Appendix 6: Program area descriptions

Program area Description

Adult and Youth Parole Boards

The Boards make decisions concerning the granting of parole, variation or cancellation of parole and transfers between jurisdictions and provides prisoners with a structured, supported and supervised transition so that they can adjust from prison back into the community, rather than returning straight to the community at the end of their sentence without supervision or support. The paramount consideration of the Adult Parole Board is the safety and protection of the community. The Youth Parole Board is committed to the rehabilitation and best outcomes for young people under their jurisdiction. The board makes decisions within a framework that balances the needs of the young person with community safety considerations.

Alcohol and Other Drugs Services (AOD)

The Department of Health (DH) funds a variety Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) services. AOD services typically employ a wide range of professionals, including counsellors, youth workers, medical staff and residential withdrawal and rehabilitation staff. Approximately 40,000 Victorians access AOD services each year, many of whom have experienced or used family violence. AOD services can be accessed in community-based, hospital, or residential settings. Specialist family violence advisors are funded by DH to provide advice to AOD services with the goal of enhancing the quality and consistency of an AOD service’s response to clients who have experienced or used family violence.

Ambulance Victoria (AV)

Ambulance Victoria is a statutory authority which operates under the Ambulance Services Act 1986 and is part of the Ambulance Services portfolio which reports to me through the Department of Health. Ambulance Victoria’s Strategic Plan provides a promise to deliver a caring, safe, effective and connected experience. Ambulance Victoria provides pre-hospital treatment and transport across Victoria for people in urgent medical emergencies, as well as applying clinical expertise and experience to help resolve less-urgent medical issues. Ambulance Victoria provides emergency medical response to close to 6.6 million people in an area of more than 227,000 square kilometres. Ambulance Victoria paramedics and health practitioners also undertake a range of advocacy and referral activities through partnerships with Victoria Police, health services and other agencies. On average, an Ambulance Victoria paramedic will attend four family violence incidents a year.

Bush Nursing Centres

Rural and regional health services are provided across Victoria. Services include public health services and hospitals, Aboriginal health services, community health services, bush nursing centres and bush nursing hospitals. Bush nursing centres and bush nursing hospitals are funded by DH to provide medical care to remote communities.

Care Services (CSOs, ACCOs, Secure Care Services, Hurstbridge Farm)

DFFH funds a range of community service organisations and ACCOs to provide various care services. These include home-based care (foster or kinship care), and lead tenant and residential care homes. Children may be placed in care services when the Children’s Court determines the child or young person is unable to live safely with their family.

Care services allocates a case manager, who. supports the child or young person, and their carer if they are in home-based care, in relation to the child or young person’s health, emotional and behavioural development, education, family and social relationships, identity, social presentation, and self-care skills. Case managers support the child or young person to participate in case planning activities.

DFFH operates two 10-bed gender-specific secure care services. Secure care services provide a highly structured, secure environment for children or young people aged 10–17 years who are subject to a protection or interim accommodation order and who are at substantial and immediate risk of harm. Secure welfare direct care staff work intensively with children and young people who are staying in a secure welfare setting.

Centre-based education and care services

Centre-based education and care services include kindergartens, long day care and out of school hours care services. These services work closely with children and their families during key developmental years, placing them in a unique position to identify and respond to family violence risk, provide ongoing support and contribute to ongoing management.

Child Protection

The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFHs) Child Protection workforce provides child-centred, family-focused services to protect children and young people from significant harm caused by abuse or neglect where a parent has not protected or is unlikely to protect their child. Child Protection practitioners receive and assess reports about children, make referrals, or investigate and intervene to protect children where necessary. Child Protection practitioners develop case plans for children in need of protection. They work closely with children and families to access services and supports to enable parents to safely care for their children by addressing identified protective concerns. Where necessary, Child Protection may take matters to the Children’s Court and, where required for their immediate safety, place children in alternative care.

Community Based Child and Family Services (CFS) (Including Child FIRST)

CFS promote the safety, wellbeing and development of vulnerable children and young people, through case work support and practical interventions. Early and preventative help is critically important to prevent abuse and cumulative harm.

