The Central Information Point (CIP) was established with the aim of providing certain information sharing entities (ISEs) with consolidated, up-to-date information relevant to family violence risk identification, assessment and management.1 The Royal Commission into Family Violence (the Royal Commission) recognised that “timely information sharing is crucial to effectively managing the risk posed by the perpetrator and to ensuring strategies are in place to keep victims safe”.2 The CIP was envisioned, and is viewed by many, as one of the key enablers for effective and timely information sharing.3
The CIP is established under Division 6 of Part 5A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) (the Act). Division 6 contains the legal framework for the CIP and describes the CIP’s purposes as:4
- receiving and responding to CIP requests
- providing CIP requesters and CIP data custodians with new or updated information about people in relation to whom CIP requests have at any time been made
- doing anything necessary for the first two purposes.
The Act authorises ISEs that are prescribed in regulations as data custodians to share information with the CIP, provided that the information could otherwise be shared under Part 5A.5 The current data custodians are Victoria Police, the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (Child Protection), the Department of Justice and Community Safety (Corrections Victoria), the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and the Children’s Court of Victoria.6
An ISE that is declared by the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence (the Minister) to be a CIP requester can request information from the CIP for a family violence assessment purpose (where the CIP requester is a risk assessment entity) or a family violence protection purpose (in any other case).7 Reflecting the Royal Commission’s recommendation,8 CIP requesters currently include The Orange Door, Berry Street,9 Risk Assessment and Management Panels (RAMPs), No to Violence (Men’s Referral Service) and Safe Steps. All current CIP requesters are risk assessment entities (RAEs).10
This chapter addresses the extent to which the legal provisions establishing the CIP are clear, the CIP purposes are being met and the legislative objective of enabling ISEs to obtain consolidated and up-to-date information from the CIP has been achieved.
Clarity of the legal provisions
As noted in Chapter 1, it is important that the legal provisions in the Act are sufficiently clear to support understanding and consistency in practice. Because the legal provisions for the CIP primarily affect the agencies involved in CIP operations, we did not canvass all stakeholder views about the clarity of the CIP provisions but rather substantially relied on our independent analysis.
The legal provisions supporting the CIP are mostly clear, but the Act does not address the way in which information is used within the CIP to further the intent of providing consolidated information to CIP requesters
Although complex, we consider that the CIP provisions are clear in describing the ability of the CIP, data custodians and CIP requesters to share information with one another for the purposes of a CIP request.
However, we consider that the Act does not fully address the way in which information sharing by the CIP differs from other information sharing under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS), or how information is used within the CIP team to further the intent of providing consolidated and up-to-date information to a CIP requester. As shown in Figure 17, in practice, the CIP team consolidates information provided by the data custodians into a single report and provides this report to the CIP requester. Although this is permissible under the Act – which enables the CIP to ‘use’ confidential information11 – it is not clear on the face of the Act that this is how the CIP operates. With the exception of the objects of Part 5A, the Act does not refer to the consolidation of information to inform a CIP report.
Although we acknowledge that the CIP provisions only affect a small number of organisations, we consider it important that the Act is transparent around the intent and operation of the CIP. The CIP requires separate legal provisions from ISEs primarily because of its consolidation function. We therefore recommend that the Act be amended to confirm that a purpose of the CIP is to collate information from data custodians and provide a consolidated report to a CIP requester. We note that this provision may require careful drafting to ensure it does not impact on operational flexibility within the CIP. For example, we consider that the new purpose should be drafted such that it enables the CIP to provide a CIP report that only includes information from some (but not all) data custodians.
We understand that Family Safety Victoria is in the process of establishing a CIP evaluation process. We note that, in our view, including consolidation as a CIP purpose would not require any changes to current CIP processes or practices. However, we suggest that any legislative changes be progressed at the conclusion of that process to allow the evaluator to further consider any impacts of this amendment and enable other issues that may be identified in that evaluation to be addressed concurrently.
