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Family violence rolling action plan 2017-2020

The Family Violence Rolling Action Plan 2017-2020 is the next step of the Victorian Government’s 10 year agenda to build a Victoria free from family violence.

Family violence services and support

If you have experienced violence or sexual assault and require immediate or ongoing assistance, contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) to talk to a counsellor from the National Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence hotline. For confidential support and information, contact Safe Steps’ 24/7 family violence response line on 1800 015 188. If you are concerned for your safety or that of someone else, please contact the police in your state or territory, or call 000 for emergency assistance.

Aboriginal Acknowledgment

The Victorian Government proudly acknowledges Victorian Aboriginal people as the First Peoples and Traditional Owners and custodians of the land and water on which we rely. We acknowledge and respect that Aboriginal communities are steeped in traditions and customs built on an incredibly disciplined social and cultural order. This social and cultural order has sustained up to 50,000 years of existence. We acknowledge the ongoing leadership role of Aboriginal communities in addressing, and preventing family violence and join with our First Peoples to eliminate family violence from all communities.

Introduction

The Family Violence Rolling Action Plan 2017-2020 is the next step of the Victorian Government’s 10 year agenda to build a Victoria free from family violence. It is focused on the first phase of implementation, including how the key initiatives and actions we are taking will contribute to achieving outcomes, how they will be funded, as well as how they deliver on the Royal Commission into Family Violence (Royal Commission) recommendations.

This Plan outlines the government’s significant investment of $1.91 billion in family violence services and reform, and also articulates related investment in housing, Victoria Police and Maternal and Child Health Services. Our timelines and approach to implementation reflect the scale of these reforms.

Our investment and actions will change the way services are delivered and better respond to the needs of victim survivors. They will hold perpetrators to account. And critically, they will save lives. 

Our 10 Year Reform Agenda

Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change (10 Year Plan) outlined how the Victorian Government would achieve its vision of a Victoria free from family violence by implementing all 227 Royal Commission recommendations.

Since the Royal Commission delivered its final report to government, we have made significant progress. What we have achieved so far can be viewed via our Royal Commission recommendation implementation tracker at vic.gov.au/familyviolence 

Guiding our approach to implementation are the 10 Year Plan, Free from Violence: Victoria’s Strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women, and the Rolling Action Plans. Our response to family violence is integrated with other reforms in recognition of the complex nature of family violence. This includes Safe and Strong, Victoria’s Gender Equality Strategy, the Indigenous Family Violence 10 Year Plan, Strong Culture, Strong Peoples and Strong Families: Towards a safer future for Indigenous families and communities, and Roadmap for Reform: strong families, safe children.

We are designing for diversity and intersectionality at the outset, ensuring our reforms are inclusive, non-discriminatory and accessible for everyone. We recognise the need for enduring partnerships with Aboriginal communities to build on community-led responses and the foundations of the Indigenous Family Violence Partnership Forum and existing Indigenous Family Violence 10 Year Plan. We are also making responses for people from diverse communities more accessible and strengthening the wrap-around support provided so that it is tailored for each individual and family.

We are committed to approaching the implementation of recommendations from a strong evidence-base and have committed significant investment to start this work. In carrying out these reforms, the completion of these recommendations remains consistent with the short, medium or long-term priorities identified by the Royal Commission. However, in ensuring these reforms are carefully and consistently implemented, some of the timelines for completion may vary from those specified by the Royal Commission. This reflects the need to ensure that the reforms are completed the right way, the first time.

It is not possible to implement elements of this reform agenda in isolation. In determining our investment and prioritisation of recommendations we have not only considered the need to respond to urgent demand across the system but also the interconnected nature of the Royal Commission’s recommendations and reforms more broadly. There are several aspects of the reforms that we must complete before we commence the rollout of other projects and initiatives.

Further planning work is underway to build on this sequencing so that we utilise better practice in implementing these interconnected reforms.

Family Violence Outcomes Framework

We have embedded the Family Violence Outcomes Framework (Outcomes Framework) from the outset with each part of our reform agenda being clearly linked to the outcomes we want to achieve. This is particularly important as aspects of this reform are new and innovative and parts of the system will need to change, evolve or adapt over time.

The Outcomes Framework, published in the 10 Year Plan, has been further developed through a co-design process. The Outcomes Framework now includes a set of indicators that describe the immediate commitment we are making and what we aim to achieve. The indicators are consistent with, and complement those we have developed in Safe and Strong, A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy and Free from Violence: Victoria’s Strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women.

These indicators represent an initial list of high priorities which we will use to clarify and focus our efforts in the short to medium term. Further work is underway on more specific measures to track progress against each indicator for particular cohorts, including for Aboriginal and diverse communities.

Over time, the Outcomes Framework will be progressively embedded across funding, accountability and performance systems. This will mean that people will experience a joined up service system which is focused on meeting their individual needs.

Family Violence Investment Approach

The impact of family violence is significant and far-reaching. It was estimated to cost the Victorian economy $5.3 billion in 2015- 16. The investment outlined in this Plan will enable us to implement major reform initiatives to better support victims and reduce the impact on our community. However, committing to major reform and making a significant investment will not be enough if it is not done in a way that is sustainable and enduring.

The many initiatives that contribute to our family violence reforms are designed to be mutually reinforcing and address gaps in the system. Funding has been prioritised to ensure that the timing of and approach to delivering reforms can best reflect the scale and complexity of the changes we are making. There will be comprehensive planning, consultation and evaluation of the reform agenda as a whole. This investment approach takes into account a number of different strategies which are necessary to ensure that the reforms will help achieve a more integrated and person-centred response to family violence.

To support the implementation of the Outcomes Framework and the significant reforms to service design and delivery, particularly the shift towards integrated and tailored services, we will be making a series of changes to the funding and accountability approach for family violence and related services.

Reforming our funding system will enable services to achieve outcomes for the unique needs of the people they support by providing service providers with more flexibility in how funding is used.

Flexible, person-centred funding approach

  • Transparency on the economic and financial cost of Family Violence in Victoria
  • Flexible funding arrangements support more integrated and tailored service delivery
  • Strengthen evaluation to drive improvement
  • A consistent and transparent pricing framework supports the delivery of quality services to people
  • Improved accountability and outcomes focus
  • Improved demand modelling to inform services planning and resource allocation

Our Engagement and Partnership Approach

We have built, and will continue to strengthen, genuine and meaningful partnerships with victim survivors, the service sector and the community.

We will work together with key stakeholders to gather feedback and advice on policy decisions to support the implementation of our reforms. Our partners in delivering change include the Family Violence Steering Committee and the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council. The Steering Committee is the primary source of sector and community leadership and advice as we rollout the initiatives detailed in this Plan.

The Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council is the first of its kind in Australia and provides advice to government on victim survivors’ experience of family violence and using the Victorian service system. We will continue to collaborate with victim survivors, to effect enduring and meaningful change.

A range of other key groups and partnerships with specialist expertise are advising on the reform implementation, including the:

  • Social Services Taskforce
  • Family Violence Housing Assistance Implementation Taskforce
  • Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions
  • Chief Magistrate’s Family Violence Taskforce
  • Judicial Reform Advisory Group
  • Roadmap Implementation Ministerial Advisory Group
  • Diverse Communities and Intersectionality Working Group
  • Indigenous Family Violence Partnership Forum
  • Aboriginal Justice Forum
  • Aboriginal Family Violence Co-Design Forum
  • Aboriginal Children’s Forum
  • Industry Taskforce
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Gender Diverse and Intersex (LGBTI) Taskforce
  • Ministerial Taskforce on the Prevention of Family Violence and Other Forms of Violence Against Women

Outcomes

Outcome 1

All Victorians experience respectful relationships underpinned by human rights and gender equality —healthy relationship behaviours are celebrated and promoted.

Indicators

  • Increase in people reporting they enjoy safe, healthy and respectful relationships
  • Decrease in prevalence of reported sexism, sexual harassment and gendered bullying
  • Increase identification of and response to bullying and discrimination

Outcome 2

Victorians do not tolerate family violence —family violence reporting rates reflect increased confidence in the system and intolerance of family violence, and eventually reflect sustained effort in prevention.

Indicators

  • Reduction in all forms of family violence
  • Increase reporting of family violence incidents
  • Increase positive bystander behaviour towards abuse and violence

Outcome 3

Victorians hold beliefs and attitudes that reject gender inequality and family violence — people recognise and reject all forms of family violence and gender inequality, and know how to challenge it when they see it. Individuals and systems do not minimise or deny family violence or blame victims, and stigma and discrimination is addressed.

Indicators

  • Increase awareness of what constitutes family violence
  • Increase recognition of the impact of family violence on victim survivors
  • Decrease attitudes that justify, excuse, minimise, hide or shift blame for family violence
  • Increase visible rejection of violence by the media, public and community leaders

Outcome 4

Women and men, and girls and boys are equal — gender inequalities where people live, work, learn and play are diminished.

Indicators

  • Increase in people who feel able to have a say with family and friends about decisions that affect them
  • Reduction in gender segregation in occupations and education
  • Reduction in reports of everyday stereotypes and sexism
  • Increase children and young people’s understanding of power and control issues in relationships

Family violence and gender inequality are not tolerated

Stopping family violence before it starts is critical and that is why we are committed to a sustained and enduring focus on prevention. A Victoria free from family violence begins by challenging the attitudes and behaviours that foster and condone family violence. Our approach to primary prevention is grounded in the understanding that family violence is a deeply gendered issue. Accordingly, our initiatives will be underpinned by the first Victorian Gender Equality Strategy, Safe and Strong and the $5.9 million invested in delivering this strategy in the 2017-18 Victorian State Budget.

