Appendix 1: Program area descriptions
Alcohol and other drugs services
DHHS funds a variety 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 DHHS 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.
Care services and secure welfare services
DHHS 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 allocate a key worker for each care family and/or to each child or young person. The care services worker will support the child or young person, as well as 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. Care services workers must ensure the child or young person participates in care-planning.
DHHS operates two 10-bed gender-specific secure welfare services. Secure welfare 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.
Centres Against Sexual Assault
Sexual assault support services that 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.
The CIP is a unique and targeted model of multiagency information sharing about perpetrators to inform risk assessment and management. The CIP includes representatives from key government agencies; Victoria Police, corrections, courts and DHHS working together to share critical information about a family violence perpetrator from their respective databases. The collective information is gathered and recorded on a CIP report.
DHHS 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 arrange for children to be placed in alternative care.
Community Based Child and Family Services (CFS)
Community Based Child and Family Services promote the safety, stability 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.
Corrections and Justice Services
Corrections Victoria is a business unit of DJCS – implements court judgments and orders of the Adult Parole . It sets strategy, policy and standards for the management of the state’s system of correctional facilities. It also develops programs for the management and rehabilitation of prisoners and the community-based supervision of offenders.
Designated Mental Health services
DHHS 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. SFVA also provide specialist family violence expertise and advice to designated Mental Health services.
Financial Counselling Program
The 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 FVPA includes ‘economic abuse’ in the definition of family violence and persons accessing counselling through FCP may disclose family violence as a course of economic hardship.
DHHS funds a variety of framework organisations to provide homelessness services. These services include crisis and short-term accommodation specifically for people experiencing homelessness as a result of family violence, as well as generalist crisis and short-term accommodation, and outreach services. These generalist services are often accessed by people at risk of, or who have experienced, family violence.
Housing manages over 62,000 properties, providing safe, long-term housing to people on low incomes. Priority is given to those most in need, including people who have recently experienced family violence. The work of HSOs includes tenancy and property management, and the provision of housing advice and assistance. This means HSOs often visit and work directly with clients.
Justice Health is a business unit of 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, 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.
DHHS, in partnership with Victoria’s 79 local governments, provides funding to the Universal MCH Program, and fully funds the Enhanced MCH Program and the MCH Line.
The Universal MCH program consists of 10 Key Age and Stage (KAS) consultations for all Victorian children, and a flexible component that allows additional consultations for families in need. The KAS consultations include an initial home visit followed by consultations at two weeks, four weeks, eight weeks, four months, eight months, 12 months, 18 months, two years and three and a half years of age. MCH practitioners conduct a routine screening assessment for family violence risk at the four-week KAS consultation. However, a screening assessment may be conducted at any visit if risk is suspected.
Men’s Behavioural Change Programs
Men's behaviour change programs play an important role in promoting the safety of women and children. These programs focus on making men accountable and responsible for their violence toward family members. The purpose of these programs is to encourage the change process in men's behaviour and they provide a forum for exploring and challenging beliefs.
Women’s refuges provide safe accommodation and support for women and children escaping domestic violence. Refuge locations are not made public to ensure safety and security.
Risk Assessment and Management Panels
A 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.
Specialist Family Violence Services
Specialist Family Violence services 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.
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.
MCV and CCV 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 SFVC.
The CCV 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 Koori Justice Unit
The Koori Justice Unit (KJU) funds two ACCOs that are prescribed MARAM Framework organisations and ISEs under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS):
- Djirra – Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Koori Women’s Place (KWP)
- Dardi Munwurro – Men’s Healing and Behavioural Change Programs Ngarra Jarranounith Place (NJP).
The KJU supports culture and practice change across Djirra and Dardi Munwurro and their regionally based services and partners, including other ACCOs in training and communications.
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
- services for men who use violence.
Victim Services, Support and Reform (VSSR)
VSSR, within 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.
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.
DJCS is responsible for the statutory supervision of young people in the criminal justice system.
DJCS’ 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.
Reviewed 18 February 2021