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Information Sharing and Risk Management

The 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 (FVISS) has been created by Part 5A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 and the Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing) Regulations 2018.

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

Changes have also been made to Victorian privacy legislation about when information can be shared in order to lessen or prevent a serious threat to the life, health, safety or welfare of a person. Further information can be found here.

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)
RAEs are a subset of ISEs that have the power to request, collect and use information to establish and assess family violence risk.

  • Practitioners in The Orange Door (Support and Safety Hubs)
  • 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 practitioners co-located in The Orange Door (Support and Safety Hubs) and their manager or supervisor
  • Child FIRST practitioners  (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

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 and operate in a well-regulated rule-based environment.

From 27 September 2018, generally organisations in which current ISEs are working will generally be prescribed as ISEs rather than individual professionals. Additional organisations will also be prescribed.

Information and support for ISEs

Resources

A range of resources are available to help ISEs 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).

If you are a prescribed ISE, please see ‘Information sharing process checklist when making a request’ and ‘Information sharing process checklist when responding to requests’ below:   

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 Overview of the Family Violence Information Sharing SchemePDF (159.5 KB) Information sharing process checklist when making a request Information sharing process checklist when making a requestPDF (959.83 KB) Information sharing process checklist when responding to a request Information sharing process checklist when responding to a requestPDF (982.53 KB) Information sharing consent form (for adult victim survivors only) 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 Model conversation for obtaining consent from an adult victim survivorPDF (956.09 KB) Model conversation with a child victim survivor or parent who is not a perpetrator Model conversation with a child victim survivor or parent who is not a perpetratorPDF (974.96 KB) Appendix F - Your Information and Your Safety factsheet Your Information and Your Safety factsheetPDF (958.29 KB) Appendix G - Example record keeping form Example record keeping formPDF (965.42 KB)

ISE 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

Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework

The Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework (now known as the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework- MARAM Framework) is being redeveloped in response to recommendation 1 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

The MARAM 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 MARAM Framework will ensure more professionals have a greater awareness of family violence risk assessment and management practice, including how to determine what information is relevant to be shared, to better protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions and behaviours.

Under the MARAM Framework:

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

The MARAM Framework will also reflect the needs of child and adult victim survivors and the needs and experiences of Aboriginal Victorians and Victoria’s diverse communities.

The Framework has been established in law as a legislative instrument in a new Part 11 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008. The relevant Minister is authorised to approve the redeveloped Framework, and to prescribe organisations through regulation to align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools with it.

The MARAM Framework is being informed by extensive consultation across relevant sectors, with peak bodies, experts and academics, professionals, and service providers.
 

Implementation

From 27 September 2018, a number of organisations will be required to comply with the MARAM Framework, the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and Child Information Sharing Scheme. A small number will only be required to comply with one or two of the reforms.

There will be a phased roll-out of these reforms to organisations based on readiness and to allow for knowledge and capability building.

Family Safety Victoria is working with the Department of Education and Training, and the Department of Health and Human Services 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.

From 27 September 2018, organisations that provide the following services will be prescribed:

Organisations prescribed under the MARAM Framework, Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme & Child Information Sharing Scheme

  • State-funded specialist family violence services including family violence counselling, therapeutic programs and perpetrator intervention
  • State-funded sexual assault services and sexually abusive behaviour treatment services
  • The Orange Door (Support and Safety Hubs)
  • Risk Assessment and Management Panels
  • Child Protection
  • Child FIRST and integrated family services
  • Out-of-home care services
  • Designated mental health services
  • State-funded alcohol and other drugs services
  • Department of Health and Human Services Housing
  • State-funded homelessness accommodation or homelessness support services (providing access point, outreach and accommodation services)
  • Maternal and Child Health Services
  • Youth Justice and funded programs, including the Youth Parole Board (Secretariat)
  • Justice Health and funded programs (for children)
  • Victoria Police
  • Victims of Crime Helpline
  • Victims Assistance Program-funded services

