriginal communities) and provides links to a dedicated recruitment website.
            • Roles in perpetrator services and working with people who use violence (including intake and assessment, case management, behaviour change and family safety contact) are included in this campaign.

            Case Study - Perpetrator Services policy officer

            Family Violence Jobs Portal

          5. The necessary restrictions associated with the pandemic impacted the delivery of perpetrator programs and services, including men’s behaviour change program group work and face to face services.

            In August 2020, the Victorian Government announced a package of more than $20 million to support the delivery of a range of family violence initiatives, that will strengthen perpetrator accountability and victim survivor safety and wellbeing.

            Accommodation and support

            • The COVID-19 package included funding for the Men’s Referral Service, provided by No To Violence, to deliver the Perpetrator Accommodation and Support Service.
            • The service enables perpetrators or people who believe they are at risk of using violence to access short or longer-term accommodation, and support to change their behaviour.

            Perpetrator interventions

            • Funding has also supported men’s behaviour change programs and other perpetrator interventions, to deliver safe and effective perpetrator services during COVID-19.
            • This includes case management to deliver a combination of small group work and one-on-one interventions by video or telephone.

            Learnings from evaluations of these innovations will inform the future delivery of services for perpetrators and people who use violence.   

            Workforce

            • Community Correctional Services (CCS) in Corrections Victoria designed, developed and implemented a half-day workshop titled ‘Managing perpetrators of family violence (COVID-19)'.
            • The workshop provides CCS staff training to support their engagement with perpetrators via remote service delivery with the overarching aim of promoting the safety of victim survivors.
            • As of 16 October 2020, more than 500 CCS and Corrections Victoria staff have participated in a workshop.

            Primary Prevention

            • Respect Each Other: ‘Call It Out’ was launched in May 2020 in response to the increased pressure on families and indications of increasing emergency call outs related to incidences of family violence during COVID-19 related restrictions.
            • The campaign and related work supports neighbours, communities, family members, housemates and friends to safely and constructively ‘call out’ violence as active bystanders when safe to do so.
            • It provides clear advice on where and how to access help, highlight the behaviour of perpetrators and encourage those who may be at risk of using violence to seek help.

          Delivery to 2023

          We will work with our sector partners, to draw on the experiences of perpetrators and people who use violence, to progress these reform activities.

          Responding to the vision and intent of the Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions (EACPI), activities are grouped under three themes for this work program over the next three years:

          • Enhanced service responses
          • Cultural safety and inclusion
          • Enablers

          Our program reflects both perpetrator-specific activity and broader actions across the reform that supports the aims of this priority.

          1  Enhanced service responses

          • The service system will continue to be supported to respond, recover and learn from the impacts of the pandemic on the delivery of family violence services for perpetrators and people who use violence.

            The future delivery of perpetrator programs and initiatives will be strengthened by the adapted service delivery models and practice approaches implemented in response to COVID-19.

            Activities
            Identify learnings about service adaptations made in response to COVID-19, including through the Department of Health and Human Services rapid review of perpetrator interventions during COVID-19, to inform future service delivery approaches 2020-2021 FSV
            Support victim survivors to access justice and keep perpetrators in view during COVID-19, through operation of the Online Magistrates’ Court which hears family violence matters 2020-2021 CSV
            Identify learnings and opportunities from implementation of initiatives that support perpetrators and people who use violence to access crisis accommodation and short-term interventions 2020-2021 FSV
            Addressing the men’s behaviour change backlog in Community Corrections through a combination of men's behaviour change programs and one-on-one case management 2020-2021 DJCS
            Continue to deliver Operation Ribbon during the response to COVID-19 and the use of Specialist Family Violence Investigation Units to proactively monitor perpetrators associated with the highest risk victim survivors 2020-2023 Victoria Police
          • The justice system will intervene earlier to prevent an escalation in risk and help prevent further violence from occurring.

            We will strengthen our legal response to hold perpetrators and people who use violence to account for their behaviour.

            Activities
            Consider options to address perpetrators’ use of coercive control 2020-2021 DJCS
            FSV
            The court will establish Specialist Family Violence Courts at four further locations, Heidelberg, Frankston, Bendigo and Wyndham

            The Specialist Family Violence Court at Wyndham is part of a new investment in Law Courts for Wyndham announced in the 2020/21 State Budget

            2021 (Heidelberg and Frankston)

            2023 (Bendigo)

            TBC (Wyndham)

            CSV
            Consolidate the use of the redeveloped Courts Mandated Counselling Order Program across the courts, including Specialist Family Violence Courts 2020-2021 CSV
            Evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of the Koori Family Violence and Intervention Order Breaches pilot in Mildura 2020-2021 CSV
            Consider whether family violence should be incorporated as a sentencing factor in the Sentencing Act 1991 2020-2021 DJCS
            Expand ‘Tuning into Respectful Relationships’, a culturally inclusive program suitable for remand and short sentence prisoners, to seven additional prisons 2020-2022 DJCS
            Explore options for earlier access to therapeutic programs for justice clients, including culturally appropriate programs for Aboriginal people and people from culturally diverse backgrounds 2020-2022 DJCS
            Strengthen responses to perpetrators who commit multiple intervention order breaches 2020-2022 DJCS
            CSV
            Review and expand justice interventions for perpetrators of family violence, for whom a justice response is the only appropriate mechanism for managing risk 2020-2022 DJCS
            Ensure family violence offences are appropriately flagged on offenders’ criminal records and relevant IT systems 2020-2022 DJCS
          • We will deliver a suite of consistently delivered, evidence-based interventions to provide timely, accessible, culturally appropriate, holistic and flexible responses for perpetrators. Targeted programs with a more intensive duration and specialised approach will be available for specific cohorts.

            Activities
            Develop a theory of change and monitoring and evaluation framework for perpetrator interventions, aligned to the Family Violence Outcomes Framework and the Dhelk Dja Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability Plan 2020-2021 FSV
            Explore longer-term accommodation models for perpetrators and people who use violence, to keep them engaged and in view of the system, and support victim survivors to remain safely in their own homes and communities 2020-2021 FSV
            Explore and implement, where appropriate, peer facilitation models for perpetrator interventions

            These models involve people who have completed a program being trained in delivering the program and can be an effective way of encouraging behaviour change, as participants relate to the lived experience of the facilitator

            These models can also provide employment opportunities for disadvantaged people and communities

            2020-2021 DJCS FSV
            Trial and evaluate a new perpetrator intervention program that addresses the complex interplay between family violence, alcohol and other drugs and/or mental health issues

            The program will enable greater opportunity to tailor responses through integrated case management and counselling services for eligible court-mandated clients

            2020-2022 CSV
            Apply lessons from the evaluations of cohort-specific interventions and the broader evidence base, to inform ongoing improvement and future design and delivery of interventions for perpetrators and people who use violence

            This includes people with multiple and complex needs, Aboriginal communities, people from culturally diverse communities and people who are LGBTIQ+

            2022-2023 FSV
            Continue Common Clients reform work

            This reform recognises that many perpetrators of family violence may interact with multiple services across mental health, drug and alcohol, child protection and the criminal justice system

            It involves greater integration of these services to ensure that people with multiple and complex needs are supported in a more holistic way to avoid duplication of service delivery and ensure that the breadth of a person’s needs are met

            2020-2023 DJCS
            DHHS

          2  Cultural safety and inclusion

          • The Royal Commission into Family Violence recognised the disproportionate impact of family violence on Aboriginal people and communities, especially women and children (by both non-Aboriginal men and Aboriginal people), and the significant barriers Aboriginal people who experience or use violence face in accessing culturally safe and responsive services.

            Aboriginal Victorians who use family violence will have access to services they consider to be safe, culturally appropriate and responsive. A culturally safe understanding of violence acknowledges Aboriginal communities’ experience of the devastating impacts and accumulation of trauma across generations as a result of colonisation, genocide, the violent dispossession of land, the displacement of men from their traditional roles, and the assimilation policy that resulted in the removal of children and subsequent transgenerational trauma.

            Relationships between Aboriginal and mainstream organisations will be strengthened, with recognition of the role played by Aboriginal organisations in providing secondary consultations and culturally appropriate supports.

            The vision and guiding principles of the Dhelk Dja Agreement and the Nargneit Birrang integrated principles for Aboriginal holistic healing will guide the work to strengthen Aboriginal cultural safety across Aboriginal and mainstream services. Implementing these agreements will support Aboriginal people who use violence to take control of their journey towards healing and accountability.

            Activities
            Work with community to consider ways to document whole-of-family practice in working with people who use violence and develop holistic healing practice guidance and training for mainstream service providers, in line with Nargneit Birrang 2020-2022 FSV
            Deliver the Koori Cultural Safety Initiative, in collaboration with an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation, to support mainstream men’s behaviour change program providers to deliver culturally safe and appropriate programs to court-ordered Aboriginal people who use violence 2020-2021 CSV
            Revise and expand Koori Family Violence Police Protocols to provide statewide coverage 2020-2022 Victoria Police
          • Mainstream and cohort-specific services will apply an intersectional lens to perpetrator interventions. They will be supported with appropriate practice guidance. 

            Activities
            As part of risk management practice improvement, implement the perpetrator-focused MARAM practice guides for those who work with people who use violence

            These guidelines support an intersectional, trauma-informed approach that responds to circumstances and needs to stabilise and increase motivation of perpetrators, building their capacity and readiness to change

            2020-2022 FSV
            Implement the Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement by developing the associated Inclusion and Equity blueprints, which will include perpetrator intervention activities 2020-2022 FSV
            Continue the Intersectionality Capability Building Project and the development of resources that support workforces to embed the intersectionality framework, ensuring that resources are applicable and appropriate to perpetrator responses 2020-2022 FSV

          3  Enablers

          • As we improve the collection, quality, use and analysis of data about perpetrators, we will strengthen our understanding about demand, perpetrator characteristics and service use. This will help us improve design and delivery of frontline services for perpetrators and people who use violence. 

            Through the refreshed perpetrator domain of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework, we will measure and monitor the impact of perpetrator interventions and the perpetrator accountability system.

            Activities
            Develop outcome measures for the refreshed ‘perpetrator domain’ of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework 2020-2021 FSV
            Develop and implement the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Data Dictionary to establish data standards and improve data quality, including for key cohorts and diverse communities 2020-2021 FSV
            Deliver a meta-evaluation for perpetrator interventions 2020-2021 DJCS
            Build our understanding about perpetrator characteristics and service use by analysing existing data sources, and broadening the analysis with additional data sources, via the Family Violence Perpetrator Data Linkage Partnership Project 2020-2022 DPC
            CSA
            Develop and implement client outcomes measurement and monitoring for perpetrator interventions 2020-2022 FSV
            Continue to strengthen and mature the collection and analysis of client and service use data, including waiting list data 2020-2023 FSV
          • These activities will contribute to achieving the vision set out in Building from Strength: 10-Year Industry Plan for Family Violence Prevention and Response.

            We will continue to build a skilled, culturally responsive and qualified workforce who actively contribute to an effective and cohesive web of accountability.

            Activities
            Finalise and release the perpetrator focused MARAM practice guides, tools and training

            These resources will include a focus on:

            • trauma-informed practice
            • working with fathers
            • supporting culturally safe engagement 
            • risk factors and events that relate to a change or escalation in risk and situation and time-based actions required in response
            • system-level protocols that reinforce the MARAM principles and pillars, and support practitioners to understand their MARAM responsibilities and what these mean for their day-to-day practice
            2020-2021 FSV

            Continued rollout of the attraction and recruitment campaign for specialist family violence and primary prevention roles, including professionals who work with perpetrators

            This will include tailored messages and materials to attract students and graduates, people from Aboriginal, culturally diverse, LGBTIQ+ and rural and regional communities and people with disabilities

            2020-2021 FSV
            Align policies, practice, job descriptions, minimum standards and guidelines for perpetrator interventions with perpetrator-focused MARAM practice guidance 2020-2022 FSV
            Develop and deliver accredited and non-accredited family violence prevention and response training to support the alignment of MARAM 2020-2022 DET
            FSV
            Implement mandatory minimum qualifications for specialist family violence practitioners, including men’s services (other than men’s behaviour change programs), with development and delivery of a vocational education and training Graduate Certificate in Family Violence as a minimum qualification option that provides training for working in the men’s services sector 2020-2022 FSV
            Explore opportunities to strengthen practice leadership to foster consistency, integration and safety in the delivery of perpetrator interventions, and enhance workforce capability across the sector 2020-2022 FSV
          • Relevant risk information will be systematically shared, collated and used to inform the planning and sequencing of justice and community-based interventions for perpetrators and people who use violence.

            Phase Two of MARAM and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) equips more workforces with the right tools and information.

            There will be established processes to support information flow and action in response to known scenarios that increase risk and/or provide opportunities for engagement, including perpetrator disengagement from services and release from prison.

            Activities
            Perpetrator-focused MARAM practice guidance, tools and training to include time and situation-based actions required to respond to change/escalation in risk and opportunities to engage around behaviour change 2020-2021 FSV
            Identify barriers to risk coordination, local practices that are working well and opportunities to strengthen current approaches to improve perpetrator engagement and accountability 2020-2022 FSV
            Continue to embed the family violence and child information sharing and MARAM schemes, with a view to the rollout of Phase Two, to commence in April 2021 2020-2023 FSV

          Connecting perpetrators and people who use violence across the reform

          Activities in this priority area support, and are equally supported by, delivery more broadly across the family violence reform.

          Reform-wide priorities

          Activities to keep perpetrators accountable, connected and responsible for stopping their violence are informed by our reform-wide priorities of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience.

          Intersectionality

          The strategic priorities of the Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement are being progressively applied across perpetrator interventions.