Recommendation 9: That Part 5A of the Act be amended to clarify that a purpose of the CIP is to collate information from data custodians and provide a consolidated report to a CIP requester.
Declared CIP requesters are not readily identifiable and the decision making for ministerial declarations lacks transparency
Part 5A provides that CIP requesters are ISEs that are declared as CIP requesters by the Minister.12 In our review, we could not readily find a public record of the full list of declared CIP requesters. There is a single reference within the Family Violence Information Sharing Guidelines: Guidance for Information Sharing Entities (the Ministerial Guidelines) to CIP report access being limited to practitioners working in The Orange Door, Berry Street pilot locations and selected RAMPs coordinators.13 However, the Ministerial Guidelines do not refer to these organisations as ‘CIP requesters’ and the list is currently incomplete. The government webpage dedicated to the CIP similarly refers to CIP reports providing a service to practitioners working in The Orange Door but does not list the other CIP requesters.14
We believe this may have contributed to confusion and uncertainty among ISEs about which organisations and individuals are authorised to request CIP reports. As shown in Figure 18, over a third of submission responses addressing consultation question 4 did not know whether they could obtain information from the CIP. These responses came from various sectors including specialist family violence services, community services, health/community health services, education and care services and legal services. We note that some of these services cannot request CIP reports, which may account in part for their uncertainty.
We understand that a key determination in having CIP requesters designated by ministerial declaration was to maximise flexibility.15 While we appreciate the need for flexibility, we consider that this should not come at the cost of transparency. It is critical for all ISEs to understand whether they are eligible to access consolidated information about perpetrators and alleged perpetrators from the CIP. The Victorian community should also be able to ascertain what resources and services are available to organisations working to end family violence. Further, it is important that there be transparent decision making about which organisations can – and cannot – request CIP reports. A ministerial declaration process lacks this transparency.
The approach to declaring CIP requesters is at odds with other provisions in the Act, which provide for data custodians, ISEs and RAEs to be prescribed in regulations. In our view, prescribing CIP requesters through regulations is a preferable approach because it would ensure there is greater transparency through the regulation-making process. Regulations (and associated material) must be laid before each House of Parliament and notice of their making published in the Victorian Government Gazette.16 This provides public visibility of government decisions. Further, prescribing CIP requesters through regulations may provide a greater opportunity for government to consider the impact of adding any additional ISEs as CIP requesters in the future. Although a Regulatory Impact Statement may not be required for regulations prescribing CIP requesters,17 we consider that a form of impact assessment and associated stakeholder consultation remains best practice in developing any new regulations that affect the community.
Considering the limited number of times that ISEs have been declared CIP requesters to date, and are likely to be declared in the future, a prescription process would not be unduly burdensome. The process would also retain sufficient flexibility to enable expanded CIP access.
We therefore recommend that the Act be amended to require that CIP requesters be prescribed in regulations. In the event that this recommendation is not accepted, we strongly suggest that, as a minimum requirement, declared CIP requesters be publicly identified. Options for achieving this include listing the CIP requesters on the public-facing government CIP webpage18 or including this information as a category on the webpage that identifies ISEs and RAEs.19
Effectiveness of CIP reports
Complete CIP reports that contain consolidated information allow CIP requesters and other services to effectively establish, assess and manage family violence risk
CIP requesters told us that, when complete and timely, CIP reports provide critical information that supports risk identification, assessment and management. For example, practitioners working with family violence victim survivors reported that CIP reports make a significant difference to identifying the level of risk to adult and child victim survivors and provide for greater understanding of what is happening. This is consistent with findings from a survey of practitioners highlighted in the 2019–20 Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Risk Management (MARAM) Framework annual report. In that survey, 100 per cent of respondents said the CIP report was either useful, significant or essential, with 72 per cent of respondents saying that the CIP report had changed their risk assessment level.20 Similar results were reported in the 2020–21 MARAM annual report based on a survey of The Orange Door practitioners in June and July 2021. This is shown in Figure 19.
