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Victim Survivors' Advisory Council Expression of Interest

The Victorian Government is recruiting new members of the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council (VSAC) for the period 15 August 2022 to 15 August 2024.

The expression of interest process for the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council (VSAC) for the period 15 August 2022 to 15 August 2024 has closed.

The Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council (VSAC) provides formal advice to the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence and other decision-makers on service design, policy development and law reform to better prevent and respond to family violence in Victoria.

The new council will include both new and longer serving members, providing support and mentoring for newer members. We are always looking to improve diversity on the council in order to better reflect the Victorian community it serves.

The Victorian Government will ensure a range of lived experience of family violence is included with membership drawn from different ages, genders, demographics, and communities across Victoria.

The role of a VSAC member

As a VSAC member you will:

  • bring your lived experience expertise to inform the Victorian family violence reforms
  • provide advice and insights to the Victorian Government to influence the development and design of services, policy and systems
  • work collaboratively to strengthen the family violence system for victim survivors, hold perpetrators to account and prevent violence from happening in the first place.

Please review the position descriptions below for further information.

Most VSAC meetings are held online although there will be some face-to-face meetings and events.

VSAC members are paid for their time and expertise. Refer to the payment schedule below.

Your membership can remain confidential. For instance, some previous members have used pseudonyms to protect their safety.

Selection process

The selection process will be guided by a range of factors including:

  • an ability to translate your lived experience into advice for the government on systems change, policy development, service design and law reform
  • a willingness to work as a member of a team, including sharing views and ideas, listening to different perspectives, and collaborating to form group positions on key issues
  • interest in professional and personal growth, through learning about new perspectives, issues, and change processes.

The Victorian Government will ensure a range of lived experience of family violence is included. We encourage applications from women, people of all ages, Aboriginal people, people with disability, people from multicultural and multi-faith backgrounds, new migrants and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, intersex and queer people.

Eligibility

You can apply to be on VSAC if you:

  • have lived experience of family violence
  • live in Victoria
  • have the time and ability to read papers and attend regular four-hour meetings
  • have access to email, phone, and a computer with a camera for online meetings. Please let us know if this poses any issues for you.

You don’t need a driver’s licence.

As per current government requirements, you are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend face-to-face meetings or in-person events.

During the application process, you will be invited to disclose personal information about yourself. You are not obliged to disclose personal information if you do not want to, but it can help us understand how we can support you through the recruitment process and beyond. We invite you to tell us if you identify as Aboriginal, a person with disability, from a culturally or linguistically diverse background, LGBTIQ+ or a young person, aged 25 years old or less.

If you identify as any of the above, we would welcome the opportunity to contact you and discuss how we can support you through the Expression of Interest process. Sharing this information will help you access support should you need it and will also help us to better understand the impact of our work.

Key dates

Process Date
Expression of interest Closed
Interviews held for suitable applicants 18 - 22 July

The process is continuing and applicants will be advised of the outcome shortly. FSV may vary the key dates as necessary.

Privacy collection statement

Family Safety Victoria, part of the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, is committed to protecting personal information provided by you in accordance with the principles of the Victorian privacy laws.

Read more about the Victorian Government's privacy policy.

The information you provide will be made available to a small number of staff in the Service Design, Policy and Engagement division who are involved in the recruitment process for the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council 2022 – 2024, as well as the past Chair of the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council, who will be on the interview panel and have access to information on recommended applicants.

The collection of sensitive information on whether you are part of a diverse community group will be used to ensure that the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council includes a diverse range of voices and experiences of family violence.

The primary role of the Council is to provide advice on policy design and service delivery as part of the family violence reforms, which commenced in 2016. The collection of sensitive information on people’s engagement with the family violence system since 2016 will ensure that new members have recent experience that can inform ongoing reform work.

By submitting an application, you consent to Family Safety Victoria collecting and using any personal and sensitive information which you provide in your responses for the purposes outlined above.

If your submission includes any information about racial or ethnic membership, sexuality, criminal records and/or religious beliefs it is understood that you consent for us to collect this data. However, applicants are in no way obliged to disclose this information.

You are entitled to access and correct your personal information. If you would like to access or correct the information you have provided, please contact us by email at FSV.Engagement@familysafety.vic.gov.au. In some cases, requests for personal information may be handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic).

Probity checks

In line with the Victorian Government’s appointment and remuneration guidelines, probity checks (including a criminal record check) will be undertaken for all appointments to an advisory council, including reappointments.

These checks will be undertaken for preferred applicants only.