          This will strengthen existing and emerging perpetrator interventions – in line with EACPI’s recommendations – so that they meet the needs of all perpetrators, including those from culturally diverse backgrounds, those with disabilities, and those from the LGBTIQ+ community. This aligns with EACPI’s findings that certain cohorts of perpetrators do not have access to appropriate services.

          The Family Violence Multi Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) and perpetrator-focused practice guides will address intersectionality and trauma-informed practice when responding to perpetrator risks and/or needs.

          We are building an evidence base from our trials of new interventions to help us design and deliver tailored services for people who use violence who:  

          • are fathers / parents
          • have alcohol and other substance abuse issues
          • have a mental illness
          • have cognitive impairment
          • are women who use force

          We are also building an evidence base from our trials of new interventions to help us design and deliver tailored services for people who use violence against:

          • Aboriginal people and communities
          • people from culturally diverse communities
          • people who are LGBTIQ+
          • older people
          • people with a cognitive impairment or disability

          Activities in this priority area which support delivery of the reform through an intersectional lens are reflected in the Progress since 2016 and Delivery to 2023 content on this page.

          inTouch

          inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence (inTouch) provide integrated, culturally responsive services to migrant and refugee communities.

          inTouch is funded to deliver the Motivation for Change program, which supports men from migrant and refugee communities who use violence towards family members. This program includes intensive group work and one-on-one case management support for participants to learn ways to relate to people without using violence.


          Intersectionality Overview

          Aboriginal self-determination

          We will continue to support advancement of self-determination through partnerships with Aboriginal organisations and community in accordance with the vision and guiding principles of the Dhelk Dja Agreement and Nargneit Birrang.

          Dhelk Dja is the only enduring Aboriginal-led strategy to address family violence in the country and consultations like this give Aboriginal People voice...

          Dhelk Dja workshop participant, Rolling Action Plan consultation
          August 2020

          Activities relating to people who use violence and which support Aboriginal self-determination are reflected in the Progress since 2016 content and in the actions set out in Delivery to 2023 on this page

          Aboriginal Self-Determination Overview

          Lived experience

          Strategic engagement is being strengthened at Family Safety Victoria to ensure the voices of lived experience and their experience of the service system are reflected in policy development and service design, including in the design and delivery of perpetrator programs and interventions.

          The Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council is supporting development of the perpetrator work program, including the development of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework and theory of change for perpetrator accountability. ​ 

          The Orange Door network statewide concept and service model has been designed using input from people with lived experience, including perpetrators and people who have used violence and have accessed behaviour change programs.

          A data collection process to better understand and measure peoples’ experience has been introduced to collect feedback from all clients, including people who have used violence, to understand their experience of The Orange Door network.

          Lived Experience Overview

          Measuring outcomes

          Family Violence Outcomes Framework

          The perpetrator domain of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework has been refreshed in 2020, to include a more holistic approach to perpetrator accountability and greater scope for therapeutic and non-punitive responses to perpetrators and people who use violence.

          Delivering the activities for this priority area will likely have the greatest impact in achieving outcomes against the following domains:

          Domains 2, 3 and 4

          Domain 2, Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive. Domain 3, Perpetrators are held accountable, connected and take responsibility for stopping their violence. Domain 4, Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.
          Domains 2, 3 and 4
          Download Domains 2, 3 and 4

          Royal Commission recommendations 

          The Victorian Government has committed to implement all 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

          Of the recommendations still in progress, six relate to perpetrators and people who use violence.    


          Primary Prevention

          Changing community attitudes and behaviours to help stop family violence before it starts

          Building momentum

          It is more important to prevent a problem rather than spending a lot of money, time, lives lost [and] children’s lives destroyed in trying to correct the problem in the aftermath.

          Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council
          Rolling Action Plan workshop
          August 2020

          Primary prevention is a long-term agenda that aims to prevent violence from ever happening in the first place. Primary prevention works by identifying the deep underlying causes of violence – the social norms, structures and practices that influence individual attitudes and behaviours – and acting across the whole population to change these, not just the behaviour of perpetrators.

          Family violence and all forms of violence against women are driven by gender inequality and other forms of discrimination that give rise to power imbalances.

          We must call out and challenge bad attitudes towards women and behaviours, structures and systems to stop family violence before it starts.

          On average, one woman per week is killed in Australia by a current or former male partner.

          Everyone has a role to play, from grassroots community-based organisations to women’s health services, education providers, sporting associations, the arts, workplaces, all levels of government, local communities and individuals.

          In this phase of the reform we will integrate primary prevention more widely and broaden activities beyond the prevention sector for greater collective impact.

          Primary prevention and coronavirus (COVID-19)

          While the pandemic has affected all Victorians, it has disproportionately impacted women. The risk factors exacerbating family violence rose during the lockdown. As the economic impact deepens the longer-term effects of employment insecurity are expected to be hardest on women.

          International evidence shows that emergencies and crises, including the coronavirus pandemic exacerbate existing gender inequalities and other forms of discrimination and inequality.

          Primary prevention has been critical to the COVID-19 crisis response to ensure our messaging about behaviours that are unacceptable reaches the widest possible audience, and those at risk know where they can seek help.

          Primary prevention will be just as critical to our recovery. We will build prevention approaches into our recovery efforts.

          Primary prevention action starts with addressing the gendered drivers of violence against women and other forms of discrimination.

          We are doing this by using a range of approaches across multiple settings: policy, program, institutional and legislative responses are being delivered in the places where Victorians live, work, learn and meet.

          This video was released in March 2020 to coincide with the publication of our first annual report about delivery of our primary prevention strategy. In the video Gabrielle Williams, Minister for Family Violence, outlines what has been achieved - and where we are headed next.

          Free from Violence: Annual Report - Year One 2018-2019

          I’d like to see a new motto on Victorian number plates – 'Victoria, a state of respect' or 'I’m an active bystander' car plate, stickers. We need to embed the prevention messaging in our lives.

          Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council
          Rolling Action Plan workshop
          August 2020

          Building on the foundations

          • Free from Violence is Victoria’s strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women.

            The strategy responds to Royal Commission Recommendation 187 and sets out a 10-year plan, with a series of rolling action plans, to help break the cycle of family violence.

            Free from Violence

          • Respect Victoria was established in 2018 as an independent statutory authority and Australia’s first dedicated primary prevention agency, leading Victoria’s research, evaluation and behaviour change efforts.

          • The Gender Equality Act 2020 (the Act) comes into force in March 2021. The first legislation of its kind in Australia, it requires public sector agencies, as well as universities and local councils to measure, report on and progress gender equality in their organisations.

            • The Act establishes the Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner to oversee implementation.
            • Dr Niki Vincent was appointed Victoria’s first Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner in September 2020 for a four-year term.
            • Dr Vincent is the former Commissioner for Equal Opportunity in South Australia.
            • The Commissioner has monitoring and enforcement functions under the Act, as well as educative functions to support defined entities to comply with their obligations.

            The 2020/21 State Budget committed $7.8 million over four years to support the Office of the Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner and implement the Act.

          Approximately one in four women has experienced intimate partner violence compared to one in 13 men.

          Progress since 2016

          The Victorian Government has worked with community-based organisations to develop and embed a statewide primary prevention approach to family violence.

          The key primary prevention activities which have been delivered since the Royal Commission are grouped here into four areas.

          1  Delivering primary prevention initiatives

          • More than 1,500 Victorian schools have signed on to the whole school approach to Respectful Relationships:

            • includes more than three quarters of all government schools
            • creating a culture of gender equality and respect and changing the story of family violence for future generations

            The 2020/21 State Budget committed $37.5 million over four years to continue rollout of Respectful Relationships.

          • Leaders, experts and partners across the state have been supported to deliver primary prevention activities in:

            • all 79 local councils
            • 24 Aboriginal-led organisations
            • nine regional and three statewide Women’s Health Services
            • 21 community-led organisations
            • 65 culturally and linguistically diverse organisations and community groups
            • 10 Elder Abuse Prevention networks, involving health centres, legal services, councils and other organisations working with older people

            While still early days, this work is contributing to an increased awareness of family violence, including elder abuse, and is driving a positive cultural change within workplaces and communities.

          • Baby Makes 3 is a primary prevention program for new parents that promotes gender equitable, respectful relationships. The program has increased participants’ awareness of the gendered social expectations of parenthood and improved parents’ ability to discuss the changes that parenting has brought to their relationship.

            Tailored approaches have also been developed for Aboriginal, culturally and linguistically diverse and rainbow families. Rainbow families include parents, carers and prospective parents who identify as LGBTIQ+.

            Since 2016 the Victorian Government has provided funding for delivery of this program in:

            • 11 local government maternal and child health services
            • 9 antenatal services through childbirth and parenting education provided by hospitals
          • The messaging and advertising needs to be really strong and in every single place, so shame and avoidance is not possible, just as COVID-19 messaging is everywhere.

            Member of the Victim Survivors' Advisory Council
            Rolling Action Plan consultation workshop
            August 2020

            Respect Victoria has developed, delivered and evaluated the impact of large-scale behaviour change media campaigns with input and advice from victim survivors and diverse communities including:

            • Respect Women: ‘Call it Out’ (café and public transport)
            • Respect Older People: ‘Call it Out’ (including culturally and linguistically diverse communities)
            • Respect Each Other: 'Call it Out’ (COVID-19)
            • Respect Each Other: ‘Connection Keeps us Strong’ (COVID-19)

            Close to half of all Victorians were able to recall the public transport Respect Women: ‘Call it Out’ campaign and its key messages unprompted.

            Respect Victoria: 'Call it Out' 30 second ad

          2  Building evidence

          • Ongoing investment in research, monitoring and evaluation is helping to build knowledge and evidence for effective primary prevention activity that is inclusive of all Victorians.  Examples of these activities include: 

            Respect Victoria
            • Respect Victoria has undertaken a set of action research projects on the key drivers and innovative prevention of family violence for women with disabilities, same sex parent families and older Victorians. 
            • Respect Victoria led work with ANROWS and VicHealth to produce the National Community Attitudes Survey Toolkit for primary prevention practitioners to help make the survey results accessible and inform the work they do. 
            Free from Violence
            • A new monitoring and evaluation framework is being developed for Free from Violence to evaluate primary prevention interventions and gather strong evidence to embed longer-term investments. 
            ANROWS
            • Core funding has been provided to Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) to design and deliver prevention research. 
            Rainbow Health Victoria
            • Rainbow Health Victoria are leading a review of evidence to better understand the drivers of family violence against LGBTIQ+ communities. 
            Our Watch
            • Our Watch are leading research exploring the links between dominant forms of masculinities and violence against women 
            • The Our Watch Workplace Equality and Respect (WER) project provides valuable insights for the public sector and local councils as they prepare for their obligations under the Gender Equality Act 2020.

          3  Strengthening the prevention workforce

          • Through the Industry Plan Rolling Action Plan, Strengthening the Foundations, the Victorian Government is building capability of the primary prevention workforce, including specialists and the broader workforce who contribute to primary prevention efforts.

            • Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria provides learning and development support to more than 1,600 primary prevention professionals through the Partners in Prevention (PiP) Network.
            • 12 Women’s Health Services are building the capability of local and regional partner organisations to lead primary prevention efforts in their communities.
            • Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health provides cross-cultural and intersectional training for prevention workers and access to bilingual community education to prevent violence against immigrant and refugee women.
            • Strengthening Aboriginal women’s capacity to take a leadership role in prevention through the Spark Health’s Wellah Women Aboriginal Health and Happiness project.

          4   Grassroots activity

          Government’s focus on building gender equality and driving primary prevention of family violence and all forms of violence against women builds on the extensive work of grassroots and women’s organisations who have been delivering and championing primary prevention for decades.

          Partnerships with organisations representing diverse communities are key to progressing effective prevention work. We also know that supporting local activities and coordinating prevention action around key events increases awareness and promotes positive changes in attitudes and behaviours.

          There is really good work happening at a local level, and really great leadership at the top with Respect Victoria and the government’s campaigns.

          Primary Prevention Sector Forum
          Rolling Action Plan consultation
          August 2020
          • The Victorian Government continues to work with women’s organisations, particularly the nine regional and three statewide Women’s Health Services and has benefitted from their successes and their learning.

            Women’s Health Services play a vital role in supporting partners to understand and embed primary prevention in workplaces, services and with the broader community.

            Women’s Health Services have been coordinating significant primary prevention activity across Victoria, including through:

            • regional primary prevention partnerships with local organisations to take collective action to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women:
              • local government
              • sporting clubs
              • community health services
              • working with more than 500 organisations to build the leadership and organisational capacity of local, regional and sector partners to deliver quality prevention initiatives

            Funding during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

            In April 2020, the Government announced that Victoria's 12 women's health services would share in $3 million over the next two years to continue their work in preventing family violence.

            The continuation of funding ensures that these services can continue their vital work to deliver prevention of family violence training, advice and support to organisations in their local areas, including local government and health services.

            The funding includes $600,000 from the $59.4 million mental health package to Women's Health Services to support women’s mental health and wellbeing through their regional and statewide network.

          • Women’s Legal Service Victoria is supporting champions to address sexism and disrespect in the legal and justice sector. This work will improve women’s career opportunities, safety and wellbeing in the long term.

          • Complementing the statewide campaign activity, the Municipal Association of Victoria supported local governments to run grassroots communication activities.

            The Association also co-developed a stakeholder supporter toolkit and a suite of supporting resources with Respect Victoria and Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV).

