The MARAM Framework contents

The MARAM Framework outlines 10 principles that underpin the reforms. The principles support four pillars against which prescribed organisations are required to align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools. The pillars include 10 responsibilities for identifying, assessing and managing family violence risk across service sectors.

MARAM principles

The principles are aimed at providing professionals and services with a shared understanding of family violence, and facilitating consistent, effective and safe responses for people experiencing family violence. The principles are:

  1. family violence involves a spectrum of seriousness of risk and presentations, and is unacceptable in any form, across any community or culture
  2. professionals should work collaboratively to provide coordinated and effective risk assessment and management responses, including early intervention when family violence first occurs to avoid escalation into crisis and additional harm
  3. professionals should be aware, in their risk assessment and management practice, of the drivers of family violence, predominantly gender inequality, which also intersect with other forms of structural inequality and discrimination
  4. the agency, dignity and intrinsic empowerment of victim survivors must be respected by partnering with them as active decision-making participants in risk assessment and management, including being supported to access and participate in justice processes that enable fair and just outcomes
  5. family violence may have serious impacts on the current and future physical, spiritual, psychological, developmental and emotional safety and wellbeing of children, who are directly or indirectly exposed to its effects, and should be recognised as victim survivors in their own right
  6. services provided to child victim survivors should acknowledge their unique experiences, vulnerabilities and needs, including the effects of trauma and cumulative harm arising from family violence
  7. services and responses provided to people from Aboriginal communities should be culturally responsive and safe, recognising Aboriginal understanding of family violence and rights to self-determination and self-management, and take account of their experiences of colonisation, systemic violence and discrimination and recognise the ongoing and present day impacts of historical events, policies and practices
  8. services and responses provided to diverse communities and older people should be accessible, culturally responsive and safe, client centred, inclusive and non-discriminatory
  9. perpetrators should be encouraged to acknowledge and take responsibility to end their violent, controlling and coercive behaviour, and service responses to perpetrators should be collaborative and coordinated through a system-wide approach that collectively and systematically creates opportunities for perpetrator accountability
  10. family violence used by adolescents is a distinct form of family violence and requires a different response to family violence used by adults, because of their age and the possibility that they are also victim survivors of family violence

MARAM pillars

The MARAM Framework is structured around four conceptual pillars against which leaders of organisations must align policies, procedures, practice guidelines and tools. Each pillar has its own objective and requirement for alignment.

Pillar 1: Shared understanding of family violence

It is important that all professionals, regardless of their role, have a shared understanding of family violence and perpetrator behaviour, including its drivers, presentation, prevalence and impacts. This enables a more consistent approach to risk assessment and management across the service system and helps keep perpetrators in view and accountable and victim survivors safe. To that end, Pillar 1 aims to build a shared understanding about:

  • what constitutes family violence, including common perpetrator actions and behaviours, and patterns of coercion and control
  • the causes of family violence, particularly community attitudes about gender, and other forms of inequality and discrimination
  • established evidence-based risk factors, particularly those that relate to increased likelihood and severity of family violence

Pillar 2: Consistent and collaborative practice

Pillar 2 builds on the shared understanding of family violence created in Pillar 1, by developing consistent and collaborative practice for family violence risk assessment and management across different professional roles and sectors.

Each professional should use the Structured Professional Judgement approach, appropriate to their role in the system, to assess the level or ‘seriousness’ of risk, informed by:

  • the victim survivor’s self-assessed level of risk
  • evidence-based risk factors (using the relevant assessment tool)
  • information sharing with other professionals as appropriate to help inform professional judgement and decision making
  • using an intersectional analysis when applying professional judgement to determine the level of risk

Pillar 3: Responsibilities for risk assessment and management

Pillar 3 builds on Pillars 1 and 2 and describes responsibilities for facilitating family violence risk assessment and management. It provides advice on how professionals and organisations define their responsibilities to support consistency of practice across the service system, and to clarify the expectations of different organisations, professionals and service users.

Pillar 4: Systems, outcomes and continuous improvement

Pillar 4 outlines how organisational leaders and governance bodies contribute to, and engage with, system-wide data collection, monitoring and evaluation of tools, processes and implementation of the Framework. This pillar also describes how aggregated data will support better understanding of service-user outcomes and systemic practice issues and, in turn, continuous practice improvement. This information will also inform the five-year evaluation to ensure it continues to reflect evidence-based best practice.