Prevention starts with clear messages about respect and equality. Engaging individuals and communities in conversations about family violence is paramount. Meaningful and lasting change can only be delivered if all parts of the community work together to understand, reject and change the social norms and conditions that lead to family violence and gender inequality.

We have invested over $100 million in the prevention of family violence, between our initial funding in the 2016-17 State Budget and a further $50.7 million for primary prevention. This work will be guided by our Primary Prevention Strategy, Free from Violence: Victoria’s Strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women (Free from Violence).

Free from violence: Victoria's strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women

$ 50.7M

SUPPORTS ROYAL COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS: 142, 187, 188, 192

Through enhanced and coordinated prevention activities and initiatives, our prevention efforts will work towards achieving

  • Outcome 2
  • Outcome 3
  • Outcome 14

Free from Violence places Victoria on a world leading path to take a systemic and whole-of-community approach to changing the social conditions that lead to family violence, promoting gender equality and encouraging respectful relationships and will guide our future prevention initiatives and programs.

While primarily aimed at addressing gender inequality as a key driver of family violence and violence against women by changing the social norms, structures and practices which influence the attitudes and behaviours leading to such violence, Free from Violence will also address the reinforcing factors that may increase the likelihood of violence, such as experiencing family violence as a child or young person.

As part of Free from Violence, we will establish a dedicated Prevention Agency, scale up and build on what we know by continuing to support community prevention partnerships, focused strategies to engage workplaces, testing new prevention approaches, investing in universal and whole of population approaches including behavioural change campaigns, and continuing research into best practice to build data and measure the impact of prevention work to reduce family violence through the Family Violence Index. 

Free from Violence will also support prevention efforts underway in Aboriginal communities which are being led by community. Acknowledging and addressing the unique experiences of Aboriginal people, including the impacts of colonisation, and working together with Aboriginal Victorians is a critical part of the Strategy. Where we do not have a strong evidence-base for the drivers of family violence including the impacts of discrimination and inequality experienced by Victorians from LGBTI communities, men, people with a disability, older people, and some other diverse communities, we will work to build this knowledge through innovation to inform future practice. Free from Violence also includes an Outcomes Framework and specific indicators to track our success in preventing family violence and violence against women, which builds on and aligns with the Family Violence Outcomes Framework published in the 10 Year Plan.

To ensure we have the structures and systems in place to effectively focus on prevention over the long-term, we are establishing a dedicated Prevention Agency to develop, support and coordinate prevention initiatives across the state. The Prevention Agency will improve oversight and provide advice to government, ensuring that prevention activities are better targeted and more effective. The Prevention Agency will work with Australia’s national primary prevention organisation, Our Watch, and other organisations working in the field of prevention to change the attitudes and behaviours that lead to family violence in Victoria.

Building on existing prevention efforts

A number of key prevention initiatives that are already underway will continue to be progressed, including:

  • Embedding Respectful Relationships in all Victorian primary and secondary schools. Education is a key setting for ending, preventing and reducing family violence. In order to drive cultural and generational change, the Royal Commission recommended rolling out the Respectful Relationships education to all schools in Victoria. The Respectful Relationships initiative aims to improve student and staff knowledge on the issues of family violence, equality, inclusion and respectful relationships and positively influence attitudes which promote gender equality among young Victorians. It has been embedded in the new Victorian Curriculum from 2017, and our initial investment of $21.9 million, started the rollout of the whole of school initiative across Victoria. This rollout has commenced with 120 leading schools and up to 600 partner schools across government schools as well as Catholic and independent schools participating. Respectful Relationships training is also being developed for up to 4,000 early childhood educators.
  • Establishing the Family Violence Behaviour Change Campaign as a mass awareness campaign to engage with the broader Victorian community to promote positive cultural change and shift the behaviours and attitudes which tolerate and condone family violence. This campaign began in December 2016 with a series of television advertisements on what constitutes the majority of family violence and its impacts. In the first six months, the television advertisements were viewed by approximately four million Victorians, and the digital advertisements were viewed by over one million Victorians. We have commenced research and focus groups to support the next phase of the campaign which will provide a more intensive focus for Aboriginal and diverse communities across Victoria – including culturally and ethnically diverse communities and the LGBTI community. Behaviour change activity will continue to be delivered as part of Free from Violence.
  • Implementing strategies to engage Victorian workplaces to commit to the prevention of family violence, including completing the Workplace Equality and Respect Program and making those resources readily available, establishing direct support through the creation of advisors, and reinforcing strategies across the community that address gender inequality as a key driver of family violence.
  • Sustainable funding for innovative, community-led prevention programs for Aboriginal communities including through funding the continuation of prevention and early intervention programs for Koori women, including the delivery of Sisters Day Out events, Dilly Bag programs and Young Luv workshops.
  • Continuing the multicultural Capacity Building and Participation grants program to provide further funding to local service providers and communities to deliver programs aimed at preventing and responding to family violence in culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse communities.

Outcomes

Outcome 5

Early intervention prevents escalation (victim) — people, including children and young people, at risk of witnessing or experiencing family violence are identified early and provided with effective early interventions.

Indicators

  • Increase early identification of people, children and young people, at risk of family violence
  • Increase in people receiving help and support following first disclosure
  • Reduction in children and young people who experience family violence
  • Decrease in people experiencing family violence who were previously in contact with services or police

Outcome 6

Families are safe and strong — the system intervenes early to prevent harm to children and young people and enables families to access effective support services when they need them.

Indicators

  • Reduction in harm as a result of family violence
  • Reduction in family violence amongst women who are pregnant or have a newborn
  • Reduction in the level of risk for victim survivors immediately post-separation
  • Reduce disruption to positive family connections

Outcome 7

Victim survivors are safe —the system takes responsibility for managing risk, instead of placing the onus on victim survivors, including children and young people.

  • Increase feelings of safety for victim survivors
  • Increase safety for victim survivors
  • Increase in victim survivors who remain safe
  • Reduction in medical presentations related to family violence
  • Decrease family violence deaths

Outcome 8

Victim survivors are heard and in control —victim survivors, including children and young people, are always listened to, believed and understood, and supported to take control of their immediate situation and make decisions about their future. 

  • Increase self-referrals to family violence support services
  • Increase in victim survivors’ confidence in the criminal justice system
  • Increase in victim survivors feeling supported and understood
  • Increase in victim survivors who know that the responsibility for the abuse sits with the perpetrator
  • Reduction in victim survivors who are re-victimised

Outcome 9

Victim survivors rebuild lives & thrive — disruption is minimised for victim survivors, including children and young people, with safe and secure housing, finances, employment, education and recovery from trauma available for as long as people need it.

  • Reduce disruption to education for children and young people affected by family violence
  • Increase financial stability and independence for victim survivors
  • Increase in victim survivors who have safe, secure, stable and affordable housing
  • Increase in victim survivors who maintain strong cultural, family and community connections

From better identifying and effectively responding to early warning signs, to providing safety in times of crisis and supporting long-term stability and recovery, we are significantly investing in and enhancing the ways we support and respond to those who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, family violence.

Through our initial funding boost to services in the 2016-17 Victorian State Budget we have begun to address critical demand issues experienced by services that work with victims of family violence. This includes case management and outreach services, counselling and investment in flexible support to meet the complex needs of victims. The actions and funding detailed in this Plan build on this initial investment.

Our significant reforms will focus on improving how victims are kept safe and supported. To make sure families get the seamless and continuous support they need, our efforts will focus not only on addressing demand pressures, but also increasing the capacity and flexibility of child and family services and specialist family violence services to respond appropriately to people’s individual circumstances. The establishment of the Support and Safety Hubs will provide women, children and families with quick and simple access to the support and safety they need.

Significant reform to the Child and Family Services sector will focus on identifying and addressing issues earlier, and improving the way services work together to better meet the needs of vulnerable children and families, aligning with our efforts to target services towards early intervention and prevention through the Roadmap for Reform: strong families, safe children. This work will be complemented by more diverse and accessible crisis and longer term accommodation options for victims of family violence and families, as well as flexible support packages and greater access to therapeutic support to assist people in their recovery and to live safe, stable and independent lives into the future.

We must also ensure that the response of our justice system is focused on the safety of victims and keeping perpetrators in view. To do this, we are embedding a specialist, trauma-informed response across our justice system through the expansion of the Specialist Family Violence Court model and increasing access to legal assistance. This will combine with changes to the frontline response of Victoria Police through dedicated family violence investigators who are supported by effective, targeted training.

Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive

$ 448.1M

Support and Safety Hubs supports Royal Commission Recommendations 10, 37, 38, 40, 211

The Hubs will play a key role in achieving many of the family violence reform outcomes, including

  • Outcome 5
  • Outcome 6
  • Outcome 7
  • Outcome 8
  • Outcome 9
  • Outcome 10
  • Outcome 11
  • Outcome 13
  • Outcome 14
  • Outcome 15
  • Outcome 16 

The development of the Hubs represents transformational reform to Victoria’s system for responding to family violence and child vulnerability.

The Hubs will be a new way for women, children, and young people experiencing family violence and families in need of support to access coordinated support from justice, health and social services.

For too long, women experiencing family violence have had to manage their own safety. At a time of great vulnerability, they have been bounced around the system, ineligible for services they approach, or placed on long waiting lists, while telling their story over and over.