The benefits of CIP reports were identified by both CIP requesters with direct access to reports as well as organisations that receive on-shared information from a CIP requester. For example, Safe and Equal noted that the use of CIP reports within RAMPS (a CIP requester) has had a significant positive impact, with timely access to risk-relevant information leading to effective advocacy and risk assessment and management.21
The Women’s Services Network also highlighted that:22
The ability to request and receive information from Central Information Point – for those services who do not have direct access – has been extremely useful, especially in complex cases where Child Protection, Corrections and Police have extensive history about the perpetrator (including previous relationships) or where child wellbeing concerns are an ongoing part of the family’s situation in addition to family violence risk.
Another benefit noted by stakeholders was that CIP reports assist services in working collaboratively and keeping perpetrators in view. Organisations providing services to perpetrators explained the role of CIP reports in their work and noted their importance when working with perpetrators. The Salvation Army, a partner agency at The Orange Door, further explained that its Men’s Behaviour Change Program (MBCP) staff have found the CIP (and the FVISS more broadly) incredibly valuable, reflecting that:23
The MBCP was previously more reliant on the perspective of the perpetrator and often received a one-sided version of events. Since the commencement of information sharing, the MBCP is now able to receive information from the Victorian Police and Corrections, the Orange Door and other risk or information sharing entities. This has assisted greatly when managing and informing the risk of perpetrators as our case managers are seeing the full-scale of events.
A limited number of CIP requesters and organisations that receive on-shared CIP report information said they find CIP reports overwhelming. These stakeholders reported that it can be challenging for specialist family violence practitioners to receive many new pieces of information about a perpetrator’s family violence history and determine how best to use it with clients.
Notwithstanding these concerns, on balance we consider that, through CIP reports, CIP requesters have been able to access consolidated information that is relevant for risk assessment and protection purposes. We do not believe that any legislative change is required to support the CIP to provide consolidated reports to CIP requesters.
Delayed delivery of CIP reports negatively impacts on their effectiveness in supporting risk assessment and management activities, while ongoing efforts to automate processes within the CIP will help ensure the timely delivery of CIP reports
The primary area of stakeholder concern about the CIP related to the importance of receiving CIP reports in a timely manner. Stakeholders, including CIP requesters and practitioners with whom CIP reports are on-shared, told us that CIP reports are regularly provided past the time in which they could most effectively be used in critical risk assessment and management work with clients.
We heard from stakeholders that they often experience considerable delays in receiving information from the CIP, with some noting that wait times have significantly increased as more branches of The Orange Door have opened. For example, we understand that some practitioners at The Orange Door have reported that CIP requests take an average of three to four weeks to be processed and that some requests are not returned within eight weeks.
As discussed in Chapter 2, delays in receiving information can impact on decision making about risk assessment and management for both victim survivors and perpetrators. The Salvation Army noted that “delays in wait time are problematic as it causes case drift and often prolongs the time that we can respond to the victim-survivor, they are especially concerning where this is an assessment of serious risk”.24 Similarly, some practitioners at The Orange Door reflected that “[b]y the time the CIP report is received, the information is often no longer useful for informing the victim survivor’s assessment of risk or the victim survivor is no longer engaged with The Orange Door”.25
Delays in receiving CIP reports have impacted on some organisations’ information sharing processes. For example, we heard from Primary Care Connect representatives that they only request CIP reports for clients who have been previously identified as high risk. The Sexual Assault and Family Violence Centre also reflected that some of their practitioners working at The Orange Door are less likely to make CIP requests and instead request information directly from the individual agencies that are CIP data custodians. They also shared their understanding that the criteria to make a CIP request had changed and that, while previously requests could be made for all clients, now only requests for identified high-risk cases were allowed.26 However, we note that relevant practice guidance does not require a high-risk identification, stating that CIP reports can be requested “when information in relation to a perpetrator or alleged perpetrator of family violence is required to inform and support family violence risk assessment and management”.27
Data provided by Family Safety Victoria on the delivery of CIP reports sharply contrasts what we heard from some CIP requesters. Family Safety Victoria reported that between July 2021 to June 2022 the average time to deliver a CIP report fluctuated from as low as 2.5 days to as high as 15.5 days. In the same period, Family Safety Victoria stated that the shortest delivery time for a CIP report was 16 minutes, while the longest delivery time was about 28 days. We understand that the CIP aims to deliver reports within 24 hours of a request being made, although there may be times where this is not always the case such as during periods of peak demand.28 We also understand that the CIP operates a process to categorise requests as ‘urgent’ and prioritise these CIP requests.
