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Information Sharing and Risk Management

A new family violence information sharing scheme

The Royal Commission into Family Violence acknowledged that organisations that work with victims and perpetrators of family violence collect a wide variety of information in order to keep victims safe and hold perpetrators to account.

The Commission also identified barriers that prevent information from being shared as effectively as it could be and found that the failure to share crucial information with frontline workers can have catastrophic consequences.

In response to the Commission’s findings, a family violence information sharing scheme has been created by the new Part 5A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008.

The scheme began on 26 February 2018, and it authorises a select group of prescribed information sharing entities (ISEs) to share information between themselves for family violence risk assessment and risk management.

The Act also removes the requirement in existing Victorian privacy legislation that a serious threat to an individual's life, health, safety or welfare must be imminent before information can be lawfully shared.

The new scheme does not interfere with existing legislation that allows information to be shared, such as privacy or child protection legislation.

Who can use the scheme?

The initial tranche of prescribed ISEs authorised to share information under the scheme includes: 

ISEs that are also risk assessment entities (RAEs)

  • Professionals in state-funded specialist women’s family violence services (including refuge staff)
  • Professionals in state-funded specialist men’s family violence services (including men’s behaviour change programs)
  • Professionals in state-funded sexual assault services
  • community-based Child Protection workers co-located in a Support and Safety Hub (known as The Orange Door) and their manager or supervisor
  • Child FIRST workers (excluding broader family services)
  • Victims Support Agency professionals (including those working for contracted Victims Assistance Program providers and Victims of Crime Helpline staff)
  • Victoria Police including sworn officers and VPS staff, but excluding Protective Services Officers and reservists
  • Support and Safety Hub (known as The Orange Door) professionals

ISEs

  • Magistrates’ Court of Victoria selected court officials
  • Children's Court of Victoria selected court officials 
  • Risk Assessment and Management Panel (RAMP) members (including Child Protection workers and those working for other services but only when participating in a RAMP)
  • Corrections staff
  • Adult Parole Board 

These ISEs represent staff in organisations that play a core role in assessing and managing family violence risks, have a good understanding of family violence or can be trained quickly and operate in a well-regulated rule-based environment.

Information and support for ISEs

Resources

A range of resources is available to help information sharing entities understand their obligations and ensure information is shared in a way that balances the safety of family violence victims with individuals' privacy.

In particular, the responsible Minister has issued Guidelines under Part 5A, which are legally binding for all prescribed ISEs (except courts).

Ministerial Guidelines - Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme Ministerial Guidelines - Family Violence Information Sharing SchemePDF (3.49 MB) Family Violence Information Sharing Guidelines - Summary Family Violence Information Sharing Guidelines - SummaryPDF (1.94 MB) Factsheet - Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme Factsheet - Family Violence Information Sharing SchemePDF (371.33 KB)A guide for ISEs on how to share information A guide for ISEs on how to share informationPDF (1.11 MB)Flowchart diagram Flowchart diagramPDF (159.5 KB) Appendix A - Information sharing process checklist when making a request Appendix A - Information sharing process checklist when making a requestPDF (959.83 KB) Appendix B - Information sharing process checklist when responding to a request Appendix B - Information sharing process checklist when responding to a requestPDF (982.53 KB) Appendix C - Information sharing consent form (for adult victim survivors only) Appendix C - Information sharing consent form (for adult victim survivors only)PDF (955.46 KB) Appendix D - Model conversation for obtaining consent from an adult victim survivor Appendix D - Model conversation for obtaining consent from an adult victim survivorPDF (956.09 KB) Appendix E - Model conversation for obtaining consent from a child victim survivor Appendix E - Model conversation for obtaining consent from a child victim survivorPDF (974.96 KB) Appendix F - Your Information and Your Safety factsheet Appendix F - Your Information and Your Safety factsheetPDF (958.29 KB) Appendix G - Example record keeping form Appendix G - Example record keeping formPDF (965.42 KB)

Contact information 

ISEs authorised to use the scheme can request access to ISE contact information. 

Request access

For more information, or if you have any queries, please email infosharing@familysafety.vic.gov.au

 

Implementation

The scheme will be implemented in a phased approach to ensure workforce readiness and sector capacity:

From 26 February 2018 - initial tranche 

An initial tranche of information sharing entities (ISEs) have been authorised to use the legislation. This will also facilitate the establishment of the first Support and Safety Hubs (known as The Orange Door).

Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing) Regulations 2018

September 2018 - broader rollout 

From September 2018, organisations that provide the following services will be prescribed:

  • Child Protection
  • Department of Health and Human Services Housing
  • integrated family services
  • Justice Health and funded programs
  • Maternal and Child Health services
  • out-of-home care services
  • state-funded alcohol and other drugs services
  • state-funded financial counselling programs
  • state-funded homelessness services
  • state-funded mental health services
  • Financial Counselling Program
  • Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Program
  • The Commission for Children and Young People
  • Disability Services Commissioner
  • Youth Parole Board
  • youth justice and funded programs 

There will be a phased rollout of the scheme to these professionals based on readiness and to allow for knowledge and capability building (e.g. some services may start with selected managers and delegates only).

The phased introduction will align with the commencement of the  Child Information Sharing Scheme.  It will also coincide with the prescription of organisations under the redeveloped Family Violence  Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework. While many of the organisations in the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme will also be in the Child Information Sharing Scheme, some will only be in one scheme depending on the types of information they hold and their client group.

Family Safety Victoria is working with relevant departments to align implementation across the three reforms. Integrated training, tools, and resources will be provided to support the application of the new schemes and redeveloped framework in practice.

It is expected that organisations will adapt their policies and procedures to meet these changes.

From 2020

Subject to consultation, additional organisations from the health, human services, justice and education sectors are likely to be prescribed under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme.

Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework

The Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework is being redeveloped in line with recommendation 1 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

The redeveloped Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework will also address issues and gaps in the current framework – often referred to as the common risk assessment framework or ‘CRAF’ –  that were identified by the Royal Commission, the Coronial Inquest into the death of Luke Geoffrey Batty and the 2016 Monash Review of the framework.

The redeveloped framework will allow greater awareness of information relevant to family violence risk assessment and management, to better protect victims and hold perpetrators to account. It will ensure:

  • all parts of the service system have a shared understanding of risk
  • workers have the skills and a framework to guide appropriate action
  • there is a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of other parts of the system to coordinate and implement safety and accountability planning

Redevelopment of the framework is being informed by extensive consultation across relevant sectors, with peak bodies, experts and academics, professionals, and service providers.

The redeveloped framework will also reflect the needs of child and adult victim survivors and the needs and experiences of Victoria’s diverse communities.

Introduction of the redeveloped framework

From September 2018, organisations that provide the following services will be prescribed under the redeveloped framework:

  • State-funded specialist family violence services (both women's and men's services) 
  • State-funded sexual assault services
  • Child Protection
  • Child FIRST
  • Victims Support Agency
  • Victims Assistance Program-funded services 
  • Corrections Victoria and Correctional Contracted Services Providers 
  • Adult Parole Board
  • Victoria Police
  • Magistrates’ Court officials
  • Children’s Court officials 
  • Support and Safety Hubs (now known as The Orange Door) 
  • Risk Assessment and Management Panels
  • Integrated family services
  • Youth justice and funded programs
  • State-funded alcohol and other drugs services
  • Department of Health and Human Services Housing
  • State-funded homelessness services
  • State-funded mental health services
  • Out-of-home care services
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Youth Parole Board
  • Justice Health and funded programs
  • State-funded financial counselling programs
  • Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Program

There will be a phased rollout of the redeveloped framework to these organisations based on readiness, and to allow for knowledge and capability building (e.g. some organisations may start with selected managers and delegates only). 

It is not expected that organisations will have aligned their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools to the framework prior to 1 September 2018. Rather, organisations will begin to adapt and align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools to the framework from September 2018. Further advice and guidance will be provided from relevant funding bodies to support organisations with this process.

The phased introduction of the redeveloped framework will align with the broadening of the prescribed organisations permitted to share information under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and the commencement of the Child Information Sharing Scheme. Family Safety Victoria is working with relevant departments to align implementation across the three reforms.

Training in the redeveloped Framework will be available later this year and will continue throuhgout 2018 and 2019.  

In the meantime, professionals are encouraged to continue improving their family violence risk assessment capabilities through existing CRAF training. Visit the Lookout for more information. 

From 2020

Subject to consultation, additional organisations from the health, human services, justice and education sectors are likely to be prescribed under the redeveloped framework.

