In 2022 we spoke to victim survivors and professionals about the challenges navigating the service systems and their ideas for change. Where possible we have included the expertise of people with a lived experience in our reports.
We wanted to hear directly from victim survivors about their experiences getting help when facing family violence and from workers about how the system responds to victim survivors at their point of crisis.
We kept coming back to these key points which guided our conversations:
- how victim survivors felt when trying to get help or reach out
- if there were enough services to help victim survivors
- if services were meeting the needs of a diverse range of people
- whether there was enough focus on long-term recovery
- if services did offer help when victim survivors needed it.
Family violence can look like hitting, punching, screaming, threatening, speaking down to, controlling behaviours and getting people to do sexual things they don’t want to. It could also look like hearing, seeing or being around the impacts of violence. It may leave people feeling scared, unsafe, alone, and physically hurt. These are just some of the ways people can experience family violence.
How did we get here?
After a number of family violence deaths in Victoria, the Victorian State Government held a public investigation in 2015, called a Royal Commission(opens in a new window), to find ways to stop family violence from happening and improve the support available. The Royal Commission said that it was important to keep victim survivors safe, and to help people who are violent towards their family to change their behaviour.
It also said that all family violence services, and some public services (support services, police, courts) were overwhelmed, and could not keep up with the number of people asking for help. It found at the time that there was a lack of resources to help children and young people experiencing family violence. And that there was not enough support for victim survivors to help them recover from violence and rebuild their lives.
To follow up after the Royal Commission, the Government chose Ms Jan Shuard PSM as the second Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor. Together with her team, they wrote the Crisis response to recovery model for victim survivors report that looks at the Victorian Government’s progress in helping victim survivors at their point(s) of crisis, and in their journey towards recovery.
The Monitor’s job was to find out what was happening in the family violence implementation space, and what things could be done better. This is now finished, and the final report has been given to the Premier of Victoria, the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence and other government leaders. The report provides 16 proposed actions for government to consider as it moves into the next stage of the family violence reforms (see next page for full list).
This is a summary of the Crisis response to recovery for victim survivors report which has been prepared by the Office of the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor (FVRIM) in partnership with Berry Street’s Y-Change initiative.