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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, the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (the scheme) has been created by Part 5A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 and the Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing and Risk Management) 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 that information can be shared in order to lessen or prevent a serious threat to the life, health, safety or welfare of a person.

Who was prescribed in the initial tranche?

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.

Additional organisations were prescribed on 27 September 2018. Please see Implementation.