We were unable, in the course of this review, to resolve the disparity between the reported stakeholder experience of CIP delivery timeframes and the data provided by Family Safety Victoria, noting this data was drawn directly from the CIP platform. We suggest that Family Safety Victoria consults with stakeholders to explore the discrepancy between stakeholder perceptions and the CIP data to better understand the issue.
Regardless, we consider that the perception of stakeholders regarding CIP report delays and subsequent decisions to not request CIP reports may contribute to less thorough family violence risk assessment and management practices. This may limit the effectiveness of the CIP in supporting victim survivor safety and holding perpetrators to account for their actions.
We considered whether any changes to the Act would support the timely delivery of CIP reports. For example, we contemplated the potential to mandate the time in which a CIP report must be delivered. For the reasons outlined in Chapter 2 related to volume and urgency of requests, we do not support introducing a maximum timeframe.
As with the broader information sharing provisions in Part 5A, we support introducing a requirement for CIP reports to be provided in a reasonable timeframe. We believe introducing a timeliness element in the Act is even more important for the CIP provisions because the CIP was established with the specific aim of being “an effective and timely conduit of information sharing for core agencies”.29 The Act should recognise both the timely delivery of information and the consolidation of information into a single report as key CIP purposes. We therefore recommend that timeliness be recognised as a specific object of Division 6.
As with all ISEs, and in recognition of Family Safety Victoria’s development process, we acknowledge the need for the CIP to be adequately resourced to respond to requests within a reasonable timeframe. We recognise this may require an examination of funding in conjunction with our recommended legislative change.
In making this recommendation, we considered that the CIP has been developed and delivered through an incremental, multistage approach while facing uncertain funding streams. We also recognised that Family Safety Victoria and CIP data custodians have worked to explore opportunities for automated integration of information to become less reliant on time-consuming manual information collection processes. We support continued efforts to identify and explore the factors that contribute to the timely delivery of CIP reports including prioritisation models and technological enhancements. However, noting that CIP reports are most effective when delivered in a timely manner, we believe that a requirement for the CIP to provide a report in a reasonable period should be included in the Act.
CIP reports provide less information relevant to risk assessment and management than in the past, with some inconsistencies between reports
We understand from our consultations with CIP staff that, in practice, CIP data custodian staff identify information held by their agencies that is most commonly relevant to family violence risk assessment and management. They then review this information to determine what information should be included in a CIP report based on relevancy to each specific request.
Stakeholders with direct access to CIP reports told us that this process can lead to inconsistencies in CIP report quality. We were told that CIP reports contain less relevant information than in the past and that there are inconsistencies around the relevance and quality of information received.
Some ISEs that receive on-shared information from CIP reports provided similar views, although we acknowledge that the experience of these ISEs may result from limited information being on-shared with them. For example, Djirra raised concerns about the adequacy of information shared with them, referring to it as a ‘basic’ summary and noting they would prefer to be provided with more information and detail.30
Submission responses to the Monitor tended to support this view. As shown in Figure 18 above, fewer than half of responses addressing consultation question 4 said they had been able to obtain information from the CIP to support the assessment and management of family violence risk. However, we acknowledge that some organisations that provided a submission are not CIP requesters and therefore could only access CIP report information when on-shared by another organisation. This may, in part, account for the submission responses to this question.