Organisations only prescribed under the MARAM Framework and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme

  • Court-ordered family violence counselling services
  • Corrections Victoria and Corrections funded services
  • Adult Parole Board
  • Victims Support Agency
  • Justice Health and funded services (for adults)
  • State-funded financial counselling programs
  • Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Program
  • Magistrates’ Court officials
  • Children’s Court officials

Organisations only prescribed under the Family Violence and Child Information Sharing Schemes

  • Disability Services Commissioner
  • Commission for Children and Young People

Organisations only prescribed under the Child Information Sharing Scheme

  • Multi-agency panels to prevent youth offending
  • Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

From 2020

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

What does this mean for your organisation?

From 27 September 2018, additional services will be permitted to share information under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme to assess and manage family violence risk. These services will be required to respond to requests made by other services under the Scheme.

Organisations prescribed as information sharing entities should update their policies and procedures to reflect their responsibilities under the new information sharing reforms. This includes communicating to staff about who is appropriately authorised to share information on behalf of the organisation. That is, organisations will need to consider what staff should be authorised to share information (in relation to family violence risk assessment and management and child wellbeing and safety), based on their functions and role.

From 27 September 2018, Framework organisations will be required to start to align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools to the MARAM Framework. It is not expected that organisations will have aligned to the Framework prior to 27 September 2018. Rather, organisations will begin to adapt and align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools to the Framework.

Further advice and guidance will be provided from relevant funding, peak and representative bodies to support organisations with this process.

Training

FVISS initial tranche training

FVISS training remains available for those prescribed in the FVISS initial tranche until 31 August 2018. These sessions include an introduction to the FVISS and will assist practitioners with sharing information that is relevant to family violence risk assessment and management.

In addition to initial tranche workers, the remaining sessions are now also open to workers who will be prescribed as Information Sharing Entities (ISEs) under FVISS from September 2018. As an understanding of family violence risk is required to operate effectively under the FVISS, the training is for workers who have previously completed CRAF training.

To register, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/family-safety-victoria-15092500109.

Integrated training on all three reforms

Family Safety Victoria, the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Health and Human Services are jointly working towards the roll out of integrated workforce training on all three reforms.

From 3 September 2018, the integrated training package, covering the two information sharing schemes and foundational MARAM Framework content will progressively roll out. Initially, the program will be provided as two-day, face-to-face training in 17 locations across Victoria. It will target approximately 4000 ‘priority’ personnel across all prescribed Phase 1 workforces.

In addition to the face-to-face option, the same package will be available in modular form via e-learn from 3 September 2018.  Customised modules are also being developed to meet the specific needs of affected workforces.

Relevant departments will contact organisational leaders about the allocation of prioritised learning places, locational options, timing and advice on how to enrol by mid-August 2018.

MARAM Framework training

In depth training in the MARAM Framework will be available later this year and will continue throughout 2019. Delivery of this training will complement the integrated training. While the integrated training focuses on information sharing, with some context from the MARAM Framework, the in-depth MARAM training will have a deeper focus on risk assessment and management, and how to embed the Framework into organisational practice.

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

If you have any questions about the training schedule, please contact Family Safety Victoria via email: infosharing@familysafety.vic.gov.au

Consultation

Public consultation on family violence and child information sharing reforms

Family Safety Victoria, the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Health and Human Services conducted joint public consultation sessions on the following reforms in June 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.

Public consultation on all three reforms has now closed.

All feedback received throughout the public consultation period will be considered in finalising:

  • the Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework Policy and Practice document
  • the Child Information Sharing Scheme Ministerial Guidelines
  • the Regulations and Regulatory Impact Statement for the next phase of the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and the Child Information Sharing Scheme.

Targeted consultation on operational practice guidance and the family violence risk assessment tools will take place in August 2018. 

Contact Us

Email us for more information.