MARAM responsibilities

Pillar 3 of the MARAM Framework provides a structure of 10 responsibilities of practice for professionals and services working in organisations and sectors across the family violence system.

All organisational leaders in prescribed framework organisations are required to have an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of professionals and services within their organisation. Identifying and mapping these roles within and across the organisation will support shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities of professionals and services across the service system. This will assist professionals and services to understand how they can work together to identify, assess and manage family violence risk, through information sharing, secondary consultation and referral.

Responsibility 1: Respectful, sensitive and safe engagement

Ensure staff understand the nature and dynamics of family violence, facilitate an appropriate, accessible, culturally responsive environment for safe disclosure of information by service users, and respond to disclosures sensitively. Ensure staff know they must engage safely with a service user who may be a perpetrator, and not to collude with or respond to coercive behaviours.

Responsibility 2: Identification of family violence

Ensure staff use information gained through engagement with service users and other providers (and in some cases through the use of screening tools to aid identification or routine screening of all clients) to identify indicators of family violence risk and potentially affected family members. Ensure staff understand when it might be safe to ask questions of clients who may be a perpetrator, to assist with identification.

Responsibility 3: Intermediate risk assessment

Ensure staff can competently and confidently conduct intermediate risk assessment of adult and child victim survivors using the Structured Professional Judgement Approach and appropriate tools, including the Brief and Intermediate Assessment tools. Where appropriate to the role and mandate of the organisation or service, and when safe to do so, ensure staff can competently and confidently contribute to behaviour assessment through engagement with a perpetrator, including through use of the Perpetrator Behaviour Assessment Tool, and contribute to keeping them in view and accountable for their actions and behaviours.

Responsibility 4: Intermediate risk management

Ensure staff actively address immediate risk and safety concerns relating to adult and child victim survivors, and undertake intermediate risk management, including safety planning. Those working directly with perpetrators should attempt intermediate risk management when safe to do so, including safety planning.

Responsibility 5: Seek consultation for comprehensive risk assessment, risk management and referrals

Ensure staff seek internal supervision and further consult with family violence specialists to collaborate on risk assessment and risk management for adult and child victim survivors and perpetrators, and make active referrals for comprehensive specialist responses, if appropriate.

Responsibility 6: Contribute to information sharing with other services (as authorised by legislation)

Ensure staff proactively share information relevant to the assessment and management of family violence risk and respond to requests to share information from other information sharing entities under the FVIS Scheme, privacy law or other legislative authorisation.

Responsibility 7: Comprehensive assessment

Ensure staff in specialist family violence positions are trained to comprehensively assess the risks, needs and protective factors for adult and children victim survivors. Ensure staff who specialise in working with perpetrators are trained and equipped to undertake comprehensive risk and needs assessment to determine the seriousness of the perpetrator’s risk and provide tailored intervention and support options, and to contribute to keeping them in view and accountable for their actions and behaviours. This includes an understanding of situating their own roles and responsibilities in the broader system to enable mutually reinforcing interventions over time.

Responsibility 8: Comprehensive risk management and safety planning

Ensure staff in specialist family violence positions are trained to undertake comprehensive risk management through development, monitoring and actioning of safety plans (including ongoing risk assessment), in partnership with the adult or child victim survivor and support agencies. Ensure staff who specialise in working with perpetrators are trained to undertake comprehensive risk management through development, monitoring and actioning of risk management plans (including information sharing), monitoring across the service system (including justice systems), and actions to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. This can be through formal and informal system accountability mechanisms that support perpetrators’ personal accountability, to accept responsibility for their actions, and work on the behaviour change process.

Responsibility 9: Contribute to coordinated risk management

Ensure staff contribute to coordinated risk management, as part of integrated, multidisciplinary and multi-agency approaches, including information sharing, referrals, action planning, coordination of responses and collaborative action acquittal.

Responsibility 10: Collaborate for ongoing risk assessment and risk management

Ensure staff are equipped to collaboratively monitor, assess and manage risk over time to identify changes in assessed level of risk and ensure risk management and safety plans respond to changed circumstances, including escalation. Ensure safety plans are enacted.

Reviewed 26 February 2020

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