Community Correctional Services (CCS)

CCS, a division of Justice Services within Corrections and Justice Services, has responsibility for the delivery of community correctional services in Victoria. CCS staff manage and supervise orders of the court and the Adult Parole Board, including Community Correction Orders (CCOs). Order conditions may include participating in appropriate educational programs, community work, and assessment and treatment programs, including participation in AOD and Violence treatment programs and Men’s Behaviour Change Programs.

Community Health Services (CHS)

The Department of Health (DH) funds a wide network of CHS that deliver a range of primary health, human services and community-based supports to meet the needs of their local community. There are 27 registered community health services and 54 integrated health services across Victoria.

Community Housing

Community Housing refers to housing that is owned or managed by not-for-profit agencies that are registered with and regulated by the Victorian Housing Registrar in accordance with the Housing Act 1983. Registered community housing agencies provide secure, affordable, long term rental housing for eligible Victorians. Specialist providers support certain cohorts and may have specific programs for their renters, such as the aged, homeless young people, or people with disabilities. Some registered community housing agencies also deliver homelessness services. The department provides funding to the peak body representing community housing, the Community Housing Industry Association Victoria (CHIA Vic).

Complex Needs Coordinators (Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative) (MACNI)

The Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative (MACNI) is a time-limited service for people aged 16 years and older who have multiple and complex needs resulting from a combination of mental illness, substance abuse, intellectual impairment and or acquired brain injury. A person must pose a serious risk of harm to themselves or others to be eligible for the service.

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) funds 13 community organisations to deliver the Financial Counselling Program (FCP) and 9 to deliver the Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program (TAAP) across the 17 Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) areas in Victoria. The FCP includes 21 funded full-time equivalent specialist family violence financial counsellors who deal with complex cases and provide extended casework to people experiencing family violence.

Corrections Victoria (CV)

Corrections Victoria (CV) within Corrections and Justice Services is responsible for the state’s correctional facilities and post sentence scheme. Corrections Victoria sets strategy, policy and standards for the management of the state’s system of correctional facilities and is responsible for the implementation of policies, programs and services which ensure the safe and secure containment of prisoners, and that seek to rehabilitate offenders by addressing the underlying causes of offending behaviour. From July 2021, Community Correctional Services transitioned to Justice Services, a division of DJCS.

Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV)

There are approximately 60 DJCS employees at DSCV, comprising Dispute Assessment Officers, mediators, administration staff and managers, all of whom have been determined to have responsibilities at the Screening & Identification level under MARAM within the context of their work.

Early Parenting Centres (EPC)

Early Parenting Centres (EPCs) provide specialist support for Victorian families with children aged 0-4 years. They deliver flexible, targeted services that aim to enhance the parent-child relationship and support parents with strategies for achieving their parenting goals. These goals are often in areas such as sleep and settling, child behaviour and parent and child health and wellbeing.

Education services

All Victorian schools are now prescribed under the MARAM and Information Sharing reforms. A range of system bodies, and education health, wellbeing and inclusion workforces are also prescribed.

Family Violence Regional Integration Committees (FVRICs) and Principal Strategic Advisors (PSAs)

Family Violence Regional Integration Committees (FVRICs) bring together representatives from regional family violence services and other key sectors and services, including child and family services, Child Protection, mental health services, homelessness services, housing services, courts, police and Indigenous Family Violence Regional Action Groups. Each FVRIC is convened by a Family Violence Principal Strategic Advisor (PSA). The PSAs work to drive the local implementation of key family violence reforms in their area, build partnerships and collaborate across sectors, build workers’ capability and provide insight into operations, issues, functions and opportunities in their region.

Financial Counselling Program (FCP)

The Financial Counselling Program (FCP) is intended to support financially disadvantaged and vulnerable Victorians. Financial counsellors can offer a range of support, depending on someone’s eligibility for the service. This support could include providing advice about rights and responsibilities, negotiating with a creditor, or working out a realistic payment plan for debts. Section 5 of the Family Violence Protection Act (FVPA) includes ‘economic abuse’ in the definition of family violence and persons accessing counselling through FCP may disclose family violence as a cause of economic hardship.