Our consultations with the CIP operations and policy teams and CIP requesters provided insights into differences in the information included in CIP reports. This is shown in Box 6.
Box 6: Different information included in CIP reports
A significant number of CIP reports are delivered without information from Child Protection as a demand management strategy. This may occur with CIP reports provided to The Orange Door (who has Child Protection embedded in the service) if no children have been identified in the CIP request.
Some agencies have different approaches for how to share information about victim survivors and third parties, including how they are identified within CIP reports.
Source: Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor, based on information provided in stakeholder consultations.
We acknowledge that each agency has made determinations to ensure that only information relevant to a family violence assessment or protection purpose is provided and to protect the confidential information of victim survivors and third parties. However, inconsistencies in how CIP data custodians share information may contribute to confusion for practitioners.
We considered whether any changes to the Act could support greater consistency and relevancy in the information included in CIP reports. However, as noted in Chapter 1, we do not recommend defining relevancy for the purposes of sharing information, either under the FVISS or in relation to the CIP.
We understand that Family Safety Victoria and CIP data custodians have ongoing discussions to maintain a shared understanding around the Act’s interpretation. We support a continued focus in these discussions on developing a shared understanding of information that is relevant for a family violence risk assessment or protection purpose. This may require re-examining the MARAM Framework risk factors and reconsidering what information is about perpetrators, victim survivors and third parties. We believe this will enhance consistency in information delivery and support a truly consolidated report. We further suggest that this information is communicated to CIP requesters and all ISEs to set clear expectations for all scheme participants of what information will be contained in CIP reports.
Access to CIP reports
As noted above, only a limited number of ISEs are CIP requesters. This means that other ISEs must get the same or similar information from other information sharing processes, including through the on-sharing of CIP reports or by requesting information directly from each agency that has been prescribed as a data custodian.
The on-sharing of information from CIP reports with other ISEs can be inconsistent
The Royal Commission envisaged that other ISEs would obtain relevant information through the on-sharing of CIP reports from The Orange Door rather than directly accessing the CIP.31 Stakeholders told us that this type of on-sharing does occur in some cases. Information provided by Family Safety Victoria supported this view, with a recent survey confirming that most respondents had shared information from CIP reports with other ISEs.
However, we heard that on-sharing of CIP reports is inconsistent. Stakeholders told us that different Orange Door locations, and even different practitioners at the same Orange Door, have diverse approaches to on-sharing information from CIP reports. For example, Primary Care Connect reported:32
The Orange Door is selective in what they share with [specialist family violence services] and do not share the full CIP report but a shortened version (which means the CIP may not be as helpful as it is missing valuable information). [Specialist family violence services] being able to directly access CIP reports would greatly enhance [family violence] risk assessment and management.
We acknowledge that CIP requesters must, before on-sharing information from a CIP report, assess what information is relevant to on-share in the individual circumstance of the case. This may account, in part, for variations experienced by stakeholders. However, inconsistencies in the on-sharing of CIP report information may also result from practitioner uncertainty. One stakeholder organisation reported consistent feedback from its practitioners that there is confusion about what information obtained from the CIP can and cannot be on-shared, with this uncertainty resulting in information not being shared as a precaution. We are concerned that this has resulted in practitioners who receive on-shared information from CIP reports losing confidence that they receive all relevant information.
Another cause of inconsistent on-sharing of CIP reports may be platform-related. CIP reports are accessible to CIP requesters through a portal that allows reports to be viewed but not downloaded. To share information from CIP reports, practitioners must either retype or copy and paste the relevant information into a new document. While this may ensure practitioners review information for relevance prior to on-sharing, it is time consuming and administratively burdensome.