          • Other programs are working with boys and men, and in male-dominated settings like sport, to promote healthy masculinity and challenge rigid harmful stereotypes of what it means to be a man. This includes:

            • Boys and men: a resource is being produced by Our Watch that guides prevention practitioners to promote healthy masculinities across a range of locations
            • Healthy masculinities: the Modelling Respect and Equality (MoRE) project,which is delivered by Jesuit Social Services, recruits and trains community leaders to promote more positive expressions of masculinity across their community
            • Sports program: The Gender Equality in Sport program is supporting clubs to deliver cultural and attitudinal change to prevent violence against women

            Engaging men as allies and change-makers to achieving attitudinal and behaviour change is particularly important.

            Women's Legal Service
            Engage Victoria survey response
            August 2020
          • The annual United Nations 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign has been funded and managed by Respect Victoria.

            The program includes support for locally-tailored activities through local councils, Women’s Health Services and diverse community organisations. 

            In 2020, we delivered a COVID Safe campaign to raise awareness in light of the pandemic.

          Delivery to 2023

          This overview of our planned primary prevention activities to 2023 is grouped into four areas.

          1  Strengthening the foundations

          • New legislation will address gender inequality in the Victorian public sector and local government workplace settings to improve women's economic and social participation.

            Activities
            Gender Equality Act 2020 comes into effect to address gender inequality in Victorian public sector and local government workplaces March 2021 OfW
            First gender equality action plans due from required entities. The plans will include strategies and measures to improve gender equality in each workplace, based on a gender audit of that workplace October 2021 OfW
          • Launched in 2017, Victoria’s first primary prevention strategy Free from Violence and the First action plan (2018-2021) draws on Change the Story, a national framework for primary prevention to address violence against women and children and builds on many years of work and collaboration by women’s organisations.

            The plan is focused on strengthening prevention systems and structures, including:

            • bolstering the capability of the prevention workforce
            • enhancing and expanding local and regional networks and partnerships
            • researching and testing new approaches to contribute to the evidence base for what works in preventing family violence

            The second action plan will build on the foundational work and evidence gained through the Free from Violence action plan to expand population-wide prevention activities across multiple settings and systems.

            Activities
            Free from Violence Second action plan developed Late 2021 OfW
            Free from Violence Second action plan implemented From mid 2022 OfW

            The outcomes framework for Free from Violence will be refreshed to align with the Family Violence Outcomes Framework to enhance monitoring and evaluation, so all activities are measured against relevant targets.

          • A new primary prevention governance model will inform key government priorities with input from sector leaders. Efforts to involve victim survivors will also help inform policy development.

            Activities
            Establish a new governance group to advise government, comprising key community organisations working in prevention of family violence Late 2020 OfW

          2  Scaling up prevention programs and campaigns

          We will scale up primary prevention activity across a range of settings, sectors, population groups and geographies, matched by resourcing and investment models that support longer term effort. This will increase the reach and impact of our primary prevention efforts over time, creating the basis for long-term cultural change.

          Programs will be designed to reinforce the messages in campaigns and translate them into practical action.

          • Activities
            Prevention system coordination model developed – continuing to build and better coordinate statewide, regional and local grassroots activities and underpin work across a wider range of settings and sectors through sustained investment Mid 2021 OfW
          • Promising prevention projects are scaled up and are reaching the majority of Victorians including through community partnerships, tertiary education, workplaces and local government.

            Mutually reinforcing activities in a range of settings, including sport, the arts, early childhood, and local government will increase reach and impact.

            Activities
            Community organisations targeting men and boys delivering grassroots programs that are designed to promote healthier masculinities, gender equality, building relationship skills, and social connections Early 2021 OfW
            Local government whole-of-setting primary prevention model developed, providing evidence-based guidance to councils on how to embed prevention in the range of services they deliver and through leadership in the community Early 2021 OfW
            All government schools are signed onto Respectful Relationships Early 2021 DET
            Develop TAFE whole of institution prevention model to support TAFEs to build an environment where staff and students feel safe, respected and valued, including tools, resources and evaluation report Early 2021 DET
            OfW
            First phase of up to 15 councils selected to implement the local government primary prevention model Mid 2021 OfW
            Develop strategic partnership arrangements between Respect Victoria and key bodies in and across multiple sectors to extend and embed primary prevention efforts in the Victorian community 2021-2023 Respect Victoria
            Support local, regional and sector partnerships, including those led by Women’s Health Services, to drive collective community action on prevention Ongoing OfW
            Respect Victoria
            Grant funding to ethno-specific, multicultural and faith-based organisations to design and deliver family violence prevention and early intervention activities, delivering on a $9.7 million commitment over four years in the 2020/21 State Budget 2020-2024 OfW
          • Respect Victoria’s campaign messages will be reinforced through funded programs in the community and practical support for organisations to translate these messages into tangible actions. This will increase the impact of campaigns and support collective community action.

            Activities
            Finalise a medium-term primary prevention campaign strategy  2020-2021 Respect Victoria
            Deliver a portfolio of campaigns for all Victorians, including culturally and linguistically diverse Victorians, people with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTIQ+ and Aboriginal Victorians 2020-2022 Respect Victoria

            Government is delivering a range of primary prevention activities with diverse communities across Victoria. These are presented in Reform-wide priorities.

          3  Workforce development

          We will deliver training and other learning and development opportunities to continue building a skilled, capable and diverse prevention workforce. We will engage workers in schools, community health and across the not-for-profit sector to increase prevention expertise and develop the next generation of prevention practitioners.

          Through the reform-wide Industry Plan for workforce development and the first rolling action plan under that plan, Strengthening the Foundations, Government is building workforce capability in primary prevention.

          • Activities
            A plan for supporting the current and growing primary prevention workforce is developed in consultation with stakeholders,including ways to engage with broader workforces to help in prevention efforts. This plan will complement the Industry Plan for workforce development Early 2021 OfW
            Work with the emergency management sector to embed a framework for planning for primary prevention of family violence in diverse communities in disaster management training to ensure preparedness and build capacity 2020-2021 Respect Victoria
            Produce resources to assist the primary prevention sector to better monitor and proactively plan for response to potential ‘backlash’ and ‘resistance' (ranging from denial, inaction to more aggressive opposition) to gender equality and to challenge violence-supportive attitudes (in conjunction with Our Watch) 2021 Respect Victoria

          4  Research and evaluation

          We will commission research addressing key gaps in understanding about the factors leading to family violence and how these can be prevented. This will lead to more effective prevention programs and services for Victorian communities.

          • Activities
            Primary Prevention Research Agenda established as part of the whole of government research program for family violence 2021 Respect Victoria
            Respect Victoria primary prevention research forum held Mid 2021 Respect Victoria

            Critical evidence gaps in LGBTIQ+ family violence primary prevention is being addressed by Rainbow Health Victoria through the LGBTIQ+ family violence primary prevention initiative.

            Activities
            Test and evaluate community-based primary prevention activity with LGBTIQ+ communities and prevention organisations to help build evidence of what works Ongoing OfW

            Respect Victoria will develop a Theory of Change, describing how changes to attitudes, behaviours and social norms will happen in the short, medium and long term to reduce and prevent family violence and violence against women. This will support well-targeted approaches to the prevention of all forms of family violence, building on Change the Story, which is focused on the prevention of men’s violence against women.

            2020-2021 Respect Victoria

            Respect Victoria is also leading targeted research projects to understand the experiences and impacts of COVID-19 on target cohorts including:

            • older people
            • LGBTIQ+ communities
            • primary prevention workforce
          • The platform will enable policy makers, researchers and practitioners to track population-level progress of family violence prevention to help understand how collective prevention effort is contributing to shifts in culture, attitudes and behaviour over time.

            Activities
            Launch the Prevention of Family Violence Data Platform, developed by Respect Victoria and the Crime Statistics Agency Early 2021 Respect Victoria
            Build on initial datasets and support effective use of the platform Ongoing Respect Victoria
          • We will monitor and evaluate primary prevention initiatives to ensure they are delivered effectively, with evidence to support longer-term investments.

            Activities
            Deliver Free from Violence Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for primary prevention, and commence implementation Early 2021 Respect Victoria
            Deliver the first three-yearly report on progress in primary prevention to Parliament under the Prevention of Family Violence Act 2018 2022-2023 Respect Victoria
          • Respect Victoria will encourage design and delivery of evidence-based primary prevention programs delivered across multiple sectors and settings by developing an endorsement model.

            Activities
            Develop an endorsement model including guidance, design and delivery standards, endorsement processes and promotion of the use of the endorsement model 2020-2023 Respect Victoria

          Connecting primary prevention across the reform

          As we advance primary prevention activities over the next phase of the reform, we will continue connecting with other family violence and gender equality reform initiatives.

          Equality and intersectionality

          Workforce

          • Building from Strength: 10-Year Industry Plan for Family Violence Prevention and Response, which will see increased family violence response and prevention capability across a range of workforces that intersect with family violence.

          Dhelk Dja

          Connecting to broader social reforms

          Reform-wide priorities

          The Victorian Government is committed to creating policy and programs that are relevant, practical and meet the diverse needs of our community.

          Intersectionality

          We are supporting diverse communities across Victoria to continue to lead in innovating and trialling new approaches to primary prevention.

          This includes:

          • guidance resources developed by Respect Victoria on embedding diversity and intersectionality into primary prevention program design and delivery
          • improving data collection and the primary prevention research approach to respect complex and intersectional experiences
          • ensuring commissioned research programs have a particular focus on understanding the intersectional drivers of all forms of family violence and what works to prevent it
          • raising the profile of diverse forms of family violence and providing practical guidance for the design, delivery and evaluation of primary prevention work

          Late 2020

          • Prevention initiatives piloted as part of the LGBTIQ Family Violence Prevention Project 2019-2021 and informed by Rainbow Health Victoria’s Pride in Prevention, a guide to primary prevention of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ+ communities.

          2020-2021

          • Guidance resources developed to support organisations to apply an intersectional lens to primary prevention program design and delivery.

          2020-2022

          • Implement the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Multicultural Family Violence program to strengthen multicultural, faith-based and ethno-specific organisations to prevent, identify and respond to family violence in line with the MARAM framework and to ensure community members are accessing the services they need.
          • Co-design and deliver primary prevention initiatives with culturally diverse communities to meet the needs of migrant and refugee communities. For example:
            • the two-year Safer and Stronger Communities pilot started in 2018 to support five leading settlement and multicultural organisations to build their own organisational capacity in primary prevention using the Our Watch Workplace Equality and Respect standards.
          • Working closely with LGBTIQ+ health and community service providers.

          Respect Victoria’s behaviour change campaigns will focus on how key drivers of family violence play out in different communities, reflecting the diversity of Victorians.

          Intersectionality Overview

          Aboriginal self-determination

          Victoria’s leading by having Aboriginal voice in discussions.

          Women's Health Services
          Rolling Action Plan consultation workshop
          August 2020

          We are committed to a self-determined approach to primary prevention activity for Aboriginal Victorians.  

          Awareness-raising campaigns and targeted prevention activities include: 

          • providing a culturally safe space for Koori women aged 13-18 to explore the dynamics of healthy relationships 
          • strengthening Aboriginal women’s capacity to take a leadership role in prevention through the Spark Health’s Wellah Women Aboriginal Health and Happiness project 

          Aboriginal women are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised and 11 times more likely to die as a result of family violence compared to other Australian women.

          • Supporting 11 Aboriginal organisations to deliver prevention activities with their communities through the Aboriginal Primary Prevention Innovation Fund. 
          • Strengthening Aboriginal-led prevention by updating the Indigenous Family Violence Primary Prevention Framework and implementing an Aboriginal-led family violence prevention campaign and education program. 
          • Supporting Aboriginal-led innovative and new approaches to prevention with the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum, including targeted investment for Aboriginal-led research and community education programs.   
          • Development of a new Aboriginal-led prevention funding model. 

          Aboriginal Self-Determination Overview

          Lived experience  

          We will continue to provide support for primary prevention programs and policies that are created and informed by the lived experience of victim survivors, including:

          • Respect Victoria will develop a victim survivors engagement plan to ensure all primary prevention efforts are informed by lived experience
          • we will work with the Victim Survivors' Advisory Council during the development of the Free from Violence Second Action Plan (2021-2024) to ensure it includes the lived experience of victim survivors

          Lived Experience Overview

          Measuring outcomes

          Family Violence Outcomes Framework

          Delivering the activities for this priority area will likely have the greatest impact in achieving outcomes against the following domains:

          Domains 1 and 4

          Domain 1, Family violence and gender inequality are not tolerated. Domain 4, Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.
          Domains 1 and 4
          Download Domains 1 and 4

          Royal Commission recommendations

          The Victorian Government has committed to implement all 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

          Of the recommendations still in progress, three relate to primary prevention.


          Research and Evaluation

          Coordinating research and evaluation across the family violence reform​

          Building momentum

          A successful research and evaluation program will provide the information we need to make sure that funding for family violence initiatives is contributing to achieving outcomes and delivering value for money.

          Ending family violence
          Victoria's 10-year plan for change
          2016

          A strong and effective family violence evidence base is key to delivering long-term, sustainable reform of our family violence system. It tells us what is working, what needs to be adjusted, and where to focus our efforts for the greatest effect.

          Building the evidence base for such broad ranging reforms is a long-term project.

          • Our early focus has been on building evaluation rigour and capability, to strengthen the body of evidence and to use this knowledge to drive future service design and delivery.
          • We are turning our efforts to research activities that fill gaps in our evidence base across prevention, early intervention and response.
          • Improving the quality, availability and use of data underpins our research and evaluation activities and is critical in driving improvement.

          Over the next three years we will build a stronger evidence base by coordinating and expanding research, data and evaluation activities working across government and in partnership with the prevention and response sectors and academia.

          A Victorian Government Family Violence Research agenda and program will support the whole of government approach to research on family violence across primary prevention, early intervention and response.