ForensicDisability Services

The Forensic Disability Program is for people with cognitive disability who have contact with the criminal justice system. The Program provides targeted forensic disability treatment and support to a person based on their disability and its effect on their criminogenic needs. It aims to contribute to community safety by reducing the risk of offending in people with cognitive disability and by facilitating their integration and participation in the community.

Homelessness services

Homelessness services refers to services funded by DFFH and delivered by housing and homelessness service providers. Services include crisis, short-term and medium-term accommodation and support, outreach services, advocacy and case-management for people experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness, including people escaping family violence. The department provides funding to the peak body representing homelessness services, the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP). CHP also received a sector grant from Family Safety Victoria to support MARAM alignment and information sharing implementation.


The Department of Health (DH) funds public hospitals in metropolitan and rural Victoria. The hospital system provides a wide variety of health services, including emergency care, surgical services, perinatal care and rehabilitation services. As such, the hospital workforce comprises a wide range of medical, para-medical, allied health and administrative professionals who work closely and sometimes intensively, with patients and their families.

Justice Health

Justice Health is a division within Corrections and Justice Services of the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) and is responsible for the delivery of health and mental health services in adult prisons and youth custodial centres. It reports to a Joint Management Committee consisting of the major stakeholders in the justice sector including Corrections Victoria, The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Victoria Police. Justice Health contracts organisations that work with youth and adult offenders, which gives it the unique opportunity to identify and engage offenders with family violence support services while they are under supervision.

Maternal Child Health (MCH) Services

The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Service is a free universal primary health service for all Victorian families with children from birth to school age. The MCH Service provides a comprehensive and focused approach for the promotion, prevention and early identification of the physical, emotional and social factors affecting young children and their families. The MCH Service supports child and family health, wellbeing and safety, focusing on maternal health and father-inclusive practice as a key enabler to optimise child learning and development.

Mental Health Services

The Department of Health (DH) funds 18 designated mental health services. These services provide voluntary and compulsory assessment and treatment to people in accordance with the Mental Health Act 2014. The assessment and treatment may be provided in inpatient or community settings. Specialist Family Violence Advisors (SFVAs) also provide specialist family violence expertise and advice to designated mental health services.

Multicultural and settlement support services

Organisations that provide settlement or targeted casework services specifically for migrants, refugees, or asylum seekers. There are currently 41 organisations that provide these services in Victoria.

Northern Community Support Group (NCSG)

The Northern Community Support Group (NCSG) is a community-led program funded by Community Crime Prevention Unit in Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS). The program aims to provide young people and the broader Muslim community in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne with the support and opportunities they need to achieve their full potential and develop a sense of belonging in Australia. NCSG case managers understand the unique challenges facing their community and given the right skills and support to confidently assess and manage family violence, they can achieve better outcomes for their clients experiencing family violence.

Public Housing

Public housing refers to housing owned by the government and managed by the department on behalf of the Director of Housing. It provides long-term rental to eligible Victorians at affordable rates. Eligible Victorians may include those who are unemployed, on low incomes, living with disability or mental illness, at risk of homelessness, and victim survivors of family violence.

Refugee Minor Program

The Refugee Minor Program is responsible for providing case management, supervision and support to young refugees who have come to Australia without a parent or guardian and have been referred to the department by the Commonwealth. Many of these young people will be living in the care of relatives. The Refugee Minor Program exercises guardianship responsibilities for some of these young people under the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946 (Commonwealth) by ensuring their care arrangements are safe, stable and meet the needs of the child.

Risk Assessment and Management Panels (RAMPs)

A Risk Assessment and Management Panel (RAMP) is a formally convened meeting, held at a local level, of nine key agencies and organisations that contribute to the safety of women and children experiencing serious and imminent threat from family violence. Across Victoria, there are 18 RAMPs that each meet once a month to share information and take action to keep women and children at the highest risk from family violence safe.[28]

Sexual Assault Services

Sexual assault services provide support and intervention to women, children and men who are victim/survivors of sexual assault. This includes crisis care responses, counselling, casework, group-work, advocacy and a state-wide after-hours telephone crisis service.