A Declaration of Private Interests will also be completed by new appointees and reappointed members to identify real or perceived conflicts of interest that could pose risk to the operation of VSAC. Family Safety Victoria will support applicants to undertake these checks, including payment.

FSV recognises that many people in the criminal justice system have experience of family and/ or sexual violence. This is particularly so for women who have committed offences, who are often victim survivors themselves.

Government is committed to hearing the perspectives of people who have been through the criminal justice system. This includes people who may have been misidentified as the predominant aggressor in family violence situations.

We encourage you to contact us to discuss your personal circumstances.

A reminder that you are not obliged to disclose personal information if you do not want to, but it can help us understand how we can support you through the recruitment process and beyond.

  • Background

    VSAC members have described their work on the Council as personally and professionally beneficial and satisfying with many opportunities for mutual learning and growth for members. Members are strongly motivated by wanting to improve the family violence system for the benefit of all victim-survivors.

    Members of VSAC have the opportunity to provide their advice and insights to the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence as well as government departments responsible for implementation of Victoria’s Royal Commission recommendations on how the state prevents and responds to family and sexual violence.

    This work can understandably be challenging and uncomfortable at times for those who have experienced trauma and violence. While FSV provides and encourages participation in individual and group de-briefing sessions to Council members, it is important to note that VSAC is not a therapeutic group, nor a substitute for counselling or other forms of therapeutic intervention.

    VSAC members are encouraged to ensure that they have personal and professional recovery and healing support in place during their term on VSAC.

    Self-reflection tool

    This self-reflection tool may help you in determining your goals and readiness to participate on VSAC.

    We encourage you to reflect on the following questions to help you consider if this work is for right you. You do not need to send us your responses but we will ask you to verbally share a summary of your reflection as part of the interview process.

    You may want to revisit these questions every six months or so as a critical reflection exercise.

    Questions

    • What motivates you to be involved in VSAC?
    • What do you want to achieve from your participation on VSAC?
    • Have you had sufficient time since your experience (or that of your family member) to feel ready and safe to participate?
    • What do you bring to your participation on VSAC (ideas, information, knowledge, skills, experience)
    • Do you understand the time commitment expected of this role and will you be able to commit?
    • What type of support do you need to participate (training, resources, mentoring etc…)?
    • Do you have any legal or privacy considerations that might impact on your capacity to participate on VSAC?
    • What do you do for self-care?
    • What support systems do you have in place? (These can be formal such as services and informal like community, friends and pets.)
  • Payment rates: Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council (VSAC) members

    The below table outlines payment rates for people with lived experience providing advice to government on the family violence reforms. The sitting fee for the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council is based on government guidelines for board members and hourly rates are aligned to other similar lived experience programs across community and government sectors.

    Payment type Activity Payment
    Sitting fee
    • Member: attend formal monthly meetings of the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council.
    • Chair: facilitate discussion at meetings of the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council.

    General members: Four hours or under: $240 / Over four hours (daily rate): $319

    Chair: Four hours or under: $350 / Over four hours (daily rate): $410
    Contract/consultancy fee
    • Design and deliver engagement with victim survivors for a specific project.
    • Working as a member of a project team to develop policies or programs or deliver and implement programs of work.
    This engagement may be fixed term, casual or in a consultancy capacity for a specific project or program of work. In most instances, a procurement process is undertaken.
    As per negotiated consultancy fees
    Hourly rate
    • Represent a lived experience or client voice perspective on an advisory group, working group, committee, consultation process or interview panel.
    • Capacity building and awareness raising activities.
    • Media engagement.
    • Storytelling to support communications, program development or delivery: interviews, writing, video development.
    • Contribute to projects through workshops, focus groups, or reviewing documents.
    $60 per hour
    Not applicable
    • Attend an event as an audience member.
    • Complete a client feedback survey for a government-funded service.
    • Receive and read communication from the government, for instance, newsletters, communiques.
    • De-briefing sessions.
    N/A
    • Amounts for sitting fees are determined by Victorian Government’s Appointment and Remuneration Guidelines for a Group C board.
    • The sitting fee is only paid to VSAC members. There is no separate sitting fee for a Deputy Chair. Deputy Chair’s payment will be at the member’s rate. If the Deputy Chair assumes the role of the Chair the Chair’s fee will be payable for the period, the Deputy Chair acts as Chair.
    • Sitting/participation fees have been segmented into four-hour blocks, with maximum payment capped at the daily rate (eight-hours or less). The sitting/participation fee may include reading papers, attending pre-brief sessions, telephone calls, emails, meeting attendance and a post brief meeting. It does not cover travel time.
    • ^ Hourly rates are aligned to rates for other lived experience initiatives within government and the community sector. The hourly rate is fixed to ensure participants in a group are paid the same amount, and for consistency across the activities. There is a minimum payment of two hours for online meetings and three hours for face-to-face meetings. Hourly rates are paid to VSAC members for the activities outlined in the table.
    • The number of hours assigned to an activity will be discussed and agreed to in advance to ensure expectations and payment are clear prior to a VSAC member undertaking any work. For example, agreement would be reached in advance for attending a workshop to include 1-hour pre-reading and 2-hour workshop, 3-hours in total.
    • VSAC appointments are sessional in nature: appointees are not expected to work a set number of days per week.