          A clear, coordinated research program with partners will reduce duplication, identify and prioritise gaps, support knowledge transfer and inform policy and practice.

          This will help us in measuring how we are going against the outcomes in the Family Violence Outcomes Framework and give us valuable information to help us in the design and delivery of the reform.

          Improvements to research and evaluation will deliver:

          • a better understanding of how to prevent family violence before it happens
          • knowledge of where to intervene early for the greatest impact
          • an effective way to understand and show reform progress and impacts
          • an evidence base to support us to effectively direct resources to the responses that make a difference
          • strengthened culturally safe programs
          • a platform to share achievements and lessons

          It's a 'learning all the time' curve - it will probably never stop.

          Engage Victoria survey stakeholder response
          August 2020

          Progress since 2016

          We have been building capacity and capability to improve data collection, research and evaluation across the reform.

          The individual priority areas in this Rolling Action Plan include further detail on relevant research, evaluation and data collection, and report progress in delivery.

          The key research and evaluation activities which have been delivered since the Royal Commission are grouped here into three areas.

          1  Research and evaluation of key reform initiatives

          Effective research and evaluation help us understand where we can focus and improve our reform delivery.

          These are examples of evaluation projects and research programs across the reform.

          2  Data collection and reporting

          We are:

          • improving the quality of our data
          • making it more widely available across government and the sector
          • establishing systems and frameworks to support data collection and reporting across prevention and response
            • Established in the early 2000s and administered by the Crime Statistics Agency, the database is a key tool for government.
            • The data is accessed through a portal which provides reporting on the incidence and characteristics of family violence in Victoria and family violence service provision.
            • It supports analysis of priority topics through data dashboards, infographics and short research papers.

            Family Violence Data Portal

            • For the next National Community Attitudes Survey, data collection will be expanded with support provided by Respect Victoria. To support the use of this data, Respect Victoria released Re-shaping Attitudes: A toolkit for using the National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS) in the primary prevention of violence against women.
            • The government commissioned Australian National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS), along with the University of Melbourne, to develop a Free from Violence questionnaire, which will enable data collection on knowledge, attitudes and behaviour change to support evaluation across primary prevention.
          • The Family Violence Outcomes Framework (the Framework) provides guidelines and standards for the collection of family violence-related data to improve the quality and comparability of existing data sources and use those sources to address priority gap areas.

            This will help us collect more robust data and make data and information on family violence more useful.

            The Framework is intended for use by all government departments, agencies or service providers who collect family violence information.

            Through this framework, we will build quality data about the family violence experiences of specific cohorts, which addresses the Royal Commission's findings about data limitations and gaps.

            The Framework provides specific data collection standards for:

            • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
            • children and young people
            • older people
            • LGBTIQ+ communities
            • people with disabilities
            • multicultural communities

            Family Violence Data Collection Framework

          • The COVID-19 Family Violence Data Portal, developed by the Crime Statistics Agency, shows COVID-19 impacts on family violence

            COVID-19 Family Violence Data Portal

          3  Building evaluation capability

          We have been building capability and capacity to undertake effective research and evaluation.

          For example, the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) is:

          • developing policy and guidelines for evaluation of family violence initiatives
          • developing accessible staff learning resources
          • sharing learnings and findings of evaluation outcomes across government

          The DJCS Koori Justice Unit has been working with Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to build capacity to conduct evaluations.

          Man with child on shoulders.

          Delivery to 2023

          Over the next three years we will continue to strengthen the family violence evidence base.

          We will do this in partnership with the sector and through cross-government activities that build on current momentum and support continuous improvement. We will also target identified information gaps to build evidence in individual programs, initiatives and reform areas.

          Collectively, these activities will enable continuous improvement cycles that support evidence-informed policy making to translate to effective services and initiatives that achieve outcomes.

          This overview of our planned research and evaluation activities to 2023 is grouped into four areas. Additional research and evaluation activity supporting the reform is also reflected in the web pages for each priority.

          1  Measuring change against a refreshed Family Violence Outcomes Framework

          We are measuring and monitoring change against the Family Violence Outcomes Framework to understand the impact of the reform.

          Our focus on measurement and monitoring is intended to build the validity and reliability of our outcomes data over the next three years.

          We have released the Family Violence Outcomes Framework (FVOF) Measurement and Monitoring Implementation Strategy to continue to improve our data collection and measurement against the FVOF.

          • Activities
            Publish the first Family Violence Outcomes Framework report, with yearly reporting thereafter

            DPC will lead this activity, supported by relevant government entities

            November 2021 DPC
            Refine the Family Violence Outcomes Framework, including the development of further measures across all domains 2020-2021 DPC
            Develop and implement client outcomes measurement and monitoring for family violence therapeutic interventions and perpetrator interventions 2021-2022 FSV

          2  Progressing research on family violence

          Greater transparency and collaboration would enable organisations working in the family violence sector to identify key research gaps and minimise duplication.

          Women's Health Victoria
          Engage Victoria survey response
          September 2020

          Across family violence prevention, early interventions and response we are working with Victorian universities, industry and agencies to build research partnerships that:

          • draw on our respective strengths
          • drive collaboration
          • support information sharing
          • help turn research into policy and practice

          As part of our work to better understand the drivers, presentation and risk for all forms of family violence in Victoria, we will identify and target research into priority evidence gaps.  

          • Activities
            Deliver a whole of Victorian government family violence research agenda Mid 2021 FSV Respect Victoria
            Develop a Victorian Family Violence Research Program that complements and builds on existing research activities across government, universities and the sector

            FSV is leading this activity, supported by relevant government entities

            Late 2021 FSV Respect Victoria
            Completion of the Harmony Study, a partnership between Latrobe University and inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, that is working with primary care clinicians to increase identification and early intervention for family violence among migrant and refugee communities 2021 FSV
            Targeted research projects on COVID-19 and family violence in Victoria including:
            • Family Safety Victoria is commissioning research to better understand the impact of the pandemic on family violence presentation, risk, intensity and responses, including the effectiveness of service changes during COVID-19
            • Respect Victoria is commissioning research to understand the impact of COVID-19 on key populations, and on the work, support and resourcing requirements of primary prevention practitioners

            These research projects include a procurement approach that encourages collaboration and multidisciplinary research practice across government, academia and the service sector

            2020-2021 FSV Respect Victoria
            Undertake research in job role design in the specialist sectors and develop options for current and future system requirements 2020-2021 FSV
            Systematic review of published literature on family violence program and initiative effectiveness 2020-2021 FSV
            Progress research under the primary prevention research agenda to build a more comprehensive understanding of the intersectional drivers and contributing factors of family violence for diverse and priority populations, and of effective approaches to primary prevention across a variety of sectors and settings  2020-2022 OfW Respect Victoria
            Continue to support and work with Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety Limited (ANROWS) through to the end of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022  2020-2022 Vic Govt

          3  Monitoring and evaluation of service delivery and response

          Government will continue its focus on monitoring and evaluation of programs and initiatives across the reform. Rigorous and high-quality monitoring and evaluation helps us to understand what works in preventing and responding to family violence.

          • The Free from Violence strategy is Victoria’s strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women and is part of the 10-year plan. 

            Activities
            Deliver Free from Violence Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for primary prevention, and commence implementation Early 2021 Respect Victoria
            Evaluation of the Safer Stronger Communities pilot 2021 OfW
            Evaluate the first Free from Violence Action Plan (2018-21)  2022 Respect Victoria
            First three yearly report to Parliament on progress in primary prevention as specified under the Prevention of Family Violence Act 2018 2022-2023 Respect Victoria
          • To improve The Orange Door network we are continuing to gather and share information about what is and isn’t working well.  As it is implemented across Victoria, we are building on reports and evaluation including independent assessments, such as the 2020 VAGO audit and the 2018 Orange Door evaluation. 

            Activities
            Statewide Demand Management framework finalised Late 2021 FSV
            The Orange Door partnership performance framework implemented and commence monitoring against the framework Late 2021 FSV
            Second evaluation of The Orange Door network completed Late 2022 FSV
          • Evaluations of key family violence services and initiatives, including early interventions, will help develop a better understanding of what works to prevent and respond to family violence.

            Activities
            Evaluation of maternal and child health investment for children and families at risk of family violence Late 2020 DHHS
            Evaluation of the Risk Assessment and Management Panels 2021 FSV
            Evaluation of Rainbow Tick and HOW2 program 2021 FSV
            Multicultural COVID-19 Family Violence program evaluation 2022 OfW
          • Work is underway to improve perpetrator accountability and build the evidence base around what works for people who use violence. 

            Activities
            Develop a theory of change and monitoring and evaluation framework for perpetrator interventions, aligned to the Family Violence Outcomes Framework and the Dhelk Dja Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability Plan 2020-2021 FSV
            Deliver a meta-evaluation for perpetrator interventions 2020-2021 DJCS
          • Under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008, a review of MARAM, the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and the Central Information Point must be conducted within five years of commencement.  

            Activities
            MARAM and FVISS 5-year review commences CIP 5-year review commences Early 2022 FSV
            MARAM and FVISS and 5-year review scheduled for tabling in Parliament CIP 5-year review scheduled for tabling in Parliament August 2023 FSV
          • Activities
            All-encompassing process and outcome evaluation of the Magistrates' Court led family violence reforms, with a focus on the implementation and effectiveness of the Specialist Family Violence Courts and associated reforms 2019-2023 CSV
            Evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of the Koori Family Violence Intervention Order Breaches pilot in Mildura 2020-2021 CSV
          • Where Aboriginal Victorians take the lead in data collection, research, and evaluation of family violence reform initiatives in their communities they can define the measures of success. 

            Activities
            Aboriginal-led evaluation of capacity-building for the Preventing the Cycle of Violence Aboriginal Fund and the Aboriginal Community Initiatives Fund 2021 FSV
            Dhelk Dja
            Implementation of the Dhelk Dja Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability Plan 2020-2028 Dhelk Dja 
          • The Everybody Matters, Inclusion and Equity Statement provides an overarching guide for working in a more inclusive, safe and responsive way. 

            Activities
            Develop a 10-year Monitoring and Evaluation framework for the Everybody Matters, Inclusion and Equity Statement 2021 FSV

          • Strengthening the capacity and capability of the people who work to prevent and respond to family violence is critical to the reform’s success.  

            Activities
            Implement the monitoring and evaluation framework for Strengthening the Foundations  Early 2021 FSV 
            Complete evaluation of selected activities within Strengthening the Foundations  2021 FSV 
          • Strengthening the evaluation capacity and capabilities of government and sector supports, monitoring progress of the reforms and continuous improvement.

            Activities
            Completion of the Building Family Violence Evaluation Capacity Project Mid 2021 DJCS
            Consider ways to share evaluation capability uplift resources with the broader family violence sector 2021 DJCS
            Develop consultation guidelines on incorporating lived experience into family violence program evaluations 2021 DJCS

          4   Building data quality and availability

          Improving the quality, availability and use of data is key to driving continuous improvement and underpins effective research and evaluation.

          We are working across government and with the sector to strengthen data collection practices and to enhance and refine data systems. We are also improving how we share and use existing data by expanding routine reporting.

          Examples of data quality and availability improvement work are outlined below:

          • Activities
            Routine reporting on key family violence data From 2020 CSA
            FSV
            Launch of the Prevention of Family Violence Data Platform, developed by Respect Victoria and the Crime Statistics Agency, to monitor trends in primary prevention  Early 2021 Respect Victoria
            Aboriginal data mapping and data needs project to support baseline understanding of Aboriginal family violence and build the evidence base for prevention and intervention Mid 2021 Dhelk Dja
            Data Strategy for The Orange Door completed  Late 2021 FSV
            Incorporation of sexual assault data into the Family Violence Data Portal  Late 2021 CSA 
            Develop and implement the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Data Dictionary to establish data standards and improve data quality, including for key cohorts and diverse communities  2020-2021 FSV

          Connecting research and evaluation across the reform

          Activities in this priority area support, and are equally supported by, delivery more broadly across the family violence reform.

          Reform-wide priorities

          Research and Evaluation activities are informed by our reform-wide priorities of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience.

          Intersectionality

          Targeted research will help us better understand the impacts of structural inequality and overlapping forms of discrimination or disadvantage, and ultimately help us create inclusive and equitable services and responses.

          We will focus on working with the sector to improve data collection and build the evidence base for people from diverse communities. We will also continue to improve and refine data collection systems to make collection of key demographic information easier and more consistent.

          The Everybody Matters, Inclusion and Equity Statement highlights significant gaps in research and data collection around access, inclusion and responsiveness to diverse communities.

          Respect Victoria will release an intersectionality approach, including policy and guidance to improve data collection and research methods to inform our knowledge of the intersections between the drivers of violence.

          Several research and evaluation projects across the reform that address intersectionality are outlined in Delivery to 2023 on this page.

          Intersectionality Overview

          Aboriginal self-determination

          To build an evidence base, the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum has a strategy to monitor the performance of key initiatives, programs and actions. The Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability Plan will support the Aboriginal-led data collection, research and evaluation agenda.

          The plan:

          • sets out a monitoring and evaluation strategy for the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum
          • oversees performance monitoring of key self-determination initiatives, programs and actions on a three-year cycle alongside action plans in the Dhelk Dja agreement
          • supports annual reporting to the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum following development of indicators to inform progress and strategic decisions about priorities

          Aboriginal Self-Determination Overview

          Woman and four children

          Lived experience

          It is important that research across the reform hears and learns from voices of lived experience including children, in the collection and use of data, evaluation and research.

          This is an evolving commitment as we deliver more initiatives.

          Family Safety Victoria will prioritise research that embeds the voices of lived experience, and Respect Victoria’s victim survivor engagement plan is a strategy to ensure that lived experience is considered in policy and research development.