Hubs will be staffed by highly-skilled practitioners that bring expertise of working with women, children, men and families. Staff at the Hubs will have access to better information than ever before and will work with victim survivors to identify risks and needs, and connect them to the supports they choose.

The Hubs will replace existing referral points for victims and perpetrators of family violence (including police L17 referral points) and children and families in need of support (ChildFIRST). The Hubs will work in partnership with Aboriginal communities and services to support Aboriginal selfdetermination and ensure that the Hubs provide culturally safe responses for Aboriginal Victorians across the state.

The Hubs will also shift the focus of the service system to perpetrators of family violence, to keep them in view and, alongside the police and justice system, hold them accountable for their actions and changing their behaviour.

A co-design process has helped inform the design and establishment of the Hubs. This has involved a series of regional forums held in October 2016 which were attended by over 700 people, including workers from across the service system, victim survivors and other community members. The regional forums helped shape the vision for the Hubs outlined in the 10 Year Plan. In early 2017 a series of workshops were held with a design group comprised of practitioners and other experts from across the social, community and justice service systems.

The government has also consulted the Family Violence Steering Committee, the Aboriginal Family Violence Co-Design Forum, the Diverse Communities and Intersectionality Working Group, an inter-department Project Control Group, and other sector and stakeholder groups.

In addition, a number of small group discussions with people who have experienced the service system, including victim survivors and families, have provided insights.

This work has led to the development of the Support and Safety Hubs: Statewide Concept. The Statewide Concept will be released shortly and will be a foundation that provides the basis for more detailed operational specifications and planning, and local design and implementation.

Designing, establishing and implementing the Hubs across Victoria is a large scale, transformational reform that will require sustained effort and a significant investment. Building over time, this investment will deliver:

  • Statewide establishment and operation of the Hubs across all 17 Department of Health and Human Services Local Areas by 2021.
  • Area-based, integrated entry points for people to specialist family violence services, family services and perpetrator responses, with the capacity to connect people to the broader service system.
  • Highly skilled, multi-disciplinary Hub intake teams, with specialist expertise in working with women and children experiencing family violence, families in need of support with the care, wellbeing and development of children, and perpetrators of family violence.
  • Additional specialist workers including Advanced Family Violence Practitioners, Community Based Child Protection Practitioners, and funding for Aboriginal organisations to provide expert input into the Hubs.
  • Multiple ways to access Hub services, including safe and accessible physical locations, outposted and outreach workers, and online and telephone platforms.
  • A sophisticated client record system.
  • Flexible support packages for direct allocation by the Hub.
  • Resources for education and awareness raising, and to support project delivery and sector to transition to the Hubs approach.

The Support and Safety Hubs: Statewide Concept document will outline the intent, scope, key functions and roles of the Hubs. It will outline what can be expected from the Hubs across the state and provides the foundation for local design and implementation of the Hubs over the long term.

In late 2016, five launch areas for the Hubs were announced at Barwon, Mallee, Inner Gippsland, Bayside Peninsula and North East Melbourne.

Local co-design and implementation planning has commenced prior to the launch of these five sites later this year. The phased establishment of the Hubs will allow practice development and learnings from the initial five sites to inform consideration of further investment and rollout of the Hubs in other areas across the state in the future.

$60M supports Royal Commission Recommendations: 37, 193 and 199

By delivering key family violence service delivery reforms and improving the coordination of family violence and social services Family Safety Victoria will facilitate greater integration and linkages that will progress work towards

  • Outcome 16 

A new family violence coordination agency called Family Safety Victoria will be established from 1 July 2017 to ensure a continued and dedicated focus on the delivery of the government’s family violence reform commitments. Family Violence Victoria will establish and oversee the Support and Safety Hubs, and coordinate family violence and other services that are accessed through the Hubs.

Family Safety Victoria will also be responsible for the delivery of other key Family Violence service delivery reforms. It will:

  • pursue reforms to create a specific family violence information sharing regime
  • establish and operate the Central Information Point
  • redevelop the Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework
  • house the Centre for Workforce Excellence to build workforce capacity and capability in partnership with the sector.

These reforms are detailed in other parts of the Rolling Action Plan.

Earlier and more effective responses for families

We know we need to better support families when challenges first arise to stop them escalating into crisis. Through this Plan we will increase the capacity of our early intervention services and strengthen our universal services to identify family violence risk earlier. We are taking immediate action to ensure services that work with children and families can better identify and support women and children who have experienced family violence.

This includes investing:

  • $81.1 million to strengthen existing Maternal and Child Health (MCH). This investment will better support children’s development in the early years of life and enable earlier identification and interventions for families experiencing vulnerability. This includes strengthening the MCH response to family violence through workforce training and additional MCH visits for at-risk families.
  • $38.4 million to provide an enhanced role for universal service providers. The Royal Commission recommended the implementation of the whole-of hospital model in order to put in place an enduring and integrated system response to family violence across public hospitals to enhance the role of universal service providers.In 2016/17, the rollout of this initiative to 15 health services was funded. The investment made in this Plan will see the initiative rolled out to all public hospitals over the next five years. We are transforming the way Victorian specialist family violence services and child and family services work together, so the system can better support women, children and families. To enable this, every part of the reform agenda will reflect children and young people as victims in their own right.

These reforms come together with the many reforms being implemented under the Roadmap for Reform: strong families, safe children. In order to better support vulnerable children and families to recover and thrive, the Victorian Government will invest $29.2 million in family services to assist an additional 1,229 families and expand the supports available, particularly for those families requiring intensive assistance.

To provide a family services offering that can best support children and families and align with the rollout of the Support and Safety Hubs, a new model of family services will be developed together with the community sector throughout 2017. This will ensure that family services are equipped to span the continuum of risk - both to prevent escalation into crisis, but also to remain with families experiencing complex difficulties and support them to transition away from the system. This process will also break down many of the existing program barriers.

In 10 years’ time we will have a system that: identifies families at risk earlier; connects them to the support the first time they make contact with a service; and integrates support around them.

The next 6-12 months are a critical period for translating those discussions into implementation, and building momentum for change. Workforce, funding and accountability models will need to be adapted to facilitate optimal outcomes for some of our most vulnerable families and children and enable flexible, responsive service delivery. The Victorian Government will continue our process of co-design with service providers, practitioners and importantly children and young people to develop flexible, evidence informed services.

Our reforms will focus on enabling family services, specialist family violence services, community-based and statutory Child Protection to work in a much more connected way to collectively manage the risks posed to children’s safety and wellbeing. Child Protection will also play a greater role in supporting family services to work with families on the cusp of, or involved in the statutory system through secondary consultations to provide ongoing support to families with complex needs.

The government is taking immediate action to keep children safe by:

Embedding practice change so that Child Protection Practitioners can better identify and assess family violence risk, acquitting a range of recommendations of the Royal Commission.

Placing Community-based Child Protection Practitioners in the Support and Safety Hubs to provide expert advice regarding the safety and wellbeing of children and provide access to any history of assessment and intervention by Child Protection.

Investing $71.1 million to employ over 450 additional Child Protection Practitioners, who will be able to spend more time working more closely with those families and children who need it most. The funding will also provide additional capacity in afterhours emergency Child Protection services and ensure continuation of the Specialist Intervention Unit, which provides practice guidance to Child Protection service teams.

Refocussing Child Protection on its core, statutory functions to free-up the time

Keeping children safe

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations: 25, 26, 27, 37, 145, 146

Through our focus and immediate actions to keep children safe, this will contribute to the achievement of Outcomes Outcome 6 Outcome 7 Outcome 8 Outcome 9 Outcome 14 Outcome 15 Outcome 17 13 2 of highly-skilled practitioners to focus on managing the risks to children, and helping families to provide a safe home for their children.

  • Outcome 6
  • Outcome 7
  • Outcome 8
  • Outcome 9
  • Outcome 14
  • Outcome 15
  • Outcome 17

Investing $59.6 million to support children and young people who are unable to live safely at home, including:

Continuing to fund approximately 120 lapsing Targeted Care Packages as well as approximately 100 new Targeted Care Packages in order to continue to reduce placements in residential care and provide supports tailored to a child’s or young person’s circumstances and needs.

Delivering an additional 1,982 placements for those children who are unable to live at home, rather than enter residential care. The government is working closely with Aboriginal communities to improve the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal children in or at risk of entering the Child Protection and Out-of-Home Care systems. As part of the government’s commitment to Aboriginal self-determination and self-management, we will invest $1.1 million to further expand the number of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations assuming legal guardianship for the welfare of Aboriginal children subject to a Children’s Court protection order, allowing community-led culturally appropriate decisions regarding Aboriginal children, which we know leads to better outcomes.

Building the capacity and capability of specialise family violence services and supporting recovery

$270.8M

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 4, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 21, 23, 31, 99, 104, 140, 145, 146, 164, 178

Supporting the strengthening and capacity building of specialist family violence services and supporting longterm recovery of victim survivors will work towards achieving

  • Outcome 6
  • Outcome 7
  • Outcome 8
  • Outcome 9
  • Outcome 10
  • Outcome 12
  • Outcome 13
  • Outcome 14
  • Outcome 15

We are increasing funding to respond to critical demand pressures, provide case management and therapeutic responses for women and children, and improve specialist responses to people from diverse communities. We are also supporting victim survivors over the longer term, beyond the immediate crisis response, so they have security, independence and stability in all aspects of their lives.

The capacity of specialist family violence services to keep victims safe and support their recovery is critically dependent on a range of complementary initiatives delivered through this Rolling Action Plan, including perpetrator accountability, risk assessment and management, information sharing, workforce development and the 10 Year Industry Plan.

At the same time we will increase the capacity of specialist family violence services and lay the foundation for reform by:

  • Funding Statewide 24/7 Crisis Service responses, including face-to-face afterhours specialist support in recognition that the majority of family violence incidents occur outside of business hours.
  • Providing specialist family violence case management services, comprising tens of thousands of case management responses over four years.
  • Strengthening specialist family violence practice and responses to diversity, including dedicated responses for Aboriginal communities and culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Specialist practice guidance and standards will be reviewed to align with the new reforms, including a review of the Domestic Violence Victoria Code of Practice for specialist services.

As part of this investment, we are also working to enhance and increase therapeutic support for victim survivors, including:

  • Delivering flexible support packages, including packages for direct allocation by the Hubs. These new packages will include capacity to provide longer term support beyond the crisis period including rental and mortgage subsidies where required. Current consultations and evaluations of flexible support packages are underway which will assist us in developing the future design and implementation of packages.
  • Increasing the number of therapeutic interventions across the state, providing over 11,000 victims with assistance over four years, including responses to sexual assault and elder abuse. This will include specialist family violence counselling, sexual assault services and other therapeutic interventions for victims of family violence.
  • Designing specialised therapeutic interventions for children experiencing family violence and expanding therapeutic interventions across the state, so that upwards of 3,500 children over four years will be supported.
  • Resourcing Aboriginal communities and services to deliver their own solutions to family violence.
  • Continuing specialist family violence financial counselling positions to assist victim survivors to recover from economic abuse and build their capacity for an independent economic future. This will provide information, support and advocacy to people in financial difficulty and help women minimise crushing debt.
  • Undertaking consultation on the design and implementation of funding for therapeutic interventions for children experiencing family violence, including sexual abuse. The outcomes of this will inform the design and implementation of these interventions into the future.

In addition to this investment we are strengthening support for Aboriginal Victorians and diverse communities by:

  • Establishing a Koori Women’s Gathering Place in metropolitan Melbourne to ensure Aboriginal women experiencing or at risk of family violence are able to access the support and services they need in a welcoming and culturally safe place.
  • Greater accreditation, training and sector capacity building to ensure LGBTI cultural competency and inclusiveness, including Rainbow Tick accreditation for at least one service provider per Hub area; HOW2 Program training (‘Rainbow Tick ready’) for all funded family violence service providers and training for family violence frontline workers to better support people from LGBTI communities.
  • Strengthening InTouch Centre Against Family Violence as a specialist body and sustaining the enhanced service delivery required to meet ongoing demand for family violence services. This will support InTouch to increase the capacity of its direct services team, languages capacity, establish a stronger presence in regional Victoria, manage increased demand for its migration status advisory services, support faith leaders and provide increased legal advice.
  • Providing LGBTI specialist services that deliver referral, counselling, peer support and perpetrator programs. 

Safe and stable housing

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 14, 15, 16, 18, 24, 124, 177

Providing safe and appropriate accommodation options for victim survivors, reducing the risk of homelessness and helping families stabilise and rebuild their lives will contribute to the achievement of Outcome 6 Outcome 7 Outcome 9 Outcome 15 17

omen and children are often unable to remain in their homes due to family violence. Therefore, growing and diversifying housing options for people experiencing family violence is vital, both at the time of crisis and over the long term. We know that family violence is the major reason for women seeking assistance from homelessness support services and that family violence is a growing cause of homelessness among young people.

Our sustained focus on expanding and improving both immediate crisis accommodation and longer term housing solutions will assist families and children to get their lives back on track as quickly as possible and regain their independence, safe from violence.

Since the Royal Commission Report was handed down, we have announced and begun the rollout of $2.7 billion in housing and homelessness support. This includes the $152 million Family Violence Housing Blitz which has already delivered over 300 additional accommodation places for family violence victims. Our investment and initiatives, focused on innovative delivery models, aim to reduce the risk of homelessness, respond in a timely manner to people’s long term housing needs and assist them to live independently.

In March 2017, we released Homes for Victorians: Affordability, access and choice. This comprehensive, whole-of-government housing strategy will deliver a range of outcomes including:

  • Development of around 6,000 social housing dwellings including new builds, subsidised rentals and renewal of up to 2,500 ageing public housing dwellings.
  • Additional help for 19,000 people at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness so they can move towards stable housing.
  • Renovation of rooming houses to improve safety and quality for residents. 

Building on these significant housing and homelessness investments, we are also investing a further $133.2 million through this Rolling Action Plan to continue reforming crisis accommodation and long term housing options for people escaping family violence. This includes a further $50 million to increase the long term housing options available to households impacted by family violence. This investment will deliver:

  • 110 new public housing properties, ensuring more women and children escaping family violence can access long term housing support.
  • More head leasing of private rental properties, increasing the number of homes that are immediately available in locations that best suit people’s needs, helping families stabilise their lives as quickly as possible.

Importantly, we are also working towards having a far better understanding of the accommodation and housing support needs of women, children and young people escaping family violence. The Family Violence Housing Assistance Implementation Taskforce, which has been established in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission, is currently progressing work to develop an in-depth demand and supply model for social housing and housing related assistance in Victoria. This work will assist the Taskforce to quantify the number of additional social housing units needed for family violence victims who are unable to gain access to and sustain private rental accommodation, as well as oversee our work to remove blockages in access to 2 family violence crisis accommodation. 

Improved and expanded crisis accommodation options

$83.2M

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 15, 16, 24, 124, 177 

Improved, enhanced and additional crisis accommodation options will contribute to the achievement of

  • Outcome 6
  • Outcome 7
  • Outcome 9
  • Outcome 15

Women at high risk of death or serious injury as a result of family violence often need to relocate to a family violence refuge to address their immediate safety needs. We are delivering increased and improved family violence and youth refuges that will provide better outcomes for women, families and young people fleeing family violence. This includes phasing out the communal refuge model by the end of 2020 and removing barriers that particular groups of women experience in gaining access to refuges.

There are currently 31 family violence refuges in Victoria. Of these, 18 are the old communal refuge model. As part of the initial $152 million Family Violence Housing Blitz, the government committed $15 million to begin to phase out communal refuges and move towards the ‘core and cluster’ model, ensuring that refuge accommodation promotes safety, is accessible to people with disabilities, provides private units and enables connections with the community, work and school. Through this initial investment, four communal refuges will be redeveloped, with all four expected to be built and occupied by June 2018.

In addition to the initial investment in 2016-17, the government will now work closely with family violence refuge providers and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to:

  • Upgrade the remaining family violence refuges into independent ‘cluster style’ accommodation, phasing out completely the communal refuge model by 31 December 2020, and providing a more individualised and flexible approach responsive to the diverse needs of families, children and young people. This will also allow for disability accessible, independent living while also connecting people to services and support.
  • Build two new Aboriginal family violence refuges, to ensure more Aboriginal women, children and families who are unable to remain at home because of violence will have a safe, culturally appropriate accommodation option.
  • Provide extra support for women with no incomes, so that all women, regardless of financial circumstances, can access crisis accommodation when they need it.

We are also addressing the current lack of appropriate accommodation specifically targeted towards young people impacted by family violence. Evidence suggests that effective youth homelessness interventions require intensive support to re-establish connections with family, relationships with a trusted adult, living skills development and connections to accommodation that can assist with the transition to independent living. With timely and appropriate therapeutic support, young people experiencing homelessness can avoid the possibility of ongoing homelessness and social exclusion, and develop the capability to live independent lives. Building on the initial $152 million Family Violence Housing Blitz, additional funding is being provided for two new youth refuges to commence operation.

The redevelopment of 18 family violence refuges, alongside an additional two Aboriginal family violence refuges and two new youth refuges will significantly increase the refuge system’s ability to adequately and appropriately respond to the individual needs of women, children and young people escaping family violence. 

Victim-centred justice

269.4M

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 11, 22, 28, 56, 57, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 76, 79, 80, 81, 87, 90, 114, 118, 120, 122, 126, 131, 132, 135, 136, 138, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 158, 168, 175, 182, 185, 197, 214, 215, 216

Supports the Coronial Inquest into the death of Luke Batty Recommendations 6, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29

Providing a specialised, traumainformed and modernised response to family violence in our justice system will contribute to the achievement of

  • Outcome 6
  • Outcome 7
  • Outcome 8
  • Outcome 10
  • Outcome 11
  • Outcome 12
  • Outcome 13
  • Outcome 14
  • Outcome 15
  • Outcome 16
  • Outcome 17

Courts are central to many victims’ experience of the family violence system. Courts should be places where inequity and abuses of power can be redressed and where an individual’s right to safety, freedom and dignity can be protected.

The Royal Commission heard evidence that many victims find their experience at court intimidating and unsafe. The fear and uncertainty that this unfamiliarity creates can lead to a victim withdrawing their matter because they feel unprepared and unsupported to engage with these confusing processes.

In addition, the courts are dealing with significant demand which has caused infrastructure deficiencies, and a range of pressures on court-based professionals and services. This directly impacts victims, and can make them fearful or reluctant to engage with the court process when they are most in need of legal protection.

Victorian families who are at the highest risk of family violence are often vulnerable and experience financial hardship or socio-economic disadvantage. These families can have a number of complex legal needs. There is increasing demand for advice about family violence matters and increasing applications for Family Violence Intervention Orders (FVIOs) and an associated rise in the number of contest hearings.

