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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 Act will create an information sharing scheme that authorises a select group of information sharing entities (ISEs) to share information between themselves for family violence risk assessment and risk management. The new family violence information sharing scheme will commence on 26 February 2018. 

The Act will also remove 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. This will apply generally, not just in the context of family violence.

The new family violence information sharing scheme does not interfere with existing legislation that allows information to be shared, for instance in privacy legislation or child protection legislation.

For more information on the scheme see the following factsheet.

Factsheet - Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme Factsheet - Family Violence Information Sharing SchemePDF (371.33 KB)

Snapshot of the new laws

The flow chart below also provides more detail on how the information sharing scheme will operate.

 

Ministerial Guidelines

The responsible Minister has issued Guidelines under Part 5A, which are legally binding on all prescribed ISEs (except for Courts). The Guidelines will assist information sharing entities to understand their obligations under Part 5A and ensure that information is shared in a way that appropriately balances the safety needs of family violence victims with individuals' privacy.

The finalised Ministerial Guidelines are 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) A guide for ISEs on how to share information A guide for ISEs on how to share informationPDF (1.11 MB)

Other resources 

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)

Implementation

In order to ensure workforce readiness, sector capacity and immediate traction for those directly responding to family violence risk, the phased approach to implementing the legislative reforms proposed is:

From 26 February 2018

Initial prescription of information sharing entities (ISEs) authorised to use the legislation will also facilitate the establishment of the first Support and Safety Hubs.

Prescribed ISEs will be staff in key 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.

Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing) Regulations 2018

Later tranches

ISEs will be prescribed to align with the future phased rollout of the Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework (Framework). These entities may include housing and homelessness workers, out-of-home care workers and maternal and child health nurses.

 

Current list of initial information sharing entities

List of prescribed ISEs:

ISEs that are also risk assessment entities (RAEs) 

  • workers in state-funded specialist women’s family violence services (including refuge staff)
  • workers in state-funded specialist men’s family violence services (including Men’s Behavioural Change Programs)
  • workers in state-funded sexual assault services
  • community-based Child Protection workers co-located in a Support and Safety Hub and their manager or supervisor
  • Child FIRST workers (excluding broader family services)
  • Victims Support Agency workers (including those working for contracted Victim 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 workers

Information sharing entities

  • Magistrates’ Court of Victoria staff
    • family violence registrars
    • family violence applicant and respondent support workers
    • Koori Court Family Violence and victim support practitioners
    • Court Integrated Services Program workers
  • Children's Court of Victoria staff: 
    • registry manager
    • family violence registrar
    • manager - alternative dispute resolution
  • 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 (including Adult Parole Board)

An Enquiry Line will be available for ISEs authorised to use the scheme. For more information, or if you have any queries, please email infosharing@familysafety.vic.gov.au 

Regulatory Impact Statement (the RIS)

In accordance with the requirements of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 and the Victorian Guide to Regulation, this Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) assesses the proposed Regulations in terms of their objectives, alternative approaches to achieving those objectives, and their impacts on government and the community sector. This RIS assesses the impacts of the initial stage of the information sharing regime and CIP rollout.

Regulatory Impact Statement - Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme.pdf Regulatory Impact Statement - Family Violence Information Sharing SchemePDF (1.02 MB) Regulatory Impact Statement - Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (accessible format).docx Regulatory Impact Statement - Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (accessible format)DOC (977.01 KB) Office of the Commissioner for Better Regulation Assessment Letter for Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme Regulatory Impact Statement Office of the Commissioner for Better Regulation Assessment Letter for Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme Regulatory Impact StatementPDF (241.58 KB)

Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management

A new Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework is currently being developed in line with Recommendation 1 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. The Framework will also address issues and gaps in the current Framework 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 new 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

It is expected that prescribed organisations will adapt their policies and procedures to meet these changes in the second half of 2018.

As well as engaging experts to lead this work, the redevelopment of the Framework is being informed by extensive consultation across relevant sectors, with peak bodies, experts and academics, frontline users of the Framework, and service providers. It will also reflect the needs of child and adult victim survivors and the diverse needs and experiences of the Victorian community.

Consultations on key elements of the Framework are being undertaken across Victoria to support its redevelopment.