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Five years on

29/03/21 0.58am

Five years ago today, the Victorian Government received the report of Australia’s first Royal Commission into Family Violence and committed to implementing to all 227 recommendations.

We’re only just at the halfway point of the ambitious 10-year plan to rebuild Victoria’s family violence system and there’s still a long way to go. But the five-year anniversary of the Royal Commission into Family Violence is also a moment to reflect on the significant progress to end family violence in this state.  

Over five years, we’ve seen victim survivors be given a voice and the experiences of children elevated to be at the heart of the reform.  

We’ve seen significant improvements in the way we work together and share information about family violence risk, and are providing the community with more coordinated access to help and support through initiatives such as the rollout of The Orange Door network across the state, and the opening of specialist family violence courts.  

We’re working to stop the violence before it happens through programs that engage with men who use violence to help them change their behaviour and hold them to account. 

Core principles at the heart of the reform are ensuring that we are building a family violence system that is inclusive, safe and responsive for all Victorians, regardless of their background, culture, gender identity or ability.  

And we are supporting Aboriginal services and people to lead and design culturally safe solutions for their own communities based on the principle of self-determination. 

The principles of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience are embedded through:

Highlights since 2016

As well as establishing Respect Victoria and Family Safety Victoria to oversee Victoria's family violence prevention and response, there are many highlights since 2016. 

Prevention 

  • More than 1,500 Victorian schools have signed on to a whole of school approach to prevention, creating a culture of gender equality and respect and changing the story of family violence for future generations. 
  • The Gender Equality Act 2020, the first legislation of its kind in Australia, was enacted on 25 February 2020 to improve workplace gender equality across the Victorian public sector, universities and local councils. 

Support 

  • The Orange Door network has opened in 7 areas, providing a network of help and support for people experiencing family violence, people who use violence and families who need support with the development and wellbeing of children. 
  • Investment in housing, crisis accommodation and support pathways is helping more families, providing expanded and more stable housing options. 

Information sharing 

  • The Central Information Point is operational and helping to deliver a comprehensive view of perpetrator risk which supports more targeted safety planning.   

Justice  

  • Australia's first Family Violence Command is strengthening Victoria Police’s strategic and operational response to family violence, sexual offences and child abuse.   
  • Three specialist family violence courts are operational and remote hearings are being piloted to support the safety and wellbeing of victim survivors. 
  • We have increased access to legal assistance to assist victim survivors and perpetrators to receive access to justice.  
  • Changes to the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) are supporting better safety for victim survivors and improving early intervention. 

People who use violence 

  • The delivery of community-based perpetrator interventions has expanded beyond men’s behaviour change programs to include case management and targeted services for specific cohorts. 
  • The Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions was established to advise government on the suite of family violence perpetrator interventions that should be available in Victoria to ensure the safety of more women and children. 

For more information, the Family Violence Reform Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023 outlines the progress across the 10 reform priorities.

Reviewed 23 June 2021

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