For more information about the redeveloped framework, please email infosharing@familysafety.vic.gov.au

Have your say

Public consultation on family violence and child information sharing reforms

Family Safety Victoria, The Department of Education and Training and Department of Health and Human Services are conducting joint public consultation on the following reforms from May to July 2018:

  • Redeveloped Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework (the redeveloped Framework)
  • Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (regulations and regulatory impact statement) 
  • Child Information Sharing Scheme

The Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and the Child Information Sharing Scheme complement each other, by authorising prescribed organisations to share information to promote the wellbeing and safety of children, keep adult and child victim survivors safe, and to hold perpetrators to account. Where sharing information relevant to family violence risk, workers will be required to refer to the redeveloped Framework for practice guidance, roles and responsibilities.

A coordinated approach to implementation, including public consultation, is planned given the interdependencies between these reforms and the prescribed organisations.

The purpose of this consultation is to:

  • Seek feedback on the Child Information Sharing Scheme Ministerial Guidelines, Regulatory Impact Statement and Regulations to ensure they support  the application of the new Scheme
  • Seek feedback on the redeveloped Framework and the Regulations and Regulatory Impact Statement for the next phase of the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme 
  • Demonstrate the intersection between the three reforms, including how they will work together and be applied in practice.  

Key consultation dates

  • 16 May – 15 June 2018: CIS Scheme Regulations and Regulatory Impact Statement
  • From the week commencing 28 May to the week commencing 25 June 2018: CIS Scheme Ministerial Guidelines
  • 12 June – 10 July 2018: FVISS Regulatory Impact Statement and Regulations, and the redeveloped Framework

How to get involved

DET, DHHS and FSV will conduct the following joint public forums on the CIS and FVIS schemes and the redeveloped Framework:

  • Wednesday 13 June – Melbourne CBD
  • Thursday 14 June – Melbourne CBD
  • Monday 18 June – Mildura
  • Tuesday 19 June – Geelong
  • Wednesday 20 June – Traralgon
  • Thursday 21 June – Shepparton
  • Friday 22 June – Bendigo

To register to attend these public forums visit https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/victorian-governments-child-information-sharing-and-family-violence-reforms-17307633254

Public consultation documents

The redeveloped Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme.

1. Questions for public consultation Questions for public consultation Questions for public consultationPDF (264.18 KB)2. Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Policy and Practice Document  Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Policy and Practice Document Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Policy and Practice DocumentPDF (847.78 KB) Framework on a page Framework on a pagePDF (117.69 KB) Additional materials: Appendix A Roles and Responsibilities Appendix A Roles and ResponsibilitiesPDF (109.67 KB) Table of risk indicators Table of risk indicatorsPDF (89.04 KB) Risk Management Risk ManagementPDF (70.04 KB) Roles and Responsibilities Table Roles and Responsibilities TablePDF (76.79 KB) Continuous improvement cycle Continuous improvement cyclePDF (70.87 KB) 3. Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework - Legislative Instrument Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework - Legislative Instrument Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework - Legislative InstrumentPDF (221.66 KB) 4. Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing and Risk Management) Amendment Regulations 2018 Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing and Risk Management) Amendment Regulations 2018 Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing and Risk Management) Amendment Regulations 2018PDF (188.3 KB) 5. Regulatory Impact Statement Regulatory Impact Statement Regulatory Impact StatementPDF (1.54 MB) 6. Letter from Office of the Commissioner for Better Regulation approving the Regulatory Impact Statement Letter from Office of the Commissioner for Better Regulation approving the RIS Letter from Office of the Commissioner for Better Regulation approving the RISPDF (248.21 KB) 7. Human Rights Certificate (section 12D) for the Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework Human Rights Certificate (Section 12D) for the Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework.pdf Human Rights Certificate (Section 12D) for the Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework.pdfPDF (387.52 KB) 8. Human Rights Certificate (section 12D) for the Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing and Risk Management) Amendment Regulations 2018 Human Rights Certificate (section 12D) for the Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing and Risk Management) Amendment Regulations 2018 Human Rights Certificate (section 12D) for the Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing and Risk Management) Amendment Regulations 2018PDF (409.85 KB)

Child Information Sharing Scheme

Child Information Sharing Scheme public consultation materials are available on the Engage Victoria platform at https://engage.vic.gov.au/child-information-sharing-scheme. Written submissions can be made via this platform.

If you have any questions about the CIS Scheme public consultation process, please email:

For more information about the FVISS and redeveloped Framework public consultation process, please email Family Safety Victoria at infosharing@familysafety.vic.gov.au