Message from the responsible Minister

Message from the responsible Minister

The implementation of the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM Framework) is a Whole of Victorian Government reform that is committed to keeping victim survivors safe and perpetrators in view and accountable.

This is the second annual report into the operation of the MARAM Framework. This report covers the period from July 2019 to June 2020.

All Ministers with framework organisations within their portfolios have reported to me on the work being undertaken to align to the MARAM Framework. This report is consolidated from my portfolio report and the reports provided by:[1]

  • The Hon. Jill Hennessy MLA, (previous) Attorney-General
  • The Hon. Jenny Mikakos MLC, (previous) Minister for Health
  • The Hon. Lisa Neville MLA, Minister for Police and Emergency Services
  • The Hon. Luke Donnellan MLA, Minister for Child Protection
  • The Hon. Martin Foley MLA, (previous) Minister for Mental Health
  • The Hon. Melissa Horne MLA, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation
  • The Hon. Natalie Hutchins MLA, Minister for Crime Prevention, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Youth Justice, Minister for Victim Support
  • The Hon. Richard Wynne MLA, Minister for Housing

This has been a challenging year that has seen the devastating bushfires across regional Victoria and the ongoing impact of the coronavirus (referred to as COVID-19) pandemic across Australia and the world. We know that the risk of family violence not only remains present during such events but increases in incidence and severity.

The MARAM Framework and the work across departments in preparing their organisations to embed family violence response into their systems has placed workforces in a stronger position to respond to this risk during these unprecedented times.

Essential community services from the police to the Courts, Housing, Child Protection, Alcohol and other Drugs have all ensured family violence response formed a part of their business continuity planning when implementing their COVID-safe delivery plans. This is, of itself, testament to the impact of the Royal Commission into Family Violence (the Royal Commission) reforms in making family violence response a collective system responsibility and a lasting cultural change.

I particularly wish to acknowledge the work of specialist family violence practitioners and sexual assault workers who have been crucial partners in supporting the response to family violence during these difficult times. As well as pivoting their own practice to address the complications of responding to family violence during a global pandemic, they have offered unwavering support to other services that have seen an increase in family violence identification and risk. Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) have continued to provide amazing support through their connection to community and people. Victoria’s peak bodies have collaborated across sectors and with government to support their workforces. I thank them all for their continued work and dedication.

The MARAM and Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) reforms continue to be centrally led by Family Safety Victoria (FSV), with extensive cross-government collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS), Victoria Police, the Magistrates’ Courts and the Children’s Courts (the courts), and the Department of Education and Training (DET). DET are the lead department on the related Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS) reforms. This report outlines just some of the work departments, agencies, sector peaks and framework organisations have delivered over the course of 2019–20. Although only in year two of the reform, this report provides an early indication of the impact of change through independent evaluations and data collection.

This report also notes some of the challenges that are experienced, as may be expected in the early years of rolling out such an extensive reaching reform as MARAM. With 37,500 workers from Phase 1 organisations requiring training across the three reforms of MARAM, FVISS and CISS, and a need to tailor the centrally produced resources to multiple workforces, demand has been high, and it will take time to meet this need. This is being addressed through increasing use of online training and eLearn modules which will benefit the 370,000 workers due to be prescribed in Phase 2. There are related initiatives, such as the Aboriginal Workforce Development Initiative, which aims to increase trainer capacity to meet the needs of the Aboriginal workforce and those serving the Aboriginal communities. We will continue to work collaboratively across government to progress all related actions which will help make training and resources available to all.

Our next major step is preparing workforces for Phase 2 of the MARAM and information sharing reforms, set to commence in April 2021.[2] Government will use knowledge gained in the early evaluations to inform our next steps. This includes a renewed focus on change management activities across government departments and the sector, continued capability uplift across organisations, consistent guidance on the practical application of the reforms, and increased accountability and governance.

Implementation of MARAM is also captured in Building from strength: 10-year Industry Plan for family violence prevention and response (the Industry Plan) and the first three-year plan to progress this work in Strengthening the foundations: first rolling action plan 2019–22. This Whole of Government strategy, supported by departmental workforce and industry planning, focuses on the uplift of workforces spanning the specialist family violence sector, community services, health, justice and education and training to create a flexible and dynamic workforce to prevent and respond to family violence. This includes the development of family violence prevention and response knowledge and skills across all workforces, in line with the best practice approaches established through MARAM.

As we progress this important work, I thank all those across government and the services sector who have helped to improve the way we respond to family violence, and ensure that victim survivors get the support they need to move on with their lives.

Hon Gabrielle Williams MP
Minister for Prevention of Family Violence
Minister for Women
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs

[1] Ministers listed were the portfolio ministers for the reporting period.

[2] Subject to final Ministerial approval at the time of report preparation.