          The Orange Door network continues to implement and refine routine capturing of client voice and using client voice data to inform continuous improvement.

          Lived Experience Overview

          Measuring outcomes

          Ongoing data development, targeted research, and evaluations of reform activity will improve the evidence base and enable reporting of progress towards outcomes.

          The Family Violence Outcomes Framework (FVOF) is the tool we are using to measure how we are doing. The FVOF was first published in the 10-year plan which described it as:

          …a tangible tool to keep us accountable...measuring outcomes will provide evidence of what works –and what doesn’t – in delivering real and meaningful change.

          Ending family violence
          Victoria's 10-year plan for change
          2016

          The four FVOF domains convey the ambition of the reform and shape the design and priorities outlined in this Rolling Action Plan.

          • They reflect the long-term outcomes sought through the collective efforts of the reform.
          • They represent the key priorities in preventing and responding to family violence.
          • They establish what will constitute success.

          Domains 1, 2, 3 and 4

          Domain 1, Family violence and gender inequality are not tolerated. Domain 2, Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive. Domain 3, Perpetrators are held accountable, connected and take responsibility for stopping their violence. Domain 4, Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.
          Domains 1, 2, 3 and 4
          Download Domains 1, 2, 3 and 4

          Our research and evaluation activities have an impact across all four domains, as we strengthen the family violence evidence base and use that to better understand reform outcomes.

          Royal Commission recommendations

          The Victorian Government has committed to implement all 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

          Of the recommendations still in progress, four relate to Research and Evaluation.


          The Orange Door Network

          Delivering an accessible and visible service for people experiencing family violence and children and families in need of support

          We thought it was a family violence case so I took the lead; it ended up being more child support. I kept the case and worked closely with the children’s worker. We got seven services involved but because I shared information the woman only needed to tell her story once.

          Specialist family violence worker

          Building momentum

          Family Safety Victoria is leading the statewide rollout of The Orange Door network, referred to in the Royal Commission’s recommendations as support and safety hubs.

          The Orange Door network aims to be accessible, safe and welcoming, providing quick and simple access to support for:

          • adults, children and young people who are experiencing family violence
          • families who need support with the care and wellbeing of children and young people
          • perpetrators of family violence

          Since opening in 2018, more than 100,000 Victorians have received help and support from The Orange Door network.

          It brings together services as a partnership, so that individuals and families don’t have to go to multiple services or to retell their story multiple times to have their needs met.

          The Orange Door network provides initial support to those in need. Services available through the network include:

          • risk and needs assessment
          • safety planning
          • crisis support

          The network can connect people to a range of services that provide ongoing safety and wellbeing supports.

          Perpetrator accountability is also a strong focus, The Orange Door network engages perpetrators and works with the system, to hold them accountable for their actions and changing their behaviour.

          This video is a glimpse into the services The Orange Door network provides and coordinates.

          The Door to Safety - an introduction to The Orange Door network

          The Orange Door network is now operating in seven of the 17 Department of Health and Human Services areas in Victoria:

          • the latest two opened in the Central Highlands and Loddon in late 2020
          • the Goulburn area is next
          • a further six areas are set to open in 2021
          • statewide coverage will be complete by 2022

          Access to The Orange Door network in each local area is facilitated through the establishment of an Orange Door network primary site. Area-wide coverage is supported by two to three access points, outposted services and outreach. Telephone and email options for referrals and to access supports complete the network.

          Several reviews have been conducted since The Orange Door network began operations in 2018. The outcomes of those reviews, together with operational experience, are informing our approach as we extend our operations into new areas.

          A 2020 audit of The Orange Door network by the Victorian Auditor-General made nine recommendations for improvement.

          Family Safety Victoria accepted all nine recommendations. Actions which address the Auditor-General’s recommendations are highlighted in the activities tables (Delivery to 2023 on this page).

          Acknowledging the foundations

          The Royal Commission found that collaboration between services that support people affected by family violence was difficult and inefficient. And when practitioners worked in isolation they had a limited view of the risks that victim survivors faced.

          The Orange Door network is a flagship project of the Victorian Government’s family violence reform following the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence. It has been designed to support the Victorian Government’s wide-ranging social policy reform agenda which aims to strengthen support to children and families.

          These reforms share the common objectives of achieving a service system for individuals and families that is more connected, better able to intervene before a situation reaches crisis point, and to seamlessly connect clients with the right services at the right time.

          The Orange Door network enables practitioners with different specialisations to learn from and with each other, drawing on each other’s knowledge and experience. This provides an integrated assessment of risk and needs, and the ability to take a whole-of-family approach.

          The Orange Door network provides cohesiveness of response to victim-survivors of family violence. The network reflects excellent collaborative practice between government agencies, police and non-government services

          InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence
          Engage Victoria survey response
          September 2020

          Progress since 2016

          The key activities for The Orange Door network which have been delivered since the Royal Commission are grouped here into three areas.

          1. The Orange Door network is operating in seven areas:

            • Barwon
            • Bayside Peninsula
            • Central Highlands
            • Inner Gippsland
            • Loddon
            • Mallee
            • North East Melbourne

            In each area, The Orange Door is staffed by a team of specialist family violence, child and family, Aboriginal and perpetrator practitioners as well as management and operational support staff.

            Annual service delivery reports provide an overview of the operation of The Orange Door network in the established areas.

            Service Delivery Report 2018-2019

          2. Support is tailored to an individual's needs and circumstances and is based on completing risk assessments and safety planning. Services include: 

            Initial crisis supports

            • Address risk and needs where it is determined that immediate support is required.
            • It includes: 
              • access to emergency accommodation 
              • security modifications to home
              • assistance with practical items e.g. food, medical supplies or personal items
              • support with caring responsibilities and counselling

            Core service responses

            • specialist family violence service 
            • integrated family services 
            • perpetrator services 

            Referrals to broader services

            • legal 
            • housing 
            • health 
            • other community services

            The Client Relationship Management System used by The Orange Door network is:

            • providing a single, accessible source of information to support practitioners in taking a whole-of-family view and planning integrated service responses to better meet the specific needs of adults and children
            • ensuring that relevant information about each family member is held securely, but easily accessible to practitioners to support their risk and needs assessments and service delivery
            • continually being enhanced to improve its use, functionality and capabilities to provide better data and evidence
          3. Across the first seven operational areas of The Orange Door network, more than 300 specialist practitioners are working together across a range of disciplines, drawing on each other’s knowledge and experience and providing a more integrated approach to the assessment and management of risk.

            Specialist expertise is provided to the workers of The Orange Door network through the practice leadership roles that are part of the workforce in each area:

            • Advanced Family Violence Practice Leaders
            • Integrated Practice Leaders
            • Aboriginal Practice Leaders
            • Senior Child Protection Practitioners

            Practitioners also work collaboratively with local services, agencies and professionals to support risk assessment and management and connect people to a range of services to meet their needs.

            This video is narrated by workers at The Orange Door network who explain how collaborations are producing better outcomes for victim survivors and their families.

            Voices of workers at The Orange Door in Mallee and Barwon

            The Workforce Strategy for The Orange Door network is supporting agencies with the challenges that arise from its unique service delivery model of integrated practice in a multi-agency environment.

            Family Safety Victoria have finalised the Client Partnership Strategy which offers a vision and roadmap to embed clients as partners in all aspects of work related to The Orange Door network.

          Delivery to 2023

          This overview of our planned activities to 2023, includes actions in response to the VAGO audit and is grouped into five areas. Our program for the next three years will enable The Orange Door network to realise its full potential and will result in better outcomes.

          An iterative learning approach will ensure that Family Safety Victoria maintains its focus on continuous improvement.

          Actions in response to VAGO recommendations are indicated with an asterisk (*) in the activities tables.

          1. Seven areas in The Orange Door network are now operational. The network will be extended to the remaining 10 Department of Health and Human Services areas of Victoria by 2022.

            Work is already underway in partnership with local services and communities to open in seven more areas during 2021: 

            • Goulburn
            • Inner Eastern Melbourne
            • Southern Melbourne
            • Ovens Murray
            • Wimmera South West
            • Outer Gippsland
            • Hume Moreland

            There is significant ongoing work in the remaining three areas to identify and secure suitable properties for the physical premises: 

            • Brimbank Melton
            • Western Melbourne
            • Outer Eastern Melbourne 

            Activities
            The Orange Door in Loddon commences Late 2020 FSV
            The Orange Door network Implementation Plan released 2021 FSV
            Commence operations in Goulburn, Melbourne’s South and Inner-East, Ovens Murray, Wimmera South-West, Outer Gippsland and Hume Moreland 2021 FSV
            The Orange Door network operational in all areas statewide Mid 2022 FSV
          2. Activities
            Commence implementation of the Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan Late 2020 FSV
            The first Aboriginal Access Point established Mid 2021 FSV
            Commence cultural safety training across The Orange Door network workforce* Early 2021 FSV
          3. Planning will take place in 2020 and 2021 for transition to delivery of the full service model outlined in the statewide concept.

            Activities
            Plan developed for the transition of The Orange Door network to deliver the full statewide concept*  Late 2021 FSV
            Development of agreed and consistent service connections with legal, housing and homelessness and financial services  Late 2021

            FSV

          4. We are working towards improved reporting to help demonstrate that the integrated service model of The Orange Door network is delivering better outcomes for clients. 

            Activities
            The Orange Door network partnership performance framework finalised*   Late 2021 FSV
            Statewide Demand Management framework finalised*   Late 2021 FSV
            Data Strategy for The Orange Door network completed*   Late 2021 FSV
            Ongoing upgrades to Client Relationship Management system*  Ongoing until mid 2022  FSV

          5. We continue to analyse and evaluate The Orange Door network to identify areas for improvement and development.

            Activities
            Commence implementation of the Inclusion Action Plan Late 2020 FSV
            Refresh of induction training completed By late March 2021 FSV
            Second evaluation of The Orange Door network completed Late 2022 FSV
            Review of the Interim Integrated Practice Framework completed* Late 2021 FSV
            Consistent approach to assessment of children and young people established*  Late 2021 FSV
            Work with the sector to develop practice development support and training activities* Late 2021 FSV
            Third evaluation commences Mid 2022 FSV

          Connecting The Orange Door network across the reform

          The Orange Door network is a transformational component of our service system.

          The network works with and is influenced by initiatives and activities across related reforms. Key connections include:

          Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM)

          • family violence framework and tools for The Orange Door network workforce

          Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) and Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS)

          • information sharing legislation

          MARAM and information sharing help identify, assess and manage family violence risk and promote child wellbeing and safety.

          These enablers are critical for the assessment of perpetrator risk and risk management, which is core day-to-day business for workers in The Orange Door network.

          Perpetrators who engage with The Orange Door network are supported to connect with services that work with them on behaviour change.

          Reform-wide priorities

          Activities to establish The Orange Door network are informed by our reform-wide priorities of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience.

          Intersectionality

          We have designed The Orange Door network to provide inclusive, responsive and accessible services for individuals of any age, gender, ability, sex, sexuality, culture or religion.

          The government’s Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement provides guidance to the family violence system to foster inclusive, safe, responsive and accountable services.

          Family Safety Victoria has developed an Inclusion Action Plan for The Orange Door network to embed inclusion, access and equity in services and policies, and to build the capacity of workers to respond to community members from diverse cohorts by applying an intersectional lens.

          Intersectionality Overview

          Aboriginal self-determination

          The Orange Door network commits to embedding Aboriginal self-determination and works with Aboriginal communities and services with the aim of ensuring Aboriginal people receive culturally safe and appropriate service responses.

          The principles of self-determination are embedded into practice by:

          • Aboriginal representation in the governance of The Orange Door network, including Hub Leadership Groups and the establishment of Aboriginal Advisory Groups in each area
          • providing a choice in Aboriginal specific or broader service responses
          • embedding cultural safety for clients and staff of The Orange Door network
          • employing Aboriginal Practice Leaders and workers in every area to provide additional support for Aboriginal clients.
          • the development of the Concept Model and co-design of the service design elements of Aboriginal Access Points which will provide an alternative service pathway for Aboriginal Victorians experiencing or using family violence
          • development of the Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan, a three-year plan to embed inclusion, access and equity in The Orange Door network

          Self-determination in implementation of The Orange Door network was overseen and supported by the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum and its sub-working groups.

          Aboriginal Self-Determination Overview

          Lived experience

          The lived experience of people affected by family violence and who require support with the care, development and wellbeing of children, continues to inform service design, development and planning processes for The Orange Door network.

          The Client Partnership Strategy outlines a suite of actions to move towards greater client partnership, in all aspects of service design, development and delivery. This includes increasing client representation in governance, reference and advisory groups.

          The Client Voice process is also gradually being introduced to capture information about the client experience of The Orange Door network to inform continuous improvement.

          This image of the Client Voice Survey shows the questions a client is asked when they have had contact with The Orange Door network.

          Image of the client voice survey in orange and white. The survey card is divided into four main sections. The top left corner asks about a client's most recent contact with The Orange Door. The top right corner is the
          Client voice survey

          A second evaluation of The Orange Door network in 2022 will seek to determine the impact and benefits of the service model for clients and gain critical insights into client experience and outcomes for victim survivors, perpetrators and families.

          Lived Experience Overview

          Measuring outcomes

          Family Violence Outcomes Framework 

          Delivering the activities for this priority area will likely have the greatest impact in achieving outcomes against the following domains:

          Domains 2, 3 and 4

          Domain 2, Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive. Domain 3, Perpetrators are held accountable, connected and take responsibility for stopping their violence. Domain 4, Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.
          Domains 2, 3 and 4
          Download Domains 2, 3 and 4

          Royal Commission recommendations

          The Victorian Government has committed to implement all 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

          Of the recommendations still in progress, six relate to The Orange Door network. NOTE: The Royal Commission referred to these as Support and Safety Hubs in their report.