The government’s recent Access to Justice Review and the Australian Productivity Commission’s inquiry into access to justice arrangements both recognised that the ability of many people to gain access to justice is diminishing. These reviews also highlighted the fundamental role of governments to ensure that everyone can have fair and equal access to legal information and legal assistance.

We are committed to enhancing the response of our justice system so that it provides a victim-centred and evidence-based approach, while holding perpetrators to account and keeping them in view. We are investing $269.4 million to expand Specialist Family Violence Courts and make broader enhancements to support the response of the justice system to family violence and improve the experience of victims at court.

To deliver the response of our justice system and provide families with appropriate and effective legal support when they need it, we are:

  • Developing a new case management system for the Magistrates’ Court and Children’s Court to better collect, store and share information. This will help to ensure the timely, cost effective administration of justice for individual cases and across courts as a whole. This means courts will be better able to identify family violence cases, provide prompt and efficient justice services and more easily share information with other agencies.
  • Improving the use of technology in courts, including rolling out online application forms to make information more accessible and simplify the application process for victims, and funding for the development and rollout of online multimedia information about FVIOs to complement the development of ‘plain language’ FVIO forms.
  • Fast-tracking family violence related criminal cases. The Magistrates’ Court will work with Victoria Police and Victoria Legal Aid to fast track family violence–related criminal matters, ensuring these charges are dealt with quickly within defined time frames.
  • Implementing family violence service delivery improvements, including a family violence contact centre. This will include:
    • telephone and online help to assist victims to initiate proceedings without having to come to court
    • access to specialist family violence services
    • immediate linkages to dedicated support services.
  • Providing Victoria Legal Aid and Community Legal Centre duty lawyers at the new Specialist Family Violence Courts.
  • Expanding the coverage of duty lawyers across Magistrates’ Courts to provide assistance to parties who do not have legal representation and provide information and advice, negotiate with the other party to a dispute, make referrals and, importantly, represent parties in court.
  • Increasing funding for grants of legal aid for representation at FVIO contest hearings and breach proceedings.
  • Providing additional staff for Victoria Legal Aid’s Legal Help telephone service to provide free and timely legal assistance to help parties understand their rights and responsibilities in respect of FVIOs. This will mean that Victoria Legal Aid will be able to respond to an additional 3,000 family violencerelated calls annually.
  • Providing additional legal aid to meet the increased demand in Child Protection matters in the Children’s Court of Victoria.

In addition to this investment, we are enhancing the approach to victim-centred justice for Aboriginal communities by:

  • Increasing legal representation and support provided by the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria and Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service to meet the growing demand from both Aboriginal victims and perpetrators of violence. This will provide for additional lawyers and case support officers with the capability of offering a culturally appropriate and comprehensive legal service.
  • Continuing and expanding the Koori Women’s Diversion Program to break the cycle of victimisation, violence and offending for Aboriginal women, reduce their involvement with the criminal justice system and reduce the intergenerational impacts of violence and victimisation within their families.
  • Continuing Koori specific dispute resolution services and programs offered by the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria including accredited mediation training.
  • Employing extra Aboriginal support workers within the Victims Assistance Program to ensure that Aboriginal victims are provided with culturally safe and accessible victim support and improved access to the justice system.

We are also developing legal and other information and resources for LGBTI communities regarding safe and accessible sources of support, including clear referral pathways and links between specialist and universal services, and a LGBTI community education campaign.

Specialist family violence courts

The Royal Commission recommended that Magistrates’ Courts move towards a more therapeutic approach to family violence cases. In particular, expanding Specialist Family Violence Courts, implementing practical and procedural changes to better manage demand, and improving court infrastructure to make the courts safer and more secure for court users.

We have already started some of these improvements, including investing in additional court safety and security measures and safe waiting spaces through the 2016-17 State Budget.

The next stage of critical and substantial court reforms to provide a specialist response to family violence will involve the following actions:

  • Fully implementing Specialist Family Violence Courts at Shepparton, Heidelberg, Ballarat, Frankston and Moorabbin as the first stage of expansion to increase the total number of Specialist Family Violence Courts. All of these courts experience a high level of demand for family violence matters and this investment will mean:
    • Capping the number of family violence cases before magistrates, meaning there is more time to hear cases.
    • Providing specialist magistrates, registrars, applicant and respondent practitioners, as well as dedicated police prosecutors and civil advocates.
    • Providing facilities for access to specialist family violence service providers and lawyers.
    • Expanding the number of court rooms available for family violence matters so that more cases can be heard each day.
  • Upgrading courts associated with the expansion of the Specialist Family Violence Courts model to improve safety and security, modernise our courts and improve victims’ experience at court through capital improvement works.
  • Investing in the workforce and culture of the courts including:
    • Multi-disciplinary team based education and training for the staff of the Specialist Family Violence Courts.
    • Comprehensive family violence, family law and Child Protection education and training for judicial officers and court staff.
    • Continuing the rollout of daily family violence coordination meetings in Magistrates’ Courts throughout 2017.
  • Additional resources and asset works to make the courts a safer environment for children, young people and families.

Reforming the response of Police Victoria

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 41, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 55, 101, 115, 125, 130, 151, 159, 186

Changing the way Victoria Police respond to family violence will contribute to achieving

  • Outcome 6
  • Outcome 7
  • Outcome 8
  • Outcome 9
  • Outcome 11
  • Outcome 12
  • Outcome 13
  • Outcome 16
  • Outcome 17

Victoria Police plays a crucial role in both the frontline response and the broader family violence system in Victoria. The community entrusts police with powers and responsibilities to protect and support victims, identify and investigate incidents of family violence and prosecute perpetrators, and assist in the prevention and deterrence of family violence through responding appropriately.

In December 2016, we announced an unprecedented investment of over $2 billion in Victoria Police. The investment funds additional police, including specialist family violence officers and ensures that Victoria Police is able to provide the comprehensive and consistent response that the community expects. To build a better response to family violence, Victoria Police are:

  • Transforming the frontline response to family violence by recruiting 415 new police in specialist and dedicated family violence roles.
  • Reforming the operating model for specialist Family Violence Teams, increasing specialist and investigative skills and changing career structures to better embed family violence as core business.
  • Reviewing the policies and practices outlined in the Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence to guide improvements in police practice.
  • Developing a new Violence against Women and Children Strategy to set the vision, strategic objectives and actions for responding to family violence and associated crimes.
  • Improving police responses to family violence in Koori communities to address family violence in a culturally appropriate manner, including the development of trusting, long-lasting relationships. This includes:
    • Introducing four additional Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers in Echuca, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and the Eastern Metro region.
    • Expanding the Koori Family Violence Protocols to a further five locations by 2021.
    • Delivering specialist training for police to improve Aboriginal culturally appropriate practice. Police will be supported to empower victims to identify outcomes that are appropriate as determined by the individual.

Victoria Police family violence centre of learning

$2.9M in the 2016-2017 State Budget

Supports Royal Commission Recommendation 42

Establishing the Victoria Police Family Violence Centre of Learning and providing tailored training to police officers regarding family violence will contribute to achieving.

  • Outcome 7
  • Outcome 8
  • Outcome 12
  • Outcome 17 

The training of frontline staff is critical to the foundation of Victoria Police’s Reform Agenda. The Victoria Police Family Violence Centre of Learning will be established by 2019 to address this need.

The Centre of Learning will deliver careerlong family violence training to police officers, tailored to their rank, role and career stage. It will provide police with an increased awareness of the multifaceted nature and drivers of family violence, and improve capability to deal with the complexity and volume of family violence cases.

Specialist training will commence from March 2018 and the Centre of Learning will be fully operational by 2019. The Centre of Learning will train police to accurately identify the primary aggressor, understand and respond to risk, and treat victims with dignity and respect. This will contribute to our commitment to ensuring that Victoria’s women and children are protected and live free from violence and abuse.

Police technology

$227M

In the 2016-2017 State Budget

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 54, 58

Embedding family violence as core business within Victoria Police and providing officers with the training and tools they need to effectively respond to family violence incidents will contribute to achieving

  • Outcome 6
  • Outcome 7
  • Outcome 9
  • Outcome 11
  • Outcome 12
  • Outcome 13
  • Outcome 16 

Victoria Police will be given the tools, technology and support they need to identify and investigate incidents of family violence, achieve a more effective police response for victims and improve community safety.

From the second half of 2017, frontline officers will be progressively equipped with a new mobile device that will be used to capture evidence and give them better access to information in the field, allowing them to carry out identity checks and swiftly report crime and other incidents. More than 10,000 iPhones and iPad minis will be delivered to the force.

These devices, to be deployed over the next five years, are one of the biggest technological changes to frontline policing since radio systems in patrol cars. They will save officers valuable time and ensure that they can complete and dispatch referrals and process safety notices wherever they are. Risk assessments will be rapid, accurate and take in all available evidence and circumstances. This means that police will spend more time proactively policing in the field and less time station-bound, filling out paperwork.

We have also invested in the statewide roll out of body worn cameras, enabling officers to continuously capture video evidence and take statements, improving frontline efficiency and accountability. This will mean that evidence could be captured on video from a victim at the scene of a family violence incident, reducing the retraumatisation many victims experience.

Outcomes

Outcome 10

Early intervention prevents escalation (perpetrator) —people, including children and young people, at risk of using family violence are identified early and provided with effective early interventions.