In our view, the Act enables information in CIP reports to be on-shared with other ISEs, provided the information is relevant for a family violence assessment or protection purpose. We do not consider any legislative change is required to support on-sharing of CIP reports.
However, we consider that there would be benefit in providing additional guidance to clarify the ability of CIP requesters (and other ISEs) to on-share information. We recommend that the Ministerial Guidelines be amended to include a specific section that deals with the on-sharing of information. We consider that this section should include a case example that looks at on-sharing information from a CIP report.33 Noting the Royal Commission’s findings outlined above, we suggest that the updated content in the Ministerial Guidelines should be drafted in a way that supports the on-sharing of as much information from the CIP report as is appropriate and relevant in the circumstances. We believe this will improve practitioner confidence that all relevant information from CIP reports is being on-shared. We also suggest that the government continues to explore options to make on-sharing CIP reports quicker and easier.
Limited access to CIP reports affects the service response for some victim survivors who do not access services through The Orange Door or other CIP requesters
Many stakeholders who are not CIP requesters noted the value of CIP reports and reflected that their inability to directly access them meant that their clients are not provided with the same service as clients who initially receive services through The Orange Door. While we acknowledge that all ISEs can request the same information under Part 5A, we also recognise the distinct benefits of CIP reports in providing consolidated and up-to-date information about perpetrators and alleged perpetrators.34 The value of CIP reports is discussed further above.
In recommending an expansion of CIP services, Safe and Equal explained that:35
[A] lack of state-wide consistency in access, process and information provided means that CIP’s purpose is sometimes misunderstood and poorly utilised and can lead to unnecessary tensions between services, as well as to potentially inequitable service responses for victim survivors.
Organisations that provide services to family violence victim survivors and perpetrators shared that their clients may be reluctant to access The Orange Door for various reasons. For example, inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence told us that some migrant and refugee clients may fear saying the ‘wrong’ thing with the potential for their visa status to be affected or Child Protection to be notified.
The potential for different service responses was also highlighted in relation to victim survivors from Aboriginal communities, as well as for male victim survivors. Aboriginal victim survivors may be reluctant to work with mainstream services such as The Orange Door because of a lack of trust in such services and a preference to receive support from Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) that have been identified as culturally safe. While male victim survivors may initially access services through The Orange Door, the Victims Assistance Programs accessed through the Victims of Crime Helpline are the primary support service for adult male victim survivors of family violence in Victoria.36
Two specialist family violence ACCOs recommended that CIP reports be available to all specialist family violence services. The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency told us that when a family is not engaged with The Orange Door it is difficult to obtain historical information to identify patterns of behaviour of the person using violence. Djirra similarly noted that “[w]hether via CIP or other means, Djirra must be able [to] access all the information needed to effectively support Aboriginal women who have experienced, and remain at risk of, family violence”.37
The Department of Justice and Community Safety similarly highlighted the importance of the Victims of Crime Helpline having direct access to CIP reports as the referral point for male victim survivors. We agree that as the point of entry to family violence services for male victim survivors, it is important that the Victims of Crime Helpline has the opportunity to provide the same comprehensive risk assessment and management as that provided to female victim survivors who seek services through The Orange Door.
We acknowledge that the CIP has defined resources and must be managed to maximise information sharing in a way that benefits the most victim survivors. However, we are concerned about the disparity in options for relevant information sharing based on how victim survivors access services. The Victorian Government has promoted a service delivery model that emphasises it “aims to ensure there is no wrong door to access high quality, consistent and effective support for family violence”.38 By allowing only certain ISEs to access CIP reports, there may be better doors for clients to walk though when accessing family violence services. This inequality in access to consolidated and up-to-date information may be heightened for those who bypass The Orange Door due to a lack of trust in government programs and services or any other reason.