          Workforce Development

          Strengthening the specialist family violence workforce

          Building momentum

          This work has come at a time of huge social change. People are looking for work that is purposeful and meaningful. They want to give back to their communities and we need to capitalise on this appetite for values-driven work.

          Gabrielle Williams
          Minister for Prevention of Family Violence
          November 2019

          Strengthening the capacity and capability of the people who work to prevent and respond to family violence is critical to the reform’s success.  We recognise that the specialist family violence and primary prevention workforces are distinct, each with a specific focus and expertise. Both are part of the broader family violence system we are building with the same shared goals.

          We know that to deliver sustainable long-term reform we must develop the specialist family violence and prevention workforces and grow the family violence capabilities of the broader workforces that intersect with family violence, including:

          • community services
          • health
          • police
          • courts
          • education

          Building strength into our specialist prevention and response workforces means recruiting people with skills from a diversity of backgrounds to give us a pipeline of dedicated and skilled professionals.

          We have to provide clear career pathways that develop expertise and knowledge and where people feel valued and supported, so that they stay.

          It also relies on creating a system where specialist family violence and primary prevention sectors can work effectively together with the broader social services workforces.

          Building from Strength: 10-year Industry Plan for Family Violence Prevention and Response (Industry Plan) is the strategy that will deliver this vision: a family violence and primary prevention workforce that is valued, skilled, empowered and supported to prevent and respond to all forms of family violence.

          The Industry Plan is organised around four priorities:

          • building prevention and response capability system wide
          • strengthening the specialist workforce
          • workforce health and wellbeing
          • building a system that works together

          The Industry Plan is sequenced into a series of three rolling action plans.

          The first rolling action plan, Strengthening the Foundations, was launched in November 2019.

          Progress has been made in delivering the plan’s 61 actions. These achievements are reflected on this page alongside the key activities that will set the course of workforce development over the next three years.

          Download the detailed plans:

          Acknowledging the foundations

          The strength of the family violence sector is undeniably its people.

          We are fortunate in Victoria to have a strong base of highly skilled, dedicated and resilient family violence and primary prevention workforces who have worked tirelessly for decades helping to keep women and children in our communities safe.

          The family violence sector and social workers with family violence expertise will continue to be in high demand: Victoria’s social economy is anticipated to create 60,000 new health and community services jobs in the next five years.1

          1 Victoria's Social Economy: Social Opportunity, Economic Growth

          As we continue to build capacity in the family violence system and develop training and career pathways, strong connections and partnerships between government and family violence prevention and response providers will be critical.

          Their experience and expertise informed the long-term vision in the Industry Plan for the workforces that intersect with family violence.

          In this whole-of-reform second rolling action plan we set out where government is leading workforce development initiatives and broader industry planning over the next three years and the key collaborations with the non-government sector. It is not a comprehensive summary of all workforce development activity that is happening in governments and agencies and across the sector more widely.

          Progress since 2016

          We are making significant progress towards creating the family violence specialist workforce and building the capability of the wider workforces that intersect with family violence.

          It's like a new beginning really... for so long we were off to one side and not thought of as a legitimate part of family violence response. But it's exciting now that we're part of that multi-disciplinary team.

          I actually enjoy taking a moment of time just to reflect on where we've come from. And that to me, as someone who's been in this sector for a long time, it's good for me to do that and go, 'hey, we have actually changed quite a bit already'.

          No to Violence, Practice Development Manager
          March 2016

          Positioning family violence prevention, early intervention and response as a highly specialised employment sector with clear career pathways and professional development opportunities is critical to delivering the specialist workforce needed by the reform.

          The key workforce development activities which have been delivered since the Royal Commission are grouped here into four areas.

          1. The new Family Violence Jobs Portal was launched in May 2020 on the Victorian Government online platform. It provides a single place to search for specialist family violence roles and employment opportunities in the broader intersecting workforce.

            The launch of the portal is supported by a recruitment campaign to attract job seekers and encourage them to consider family violence prevention and response as a career.

            'Thinking about a career change?' - promotional video for the Family Violence Jobs Portal
          2. The jobs portal is part of a broader strategy to build a pipeline of workers to meet demand at every level with a series of targeted initiatives to help fill critical gaps.

            • Fast Track Professional Development Program to increase the number of knowledgeable and skilled practitioners to take up senior level management and leadership positions in the specialist workforce and mid-level primary prevention roles.
            • Enhanced Pathways to Family Violence Work Project to host university students on placements in specialist family violence and non-specialist community service organisations.

            Enhanced Pathways has been positive in our area in drawing students via placement into staffing, in specialist services particularly.

            Senior family violence practitioner
            Rolling Action Plan consultation workshop
            August 2020

            CASE STUDY – Family Violence Case Manager

            • Amber obtained a work placement in family violence response with the Salvation Army as part of her social work degree.
            • The placement led directly to a job.
            • Amber is now employed by the Salvation Army as a family violence case manager.

            Family Violence Case Manager: Amber's story

            Opportunities for leadership development are also available for senior practitioners in the specialist workforce and in workforces which intersect with family violence.  

            The Leadership Intensive Series was developed with funding from the Industry Plan and delivered by the Future Social Service Institute.

            • It brings together public sector leaders, academia and the social service sector, and provides a platform for greater collaboration across the family violence service sector.
            • So far 15 programs have been delivered to 330 sector leaders.

            CASE STUDY – Senior Practice Adviser

            • Jaya is a Senior Practice Adviser with the national primary prevention not-for-profit Our Watch.
            • She reflects on how participation in the program encouraged her to think differently about leadership.

            Senior Practice Advisor: Jaya's story
          3. The reform is partnering with government and non-governmental organisations to deliver tailored accredited and non-accredited training to:

            • the specialist family violence workforce
            • the primary prevention workforce
            • broader workforces that intersect with family violence across Victoria

            New accredited courses for the broader workforce

            As we continue to roll out the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Framework (MARAM), we are providing change management support to train workers and build skills in family violence prevention.

            To date more than 23,000 professionals have been trained in Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Framework (MARAM) and information sharing.

            In partnership with the Department of Education and Training and relevant sector organisations, we have developed two new family violence accredited training courses.

            The courses include foundational family violence knowledge and cover MARAM responsibilities for screening and identification and brief and intermediate risk assessment and management.

            The courses are available to all workforces, regardless of their MARAM prescription. They are delivered through registered training organisations including dual-sector universities and TAFEs and supported by training resources developed by leading family violence and cross-sector experts.

            Training resources are and will be contextualised to a range of workforces including:

            • alcohol and drugs
            • disability
            • mental health
            • hairdressing
            • young people
            • and those supporting diverse communities

            You see the ripple effects in your community. It’s not a shame thing, it’s just to try to get those families the right support that they need and doing that in a safe environment without being judged.

            I want to make sure our mob get... supported all the way through… with the right avenues.

            Participant, Family Violence course
            TAFE Gippsland and Gippsland and East Aboriginal Co-Operative

            Through the VET Development Centre, the Department of Education and Training has delivered professional development to upskill trainers in MARAM and family violence training delivery. This includes building trainer knowledge and skills in working with Aboriginal communities and LGBTIQ+ groups.

            Regional capacity building

            Women's Health Services have been funded to deliver the Workforce Capacity Building prevention program to regional partners.

            In 2019 Women’s Health Services delivered training to 7,099 participants across Victoria.

            Modules include:

            • gender equity
            • bystander action
            • healthy masculinities
            • intersectional perspectives on family violence

            MARAM Collaborative Practice training

            Family Violence Regional Integration Committees are supporting delivery of MARAM Collaborative Practice training within their regions.

            This training supports local services to build a shared understanding of family violence and collaborate across agencies to respond to family violence risk.

            Hospital workforce

            The Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence project equipped frontline hospital staff with the skills to identify and respond to family violence.

            • Since the program commenced 66,162 staff have received training, equating to 57 per cent of the Victorian hospital workforce.
            • The program has been updated to align with the MARAM framework.

            Cross-sector training

            The Safer Families training program, run by Women’s Legal Service Victoria, is for lawyers working in community legal centres. The program:

            • builds the skills of community legal practitioners to deliver family violence legal assistance
            • enhances lawyers’ capacity to assist with broader family violence legal needs
            • reduces risk and prevents escalation and complexity of legal issues

            Family Safety Victoria has also funded Women’s Legal Service Victoria to deliver their Critical Legal Issues Map training for specialist family violence practitioners.

            Developed in collaboration with the sector:

            • the training and resources support early identification of legal needs so practitioners can make effective referrals for clients
            • the course aims to reduce risk, prevent escalation and complexity of legal issues and reduce trauma for those experiencing family violence

            Public service workforce family violence training

            The Department of Justice and Community Safety has developed and delivered Foundational Family Violence Training to more than 3,000 staff. Training continues to be delivered remotely in 2020, ensuring:

            • participants can confidently recognise, respond to, and refer cases of family violence
            • best practice advice is provided on how to respond as a bystander to sexist language, harassment and gender inequality

            Training materials from this course are being shared with other departments to improve whole of Victorian Government training for staff on family violence response.

          4. Within the space of a few weeks over March and April almost the entire family violence workforce adjusted to online and remote service delivery and working from home.

            Family Safety Victoria worked with the peak family violence organisations Domestic Violence Victoria, No to Violence and SASVic (previously Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault Forum) to support the transition, convening a series of COVID-19 and family violence online forums focused on:

            • enabling service continuity
            • workforce requirements
            • managing occupational health and safety

            Family Safety Victoria developed additional COVID-19 response resources to support the workforce, including updated MARAM practice notes and guidance.

            Training

            Remote technology meant that workshops and training could continue to be delivered during COVID-19. The shift to online delivery for most courses has allowed those living in regional and remote areas of Victoria to access professional development opportunities as readily as the rest of the workforce.

            Our family services and specialist family violence services have come together to collaborate much more during COVID-19.

            Senior family violence practitioner
            Rolling Action Plan consultation workshop
            August 2020

          Delivery to 2023

            This high-level overview of the main workforce development activities for the next three years focuses on highlighting key actions from the first rolling action plan, Strengthening the Foundations.

            Additional workforce development activity supporting the reform is reflected in the web pages for each priority and in the page showcasing Victoria Police reform delivery.

            This overview of our planned workforce development activities to 2023 is grouped into three areas.

              1. Activities
                Accredited family violence prevention and response courses for the specialist family violence workforce and broader workforces that intersect with family violence:
                • Intermediate Risk Assessment and Management of Family Violence Risk (22651VIC) will be ready for delivery in 2021
                • Comprehensive Risk Assessment and Management course to be developed
                • Primary Prevention Contributors and Practitioners courses to be developed
                July 2020-2022 DET FSV

                Fast Track Professional Development Program to support the rapid development of practitioners in prevention and response roles:
                • Early 2021 - delivery of first round of prevention and response programs
                • Mid-late 2021 - delivery of second round of prevention and response programs
                • Mid 2022 - delivery of third round of prevention and response programs, and program complete
                2021-2022 FSV
                Building the family violence and sexual assault support workforce by accelerating training pathways

                $8.1 million over three years will support coordination of up to 240 traineeships across the state

                2020-2023 FSV
                Minimum qualifications introduced for the Specialist Family Violence Response workforce:
                • Begin 5-year transition period for existing specialist family violence workforce to upskill where required
                • Support officers and grants available to support transition
                • Pathway Graduate Certificate course developed to provide a training-based pathway to minimum qualifications with delivery to commence in 2022
                2021-2025 FSV
              2. We are creating an evidence base that will:

                • inform how we build workforce capability
                • ensure training is fit for purpose and accessible
                • support recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce that is representative of our community

                We will evaluate and monitor Strengthening the Foundations by focusing on long-term prevention and response capability and capacity across a strong and connected system where activities are driven by the needs of the workforce.

                The implementation of minimum qualifications for specialist response practitioners is an example of how we are considering the needs of the workforce as we transition to a new, more professional structure.

                • We will have supports for existing employers and workers.
                • There are grants available for upskilling and a 5-year transition period.
                • The model has been designed in collaboration with industry.

                Further activities that will support evidence-based decision-making include:

                Activities
                Analysis of 2019 Workforces Census
                • 2020 - Publication of census findings for primary prevention workforce
                • 2021 - Publication of census findings for specialist and broader workforces
                Current-Early 2021 FSV
                Deliver a new Best Practice Education model that:
                • provides an evidence-base to inform the delivery of high-quality family violence accredited training
                • supports expert-informed high-quality and safe training practices
                • provides professional development for existing trainers
                • supports the growth in supply of trainers across the TAFE system
                • developed in collaboration with the family violence sector and Aboriginal workforce experts, ensuring Aboriginal cultural safety and contemporary family violence expertise sits at the heart of accredited family violence training
                2020-2021 DET
                FSV
                Job Role Design
                • undertake research in job role design in the specialist sectors
                • develop options for current and future system requirements

                The research may inform a range of products that support future specialist family violence job-role enhancements

                Insights will be critical to informing innovative approaches to organisational performance in the specialist family violence sector, potentially providing the basis for:

                • workforce planning
                • organisation design
                • health, safety and wellbeing
                • career and succession planning
                2020-2021 FSV
              3. The people who work in the specialist response and primary prevention sectors are our most valuable assets in building a future where all Victorians can live free from violence.

                We recognise that although the work is fulfilling and rewarding it can also be stressful, emotional and fatiguing. The pressures of working remotely during COVID-19 and increased complexity of cases has impacted the workforce.

