These principles provide professionals and services with a shared understanding of family violence. They will ensure consistent, effective and safe family violence responses for adult and child victim survivors as well as adult perpetrators, while centralising perpetrator accountability.
The principles are underpinned by the right of all people to live free from family violence. They inform the ethical engagement of professionals and services working with all service users, both victim survivors and perpetrators.
The 10 principles are:
- Family violence involves a spectrum of seriousness of risk and presentations, and is unacceptable in any form, across any community or culture.
- Professionals should work collaboratively to provide coordinated and effective risk assessment and management responses, including early intervention when family violence first occurs to avoid escalation into crisis and additional harm.
- Professionals should be aware, in their risk assessment and management practice, of the drivers of family violence, predominantly gender inequality, which also intersect with other forms of structural inequality and discrimination.
- The agency, dignity and intrinsic empowerment of victim survivors must be respected by partnering with them as active decision-making participants in risk assessment and management, including being supported to access and participate in justice processes that enable fair and just outcomes.
- Family violence may have serious impacts on the current and future physical, spiritual, psychological, developmental and emotional safety and wellbeing of children, who are directly or indirectly exposed to its effects, and should be recognised as victim survivors in their own right.
- Services provided to child victim survivors should acknowledge their unique experiences, vulnerabilities and needs, including the effects of trauma and cumulative harm arising from family violence.
- Services and responses provided to people from Aboriginal communities should be culturally responsive and safe, recognising Aboriginal understanding of family violence and rights to self-determination and self-management, and take account of their experiences of colonisation, systemic violence and discrimination and recognise the ongoing and present day impacts of historical events, policies and practices.
- Services and responses provided to diverse communities and older people should be accessible, culturally responsive and safe, service-user centred, inclusive and non-discriminatory.
- Perpetrators should be encouraged to acknowledge and take responsibility to end their violent, controlling and coercive behaviour, and service responses to perpetrators should be collaborative and coordinated through a system-wide approach that collectively and systematically creates opportunities for perpetrator accountability.
- Family violence used by adolescents is a distinct form of family violence and requires a different response to family violence used by adults, because of their age and the possibility that they are also victim survivors of family violence.
3.1 Principles for working with perpetrators
As a result of recommendations from the Royal Commission, the Victorian Government formed the Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions (EACPI) to provide advice on how to increase accountability of family violence perpetrators.
In its final report, the EACPI outlines eight principles for perpetrator interventions.
These are consistent with and supplement the MARAM Principles. They provide for a strong victim-focused lens and support perpetrator accountability at the individual, service and systems level.
The EACPI principles also inform ethical practice of professionals in their engagement with all service users.
They ensure that victim survivor safety is the key consideration when working directly with perpetrators to address their risk and needs.