Indicators

  • Increase rate of compliance with statutory orders
  • Decrease repeated family violence behaviour by individual perpetrators
  • Increase in positive parenting by people with a history of family violence

Outcome 11

Perpetrators are accountable for their behaviour —people are supported to recognise factors contributing to their violent behaviours and provided with tools and strategies to act differently, preventing reoffending.

Indicators

  • Increase awareness and understanding of the forms and impact of family violence by perpetrators
  • Increase self-identification and self-referral by people committing or at risk of committing family violence
  • Increase engagement and retention of perpetrators in behaviour change programs and other interventions

Outcome 12

Perpetrators are held to account — perpetrators of family violence face timely and appropriate consequences

Indicators

  • Increase identification of and consequences for a family violence intervention order breach
  • Increase enforcement of family financial obligations for people charged with family violence
  • Increase in consistency of criminal charges and sentencing for perpetrators

Outcome 13

Perpetrators are in view — perpetrators are engaged and connected to relevant agencies. Collaborative approaches and information sharing infrastructure support systemic responsibility for holding perpetrators to account

Indicators

  • Increase sharing of information material to assessing and responding to family violence risk
  • Increase sharing of information to enable a tailored service response for perpetrators

Perpetrators are held to account, engaged and connected

We are focused on driving down the incidence of family violence related crime by holding perpetrators to account for their actions. This requires a system of interventions and laws that will work together to hold perpetrators to account for their choice to use violence.

We have already introduced a number of new laws that will reform Family Violence Intervention Orders and overhaul privacy laws. The Sentencing Advisory Council is exploring options for swift, certain and fair approaches to sentencing for family violence offenders. Further reforms will be made over the coming years to ensure we have the strongest and most effective legal framework for holding perpetrators to account.

We are also building a better understanding of what the most effective strategies to hold perpetrators to account are at all potential intervention points in the community or justice sectors. This evidence base is being developed with the advice of the Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions and incorporates the latest international research and recognised best-practice.

Improving perpetrator interventions and accountability

$76.9M

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 146

Supports the Coronial Inquest into the death of Luke Batty Recommendation 6

By promoting greater perpetrator accountability through evidence-based initiatives our actions will contribute towards the achievement of:

  • Outcome 7
  • Outcome 10
  • Outcome 11
  • Outcome 12
  • Outcome 13
  • Outcome 14
  • Outcome 15

Building on the advice of the Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions Committee, we are investing more than $76.9 million to strengthen existing community and justice sector responses such as reducing wait lists to address demand for Men’s Behaviour Change Programs (MBCPs), and trialling tailored responses for different types of perpetrators. Our investment supports a range of evidence-based initiatives that promote greater perpetrator accountability and support behaviour change including:

  • Enhancing the standards for MBCP providers and increasing the number of program places available for perpetrators who attend a course either voluntarily or as required by the Court. In total, approximately 4,000 places in MBCPs will be available across Victoria in 2017-18.
  • Providing additional capacity to enable the Men’s Referral Service to respond to increasing helpline demand, including for after-hours police (L17) referrals, increasing the capacity of the Men’s Referral Service to engage up to an additional 2,700 perpetrators in helpline support across the State in 2017-18.
  • Increasing the capacity of intake services to respond to perpetrators meaning an additional 2,900 perpetrators will be provided with an intake service in 2017-18.
  • Strengthening a long-standing community led behaviour change program for Aboriginal male perpetrators of family violence by offering a new intensive residential diversion component, that will also provide support to their families.
  • Continuing funding over the next four years for Men’s Behaviour Change Programs in the Corrections system and the development of culturally and linguistically diverse community specific perpetrator programs for family violence perpetrators in prison.
  • Trialling and evaluating family violence-specific assessment, case management and referral services in the criminal and civil jurisdiction of the Magistrates’ Court and in the community sector to provide perpetrators with a dedicated family violence-trained case manager, and links with multidisciplinary support to reduce their risk of reoffending.
  • Providing flexible support packages for perpetrators with multiple and complex needs, with access to professional services and other supports that will enhance victim safety.
  • Testing and evaluating new perpetrator interventions, including those tailored to fathers who use violence and perpetrators with complex needs, through the establishment of a grants program to attract proposals based on best-practice evidence.
  • Improving the ability of the courts to monitor perpetrators through the development of a process for bringing MBCP attendance by mandated perpetrators, and the outcomes of the attendance, to the attention of magistrates.
  • Establishing a family violence Restorative Justice framework and pilot project to provide victims the opportunity to participate in facilitated processes with perpetrators.
  • Trialling and evaluating an LGBTI applicant practitioner and LGBTI respondent practitioner in the Magistrates’ Court at two locations. There is currently no LGBTI-specific support available at court to intervene and help address family violence offending behaviour, or to provide support to victims; this trial initiative is designed to address this gap in service for the LGBTI community.

To provide support to adolescents who use violence against family members we are also:

  • Trialling and evaluating interventions for adolescents who use family violence against family members and appear in the Children’s Court, to intervene before the offending behaviours become entrenched. This will combine therapeutic intervention with judicial oversight to ensure the behaviour is adequately addressed.

In addition to this investment, we are also expanding the Court Integrated Services Program (CISP) and continuing the CISP Remand Outreach Pilot (CROP) to address the underlying causes of criminal offending, including family violence. The expansion of CISP and CROP will provide support to an additional 2,000 participants annually. The programs also provide an enhanced response to Koori offenders by providing supervision and support to Koori accused who are on bail.

Expert advisory committee on perpetrator interventions

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 86, 87

The Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions’ work in advising government on perpetrator accountability contributes to

  • Outcome 11
  • Outcome 13
  • Outcome 15

In 2016, we established the Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions (the Committee) to provide expert advice on the suite of interventions that should be available in Victoria to hold perpetrators to account. The Committee is comprised of members with expertise in a variety of disciplines and practice approaches.

The Committee’s advice will also be used to inform other key reforms including the design of the Support and Safety Hubs, workforce development, and the update of the practice advice for Child Protection Practitioners engaging with perpetrators of family violence. The Committee will meet over a period of 18 months and will provide its final advice to government in May 2018. So far, the Committee has provided advice on:

  • The principles that should inform Victoria’s perpetrator interventions.
  • Mapping the roles and responsibilities of government agencies and nongovernment services that have contact with perpetrators.
  • How to strengthen current practice guidelines for engagement with perpetrators of family violence by Child Protection Practitioners.
  • The scope for innovative interventions targeted at different cohorts of perpetrators.

Over the next 12 months, the Committee will provide advice on:

  • The spectrum of programs, services and initiatives that should be available in Victoria, in the community and justice sector.
  • The trialling and evaluation of new perpetrator interventions, alongside research being conducted by Australia’s National Research Organisation on Women’s Safety Perpetrator Interventions Research Stream.

Law reforms

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 22, 57, 72, 75, 76, 78, 94, 132, 138, 150

Supports in part Royal Commission Recommendation 30

Reforming the legal system will better support victims and hold perpetrators to account, and will contribute to achieving

  • Outcome 6
  • Outcome 7
  • Outcome 8
  • Outcome 12 

The Royal Commission recognised that changes could be made to improve the effectiveness of the justice system to respond to the needs of victims and better hold perpetrators to account. To build a more effective family violence system, we are making changes to ensure that a victim’s safety is paramount.

In March 2017, we introduced the Family Violence Protection Amendment Bill into Parliament to implement some of the Royal Commission’s law reforms. The changes in this Bill will make significant improvements to the system of Family Violence Safety Notices (FVSNs), Family Violence Intervention Orders (FVIOs), and the response of the justice system to family violence more broadly to maximise the safety of victims of family violence, including children.

We will also introduce legislation into Parliament in early 2018 to implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations for legal changes that had a timeframe of two years. These reforms will provide greater safeguards to victims by increasing their ability to give evidence from a location outside the courtroom and more easily allow them to apply for a FVIO online. The reforms will also improve early intervention for adolescents who use violence against family members by allowing courts to make therapeutic treatment orders for children aged 15 to 17 displaying sexually abusive behaviours.

The government will also work closely with the family violence sector, legal sector and the courts to identify whether future legislative changes are necessary.

Outcomes

Outcome 14

Initiatives to respond to family violence are person-centred — services are personalised, flexible, culturally relevant and reflect individual and family choices, need and circumstances, particularly for diverse communities and those with complex needs.

Outcome 15

Initiatives to respond to family violence are accessible and available in the right place at the right time. Prevention activities are coordinated and universal —the support system is easy to navigate and services are available to people when and where they need them, at all times of the day and night. Prevention activities occur across all key settings.

Outcome 16

The system is united, integrated and joined-up —services work together and share information to provide a coordinated quality response to people and families, informed by dynamic risk assessment and sensitive to people’s diverse needs. The system supports effective and evidence based prevention efforts.

Outcome 17 

The workforce is properly recognised and effectively responds, understands risk and need and is skilled to prevent family violence —the workforce is supported through new career pathways, fair conditions and a commitment to enhanced wellbeing and safety, and is skilled to meet people’s diverse needs. *Indicators will be developed for these system outcomes to reflect and reinforce the three other person and family centred domains.

Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic and enduring

To transform how we prevent and respond to family violence, our reforms must be supported by strong foundations. This will involve changes to the underlying structures that enable services to function effectively, including the workforce, information systems and funding arrangements.

In this first phase of reform, particular effort will be focused on getting these supporting structures right so the system can operate more effectively. The implementation of these initiatives will also help address demand by laying the groundwork for more accessible, holistic and efficient services that will deliver better outcomes for people in need.