                Activities
                Prioritise the health, safety and wellbeing of the workforce and develop the Family Violence Health, Safety and Wellbeing program

                This program is for specialist family violence organisations to provide positive and supportive work environments
                Mid 2021 FSV

                Our proactive approach for the next few years will be supported by several priority actions:

                • research into best-practice clinical supervision models
                • online health, safety and wellbeing resources for workers
                • peer support strategies to better connect and support workers
                • workplace strategies for the broader workforces that intersect with family violence

              Connecting workforce development across the reform

              The ongoing delivery of connected reform activity further strengthens the broader workforces that intersect with family violence. For example:

              MARAM

              • The continued rollout of MARAM with Phase Two commencing in 2021 to a further 5,855 organisations and services across the health and education sectors.

              Victoria Police

              • Victoria Police delivery of family violence training statewide to officers at every rank through the establishment of Family Violence Centre of Learning, a purpose-built facility at the police academy in Glen Waverley.

              Reform-wide priorities

              Activities to strengthen the family violence workforce have been designed from the outset to consider intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience.

              The MARAM principles provide professionals and services across different workforces with a shared understanding of family violence and facilitate consistent, effective and safe responses for people experiencing family violence.

              Intersectionality

              Strengthening the Foundations

              The first of the industry rolling action plans was developed with a gendered and intersectional lens to embed intersectionality in workforce development.

              Under Action 3.8 of Strengthening the Foundations, we are reducing workforce entry barriers to increase workforce diversity, working towards achieving a workforce that reflects the community.

              Intersectionality Capacity Building Project

              This project supports organisations to embed an intersectionality framework and recruit and develop an inclusive, diverse workforce. It is:

              • funded through the Industry Plan
              • an action in Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement,which outlines the 10-year vision for a more inclusive, safe, responsive and accountable family violence system

              The government’s reform delivery is providing funding to the specialist family violence and broader sectors to embed an intersectional approach into their service delivery. For example:

              • No to Violence is Australia’s largest peak body for organisations and individuals who work with men to end family violence.

                • Project funding from the Department of Education and Training through the Workforce Training Innovation Fund to develop new practice frameworks by the end of 2020.
                • Delivering content and online learning opportunities to better equip the family violence workforce with the skills and knowledge to apply an intersectional approach in their service delivery.
                • Funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to design and deliver a training program for the Department’s disability workforce to recognise and respond to family violence.
                • Significant work to prevent violence against immigrant and refugee women.
                • Provided cross-cultural and intersectional training for the family violence prevention workforce and access to multilingual communities.

              Intersectionality Overview

              Aboriginal self-determination

              Future workforce activities will be guided by the forthcoming Aboriginal Family Violence Industry Strategy which is being developed through the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum.

              Aboriginal Self-Determination Overview

              Lived experience

              Lived experience is central to the design and delivery of training initiatives and pathways to minimum qualifications for family violence practitioners. It informs the family violence workforce reform through the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council’s representation on Family Safety Victoria advisory bodies.

              Lived Experience Overview

              Measuring outcomes

              Family Violence Outcomes Framework

              Delivering the activities for this priority area will likely have the greatest impact in achieving outcomes against the following domain:

              Domain 4

              Domain 4, Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring
              Domain 4
              Download Domain 4

              Reform Delivery: Showcases

              Showcasing two key reforms: Victoria Police and Respectful Relationships


              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


              Reform Delivery: Respectful Relationships

              Supporting schools to promote and model respect

              Two students sitting at a school desk.

              If you’re in a situation when you hear 'you run like a girl' or 'man up'... you know how to deal with it.

              So stand up for that person - because just because you’re a girl doesn’t mean you run a certain way.

              And when everyone learns about it and realises how to respect other people it makes a happier place.

              Jess, Year 9 Student Yarra Hills Secondary College

              The program

              The Royal Commission into Family Violence identified the critical role played by schools and early childhood education in creating a culture of respect to change the story of family violence for future generations.

              The Royal Commission recommended the introduction of respectful relationships education into every government school from prep to Year 12, delivered through a whole-school approach.

              Respectful Relationships supports schools and early childhood settings to promote and model respect, positive attitudes and behaviours and teaches our children how to build healthy relationships, resilience and confidence.

              More than 1,500 schools across Victoria are currently driving change within their school community by implementing the Respectful Relationships whole school approach.

              The 2020/21 State Budget committed $37.5 million over four years to continue rollout of Respectful Relationships.

              Teaching and Learning

              In 2016, respectful relationships education became a core component of the Victorian Curriculum from foundation to year 12. The program is taught in all government and Catholic schools and many independent schools.

              Resilience, Rights & Respectful Relationships teaching and learning materials are an optional suite of resources developed by world-leading experts from the University of Melbourne to support schools to deliver respectful relationships education. The materials are age-appropriate and align to the Victorian Curriculum.

              Yarra Hills Secondary College have incorporated respectful relationships education into their learning program with activities specifically tailored for each year level. The program is taught as part of the school's core Health subject where it fits naturally with topics such as bullying and family relationships:

              It is changing our school culture for the better. Students are becoming more aware of how their actions are impacting on others. We’ve looked at what it means to be respectful and how you can demonstrate respect in different situations.

              Matt Sheaves, Year 9 coordinator
              Yarra Hills Secondary Colleg
              Yarra Hills Secondary College Respectful Relationships program

              Whole school approach

              Respectful Relationships takes a whole-school approach, recognising that schools are a place of learning, a workplace and a key part of local communities. The program embeds a culture of respect and equality across the entire school community, from classrooms to staffrooms, sporting fields, fetes and social events.

              This approach leads to positive change in students’ academic outcomes, their wellbeing, classroom behaviour, and relationships between teachers and students.

              Our teachers are working to support students to develop their resilience, social skills and coping mechanisms and I’m proud to say I can see a change across the whole school. We’re moving in the right direction.

              Robyn Dew, Mt Evelyn campus Principal
              Yarra Hills Secondary College

              Early Childhood Professional Learning

              Respectful Relationships in early childhood is about supporting educators to create cultures of respect, positive conflict resolution and equality in their program planning.

              Professional Learning has been provided to early childhood educators since 2018. The training focuses on how to build and develop respectful relationships in alignment with the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework and the National Quality Standard.

              Spring Gully Primary School Respectful Relationships program

              Oversight

              Governance, oversight and engagement to deliver the next phase of the reform

              Overview

              Over the next phase of the reform we will continue to monitor progress against 'Ending Family Violence: Victoria's Plan for Change' (the 10-year plan) by linking governance and oversight of the reform agenda even more closely to the outcomes we want to see and the actions we are taking.

              Over the last four years we have established effective reform oversight, and governance has evolved to respond to the maturity and progress of the reform. This is consistent with findings by the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor that governance should adapt over the life of the reform.

              We know that reform needs to be underpinned by strong governance arrangements and transparent reporting.

              Reform governance

              Our governance and reporting structures will continue to adapt to reflect the current stage of reform implementation and provide insight into the impact of the reform.

              The Victorian Secretaries Board and the Family Violence Reform Interdepartmental Committee provide strategic oversight and ensure effective risk management, accountability, collaboration and coordination across the reform.

              This reform level oversight is complemented by cross-departmental program boards, steering committees and working groups that monitor project delivery and risks, develop policy, evaluate delivery and share learnings.

              Sector, community and lived experience

              The safety of victim survivors relies on how well the family violence system supports them and helps them navigate the system. Effective governance of the reform includes understanding how people experience the system. We work with key sector and lived experience groups to support this.

                • Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families 2018-2028 is the key Aboriginal-led Victorian agreement that commits Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal services and government to work together and be accountable for ensuring that Aboriginal people, families and communities are stronger, safer, thriving and living free from family violence.
                • The Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum and its members are the individual and collective champions and strategic leaders that oversee the Dhelk Dja 10-Year Agreement and rolling action plans.
                • It is their responsibility to work closely with the community and stakeholders to implement Dhelk Dja and ensure that the principles of self-determination are at the heart of the Partnership Forum’s work.

                Dhelk Dja in the Rolling Action Plan

                • enables people with lived experience of family violence to contribute to the family violence reform
                • helps ensure the voices of victim survivors remain at the centre of reform design and delivery
                • means government directly hears the needs and expectations of people with different lived experience
                • ensures that advice to government reflects the diversity of the family violence experience

                Victim Survivors' Advisory Council

              • We will establish the Family Violence Reform Advisory Group, replacing the Family Violence Steering Committee.

                The new group will:

                • comprise experts and representative groups from across the family violence sector
                • provide advice to the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence and government departments to realise the vision of the Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023 and the 10-year plan
                • cover both prevention and response and provide advice on a range of reform priorities, including sexual assault, workforce, The Orange Door network, MARAM, legal services, children and housing
                • form time-limited working groups as required to work on specific reform deliverables, high-priority issues or policy challenges reported to the Family Violence Reform Advisory Group
                • have representation from and strong connections to the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council, Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum, Principal Strategic Advisors and Regional Family Violence Integration Committees

              Independent accountability

              In 2016, the Victorian Government appointed the first ever Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor (the Monitor) to hold the Victorian Government and agencies to account for implementing the family violence reform.

              The Monitor's annual reports have given us important information about the progress of the reform and areas where greater attention has been required.

              The Monitor’s role includes monitoring and reviewing the progress and effectiveness of government agencies in implementing the reform, in particular implementation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence (RCFV) recommendations and the 10-year plan.

              The Monitor is expected to table the final implementation report to parliament in early 2021 as required under the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor Act 2016.

              In early 2021 we will work with the Monitor to develop the forward workplan and approach for the next stage of reporting.

              Family Violence Outcomes Framework

              The Family Violence Outcomes Framework (FVOF) translates the vision in the 10-year plan into a set of outcomes, indicators and measures, helping to communicate key priorities, why they matter and what reform success looks like.

              The four FVOF domains reflect the long-term outcomes to be achieved through the reform:

              • family violence and gender inequality are not tolerated
              • victim survivors, vulnerable children and families, are safe and supported to recover and thrive
              • perpetrators are held accountable, connected and take responsibility for stopping their violence
              • preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring

              Domains 1, 2, 3 and 4

              Domain 1, Family violence and gender inequality are not tolerated. Domain 2, Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive. Domain 3, Perpetrators are held accountable, connected and take responsibility for stopping their violence. Domain 4, Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring.
              Domains 1, 2, 3 and 4
              Download Domains 1, 2, 3 and 4

              The FVOF was developed in consultation with the family violence service delivery sector, victim survivors and community members. The framework was first published in the 10-year plan in 2016.

              A refreshed FVOF for the Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023

              We have refreshed aspects of the FVOF. These are the key updates:

              The prevention-focused domain outcomes and indicators have been updated

              • now aligned to the outcomes and indicators published in the first action plan of Free from Violence and the refreshed Gender Equality Outcomes Framework

              New outcomes and indicators have been developed for the perpetrator-focused domain

              • follows a significant refresh in 2020, in collaboration with sector stakeholders, to ensure the domain reflects the need for a mutually reinforcing ‘web of accountability’ that links all parts of government, justice and social services sectors

              Indicators for the system-focused domain have been developed and existing outcomes refined

              • following the design of key operational elements of the family violence reform agenda, such as the establishment of Respect Victoria, The Orange Door network, Specialist Family Violence Courts, and the redevelopment of the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework
              • new outcomes (and corresponding indicators) have been developed that focus on early intervention

              The Rolling Action Plan identifies where each priority area action is likely to have the most impact on the FVOF outcomes for the next three years. By delivering these actions we will be helping to ensure the reform is having the desired impact.

              Family Violence Outcomes Framework

              Using the FVOF to measure and evaluate reform progress

              As we get closer to implementing all Royal Commission recommendations, we will increasingly use the FVOF to demonstrate progress and reform impact.

              Reporting occurs at different levels of the reform, with project reporting at an entity/delivery level and overall reform reporting though the cross-government governance structures. We will continue to improve reporting on the reform to make sure it is fit for purpose and reflects the stage of the reform. 

              Outcomes measurement is a long-term approach. Change takes time: changing community attitudes about gender, for example, can take decades. 

              We recognise that more work is required to finalise the measures to show how the reform is having an impact. The FVOF Measurement and Monitoring Implementation Strategy uses a staged approach towards comprehensive outcomes reporting. We will build our evidence through data, evaluations and research.

              Our reporting approach

              Our reporting approach supports monitoring across the reform with reference to:

              The Royal Commission into Family Violence

              • oversight of implementation of all 227 RCFV recommendations

              The 10-Year Plan

              • monitoring activity outlined in Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change, and the accompanying rolling action plans

              Family Violence Outcomes Framework

              • implementation of and reporting against the FVOF.

              Our reporting intentions are to:

              • remain adaptive and enable improvements as the family violence reform implementation evolves
              • use both qualitative and quantitative data to support the delivery of evidence-based reporting
              • provide the reform story of outcome progress in the family violence system for victim survivors, the family violence sector, and government

              Royal Commission recommendations

              The Victorian Government has committed to implement all 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

              Of the recommendations still in progress, one relates to reflecting the central role of government in preventing and responding to family violence.

              Building the Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023

              Family violence reform is a whole of Victorian Government initiative. The delivery actions in the Rolling Action Plan have been developed collaboratively within government, and with sector and victim survivor stakeholders progressively over the last 12 months.

              Public and sector consultation

              Public engagement was held between July and September 2020 via Engage Victoria and virtual stakeholder workshops. We shared with the sector and the community an early draft of the Rolling Action Plan, framed around the priority areas.

              The feedback we received has been extensive. It has provided valuable insight which has helped guide the final form of this plan. We will continue to reflect on and consider the information provided as we continue to deliver the reform.

