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How is The Orange Door working with people to identify risk and prioritise their needs?

Practitioners at The Orange Door are supported to do their work by changes to information sharing legislation, an improved family violence risk assessment and management framework and the Central Information Point. 

The Orange Door takes a holistic approach to working with families, balancing services based on need whether that relates to family violence or safety and support of children. In the process of supporting a family, children are treated as individuals in their own right. 

We share information across the team to quickly understand what is happening for the whole family. Previously it took a long time and huge effort to gather information from different agencies partly because we were uncertain if we could share information. - practitioner in The Orange Door 

The purpose of assessment and planning is to assess the key risks and needs of each individual and to identify their goals and preferences in the context of their family and community to determine the type, priority and urgency of the response. The Orange Door recognises the agency of individuals and families. In some cases, people choose not to engage with The Orange Door, or cannot be contacted, including for risk assessment purposes.

Identifying risk and need for children and families 

How is risk and need being identified where there is significant concern for child wellbeing? 

Within The Orange Door, practitioners undertake child wellbeing assessments where there are concerns for the safety, wellbeing or development of a child, with or without identifying family violence. There is a strong focus on working with families to develop a thorough understanding of child safety and wellbeing concerns as described in the Best Interests Case Practice Model. Community Based Senior Child Protection Practitioners support this process by providing information and advice about assessment of risk and safety.  

Figure 7. Risk and needs assessments undertaken for children and families

The number of risk and needs assessments undertaken for children and families per quarter as follows:

  • Q1 – 582 risk and needs assessments for children and families
  • Q2- 1,764 risk and needs assessments for children and families
  • Q3- 994 risk and needs assessments for children and families
  • Q4- 2,033 risk and needs assessments for children and families

A total of 5,373 child safety, wellbeing and needs assessments were undertaken in 2018-19.1 There was a notable increase in assessments from the first to last quarter of 2018-19 which likely reflects improvements in recording within the CRM.  

Assessing risk where family violence is present 

How is risk and need being assessed for victim survivors of family violence? 

Practitioners within The Orange Door assess family violence risk for women and children and the level of risk posed by the perpetrator. Practitioners work across specialisations to ensure there is a multi-agency coordinated response to address identified risk and needs and develop appropriate safety planning. Practitioners in The Orange Door completed 3,456 safety plans to help keep victims of family violence safe in 2018-19. 

Since implementation, The Orange Door is being supported to undertake individual risk assessments of children, to recognise them as victim survivors in their own right. 

The Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) Framework commenced in September 2018 and supports services to effectively identify, assess and manage family violence risk. 

The MARAM Framework, together with the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and Child Information Sharing Scheme, strengthen system-wide family violence risk assessment and management, and facilitate better sharing of risk-relevant information between services to keep people safe and keep perpetrators in view. 

Figure 8. Family violence risk assessments

The number of family violence risk assessments undertaken for adults and children per quarter as follows:

  • Q1 -1,011 adult risk assessments and 223 child risk assessments
  • Q2- 1,062 adult risk assessments and 192 child risk assessments
  • Q3- 1,196 adult risk assessments and 294 child risk assessments
  • Q4- 1,212 adult risk assessments and 269 child risk assessments

In 2018-19 practitioners undertook 5,459 risk assessments; of these 4,481 were undertaken for adults and 978 were undertaken for children (Figure 8).2

The number of risk assessments undertaken in 2018-19 was lower than the number of people who received a response. There are a few reasons for this. 

Firstly, it is likely that this count underestimates the number of risk assessments that were undertaken. During this time, practitioners in The Orange Door were transitioning to a new risk assessment tool (the Tools for Risk Assessment and Management). This was a significant practice shift that meant assessments were not consistently uploaded to the CRM correctly, which affected the data. In addition, some people who are referred to The Orange Door receive a rapid response that does not require a comprehensive risk assessment; decide not to engage; or, cannot be contacted despite multiple attempts. 

As TRAM is further tested and capability is built over time, it is envisaged that the number of assessments recorded electronically will increase. 

Co-working meant I asked questions the other worker didn’t think of and the other worker asked questions I didn’t think of, so that all the safety and wellbeing needs of all the family were covered. - practitioner in The Orange Door 

Central Information Point 

How is information being shared about the perpetrator to inform assessment of risk and safety responses?

The Central Information Point is a new and unique initiative that helps to keep perpetrators in view. The Central Information Point consolidates critical information from Victoria Police, Corrections Victoria, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, and Department of Health and Human Services Child Protection. Information from these sources about a perpetrator or alleged perpetrator of family violence is consolidated into a single report for The Orange Door practitioners to assist with family violence risk assessment and management. 

In 2018-19 a total of 2,846 CIP reports were provided to practitioners in The Orange Door with a gradual increase in the number of reports over the course of the year (Figure 9). 

Figure 9. Central Information Point – reports on perpetrators

The number of Central Information Point reports provided to practitioners per quarter as follows:

  • Q1- 488 CIP reports
  • Q2- 721 CIP reports
  • Q3- 810 CIP reports
  • Q4- 827 CIP reports

Sang’s story: using the Central Information Point to understand and respond to risk of violence 

The multidisciplinary team at The Orange Door assessed a case of Sang* and her child as low risk on the basis of information provided in the Victoria Police referral form (known as an L17 form). A practitioner within The Orange Door requested a report from the Central Information Point to inform the risk assessment. The Central Information Point report revealed that the perpetrator had a history of violence. He had a family violence intervention order against him from a previous partner and a correction order. As a result of this consolidated information, the case was escalated to high risk. The Central Information Point data custodian contacted The Orange Door a few days later to advise that the perpetrator had applied to be released on bail that day. Sang was contacted to update a safety plan for herself and her child. After successfully supporting Sang and her child, The Orange Door staff reflected that before the Central Information Point was available they would have had to make multiple phone calls to multiple government agencies to gain this kind of information, which would have taken several days, thus greatly increasing the risk of violence for this family.

*Not her real name 

1 The number of child safety, wellbeing and needs assessments reported in Budget Paper 3 reporting for 2018-19 was 5,374. This small variation is due to point in time data extraction within a dynamic CRM system. 

2 The number of risk assessments reported in Budget Paper 3 reporting for 2018-19 was 5,434, including 949 for children. This small variation is due to point in time data extraction within a dynamic CRM system.

Reviewed 17 January 2020

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