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Report of the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor - As at 1 November 2019

This report focuses on Specialist Family Violence Courts, the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework, The Orange Door, perpetrator accountability and the voices of victim survivors.


Date:
February 2020

Family violence services and support

Support if you have experienced violence or sexual assault and require immediate or ongoing assistance.

If you have experienced violence or sexual assault and require immediate or ongoing assistance, contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) to talk to a counsellor from the National Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence hotline. For confidential support and information, contact Safe Steps’ 24/7 family violence response line on 1800 015 188. If you are concerned for your safety or that of someone else, please contact the police in your state or territory, or call 000 for emergency assistance.


Aboriginal Acknowledgement

The Victorian Government proudly acknowledges Victorian Aboriginal people as the first peoples and Traditional Owners and custodians of the land and water on which we rely.

The Victorian Government proudly acknowledges Victorian Aboriginal people as the first peoples and Traditional Owners and custodians of the land and water on which we rely. We acknowledge and respect that Aboriginal communities are steeped in traditions and customs built on an incredibly disciplined social and cultural order. This social and cultural order has sustained more than 60,000 years of existence. We acknowledge the ongoing leadership role of the Aboriginal community in addressing and preventing family violence and join with our First Peoples to eliminate family violence from all communities.


Foreword

Jan was appointed by the Premier of Victoria on 1 August 2019 as the independent statutory officer responsible for monitoring and reporting on how the Victorian Government and its agencies implement the family violence reforms.

Jan Shuard PSM
Jan Shuard PSM Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor

I was appointed by the Premier of Victoria on 1 August 2019 as the independent statutory officer responsible for monitoring and reporting on how the Victorian Government and its agencies implement the family violence reforms. I am honoured and humbled to have been given such an important task.

Throughout my career in the criminal justice system, both in adult corrections and with young people in contact with the law, I have seen too many women and children who have suffered and survived the devastating impacts of family violence. I have also worked with the perpetrators of family violence, providing services aimed at preventing further harm. These experiences will keep me grounded and remind me to keep a focus on the diverse needs of the communities we serve.

While I have only been in the role since 2 October 2019, I have felt the dedication, commitment and drive of those I have met across government and its community sector partners to create the best possible service system responses for the victim survivors of family violence. I am beginning to appreciate the size, scope and complexity of transforming the whole service system; the task is enormous.

At this time, it is not possible for me to comment on whether progress of the reforms is where it should be. However, I have seen an immense positivity about the future, a solid commitment and unprecedented investments to deliver on the 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. This appears to me to be underpinned by strong governance arrangements, transparent reporting and dedicated people working together with a strong and common purpose.

My analogy is this: acquitting the 227 Royal Commission recommendations is akin to assembling the building blocks and cementing them into place. These ‘building blocks’ represent the foundations, girders and walls of the structure designed to support a completely reformed service system. It is not expected that all 227 recommendations will be completed when the monitoring ends on 1 November 2020. My goal is to provide an independent account of progress made at this time and advise on the stability of the structure as the building blocks all fit together.

To provide context to the readers of this year’s report, the monitoring priorities for 2018–19 were set by the former Monitor, Tim Cartwright APM, as was the risk-based monitoring approach. This is the same methodology that was applied in the two previous monitoring periods. The bulk of this third report naturally focuses on these specific priority areas that were selected. As it is my duty to exercise independence of judgement, I have probed the findings to satisfy myself about the basis on which they are formed. The report also contains some of my initial observations since taking up the role. I have chosen not to include detailed examination of actions that government may have taken in response to previous Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor (FVRIM; the Monitor) report findings or suggested actions but to form my own assessment of progress on implementation.

I am particularly impressed by the extensive whole-of-government structures and reporting arrangements now in place across the reform program and also by the enactment of new legislation to ensure key elements of the reforms are enduring; the machinery-of-government changes to support implementation and delivery, the reconfirmation of the allocation of responsibilities for the implementation of each of the remaining Royal Commission recommendations among 11 individual government Ministers, and the high-level governance structures that have been established to provide clear oversight and direction for the whole-of-system reforms.

I am moved by the numerous partnerships with the Victorian community to embed a culture of co-design across the system. Two strong examples are the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council and Dhelk Dja – Safe Our Way: Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families (the Dhelk Dja agreement), the Aboriginal community-led agreement articulating a long-term partnership and directions to ensure that Aboriginal people, families and communities can be free from violence.

There is a clear role for the Family Violence Branch of the Department of Premier and Cabinet in reporting and advising the Premier and the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence on the reforms, including whole-of-reform implementation, expenditure and outcomes, risk mitigation approaches and strategic direction setting.

Central to the reform is the dedicated and focused government agency, Family Safety Victoria, with a remit to implement many of the key Royal Commission’s recommendations in partnership with the service sector. My initial observations are that this is an active learning organisation with a structure that supports evidence-based policy, effective project delivery and co-design of services. The establishment in statute of Respect Victoria to contribute to primary prevention of all forms of family violence and violence against women signifies the commitment to long-term generational change across the Victorian community.

