The Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor has concluded its work. The website has been transferred to the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
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Jan Shuard PSM

Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor

This report examines the implementation progress in strengthening universal health and education workforces to identify and respond to family violence early to support the safety of victim survivors. It is the third of our topic-based reports and focuses on mainstream services and their preparedness for the start of the phase 2 rollout of the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) Framework and information sharing reforms, which occurred in April 2021. 

The size and scope of this undertaking should not be underestimated, and the commitment organisations have shown is commendable. This is particularly impressive given the context of the enormous demands on these services as they responded to the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We  saw dedicated efforts in health and education sectors to improve their workforces’ ability to identify family violence and better assist victim survivors. This is despite the pressures of COVID-19, reform fatigue, uncertainty of funding and limited time available for training those delivering frontline services. 

Victim survivors emphasised the importance of universal services being properly skilled in this area. They talked about the power of a GP, teacher or nurse planting the seed that helped them realise that their experience was family violence, even when they were not ready to address it at that moment.  Conversely, how disempowering it was to have their situation minimised or missed. 

I was particularly inspired by the hospital representatives we met with, all of whom demonstrated great passion for ensuring their services were safe and trauma-informed places for both patients and staff who have lived experience of family violence. They were very clear about every single hospital  employee having a role to play in the identification of family violence. Despite only being prescribed in April 2021, hospitals are well on their way to full  alignment with MARAM, likely due to the exceptional foundation that the Strengthening Hospital Response to Family Violence initiative has provided. 

Once again, our work has been enriched by the expertise of our victim survivor colleagues who have led our consultations and skilfully guided the conversations with women with lived experience. Their generosity, leadership and knowledge add such depth and value to our work. As one participating victim survivor shared: ‘This is the most anyone has ever wanted to know about what is and isn’t working’. In the wise words of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council:

‘We believe that listening is an act of justice and curiosity is a sign of respect. Feeling heard and respected can assist in healing and we believe this work has played a role in that.’ 

As with all our reports we have been greatly supported by the government agencies and the service sector that have provided the relevant materials, given their time preparing and participating in our consultations and for their thoughtful considerations and feedback on our draft reports. 

MARAM is a major reform that requires whole-of-government effort – it takes time to implement and embed this in practice. This report identifies areas where, with added attention, the reform efforts would be enhanced by building on what is already being done. We hope this report is a useful reference as all parts of the system work together to plan the next stage of work.

Signature - Jan Shuard

Jan Shuard PSM
Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor