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Prevention of Family Violence Bill 2018

The Prevention of Family Violence Bill 2018 (the Bill) was introduced to the Victorian Parliament on 20 June 2018.

Read the Prevention of Family Violence Bill 2018 and follow its progress through Parliament.

Read the Victorian Government’s media release.

What does the Bill do? 

This Bill will establish Respect Victoria – an organisation dedicated to preventing all forms of family violence - as a Statutory Authority. This means its functions, powers and duties will be protected by law.

The Bill ensures the primary prevention of family violence – stopping family violence before it starts – is protected in legislation.

What is the rationale for the Bill?

The Victorian Government announced it would establish Respect Victoria as a new organisation dedicated to preventing family violence on 29 March 2018.

Establishing Respect Victoria as a Statutory Authority will fulfil Recommendation 188 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. It will also deliver on the commitments outlined in Free from violence: Victoria’s strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women.

Expert evidence presented to the Royal Commission into Family Violence showed that funding for family violence has focused mostly on response. This is an important and necessary focus, however the only way to reduce the overall prevalence of family violence is primary prevention.

Primary prevention stops violence before it starts by addressing the underlying factors that drive it. Decreasing demand for family violence services and support has significant economic benefits.

The Royal Commission into Family Violence identified the need to resource an enduring primary prevention initiative. A dedicated initiative ensures prevention efforts are not ad-hoc or disconnected. It means that the existing focus on crisis response is matched by a focus on primary prevention. It means we address all forms of family violence, in all Victorian communities.

The Bill will establish Respect Victoria to help fulfil these functions.

What is Respect Victoria?

Respect Victoria is a new organisation dedicated to preventing all forms of family violence.

The organisation will build on the Victoria’s strong primary prevention platform. It will continue the Government’s work to address gender inequality as a root cause of family violence, as well as other forms of discrimination and inequality.

Respect Victoria will work to prevent family violence against all Victorians, including women, men, LGBTI people, Aboriginal Victorians, people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with a disability, older people, children and young people.

The organisation will ensure primary prevention efforts reflect diverse communities. Respect Victoria will work with partners across a range of settings, including rural and regional Victoria, education and care settings, workplaces, community organisations, faith-based and cultural organisations, sport, the arts and media.

What will Respect Victoria do?

Respect Victoria’s key functions will be research and evaluation, and community engagement.

The organisation will lead research into what works to prevent family violence before it starts, to build on the strong primary prevention platform in Victoria, and help improve the way Government, organisations and the community prevent family violence.

This includes providing advice to organisations and government to ensure the prevention of family violence is implemented across the Government and community. Respect Victoria will ensure quality primary prevention programming is core business of Government.

Respect Victoria will engage the whole Victorian community to change the culture that allows family violence to happen in the first place. This includes communications and public relations activities, behavioural change and positive bystander campaigns.

Community engagement will be based on up to date, high quality evidence and knowledge. This will include promoting awareness in the community of programs, activities and campaigns, to ensure that equality and respect are promoted across the whole community, and that we work towards preventing family violence and violence against women altogether.

Respect Victoria will report on progress in the prevention of family violence, and table a report to Parliament on trends and outcomes in primary prevention every three years.

How is Respect Victoria different from other prevention and family violence organisations?

Working in partnership and sharing information is critical to creating a future free from violence. Respect Victoria will work closely with a range of organisations, and the broader family violence sector.

Respect Victoria is dedicated to preventing all forms of family violence, and will work with Our Watch and ANROWS (Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety) whose focus is on men’s violence against women and their children.

Respect Victoria will also work with VicHealth to learn from its approach to general health promotion and prevention of chronic disease, and Family Safety Victoria which is dedicated to reforming family violence response.

How will Respect Victoria work with Government?

Respect Victoria will work collaboratively with the Victorian Government to support its broader plan for family violence reform. The Government will continue to deliver primary prevention programs and grants. Respect Victoria will provide strategic advice to Government about quality, evidence-based programming.

Respect Victoria will also work with local Government, and local and regional alliances, as key partners in the primary prevention of family violence.

How will Respect Victoria be governed?

The Bill establishes Respect Victoria’s Board, Board Chair, CEO and governance structure.

The Board will have up to eight members, including a Chairperson. Membership will be skills-based and drawn from diverse sectors. Members will have expertise in a range of areas, including prevention of family violence and violence against women, communications, cultural diversity, law, primary health, financial management, risk management and governance.

The Governor in Council will appoint Board members on the recommendation of the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. The Board will be independent of the Department of Health and Human Services, and at arm’s length from Government.

The Board will undertake a review of its work every three years and present its report to the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence who will table the report in Parliament.

How and when will Respect Victoria be implemented?

Establishment of Respect Victoria as a Statutory Authority is subject to the passage of the Bill. You can follow the Bill’s progress through the Victorian Parliament.