Building workforce capacity and capability 

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 3, 98, 100, 102, 103, 145, 148, 172, 188, 190, 207, 209, 212, 213

Supports in part Royal Commission Recommendation 139

The success of our reforms will be determined by the capacity and capability of the people and organisations delivering them. As a result, we will undertake significant investment in our family violence, child and family services, justice and education workforces and work together with the sector through this industry transition.

We are investing $95.4 million in immediate workforce training and capacity building across the government, family violence, primary prevention and social service sectors and establishing a Centre for Workforce Excellence. This work will be supported by a 10 Year Industry Plan to be released in December 2017. Our investment will include:

  • Immediate training to build capacity in primary prevention through the development of a new specialist prevention course to enhance prevention knowledge and skills, the expansion of the Gender and Disability Program, and funding of specialist prevention workers to increase capacity at key women’s health and diversity services.
  • Employing Family Violence Principal Practitioners in the Department of Education and Training, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice and Regulation to advise on family violence practice and strengthen knowledge and leadership within each department and the services they fund, operate and regulate.
  • Providing access to family violence expertise in key mental health and alcohol and drugs services by establishing family violence advisory positions in major services across metropolitan and regional Victoria. Building Workforce Capacity and Capability Enhanced pathways into family violence sector roles to address the unmet demand in family violence services, including through increasing student placement opportunities, placement subsidies and providing transition programs for graduates to support them to be ‘work-ready’.
  • Enhanced recruitment to high need roles and support for existing workers’ health and wellbeing through a targeted advertising campaign that will promote workforce supply and retention in priority and high need positions across the family violence sector.
  • Building the capability of the Child Protection workforce in risk assessment, planning and intervention in trauma-informed practice through face-to-face training and the development and rollout of online resources.
  • Building the Aboriginal workforce to respond to demand for Aboriginal family services and family violence workers, including through enhanced career pathways, improved cultural safety and health and wellbeing of the current Aboriginal family services workforce. We are supporting Aboriginal workers to gain qualifications, enhancing workforce planning and development and establishing a grants program to support traineeships and cadetships.
  • Supporting sector transition by funding positions in peak bodies to develop and implement a workforce change management process across the sector. … Developing and rolling out diversity and intersectionality training to build the capacity of the specialist and mainstream workforce to better understand, recognise and respond to the intersectionality of all victim survivors, including those from diverse communities.
  • Investing in interpreters and translators specialising in family violence to build capacity and meet family violence interpreting and translating demand, including through increased hourly rates, provision of training and access to counselling for family violence specialist interpreters.

In addition to this investment, we are also:

  • Creating Aboriginal cultural safety advisor positions for two years within Aboriginal organisations across the state to provide advice to mainstream family violence organisations on taking action to embed cultural safety for Aboriginal Victorians.
  • Establishing a virtual LGBTI Family Violence Centre for Excellence to perform some of the activities of a peak body, including coordinating work to assist the LGBTI and broader sector to incorporate LGBTI ‘best practice’ in relation to workforce, sector development and service provision as well as administration of related research grants for one year.
  • Providing support for faith leaders and communities to respond to family violence through the creation of awareness and training programs to continue to consolidate the response to family violence and drive lasting change in faith communities.

Family violence Industry Planning

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 207, 212

Through building the capability and skills of family violence workforces and by improving the family violence literacy of non-family violence workforces, the 10 Year Industry Plan and the Centre for Workforce Excellence will support the achievement of Outcome 17

he government’s ambitious agenda for reform across the family violence, social and justice service systems cannot succeed without a skilled and capable workforce. The 10 Year Industry Plan will be launched in December 2017 and will be the government’s roadmap for building a family violence workforce that prevents and responds to family violence across the community, justice, education and health sectors. The 10 Year Industry Plan will outline actions and strategies to enhance family violence specialist skills and interdisciplinary learning, grow a family violence prevention workforce, increase the diversity of the workforce, develop career pathways and improve workers’ health and wellbeing.

The Industry Plan will build on work already underway to develop a systematic approach to workforce planning and development of the specialist family violence sector and the prevention workforce. This will position Victoria as a leader in the delivery of best practice primary prevention initiatives and services for people experiencing or using family violence.

The development of the Industry Plan is being guided by the Industry Taskforce to ensure strong sector input. The Taskforce has broad cross-sector representation, drawing on the expert advice of peak bodies and service providers across the specialist family violence, primary prevention and community services sector, as well as representation from courts, the legal profession, police and corrections, unions, and research, education and training providers.

To further progress this work, we are building a strong evidence base on the current workforce to help identify capacity and capability gaps, and better understand the challenges facing our workforces, including staff retention, health and wellbeing issues and vicarious trauma.

We will achieve this through Victoria’s first family violence workforce census has been developed in consultation with the sector. The census was rolled out in April 2017 and the results will be collated in October 2017.

To support the implementation of the 10 Year Industry Plan, we are establishing a Centre for Workforce Excellence (the Centre) in 2017. The Centre will play a key role in determining the best means of delivering comprehensive workforce development and interdisciplinary learning about family violence across the community services, justice, education and health sectors. The Centre will complement the work undertaken by the Victoria Police Family Violence Centre for Learning and Judicial College of Victoria and its functions will include:

  • Leading initiatives designed to boost the capabilities of specialist family violence, primary prevention and other social service workforces.
  • Supporting interdisciplinary learning about family violence across the social services, health, education and justice workforces.
  • Researching and identifying core skills and capabilities across workforces, promoting best practice and contributing to the development of 4 formal workforce training.

Redevelopment of the family violence risk assessment and risk management framework

$30M

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 1, 2, 3, 4

Supports recommendations arising from the Coronial Inequest into the death of Luke Batty and the Monash University 2016 Review

Embedding the Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework will strengthen the identification, assessment and management of family violence risk, supporting the achievement of

  • Outcome 7
  • Outcome 11
  • Outcome 13
  • Outcome 16
  • Outcome 17

The identification, assessment and management of family violence risk is a foundational element of a strong family violence system. Improved risk assessment and management practices reduces the level of risk to victims, assists to prevent future incidences and helps to better address the impacts of family violence.

The current Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework (the Framework also known as the common risk assessment framework or ‘CRAF’) was examined by the Royal Commission, the Coronial Inquest into the Death of Luke Batty, and was reviewed by experts from Monash University in 2016. These reviews consistently identified the importance of the Framework in building a shared understanding of risk across the system, but also identified gaps and areas for improvement, including to redevelop and strengthen the Framework and to further embed it in practice.

The Framework redevelopment process will shortly commence and will continue across 2017. The new Framework will be comprehensive, set minimum standards and roles and responsibilities for screening, risk identification, assessment and management, information sharing and referral. It will include child-specific risk factors and will reflect the needs of the diverse range of family violence victims, including Aboriginal Victorians and other diverse communities.

Legislation has been introduced into Parliament to embed the Framework in law. This will provide the strong authorising environment for the Framework, improving the quality, consistency and coordination of family violence risk assessment and management, including perpetrator accountability, across the breadth of the family violence, justice, social services, health, disability, early childhood and education systems

The government will work closely with sectors, workforces and organisations throughout 2017 to ensure that the redeveloped Framework is informed by their different needs and operating environments, and to plan for effective implementation. To that end, and recognising the critical importance of effectively identifying, assessing and managing family violence risk, we are supporting implementation of a redeveloped Framework. This investment will deliver:

  • A comprehensive implementation training package to upskill relevant workforces in the redeveloped Framework, including specialist family violence services, child and family services, health community services, justice and the education sector.
  • Change management initiatives to support organisations to effectively embed the Framework, including by aligning policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools with the redeveloped Framework.
  • The development of online risk assessment tools and online training resources. 
  • Evaluation and validation of the redeveloped Framework.

A phased approach will be taken to implementing the redeveloped Framework, starting with priority sectors in the first two years, before moving to other, general and 4 universal services from 2020.

Information sharing reforms

$11.7M

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 5, 6

Supports the Coronial Inquest into the death of Luke Batty Recommendations 3,4

By improving information sharing and keeping victim survivors safe through more effective risk assessment and risk management, keeping perpetrators in view and enabling a joined-up system, we will work towards achieving

  • Outcome 7
  • Outcome 13
  • Outcome 16

In March 2017, we introduced legislation into Parliament to create a specific family violence information sharing regime. The regime will create a ‘trusted zone’ of organisations who can request information from each other to undertake risk assessment and risk management for victims of family violence. This will include the ability to share information about perpetrators without their consent. When assessing or managing risk for adult victims, consent must be obtained from the adult victim and any relevant third parties unless there is a serious threat. Consent is not required from any person prior to their information being shared if it is for the purpose of assessing or managing risk for a child victim.

This model is a significant shift in how information is shared across the family violence response. All practitioners who work with those experiencing family violence will need to be supported to understand and implement this new way of working. 

The implementation of this reform will be carried out in stages, which enables the regime to commence earlier with a core group of specialised organisations. Other remaining proposed entities will be brought into the regime as training in information sharing, risk assessment and risk management is developed and rolled out. To support this initial stage of implementation, we will deliver:

  • Training, guidelines and cultural change programs to support workers to understand and implement the legislative regime.
  • Funding for sector organisations experiencing a significant additional administrative burden as a result of increased information sharing activity.
  • A comprehensive evaluation of the regime two years after it comes into operation.