    Mechanisms for payment

    • VSAC members are appointed as sessional members and paid via the finance branch of Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

    Travel guidelines

    • Where a person with lived experience needs to travel for their engagement with government, they can seek reimbursement for travel costs. General principles are:
    • the default method of travel should be by the most economical and direct route
    • when accessible, safe and appropriate, public transport is the preferred method of travel
    • when using private vehicles government will reimburse for mileage costs and car parking (calculated at $0.72 per kilometre)
    • if a person has specific accessibility or safety requirements or is unable to use public transport, FSV can seek approval to issue a digital cab pass.

    Accommodation guidelines

    • Accommodation may be provided for people with lived experience on a case-by-case basis. For example, a person living in a rural or remote area is required to participate early in the day or where it is unsafe for them to drive long distances before and after their participation.
  • Title Victim Survivors' Advisory Council Member
    Employment Type Session, fixed term
    Payment Rates Refer to the payment schedule above

    Accountabilities

    The VSAC members will be required to:

    • provide insights and advice to government on policy and service design based on their lived experience
    • work as a member of a team to find a shared perspective on issues of policy and service design
    • attend regular meetings and participate in discussions.

    Personal qualities

    Important personal qualities for VSAC members include:

    • ability to translate your lived experience of family violence and the Victorian family violence system into advice for the government on systems change, policy development and service design
    • willingness to work as a member of a team, including listening to and respecting different perspectives, being open minded and curious, and collaborating to form collective positions on key issues
    • an interest in growing both professionally and personally, through learning about new perspectives, issues and government processes. This includes developing a strong understanding of how the VSAC advisory role interacts with government and the broader community sector.

    Members from diverse communities

    The Victorian Government will ensure a range of lived experience of family violence is included with membership drawn from different ages, genders, demographics, and communities across Victoria. We encourage applications from women, people of all ages, Aboriginal people, people with disability, people from multicultural and multi-faith backgrounds, new migrants and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, intersex and queer people.

    Members are appointed to ensure the composition of the group reflects the diversity of the community. While members may provide advice on behalf of members of their community or from the perspective of their identity group, they are not expected to assume a formal representative role on behalf of their communities.

    Term of the role

    The Victims Survivors’ Advisory Council is comprised of 15 positions.

    Members are appointed for a two-year term, with a staggered annual membership and renewal process, with half of the Council concluding their terms every June. This enables a continuous process of renewal and to enable longer serving members to support newer members with orientation to the group.

  • Title Deputy Chair, Victim Survivors' Advisory Council
    Employment Type Sessional
    Payment Rates Refer to the payment schedule above

    The role of the VSAC Deputy Chair

    The VSAC Deputy Chair is appointed to the role by the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence following a selection process supported by FSV. The role of the Deputy Chair is to support the Chair of VSAC, including to assist them with their role, the operation of VSAC meetings and alignment with VSAC’s terms of reference.

    The Deputy Chair’s responsibilities include:

    • leading small group discussion at VSAC meetings and consultations
    • providing a leadership role to ensure safe, collaborative and respectful engagement and participation of members
    • providing strategic advice to government on lived experience in relation to VSAC
    • assume Chair role when Chair unavailable.

    Accountabilities

    In addition to the accountabilities for a general VSAC representative, the Deputy Chair will be responsible for acting in the Chair role when the Chair is not available.

    Attributes

    The VSAC Deputy Chair will bring the following attributes to their work:

    • Leadership – an ability to create a culture of trust, safety and respect within the group and ensure VSAC members are actively participating in meetings and have the opportunity to influence and contribute towards the family violence reforms.
    • Relationship management – an ability to manage constructive relationships with VSAC members, government and other stakeholders.
    • Accountability and integrity – assisting and grounding the group in understanding the purpose of VSAC.
    • Effective communication – to promote the value of lived experience, and the groups’ collective views across government.
    • Emotional intelligence – ability to empathetically manage situations where strong emotions are present and to manage conflict.

