Background to the Family Violence Regional Integration Committees (FVRICs)

As area-based cross sector committees representing government and non-government agencies, family violence services, children and family services, Victoria Police, justice and legal services, housing, community, and health services, FVRICs are well positioned to focus on collectively building a more integrated family violence service system.

FVRICs are uniquely positioned and constituted to harness expertise and knowledge and build family violence literacy across different service sectors to build the effectiveness of services and improve the pathways to support for victim survivors, as well as promoting accountability of perpetrators.

The Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016) and resulting reforms

A key finding of the RCFV was the need for more integrated service delivery to provide timely and effective responses to people experiencing family violence. Issues in the service system were identified, including:

myriad entry points, and overlapping service systems at both the state and federal levels provide services to those experiencing family violence... elements of the family violence system response remain ‘siloed’ and fragmented, leading to inaccessibility and complexity for people seeking help.

Royal Commission into Family Violence: Summary and Recommendations, Vol 1, p19

The RCFV also found that the service system needed to be strengthened to keep perpetrators in view and to hold them to account.

It identified the requirement for a strong ‘systems focus’ to achieve change at the local level, and the importance of linking statewide policy and planning with an understanding of local issues.

The RCFV recognised the value of formally linking the area based FVRICs with the statewide governance of the family violence reforms, and in line with the RCFV’s recommendation 193, FVRICs are represented in the on the Family Violence Reform Advisory Group (FVRAG). The FVRAG provides advice to the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, FSV and government departments to realise the vision of the family violence reforms.

Family Violence regional integration project: Strengthening the case for the future of regional integration (strengthening regional integration)

In 2018 FVRICs collaborated to engage a consultant to undertake an analysis of the role of regional integration in the context of the family violence reform agenda as proposed by the RCFV.

The project identified that FVRICs are the only local governance structures with a dedicated focus on the family violence system, and the valuable role of FVRICs in establishing consistent family violence literacy across the diverse service types that make up a local service system.

The report highlighted the value of FVRICs, and their capacity to provide strategic advice to the government on the design and implementation of family violence reforms, informed by local system knowledge and cross-sector perspectives. The project supported the recommendation of the RCFV that the regional integration co-ordinator role should be elevated to principal strategic advisor (PSA) status to strengthen the capacity of FVRICs to support system development by providing strategic advice and leadership.

The project also made various recommendations for strengthening the role of FVRICs including by creating more consistency in the way they operate. Findings from the project have informed these guidelines.

In response to the strengthening regional integration report, the PSAs recognised that forming a statewide committee would enhance the work of FVRICs by supporting collaboration to identify synergies and common issues across FVRICs, and to provide a co-ordinated point of engagement between FVRICs and statewide bodies including FSV and peak bodies. The Statewide Family Violence Integration Advisory Committee (SFVIAC) was formed in 2019 as the representative group for the 13 FVRICs. Its purpose is to provide a mechanism to identify and prioritise systemic issues occurring across the state, and to facilitate statewide representation of FVRICs in discussions with FSV, peak bodies, and other statewide forums.