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Chapter 10: Next steps

This section identifies work that is planned as the reforms continue to roll out over the next few years.

Family Safety Victoria

Key WoVG priorities for 2022–23 for Family Safety Victoria:

  • Development of the MARAM Maturity Model. The projected outputs over the next 12 months include the design and testing of the maturity matrix, and self-audit tool. The project is expected to move to a pilot phase in 2023-24.
  • Two 5-year reviews (see Chapter 9), both of which are scheduled for completion in 2023.
  • Development of child and young person-focused MARAM practice guidance to strengthen workforce capacity to respond directly to risk and wellbeing for children and young people experiencing family violence and young people using family violence. The project is anticipated for completion in 2023.
  • Development and delivery of the MARAM Adults Using family violence non-accredited training. Family Safety Victoria anticipates the 3 training packages will be finalised in late-2022, with delivery commencing from 2023.
  • MARAM online tools to see the Adults Using Family Violence tools and Predominant Aggressor Identification Tool being built into TRAM. This will provide rich data sources about perpetrators of family violence.

Department of Education

Key priorities for the Department of Education in 2022–23 include:

  • The Regional Action Plan, which supports professionals in the Department of Education’s regional offices, who work collaboratively with schools to support student health, wellbeing and safety, to understand their roles, responsibilities and obligations for implementation of the reforms. It works to further enable proactive behaviours and collaboration between regional and education workforces, and other prescribed Information Sharing Entities to achieve better outcomes for children and young people, by enhancing early identification and intervention.
  • Continued development of tools to support education and care workforces to understand and undertake their MARAM Responsibilities, including a MARAM Toolkit to be finalised in 2023 by ECA, which was piloted in 5 early childhood services.
  • Development of further guidance on sharing information safely at school transitions in the updated information-sharing and family violence reforms toolkit and guidance.
  • Development of guidance, tools and templates to support primary school nurses to identify and respond to family violence through the School Entrant Health Questionnaire process training, which will include:
    • an extra 1,120 places for Respectful Relationships professional learning for early childhood educators
    • further MARAM training for ‘nominated staff’ (staff identified by their organisational leader as having additional MARAM Responsibilities of screening, referral and safety planning)
    • a series of 20 ‘microlessons’ (short eLearning modules) that cover foundational family violence knowledge and will be suitable for all staff in centre-based early childhood education and care services, schools and TAFEs.
  • Continuous reviews and updates of relevant resources on PROTECT and the Department of Education and Training Policy and Advisory Library to implement the new Child Safe Standards and MARAM. Extensive sector consultation will be undertaken throughout this process, and family violence and child safety stakeholders will be included in the development of additional guidance and resources.
  • An independent evaluation of MARAM implementation. It is expected that the findings from the evaluation will be used to inform future program policy and budget direction, including further activities that may enhance MARAM implementation and strengthen intended outcomes.
  • The Department of Education continuing to review and update operational policies as necessary, to align with MARAM. This work will build on the review of operational policies in 2020–21 to align with the information-sharing schemes, and the development of guidance and tools for education and care workforces.

Department of Families, Fairness and Housing

Key priorities for the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing in 2022–23:

  • Develop the child and young person victim-survivor-focused MARAM practice guidance (supplementing the 2019 victim survivor and 2021–22 adult perpetrator-focused guides).
  • Develop and deliver tailored learning opportunities for working with people who use family violence. This will include working closely with the Council to Homeless Persons and Community Housing Industry Association Victoria to explore options and ensure learning opportunities meet the needs of the community housing and homelessness services sectors.
  • Release a MARAM eLearn for practitioners across the service system who work with older people. A joint production with the Department of Health, the eLearn explored the role professionals play in responding to family violence experienced by older people (elder abuse).
  • Re-establish and confirm the ongoing governance overseeing the implementation of the MARAM Enabling Change Strategy across the department’s internal workforces.
  • Update existing MARAM Operational Guidelines for Public Housing to align with the adult perpetrator-focused MARAM practice guides and organisational structural changes.
  • Deliver training in working with adults using family violence, appropriately tailored to Department of Families, Fairness and Housing workforces.
  • Expand use of the CIP to Safe Steps and the Men’s Referral Service, in line with Recommendation 7 of the Royal Commission[22].
  • Tailor and localise the Strengthening Cultural Safety in The Orange Door training by the 18 Aboriginal Cultural Safety Advisors in The Orange Door.

Department of Health

Key priorities for the Department of Health in 2022–23:

  • Update internal policies and guidance. Roll out MARAM-aligned training for department staff and develop workplace support resources for staff who are experiencing family violence.
  • Deliver training in working with adults using family violence, appropriately tailored to health workforces.
  • Continue work to integrate MARAM and information sharing into Ambulance Victoria’s clinical governance structure to ensure appropriate and ongoing leadership, project and clinical governance, and a focus on continuous improvement.
  • Fund the SHRFV initiative to continue supporting MARAM alignment across hospitals statewide.

Department of Justice and Community Safety

Key priorities for the Department of Justice and Community Safety in 2022–23:

  • Delivering customised victim-survivor-focused MARAM training packages to the department’s prescribed business units and funded agencies.
  • Tailoring MARAM victim survivor and perpetrator practice guidance into a summary practice guide for the department’s workforce.
  • Embedding MARAM perpetrator practice guidance and tools into operational practice.
  • For Consumers Affairs Victoria to provide post-training support to all funded agencies to discuss how the MARAM training is applied to their day-to-day work and to answer questions and address issues. This support will be in the form of online information sessions and practical resources like tip sheets and videos.
  • For the Women’s Legal Service Victoria to begin its suite of ongoing family violence training to tenancy workers.
  • Embedding a MARAM implementation plan for Dispute Settlement Centre Victoria to create operational readiness to use MARAM.
  • For CJS to continue the rollout of Foundational Family Violence Training, explore feasible options to rolling out of MARAM training to the custodial workforce, and role-mapping of the custodial workforce to inform configuration of practice guidance, risk assessment tools and policies.
  • For CJS to continue to progress the Family Violence Flag Project, with the aim of building and implementing an IT solution.

The courts

Key priorities for the courts in 2022–23:

  • Aligning the eligibility assessment process for court-mandated counselling orders with the MARAM respondents risk assessment tools.
  • Establishing a new role within the MARAMIS team to build capability and support continuous quality improvement.
  • Delivery of training in working with respondents across relevant court roles.
  • Tailored guidance to be developed for the practitioner workforce on the use of the respondent risk assessment tool in the court context.
  • The development of reference material, including quick-reference guides to determining risk levels, to assist court staff with their decision-making around risk levels and risk management strategies.

Victoria Police

Key priorities for Victoria Police in 2022–23:

  • Refining Victoria Police policy and progressing activity regarding predominant aggressors to reduce the impact of misidentification by police, including:
    • supporting and providing training to police officers to identify the predominant aggressor before commencing a risk assessment, and before it is committed to the Law Enforcement Assistance Program crime database
    • reviewing how family violence records are captured in the Law Enforcement Assistance Program crime database to ensure that when misidentification has occurred, remedial action can be taken to resolve the issue
    • developing a clear process for an urgent return to court in matters where misidentification has occurred
    • working with other services, such as Child Protection and The Orange Door, to provide greater clarity on reporting concerns and providing support, and to ensure that when they do address protective concerns, perpetrators are also held to account.
  • The release of an updated Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence to include contemporary information around police practice and the family violence system reforms that have occurred since 2019.

[22] Recommendation 7 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence recommended that the Victorian Government establish a secure Central Information Point, with a summary of the information being available to RAMPs.