    The Victorian Government will ensure a range of lived experience of family violence is included with membership drawn from different ages, genders, demographics, and communities across Victoria. We encourage applications from women, people of all ages, Aboriginal people, people with disability, people from multicultural and multi-faith backgrounds, new migrants and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, intersex and queer people.

    Support and supervision

    FSV will provide regular supervision by a relevant FSV executive, to support the Deputy Chair to perform their role.

  • Title Chair, Victim Survivors' Advisory Council
    Employment Type Sessional, fixed term for up to two years
    Payment Refer to the payment schedule above

    The role of the VSAC Chair

    The VSAC Chair is appointed to the role by cabinet following a selection process conducted by FSV. The Chair is a critical leadership role within the Council and is responsible for:

    • chairing VSAC meetings and in a way that enables equitable participation of members, allows for fair and open discussion, adheres to the agenda and encourages consensus while respecting diversity of opinion
    • providing a leadership role to ensure safe, collaborative and respectful engagement and participation of members
    • providing strategic advice to government on lived experience in relation to VSAC
    • representing VSAC on select committees, executive meetings, public and stakeholder events, forums
    • representing VSAC from time to time through public speaking events and in the media, including social media.

    Note: The VSAC Chair undertakes representative duties on behalf of the Council. The role also participates in other engagement opportunities through VSAC and is paid at an hourly rate as per attached schedule.

    Accountabilities

    In addition to the accountabilities for a general VSAC representative, the Chair will be responsible for:

    Chairing the VSAC meetings to ensure adequate time is allowed for the discussion of each agenda item, ensuring opportunity is available for all members to contribute and developing strong, cohesive and positive group dynamics.

    Working with the VSAC secretariat to plan the agenda and structure of meetings, including providing strategic advice on approach and how information should be shared and presented, and ensuring approaches are sensitive to the needs and preferences of VSAC members.

    Attributes

    The VSAC Chair will bring the following attributes to their work:

    • Leadership – an ability to create a culture of trust, safety and respect within the group and ensure VSAC members are actively participating in meetings and have the opportunity to influence and contribute towards the family violence reforms.
    • Relationship management – an ability to manage constructive relationships with VSAC members, government and other stakeholders.
    • Accountability and integrity – assisting and grounding the group in understanding the purpose of VSAC.
    • Effective communication – to promote the value of lived experience, and the groups’ collective views across government.
    • Emotional intelligence – ability to empathetically manage situations where strong emotions are present and to manage conflict.

    The Victorian Government will ensure a range of lived experience of family violence is included with membership drawn from different ages, genders, demographics, and communities across Victoria. We encourage applications from women, people of all ages, Aboriginal people, people with disability, people from multicultural and multi-faith backgrounds, new migrants and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, intersex and queer people.

    Support and supervision

    FSV will provide supervision by a relevant FSV executive, to support the Chair to perform their role.

  • Section Information
    Purpose The Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council (VSAC) was established in 2016 to ensure victim survivors have a formal mechanism to advise the government on family violence reform and to ensure the voices of victim survivors, through their insights, influence how family violence reforms are delivered and achieved. VSAC’s role and function was defined by the Royal Commission and endorsed at its establishment by the Victorian Government.

    Role

    • VSAC’s key role is to provide collective advice to government decision makers on policy, law reform and service design priorities, including to:
    • provide advice to the Victorian Government on the different and diverse experiences of family violence from the victim survivors’ perspective to make proposed family violence reform initiatives more accessible and effective
    • provide advice and insights to the Victorian Government to influence the development of and design of services and policy
    • identify pertinent issues and options for consideration by the government which have the potential to improve outcomes for people experiencing family violence
    Scope The Council will provide whole-of- system advice across family violence primary prevention, response and recovery, as well as on a range of reform priorities including sexual assault, workforce development, The Orange Door network, the Multiagency Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework (MARAM), legal services, responses to children and young people, inclusion and access to the system for diverse communities and housing responses.
    Reporting

    The group reports, and provides advice, to the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, Family Safety Victoria and government departments with responsibility for family violence reform.

    The Chair and other members will also be appointed to represent the Council on other advisory and working groups, including the Family Violence Reform Advisory Group, the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum, the Primary Prevention Sector Reference Group and Roadmap to Reform Ministerial Advisory Group to ensure a strong voice for victim survivors in reform governance. Representatives will be required to report back to the Council regularly.
    Forward agenda

    The forward agenda for engagements is broadly anchored to the Rolling Action Plan 2020-23 to Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change and future family violence reform strategic plans and considers the impacts and interdependencies to other key reforms.