Specialist Family Violence Services

Specialist Family Violence Services (SFVSs) aim to promote early intervention strategies to prevent the occurrence, or escalation of family violence and prevent the recurrence of family violence by offering post crisis support.

State Funded Residential Aged Care Services

There are 73 aged care organisations, including four incorporated associations and two publicly funded residential services. Most aged care services are operated by public health services in rural and regional Victoria. There are 15 metropolitan health services and 69 rural health services in Victoria with an estimated workforce size of 76,000 practitioners.

Supported Playgroups

Supported Playgroups target socially and economically disadvantaged families with children from birth to school age. They are led by a qualified facilitator who delivers an evidence-based program (‘smalltalk’) to parents which helps parents build their skills and confidence and improve the quality of the early home learning environment to support their child’s wellbeing, learning and development. Supported Playgroups also assist parents to connect with local services and supports in their community and with other parents.

Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program (TAAP)

Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program (TAAP) is funded to assist Victorians who are financially disadvantaged, or victims of family violence, who have a private tenancy and who are experiencing tenancy problems that if not addressed may lead to homelessness or otherwise put at risk their health, safety and wellbeing.

The Aboriginal Justice Group (AJG)

The AJG within the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) funds two Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations that are prescribed MARAM Framework organisations and Information Sharing Entities (ISEs) under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS). They are:

  • Djirra, Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention to deliver the Koori Women’s Place (KWP)
  • Dardi Munwurro, Men’s Healing and Behavioural Change to deliver Ngarra Jarranounith Place (NJP).

The AJG supports culture and practice change across Djirra and Dardi Munwurro and their regionally based services and partners, including other Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in training and communications. AJG also have a dedicated Senior Project Officer whose role includes promoting the seventh MARAM principle among mainstream service providers at every stakeholder forum.

The courts

The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (MCV) and Children’s Court of Victoria (ChCV) are collectively known as the courts. MCV is the first level of the Victorian court system. Sitting in 51 locations, it hears most matters that reach court. There is no jury and each matter is heard and determined by a judicial officer. MCV has had a range of specialist family violence powers, functions and services. The Royal Commission recommended that all family violence matters be heard and determined in Specialist Family Violence Courts (SFVCs). The ChCV is a specialist court dealing with cases involving children and young people. In the Criminal Division, it hears matters involving the criminal offending of children and young people. In the Family Division, it hears cases related to the care and protection of young people at risk and applications for intervention orders.

The Orange Door

The Orange Door is a free service for adults, children and young people who are experiencing or have experienced family violence and families who need extra support with the care of children. The Orange Door makes it easier for people to be safer and supported by being a gateway to connecting people with the following services: specialist family violence services, family services, Aboriginal services and services for men who use violence.

Victim Services, Support and Reform (VSSR)

Victim Services, Support and Reform (VSSR), within the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS), is the official Victorian Government agency responsible for helping people in Victoria manage the effects of violent crime. The VSSR oversees both the Victims of Crime Helpline and the Victims Assistance Program (VAP), two distinct programs in Victoria that provide a service to victims of crime, including victims of family violence. VSSR are also responsible for the Family Violence Restorative Justice Service, which facilitates restorative conversations for victim survivors of family violence. VSSR is the only support pathway for male victims of family violence in Victoria, via L17 reports.

Victoria Police

The role of Victoria Police is to serve the Victorian community and uphold the law to promote a safe, secure and orderly society. Victoria Police provides policing services to the Victorian community across 54 Police Service Areas, within 21 divisions and four regions. Responding to family violence incidents and working to keep perpetrators in view and accountable and victim survivors safe is an essential aspect of serving the Victorian community.

Youth Justice

The Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) is responsible for the statutory supervision of children and young people in the criminal justice system. DJCS’s Youth Justice Service provides programs and resources to assist these children and young people to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to manage their lives effectively without further offending. Through supervision, offending related programs and

linkages to appropriate support services, the youth justice service promotes opportunities for rehabilitation and contributes to the reduction of crime in the community.