              Engage Victoria

              Engage Victoria social media tile for rolling action plan consultation
              Engage Victoria social media tile for rolling action plan consultation

              365 survey responses were received on the Engage Victoria platform on vic.gov.au. The respondent profile comprised:

              • 2,253 unique visitors
              • 59% metro Melbourne
              • 19% regional Victoria
              • 80% family violence and related workforces
              • 17% victim survivors

              Stakeholder engagement sessions

              We held more than 20 stakeholder engagement sessions including:

              • Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council: four deep-dive workshops on topics of members’ choosing
              • Dhelk Dja Forum: two-hour workshop facilitated by PwC Indigenous Consulting Unit
              • Statewide sector groups including: Statewide Family Violence Integration Advisory Committee, Women’s Health Services, Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare
              • Peak bodies including: No to Violence, Domestic Violence Victoria, Councils for Sexual Assaults Forum (now Sexual Assault Services Victoria), Women’s Legal Service, Victorian Legal Aid, Federation of Community Legal Centres, Our Watch, Victorian Pride Lobby
              • Commissioner meetings: Senior Victorians, LGBTIQ+, Children and Young People, Aboriginal Children and Young People.

              Coronavirus (COVID-19)

              Prevention and response to family violence has remained a critical priority for the government during the pandemic

              Overview

              The bushfires at the beginning of this year and then coronavirus have created additional challenges for our community, including increased anxiety, social isolation and financial stress.

              There is strong national and international evidence indicating violence against women and children increases, takes new forms, or may be revealed following emergencies and crises.

              We know that emergencies and crises can also intensify existing violence, particularly where women are separated from their social networks and have less opportunity to reach out. The breakdown of broader community support structures may mean that women and children who are already experiencing violence or who have recently left violent partners are put at further risk, by needing to rely on a perpetrator for survival or access to services.

              During the pandemic, prevention and response to family violence has remained a critical priority for the government with all Victorian family violence and sexual assault services continuing to operate.

              Coronavirus has had a significant impact on the family violence service system as it has shifted from face-to-face to remote service delivery. The sector has continued to deliver and has adapted to challenging and changing conditions.

              While Victoria experienced an initial decrease in demand for police and family violence services with the introduction of social distancing measures, year on year evidence shows increasing rates of family violence in Australia during COVID-19.

              As we release this second rolling action plan the full impact of COVID-19 is not yet known but it has already driven change and innovation in how we design and deliver services. We will consider these as we continue to deliver the reform.

              Impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19)

              Necessary physical distancing measures including working from home and flexible learning for children have resulted in women, children and young people spending extended periods of time with perpetrators. These circumstances can make it challenging to discreetly and securely access support services and escape family violence.

              Women are also disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, with increasing employment instability due to overrepresentation in affected industries such as the arts, hospitality and retail, where woman account for 55 per cent of the workforce, and education and training (73 per cent).1 Early drawing-down of superannuation may also further entrench long-term disadvantage.

              For children and young people, time away from school environments has limited opportunities for formal and informal support.

              For many older people, the pandemic has resulted in increased social isolation and a higher risk of experiencing elder abuse. Data compiled by the Crime Statistics Agency from a range of sources has highlighted a significant increase in family violence incidents for people aged 55 and older during this period.

              The Grattan Institute, Shutdown: Estimating the COVID-19 Employment Shock. April 2020.
              Nous Group, ‘Women, lower-income earners hit hardest by social distancing, Nous finds’, March 2020

              • Demand on family violence services in Victoria has fluctuated during COVID-19 as restrictions on movement have changed. 

                We know with restrictions on movement that opportunities to reach out for help using traditional avenues are often limited and there are more barriers to seeking help.

                International evidence and experiences in Australia with bushfires tell us that there are spikes in family violence which may only emerge fully following emergencies and crises.

                By mid 2020 there were indications of increasing demand and complexity of calls and referrals to services.

                While it is too early to reach any conclusions about the full effects of the pandemic on the nature and extent of family violence in Victoria, there are indications that demand is likely to grow as restrictions in Victoria ease, especially in areas and communities that have been most affected. 

                Data and research on coronavirus (COVID-19) impact

                Family violence service providers have highlighted new trends in the patterns and severity of violence experienced by women accessing their services.

                Research by Monash University reports the specific tactics of violence have changed or increased during COVID-19, including:

                • escalation in technology abuse, for example monitoring movement and restricting communication
                • using misinformation around visa status
                • threats (including threats of suicide and self-harm)
                • access to children; undermining parenting
                • exploiting changes in power dynamics and limiting access to service supports

                Alongside research on the patterns of family violence, there is associated data and reporting relating to fatigue in the family violence sector and further data suggesting we can also expect demand to increase for services such as legal advice, counselling, financial advice and housing.  

                The COVID-19 Family Violence Data Portal, developed by the Crime Statistics Agency, shows COVID-19 impacts on family violence. 

                COVID-19 Family Violence Data Portal

              Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the family violence response

              Family violence response and support 

              Family violence frontline services including crisis accommodation, police and courts, and sexual assault services continue to operate and support women, children and families at risk.

              Government and the family violence sector have adapted to the challenges arising from restrictions, with many frontline staff working from home and delivering services remotely. This has provided opportunities to use technological innovations and new service delivery models to manage the safety of victim survivors and keep perpetrators accountable for their behaviour.

              Victoria Police: Operation Ribbon

              Victoria Police commenced Operation Ribbon on 13 April 2020. Members of the Family Violence Investigation Unit follow up with known family violence offenders and conduct compliance checks with court orders.

              The operation has involved police visiting victim survivors and communicating with them through several different channels to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

              As of 1 November 2020

              29,151 contacts to:

              • 20,593 AFMs (affected family members/victim survivors)
              • 8,548 perpetrators

              Contact type:

              • 57.4% phone
              • 37.5% face to face
              • 5.1% email and other

              Coronavirus (COVID-19) investment for family violence services

              On 10 April 2020, the Victorian Government announced an investment of $40.2 million in crisis accommodation and specialist services for people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, family violence.

              On 17 August 2020, the Victorian Government announced $20.43 million would be directed to more initiatives to combat family violence and address increasing demand for perpetrator intervention services during COVID-19.

              These funding allocations have delivered a range of family violence-related initiatives and services, including:

              Victim survivor support

              • short-term accommodation for victim survivors who do not feel safe self-isolating or recovering from COVID-19 at home
              • capacity-building of family violence and sexual assault services, including Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations

              Perpetrator intervention programs

              • men’s behaviour change programs and one-on-one case management for perpetrators of family violence
              • funding that will enable family violence perpetrators, or people who believe they are at risk of using violence, to move into short-term or long-term accommodation

              Adolescents who use violence

              • dedicated support for adolescents using violence and their families

              The Victorian Government also announced $3 million for 12 women’s health services across the state to continue their work to prevent family violence, ensuring these services can continue to deliver prevention of family violence training, advice and support to organisations in their local areas.

              Family violence reform innovations during coronavirus (COVID-19)

                • rapid shift to online service delivery including Community Corrections Services, courts and specialist family violence services, perpetrator interventions (where appropriate and safe), Victorian Legal Aid centres, and online chat functions to enable safe contact
                • Audio-Visual Link technology in courts to promote access to justice for victims where appropriate and safe to do so
                • fast-tracked rollout of an online Family Violence Intervention Order application form through the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria
                • availability of remote court trial hearings for victim survivors of sexual assault
                • support for government schools during remote and flexible learning with additional resources to assist school staff to identify family violence risk and support vulnerable cohorts; includes a rapid move to providing remote access to wellbeing support including counselling for students, as well as online training and advice for the workforce
                • increase in the frequency and length of practitioner remote contact with both victim survivors and those at risk of perpetrating family violence, including perpetrator interventions moving to a multi-intervention service model
                • development of targeted MARAM Practice Notes for each sector, responding to victims and perpetrators and focused on supporting collaborative practice between specialist and non-specialist services
                • accelerating development and widespread use of online training enabling professionals to continue to be trained in MARAM  
                • building risk questions specific to coronavirus into online family violence MARAM assessment tools which can be adapted to be used in future crises
                • partnering with public health to ensure that wherever possible COVID-19 related health operations have served as a platform to identify family violence and provide information and support

                MARAM Practice Notes

                • advertising family violence support services in places people visit during social distancing restrictions, such as workplaces, health services, pharmacies and supermarkets
                • producing video and audio police messages for culturally and linguistically diverse communities on reporting options and the support services available, with messages recorded in 27 languages and disseminated via a range of media
                • establishing the COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Taskforce to provide a comprehensive, coordinated and culturally safe response to the impacts of coronavirus on Aboriginal Victorians. The Taskforce comprises representatives from Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, Victorian Government departments and other community members and provides advice on impacts across all socio-economic domains, including family violence
                • developing and implementing Community Corrections' resources to encourage perpetrators to engage in help-seeking behaviour, including:
                  • the publication of a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Perpetrator Guide
                  • implementing a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victim Survivor Guide
                  • developing and running training specific to coronavirus (COVID-19) and family violence for Corrections and Community Services staff

              Additional reform-level activities related to COVID-19 are included in the various priority areas throughout the Rolling Action Plan.

              As we continue to learn from the impacts of the pandemic we will continue to assess and implement those innovations and learnings, in line with our commitment to continuous improvement across the reform.


              Glossary of Terms

              ACCO Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation
              CALD culturally and linguistically diverse
              CIP Central Information Point
              CISS Child Information Sharing Scheme 
              CMCOP Court Mandated Counselling Order Program
              CSA Crime Statistics Agency
              CSV Court Services Victoria
              DET Department of Education and Training
              Dhelk Dja Aboriginal-led agreement to address family violence in Aboriginal communities
              DHHS Department of Health and Human Services
              DJCS Department of Justice and Community Safety
              Djirra An Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation that provides practical support to all Aboriginal women and particularly to Aboriginal people who are currently experiencing family violence or have in the past
              DPC Department of Premier and Cabinet
              EACPI Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions
              FSV Family Safety Victoria
              FVIO Family Violence Intervention Order
              FVISS Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme 
              FVOF Family Violence Outcomes Framework
              FVSN Family Violence Safety Notice
              L17 Victoria Police Risk Assessment and Management Report 
              LGBTIQ+ Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender diverse, intersex and queer
              MARAM Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework
              Nargneit Birrang Aboriginal holistic healing framework for family violence
              OfW Office for Women
              Umalek Balit Court-based Koori Family Violence and Victim Support Program
              VAGO Victorian Auditor-General's Office
              Vic Govt Victorian Government
              VLA Victoria Legal Aid

              BACK TO THE ROLLING ACTION PLAN


              Family Violence Reform: strategies, frameworks and plans

              Key documents supporting delivery of Victoria's family violence reform

              • Victoria’s 10 Year Plan to implement all 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission, forming the foundation for a broad program of long-term reform that will continue beyond their implementation. 

                Ending family violence - Victoria's 10-year plan

              • The first of three rolling action plans under Ending Family Violence - Victoria's Plan for Change (the 10-year Plan).

                Rolling Action Plan 2017-2020

              • Building from Strength: 10-year Industry Plan for Family Violence Prevention and Response outlines the Victorian Government's long-term vision and plan for the workforces that prevent and respond to family violence.

                Building from Strength

              • The Community Safety Statement is a shared agreement between the Victorian Government and Victoria Police for reducing crime and keeping our state safe.

                Published every year by Victoria Police, the Community Safety Statement sets out Victoria Police's plans for the next year and the resourcing which will deliver on those priorities.

                Community Safety Statement

              • The 10-year Agreement is built upon self-determination principles between Aboriginal community leaders and the Victorian Government to address family violence experienced by Aboriginal people.

                The Agreement formalises the long-term partnership and articulates the directions required at a statewide, regional and local level to support Aboriginal people experiencing family violence, and ensure families and communities are free from violence. 

                Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way

              • Victoria’s long-term vision to build a family violence system that is more inclusive, safe, responsive and accountable to all Victorians.

                It acknowledges and recognises the diversity inherent within each of us, and the need for family violence and universal services to build capacity and capability to better understand the systemic barriers to inclusion, equity and access through the application of an intersectionality framework.

                Everybody Matters

              • The Family Violence Outcomes Framework translates Victoria’s vision to end family violence into a quantifiable set of outcomes, indicators and measures.

                Family Violence Outcomes Framework

              • Victoria's strategy to prevent family violence and all violence against women is central to the 10 Year Plan’s commitment to a sustained and enduring focus on prevention. 

                Free from violence

              • Launched in December 2017, the strategy builds on previous reforms seeking to improve victim experiences and ultimately reduce and prevent violence against women and children.

                It incorporates the findings and recommendations from the Royal Commissions into Family Violence and Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

                The strategy seeks to integrate responses to family violence, sexual offences and child abuse where these themes are linked or co-occurring.

                The strategy has four priority areas:

                • victim safety
                • perpetrator accountability
                • child safety
                • workforce capability

                Policing Harm, Upholding the Right

              • Victoria’s Gender Equality Strategy, sets out the founding reforms to progressively build the attitudinal and behavioural changes required to reduce violence against women and improve gender equality.  

                Safe and strong

              • The first of the rolling action plans that work towards achieving the long-term vision for the workforces that intersect with family violence.

                Strengthening the Foundations

              • The strategy for reform of the children, youth and family services system.

                The Roadmap creates co-ordinated services that work together to meet the needs of vulnerable families and children, forming an important step in the Victorian Government’s long-term response to the Royal Commission.  

                It focuses on:

                • strengthening communities to better prevent neglect and abuse
                • delivering early support to children and families at risk
                • keeping more families together through crisis
                • securing a better future for children who cannot live at home

                The Roadmap for Reform

              • It identifies four critical enablers of self-determination to shape government action:

                • prioritise culture
                • address trauma and support healing
                • address racism and promote cultural safety
                • transfer power and resources to communities

                Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework


              Reviewed 17 December 2020