    Government will support VSAC members to contribute to setting VSAC’s forward agenda, through an annual planning day to collectively develop priorities and present to senior executives.

    FSV leads the preparation of the group’s forward agenda for engagement, on behalf of the Council, as well as management and coordination across government for its implementation.

    Government respects the time and expertise of VSAC members and will consult on issues where there is scope to influence change in response to members’ insights. If VSAC members wish to provide advice on an individual basis on other issues, Family Safety Victoria will seek to link them up to the relevant department or organisation.
    Aboriginal Self-determination and intersectionality In providing advice on family violence reform initiatives all participants are expected to promote Aboriginal self-determination, embed cultural safety, provide advice from an intersectional lens, and focus on the needs and experience of victim-survivors and people who use services.
    Chair

    The Chair is a victim survivor and is appointed by Cabinet of the Victorian Government. The Chair is responsible for:

    • chairing VSAC meetings and in a way that enables equitable participation of members, allows for fair and open discussion, adheres to the agenda and encourages consensus while respecting diversity of opinion
    • providing a leadership role to ensure safe, collaborative and respectful engagement and participation of members
    • representing VSAC on select committees, executive meetings, public and stakeholder events, forums
    • representing VSAC from time to time through public speaking events and in the media, including social media.
    In addition to a Chair being appointed, a Deputy Chair will also be appointed to support this role. The Deputy Chair will assume the Chair role as required.
    Membership

    Members are appointed by the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence. Members are selected to reflect the diversity of the community. Through the membership, there is opportunity to draw on diverse experience of family violence and people from the following communities:

    • Aboriginal communities
    • refugee and migrant communities
    • people with disability
    • people living in regional and rural Victoria
    • LGBTIQ communities
    • older Victorians
    • people working in the sex industry
    • people who have experience of criminalisation
    • family members who have lost relatives to family violence
    • people who experienced family violence as a child or young person

    Members are appointed to ensure the composition of the group reflects the diversity of the community. While members may provide advice on behalf of members of their community or from the perspective of their identity group, they are not expected to assume a formal representative role on behalf of their communities.

    Members are appointed for a two-year term.

    There is a staggered process of renewal. Half of the members conclude their terms on 30 June each year. This enables a continuous process of membership renewal, with more experienced members supporting newer members.
    Attendees Senior Government representatives will also be present at meetings to listen firsthand to VSAC’s advice. The VSAC Secretariat will attend meetings to support the Chair and members. All guests invited to attend the meeting will have a specified role in the meeting and presenters will attend for their portion of the agenda only. Observers must be approved by the chair.
    Confidentiality Sensitive information that VSAC members share will be treated as confidential. Information will only be used for the purpose stated in the consultation and government will seek consent to share feedback more broadly. In government’s analysis of VSAC advice, generic terms will be used so that VSAC members cannot be easily identified.
    Conflict of Interest Members of VSAC will be required to work with FSV to manage any actual or perceived conflicts of interest, and options to ensure the integrity of the Council.
    Meetings VSAC meets every six weeks from February to December and other meetings may be organised out of session if required.
    Secretariat FSV provides secretariat support to the group as well as additional support including facilitating professional development and other training for members. Papers and agendas are circulated one week prior to each meeting. The secretariat will advise if papers are confidential.
    Payment

    Please refer to the payment schedule above.

    Amounts for sitting fees are determined by Victorian government’s Appointment and Remuneration Guidelines for a Group C band two board.
    Media and social media The Chair can make comment in the media on behalf of VSAC. Council members should not make public statements to the media on behalf of the Victorian Government, or on matters regarding to the Council, unless authorised to do so.

Contact information

The Family Safety Victoria Engagement Team coordinates government's engagement with VSAC and provides secretariat support to the council. If you have any questions about the positions, process, safety or privacy, please contact FSV.Engagement@familysafety.vic.gov.au or call Sashi Weerasinghe on 03 9194 3486 for a confidential conversation.

If you would like help understanding this information or would like to receive it in another format phone 03 9194 3486, using the National Relay Service 133 677 if required, or email FSV.Engagement@familysafety.vic.gov.au.

Support services

The Victorian Government acknowledges victim survivors and honours those tragically killed as a result of family violence. We keep at the forefront of our minds those who are experiencing family violence, and who have lost a loved one from violence.

If you are experiencing family violence or at risk of family violence, support is always available.

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Reviewed 31 August 2022

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