Additional organisations will be brought into the new regime between 2018 and 2020, in line with the rollout of the redeveloped Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework. In the longer term, training on information sharing will form 4 part of broader training on the Framework.

Improving our approach to data collection

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 152, 170, 204, 205

The better use of existing data resources, combined with identifying and addressing gaps to collect the right data, will improve our understanding of the incidence, prevalence and nature of family violence. This means we are able to develop better responses that are most effective and efficient. We will improve the consistency and quality of data collected to ensure that the best available data is available for decision-making.

To do this, we are investing $0.8 million, building on the $0.3 million in the 2016-17 State Budget. This includes:

  • Working with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to develop a Family Violence Data Clearinghouse to bring together information on family violence data collection across states and territories and help in identifying data gaps and existing better practice.
  • Incorporating additional questions about family violence in Aboriginal communities within an existing Australian Bureau of Statistics Aboriginal population based household survey.

We are also developing the Victorian Family Violence Data Framework. This will standardise the collection and output of family violence information, and include agreed data definitions and standards, a common set of recording practices for collecting demographic information, and a set of performance indicators. In addition, we are improving the use of our existing data resources by redeveloping the Victorian Family Violence Database.

Central Information Point

$84.5M

In addition to $5 million to develop a robust business case for an ongoing and sustainable central information point automated solution.I

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 7, 8, 9

Supports in part the Coronial Inquest into the death of Luke Batty Recommendation 5

By improving information sharing and keeping victim survivors safe through more effective risk assessment and risk management, keeping perpetrators in view and enabling a joined-up system, we will work towards achieving.

  • Outcome 7
  • Outcome 13
  • Outcome 16

The Royal Commission identified critical deficiencies within the family violence response as a result of the siloed nature of information sharing across the service system. In particular, it was recognised that timely information sharing is essential to effectively managing the risk posed by a perpetrator and that the consequences when information is not shared can be catastrophic.

In line with the establishment of the first five Support and Safety Hubs, we will establish a Central Information Point (CIP) that will bring together previously siloed information from Victoria Police, Courts, Corrections Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The CIP will be a key foundational reform. It will offer prompt access for practitioners in the Support and Safety Hubs to obtain the critical information they need to strengthen their risk assessment and risk management function. This will improve the quality of measures designed to keep victims safe and hold perpetrators to account.

Implementing the CIP will be a complex task. There are currently 70 systems that contain relevant data. Most of these systems cannot work together, are not fit for purpose, and will require significant investment and time to replace or enhance.

While key systems are enhanced, information sharing through the CIP will initially be carried out manually. Over the first two years of the CIP’s operation, a project team will work alongside the CIP to prototype and test improvements to this manual approach, such as building the potential for automatic alerts when a perpetrator is released from prison, or their Family Violence Intervention Order has been breached or expired.

Initially, the CIP will be limited to the provision of critical perpetrator information to the Support and Safety Hubs. However, by progressively automating its capability, the CIP will operate more efficiently and may potentially expand the information services it offers over time.

The project team’s integration within the CIP also means that learnings from its operation can inform a rigorous business case for a more sustainable, long term approach which is based on a deep understanding of current systems and the needs of users.

This iterative approach to the establishment of the CIP ensures that systematic information sharing will take place when the first Hub launch sites begin operating, while ensuring the transformation of information technology systems is appropriately staged for such a significant reform.

The government will continue to work with 4 the sector on the design elements of the CIP.

Reforming our approach to funding, accountability and evaluation

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 8, 9, 11, 19, 37, 58, 87, 88, 94, 95, 123, 142, 144, 147, 148, 167, 171, 189, 194, 202, 203, 217, 218, 219, 223, 224, 225, 226

We are embarking on ambitious changes to the way we design and fund family violence and related social and justice services, how we measure and evaluate the impact of services and how we ensure there is transparency and accountability for spending. We will develop a system wide understanding of the services people experiencing family violence are likely to need, and develop a consistent approach to funding and pricing these services. This will support greater flexibility and ensure greater transparency and better value for public money.

To help us plan for the future we are investing $13.3 million to develop a system wide understanding of the services people experiencing family violence are likely to need. We are also developing a consistent approach to funding and pricing these services to support greater integration and flexibility, and to ensure greater transparency and better value for public money. This includes:

  • Developing a demand modelling tool to provide a robust picture of current and future demand for family violence and related social and justice services needed by people experiencing family violence. By the end of this three year plan, the tool will be used to inform service planning and budget funding decisions.
  • Developing a new pricing framework in consultation with the sector to underpin the implementation of a new funding approach which will remove prescriptive and outdated funding approaches and support flexible and integrated service delivery models that can be tailored effectively to meet individual needs, including the needs of diverse communities. These new approaches will be progressively embedded as new funding is announced and as existing contracts expire. Reforming Our Approach to Funding, Accountability and Evaluation  

We are investing $5.7 million to embed the Family Violence Outcomes Framework and progressively shift our performance monitoring and accountability to focus on reporting against the outcomes that were achieved for people, rather than the activities or outputs delivered. This includes:

  • Collecting data and tracking our progress against the Outcomes Framework to ensure that funded service providers and relevant departments are working to a common, clearly articulated goal and will be progressively revised to embed an outcomes focused approach, and reduce excessive reporting requirements.
  • Encouraging local councils to report on and assess the outcomes of services they provide to victims and perpetrators of family violence.
  • Trialling new funding approaches and linking funding to outcomes and evaluation. We will identify suitable new interventions to pilot a flexible funding approach, where service providers are funded and report on their achievement of particular outcomes linked to the Outcomes Framework.

We have identified a number of ambitious changes to funding and accountability settings to support the move to more individualised and integrated service delivery. To support these changes, we need to ensure that we are regularly conducting high quality evaluations to review how well government funded services are delivering on the Outcomes Framework and building the evidence base on what works. We are investing $13.6 million to establish an innovative partnership model of evaluation that will provide practical support and guidance across departments. This model will draw on the expertise of academia and the sector in completing evaluations and conducting social research.

This partnership will be responsible for:

  • Developing improved evaluation standards for family violence services and supporting departments and service providers to implement the new standards. … Working with departments to build and enhance their capability and capacity to undertake robust program evaluations.
  • Undertaking high quality, rigorous system-wide and program level evaluations.
  • Providing a central point for building and sharing evidence about what works and what has not worked to support a culture of continuous improvement across family violence services.

To further strengthen our capability to complete high quality evaluations, we are investing $17.3 million to build on existing departmental capabilities and improve the rigor around program evaluations. This will provide the information needed to make sure that funding for family violence initiatives is contributing to achieving outcomes and delivering value for money. We will achieve this by:

  • Investing to improve departmental research and evaluation capacity to build the body of evidence available to departments in order to inform policy and program development and drive continuous improvement.
  • Embedding a comprehensive program evaluation approach in Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to better inform government and community about what works in the field of Aboriginal community responses to family violence.

Working in partnership

Supports Royal Commission Recommendations 69, 105, 162, 191, 227

To achieve a long term, appropriately resourced, integrated response to family violence we need to work towards a holistic, national response across all levels of government. A number of recommendations handed down by the Royal Commission can only be delivered through commitment and action by the Commonwealth Government.

In 2016, we were at the forefront of driving change through encouraging and working with our federal counterparts to improve the support and response to those experiencing family violence. At the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) Family Violence Summit in October 2016 and the December 2016 COAG meeting, Victoria made the case for the implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations at the national level. These efforts have resulted in some achievements. We welcomed the Commonwealth’s proposal to amend the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) to improve the experiences of victims within the family law system. We are providing comments on the proposed amendments, and continue to advocate for associated funding and resourcing to maximise victim survivors’ safety.

Working In Partnership 57 We will build on this work and continue to advocate for change by:

  • Bringing a paper to the Council of Australian Governments in 2017 proposing long term options for improved cross-jurisdictional funding arrangements in family violence and related services.
  • Advocating for the Commonwealth Government to amend the National Employment Standards to include an entitlement to paid family violence leave for employees.
  • Pursuing the expansion of resourcing for legal services to support victims navigating through the Commonwealth, state and territory family law systems. … Supporting Victorian and Commonwealth Health Ministers to work together to determine whether gaps exist in primary healthcare for women experiencing domestic violence.
  • Working to enhance protection for migrant victims of family violence under Australian law by collaborating with senior officials from all states and 4 territories.

Our next steps

The actions and investment described in this Rolling Action Plan provide the foundations to prevent family violence before it starts and build a system which responds effectively to family violence over the long term.

In implementing these reforms, our commitment to co-design and engagement will continue. We will work with individuals with lived experience of family violence and together with the sector we will develop, refine and implement future actions. This engagement with victim survivors and the sector will not only drive collaboration, it will allow us to develop more durable and effective solutions over the long term to enable better outcomes for all Victorians.

As a priority, we are embedding transparency and accountability throughout our reforms. Our commitment to ensuring effective and independent oversight saw the introduction of the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor Act 2016 in December 2016 to establish the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor (Implementation Monitor). Former Acting Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Tim Cartwright APM, has been appointed as the Implementation Monitor.

Each year, the Implementation Monitor will hold the Victorian Government to account by reporting to Parliament on the government’s implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations. Family violence is a problem that cannot be solved by government alone. If we are to change attitudes and behaviours about family violence, we need leadership from the whole community – our schools, sporting clubs, the media, faith-based organisations, workplaces and the business community. With a shared commitment, we can reduce the numbers of women, children and men being affected by family violence in our homes and in our communities.

Reviewed 09 October 2019

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