Recommendations from Review of the Family Violence Information Sharing Legislative Scheme Final Report.

Recommendation 1

Privacy policy updates related to family violence information sharing are in development or have been developed by all relevant sectors in the Initial Tranche and Phase One. Phase Two sectors and organisations should update privacy policies to address family violence information sharing prior to prescription. Organisations should be encouraged to communicate these policies to victim/survivors to ensure they are informed about relevant privacy protections.

Recommendation 2

Monitoring of the interaction and impacts of the FVISS and the CISS on Aboriginal people, especially mothers experiencing family violence, should be undertaken centrally to produce robust specific datasets of these interactions and outcomes. The development of these datasets is critical to ensure any adverse effects on First Nations peoples and communities are addressed.

Recommendation 3

The strategies that Family Safety Victoria has put in place to ensure that Aboriginal perspectives are included in the FVISS and MARAM (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management) reforms, including sector grants, working groups, the Dhelk Dja partnership forum, regional coordinators and Aboriginal Practice Leaders at Orange Door sites should continue to be funded and resourced.

Recommendation 4

In order to ensure best practice support for Aboriginal people experiencing family violence, increased funding should be provided to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCO) to address existing and emerging service needs associated with family violence reforms generally and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme in particular.

Recommendation 5

ACCO need more resources to contribute to the development and delivery of training on Family Violence Information Sharing so all training builds cultural safety and competence across all mainstream services in order to better support good outcomes for Aboriginal women and children experiencing family violence.

Recommendation 6

In order to ensure that Aboriginal people receive culturally safe and appropriate services when they disclose family violence the continuing shortage of Aboriginal workers in the family violence sector should be addressed urgently.

Recommendation 7

In consultation with Aboriginal organisations, Family Safety Victoria should ensure that there is an annual forum or other opportunity where key stakeholders consider any adverse impacts of the Scheme on Aboriginal people. This forum or other opportunity should specifically consider the impacts of the Scheme on mothering and any issues related to Child Protection.

Recommendation 8

Timing and sequencing issues must be addressed before the prescription of Phase Two organisations in order to allow for the development of quality training content, including quality accompanying materials. Adjustments from piloted training need to be made prior to prescription. Training timelines will need to take into account the limited number of family violence expert trainers.

Recommendation 9

Those engaged to deliver training should be both expert trainers and experts in family violence. A distinct training pipeline for expert family violence trainers will need to be established to serve the training needs of Phase Two.

Recommendation 10

In order to be effective cross sector training needs to be more oriented towards experiential learning based on best practice adult education strategies, such as case studies and practice specific exercises.

Recommendation 11

All training and training materials need to emphasise the circumstances in which it is appropriate to use either the FVISS or the CISS and that both schemes have the same consent requirements. In particular the Ministerial Guidelines on this issue should be highlighted and practical exercises and case studies developed focused on this aspect.

Recommendation 12

In the prescription of Phase Two organisations, Family Safety Victoria and other relevant departments should communicate the training strategy, plan, content and timing clearly and well in advance of the scheduled training.

Recommendation 13

Consideration should be given to extending the operating hours of the telephone aspect of the Enquiry Line to business hours. Where there is the need for expert legal advice, an appropriate referral to obtain such advice should be provided to the enquiring organisation, where that organisation does not otherwise have ready access to such advice. The Enquiry Line should be fully resourced for at least two years after the prescription of Phase Two organisations.

Recommendation 14

The on-line list of ISEs should be completed and made available to all ISEs prior to the prescription of Phase Two.

Recommendation 15

The sector grants need to be continued for the Initial Tranche and Phase One organisations until at least June 2023 to continue the process of embedding the Scheme. These grants will be critical for Phase Two. The level of these grants should recognise the scale of the organisational work and cultural change required, particularly for organisations that have not previously been directly engaged in family violence work.

Recommendation 16

Timing and sequencing for Phase Two needs to ensure the training of a sufficient number of Phase Two workers prior to prescription.

Recommendation 17

Consideration should be given to how the perpetrator aspect of risk assessment will be incorporated into Phase Two training. The sequencing and timing of the implementation of Phase Two, particularly in relation to the perpetrator aspects of MARAM, and the rationale for this, should be communicated clearly to key stakeholders.

Recommendation 18

Prior to the implementation of Phase Two, resources and policies should be in place in all prescribed and all soon to be prescribed organisations to support workers who disclose family violence.

Recommendation 19

In the lead up to Phase Two, a thorough audit of existing schemes promoting family violence literacy in Phase Two organisations should be undertaken. Careful consideration should be given to extending existing government initiatives such as the Strengthening Hospitals Response to Family Violence Initiative so they remain in place as Phase Two organisations are prescribed and in the process of embedding the Scheme.

Recommendation 20

Case studies which demonstrate positive outcomes of the Scheme should be used to illustrate the value of family violence information sharing in meeting its aims of enhancing women and children’s safety and keeping perpetrators in view. These case studies will be useful for enhancing practitioner understanding of the responsibilities of information sharing and the benefits of risk relevant sharing.

Recommendation 21

Prior to Phase Two specific practice guidance on and templates for family violence data security standards should be developed by FSV. These should reinforce existing legislative privacy obligations and create clear expectations on data security standards for family violence information and information sharing. These standards and associated processes should form part of the induction of Phase Two organisations into the FVISS. Measures should be put in place to ensure these standards are transparent to victim/survivors.

Recommendation 22

The Victorian Government should work with the Mental Health Tribunal to ensure that victim/survivor safety is prioritised as part of its processes and to avoid the risk of any adverse consequences arising from the Scheme. In particular it should communicate with the Mental Health Tribunal about the family violence risks associated with disclosing to perpetrator/applicants any part of their file which indicates that family violence risk information has been shared without their knowledge under the Scheme.