Although consideration of expanding the list of declared CIP requesters is ultimately beyond the scope of our legislative review, we strongly support a detailed consideration by government of the costs and benefits of expanding access to CIP reports to other specialist family violence services. We suggest that consideration for expanded access should be given to programs that provide services and support to family violence victim survivors who may be unlikely to look to a mainstream, government-led program for assistance, such as Aboriginal people, male victim survivors, culturally diverse communities, LGBTIQA+ populations and older victim survivors.
Voluntary information sharing
Although the CIP is not meeting its purpose of providing updated information about perpetrators to CIP requesters that have previously received a CIP report about that individual, legislative change will not address this
The Royal Commission envisaged that the CIP would serve two primary functions:39
- to respond to requests for family violence risk assessment and protection purposes
- to provide updated information to CIP requesters when it received new relevant information about perpetrators for whom they had already provided CIP reports.
As stated in the Royal Commission’s final report:40
[T]he Central Information Point should provide information to a hub when a perpetrator is approaching release from prison or is the subject of an L17 referral with respect to a different victim. This means that the Central Information Point needs to have the capacity to run searches on individuals who have previously been the subject of a request for information, and to have a mechanism for flagging important dates such as the expiry of a family violence intervention order and the end of a prison sentence. The hub should in turn share this information with the agencies working with the victim(s) when it is necessary to manage risks to the victim’s safety.
Reflecting this, the Act provides that the second purpose of the CIP is to provide CIP requesters and CIP data custodians with new or updated information about people who have previously been the subject of a CIP request.41 To support this type of voluntary or proactive sharing, the Act enables a CIP data custodian or a CIP requester to disclose confidential information to the CIP on its own initiative, where:42
- the purpose of the disclosure is to provide the CIP with updated information relevant to a previous CIP request
- the CIP data custodian could have disclosed the information to another CIP data custodian or a CIP requester in response to a request under the Act.
We heard from CIP staff that the CIP does sometimes share information that has not been specifically requested at the time a CIP request is made.43 We also understand that the CIP can share updated information where that information is pending a short time after the CIP report is delivered. For example, if a CIP report indicates an imminent court case or release from custody, CIP staff can contact the CIP requester once that event has occurred to provide a verbal update. CIP requesters can also request an updated CIP report in relation to a perpetrator who has been the subject of a previous request.
However, in our view the CIP has not implemented voluntary information sharing in the way envisioned by the Royal Commission and supported by the Act. The CIP does not currently have a mechanism for ‘flagging’ new or updated risk-relevant information about a perpetrator who has been the subject of a request in the absence of a further CIP request being received. As such, we consider that the CIP is not meeting its purpose of providing updated information about perpetrators to CIP requesters who have previously received a CIP report about that individual.
Unlike with general proactive information sharing under the FVISS (as discussed in Chapter 2), the lack of voluntary information sharing from the CIP does not stem from a lack of knowledge about who to share information with. Rather, we understand that it primarily results from resourcing challenges and information technology limitations that result in CIP data custodian staff being unable to easily identify updated information within their organisation’s databases. We also understand that the volume of CIP requests is higher and the time it takes to deliver a complete CIP report is longer than originally anticipated.44 We do not believe changes to the Act would address these limitations.
Although the CIP purpose for voluntary sharing is not being achieved, we do not recommend removing this purpose of the Act. We suggest that the government continues to look for opportunities for collecting and sharing updated risk-relevant information so it may be provided to CIP requesters and victim survivors. This may include consideration of increased automation and notification or ‘flagging’ capabilities for data held in CIP data custodian databases, although we recognise the significant technical development work that would be required to support this.
- Royal Commission into Family Violence: Report and Recommendations (final report, March 2016), Vol I, p. 195.
- Victoria, Parliamentary Debates, Legislative Assembly, 23 March 2017, p. 933 (Martin Pakula, Attorney-General).
- Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic), section 144OA.
- Ibid., section 144OE.
- Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing and Risk Management) Regulations 2018, regulation 7.
- Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic), section 144OC.
- Royal Commission into Family Violence: Report and Recommendations (final report, March 2016), Vol I, p. 197. Note that the Royal Commission also stated, at p. 197, that the Victims Support Agency should also have access to information from the CIP. However, this was not included in the Royal Commission’s recommendation.
- Berry Street Northern Region family violence pilot program only.
- Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing and Risk Management) Regulations 2018, Schedule 2.
- Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic), section 1440B(c).
- Ibid., section 144G(1).
- Victorian Government, Family Violence Information Sharing Guidelines: Guidance for Information Sharing Entities (updated April 2021), p. 43.
- The Central Information Point (webpage) (Accessed 31 March 2023). Note that there is a reference to most of the other CIP requesters, including RAMPs, Safe Steps and No To Violence (Men’s Referral Service), on the webpage relating to the government’s progress in implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations: see Establish a Secure Central Information Point (webpage) (Accessed 31 March 2023).
- Victoria, Parliamentary Debates, Legislative Assembly, 23 March 2017, p. 933 (Martin Pakula, Attorney-General).
- Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 (Vic), sections 15, 17.
- Under sections 7 and 8 of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 (Vic), a Regulatory Impact Statement is not required where proposed regulations would not impose a significant economic or social burden on a sector of the public. The indicative threshold for a significant burden is that the impact of the proposal is likely to be greater than $2 million per year: see Commissioner for Better Regulation, Victorian Guide to Regulation: A Handbook for Policy-makers in Victoria (2016), p. 3.
- See The Central Information Point (webpage) (Accessed 31 March 2023).
- See ISE List (webpage) (Accessed 31 March 2023).
- Victorian Government, Report on the Implementation of the Family Violence Risk Assessment and Management Framework: 2019–20 Victorian Government (report, December 2020), p. 33.
- Safe and Equal, Submission No 44, p. 12.
- The Women’s Services Network, Submission No 22, p. 2.
- The Salvation Army, Submission No 30, p. 2.
- The Sexual Assault and Family Violence Centre, Submission No 27, p. 4.
- Ibid., p. 5.
- Victorian Government, The Central Information Point: Practice Guidance for The Orange Door (August 2022), p. 3.
- Ibid., p. 5.
- Victoria, Parliamentary Debates, Legislative Assembly, 23 March 2017, p. 931 (Martin Pakula, Attorney-General).
- Djirra, Submission No 40, p. 2.
- Royal Commission into Family Violence: Report and Recommendations (final report, March 2016), Vol I, p. 197.
- Primary Care Connect, Submission No 12, p. 2.
- Note the Ministerial Guidelines include a case study for requesting information from the CIP, which could be modified to include on-sharing of information from The Orange Door to another specialist family violence service: Victorian Government, Family Violence Information Sharing Guidelines: Guidance for Information Sharing Entities (updated April 2021), p. 43.
- See also The Central Information Point (webpage) (Accessed 31 March 2023), which provides an example of how information sharing has changed with the CIP’s introduction.
- Safe and Equal, Submission No 44, p. 12.
- See Victims of Crime, Victoria Government support for victims (webpage) (Accessed 31 March 2023).
- Djirra, Submission No 40, p. 2.
- Family Safety Victoria, The Orange Door Network: Annual Service Delivery Report 2019–20 (report, January 2021), p. 6.
- Royal Commission into Family Violence: Report and Recommendations (final report, March 2016), Vol I, p. 196.
- Ibid. Note that the hubs have since been branded as The Orange Door.
- Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic), section 1440A(b).
- Ibid., section 144OG.
- For example, the CIP will share information about Victoria Police alerts related to firearms and firearms licences, even if not requested.
- For example, information provided by Family Safety Victoria shows that the number of requests for CIP reports has increased every year since its inception from 2018 when 1,503 reports were requested to the last complete year of data in 2021 when 4,178 reports were requested.