A comprehensive set of governance structures were established to oversee delivery of Victoria’s family violence reform program in the years following the Royal Commission. During 2021, changes to key whole‑of‑reform governance structures were made to better integrate elements of existing governance and clarify roles and responsibilities.
We believe that the new whole-of-reform governance architecture is strong, inclusive and properly structured. Acknowledging that the revised governance systems are still newly established, our suggestions go to further enhancing the current processes to get the best out of the arrangements and the committed people who give their time to governance of the family violence reform.
While the governance foundations are strong, we find there is a need to focus on robust outcome measurement and reporting to provide government, and the community, with confidence that the substantial investment and effort are delivering the intended benefits.
The report provides our detailed analysis and findings that directly relate to the suggested actions outlined in Figure 1. These actions are also highlighted throughout the report.
Figure 1: Fifteen proposed actions for family violence reform governance
Operation of the Family Violence Reform Advisory Group and Working Groups
- Ensure meeting papers are distributed with sufficient time for members to consult their networks and sectors.
- Provide regular whole-of-reform reporting on implementation progress and planned delivery in meeting papers.
- Identify reform work that could be sector-led to better utilise the skills and expertise of members.
- Further consider how best to ensure a dedicated focus on the needs of diverse communities within the reform program.
Operation of the Family Violence Reform Board
- Establish a reform-wide risk and issues management process, including a framework for the referral of risks and issues to the Reform Advisory Group, and for escalation to the Victorian Secretaries Board.
- Ensure consistent attendance by nominated members at meetings
Governance of Primary Prevention
- Further consider governance of primary prevention within government across the interconnected areas of family violence, violence against women, sexual harm and elder abuse.
Victim Survivor Inclusion
- Provide the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council with the opportunity to determine areas for their involvement within the reform program.
- Develop additional mechanisms to bring a wider range of victim survivor voices – especially children and young people – into the implementation and oversight of the reform effort across government and increase the use of collaborative partnerships with victim survivors in progressing reform implementation.
- Through the 10-year Aboriginal family violence investment strategy, and with the Dhelk Dja Koori Caucus, consider how the Aboriginal community can be given greater decision-making authority in the distribution of funding allocated by government and capacity for longer funding arrangements.
Outcomes Reporting and Accountability
- Better articulate how initiatives and activities contribute to achieving the overarching reform outcomes and strengthen measurement of short and medium-term outcomes.
- Allocate accountability within government (either individual or shared) for outcomes to be achieved.
Governance within Individual Departments and Agencies
- Ensure relevant governance bodies receive structured reporting on implementation progress, risks and issues to support their oversight role.
- Embed outcomes monitoring in internal governance reporting arrangements.
- Ensure feedback is provided about the outcomes of victim survivor involvement when consulting the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council and other victim survivor groups on reform initiatives.