My approach to monitoring and my focus in the next period will likely be different in many ways to that of the previous Monitor. However, the values of the office of the FVRIM will not change. As this is the final year of the four-year term of an independent monitor, we will examine implementation progress across the service system and across the whole reform program. If and when we identify any systemic flaws or cracks within that structure that have potential to place the overall program at risk, I will bring these to the attention of those with responsibility for delivery. Applying this approach, the next and final monitoring report will consider how far implementation has progressed and any systemic issues across the program. It will also provide an account of what is being done to address these issues so as to create a service system that is the best that it can be.

I intend to work closely with the government agencies responsible for implementing and reporting on these reforms and to maintain strong relationships with the non-government sector so that we can continue to listen to the voices of victim survivors, as well as the many dedicated professionals working tirelessly in this area, to understand what is changing and what requires further attention. Indeed, the Monitor’s office could not do justice to the mandate we have been given without these close alliances across government and the service sector.

The monitoring period from 1 November 2018 to 1 November 2019 has seen three individual Monitors hold the role. The inaugural Monitor, Tim Cartwright APM, finished in the role on 1 August 2019 having served for almost three years. An Interim Monitor, Simon Kent was appointed for two months until I took up the role in October 2019. I am most grateful to Tim for his comprehensive handover and wise guidance, and to Simon for his steady hand in the interim period and his helpful advice and support upon my commencement. I also wish to acknowledge the FVRIM staff for their ongoing commitment to the work of the office during this time of changing Monitors. I thank those in the government and non-government sectors for their assistance and cooperation with the Monitor’s office.

I look forward with pride and optimism to working alongside the designers of this new service system to build my knowledge of the changes taking place. The efforts of the FVRIM must add a perspective and valuable contribution to the overall success of the reform program that does justice to the efforts of all those working to effect beneficial and lasting change.

Jan Shuard PSM Signature

Jan Shuard PSM

Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor


Introduction

This is a report on monitoring of the Victorian Government’s implementation of family violence reforms as at 1 November 2019.

The monitoring approach and method of selecting focus areas for this term is the same as for the previous period and is described in Appendix 1. The specific priority areas selected were Specialist Family Violence Courts, the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework, The Orange Door, perpetrator accountability and the voices of victim survivors.

Each chapter of this report focuses on the broad themes chosen as monitoring priorities, and other work to support effective implementation.


Context

The Royal Commission into Family Violence (the Royal Commission) handed down its report and recommendations at the end of March 2016.

The Victorian Government committed to implementing all 227 of the recommendations and work commenced immediately. The 2016–17 State Budget included $572 million for ‘65 of the Royal Commission’s most urgent recommendations’.1 The reform is unprecedented in its complexity and scope, compared with past efforts to address family violence. Implementation activity has occurred within most government departments and several agencies, and also across agencies.

In November 2016 the Victorian Government released Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change (the government’s 10 Year Plan).2 In May 2017 the government released the Family Violence Rolling Action Plan 2017–2020 (RAP). The current RAP 2017–2020 is due to expire next year. The second RAP is planned to be released by the government in 2020.

The 2017–18 State Budget contained a record investment of $1.9 billion over four years, with money allocated across all major family violence initiatives. The 2018–19 Budget included an additional $166 million over four years for initiatives that included flexible support packages, housing assistance for victim survivors, Aboriginal family violence responses and primary prevention activities. The 2019–20 Budget included a further $185.5 million over four years for perpetrator responses and initiatives to support Aboriginal Victorians, including implementation of the Dhelk Dja agreement as well as family violence refuge and crisis responses. With the $81.3 million allocated in the 2015–16 State Budget, prior to the Royal Commission being finalised, this brings the total investment in family violence reform over five State Budgets to around $2.9 billion.

Roles and responsibilities

From March 2016 to June 2017 the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) was responsible for both coordination of the reform’s implementation and many of the ‘iconic initiatives’,3 such as the Support and Safety Hubs (The Orange Door), the Central Information Point (CIP), the Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM), industry planning and workforce development. DPC was also responsible for funding reform, governance, engagement and co-design with victim survivors, the non-government sector and diverse communities, the preparation of the government’s 10 Year Plan and RAP, development of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework, and the establishment of the new coordination agency Family Safety Victoria (FSV).

In August 2016 Tim Cartwright APM commenced as the inaugural Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor, working on a contractual basis until the passage and commencement of the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor Act 2016 on 1 January 2017, when he was formally appointed to the role.

On 1 July 2017 FSV commenced operations as an administrative office of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It now has 255 full-time equivalent staff. Responsibility for the implementation of The Orange Door, the CIP, MARAM, industry planning and workforce development was immediately transferred from DPC to FSV. Responsibility for perpetrator interventions was transferred from DPC to FSV in March 2019 and reframed as perpetrator accountability. On 1 August 2018, Respect Victoria was established as a branch of DHHS and became a Statutory Authority on 4 October 2018, taking over primary responsibility for a range of family violence research and communication projects previously situated within the Office for Women.

The role of DPC’s Family Violence Branch is now to support and advise the Premier and the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence on the family violence reforms, including whole-of-reform implementation, operationalising the Family Violence Outcomes Framework, expenditure and outcomes monitoring, risk mitigation approaches and strategic direction setting. In addition, DPC advises the Committee of Cabinet with responsibility for family violence on the status and implementation of the family violence reforms and provides oversight and secretariat functions to the two key governance groups for the reform, the Victorian Secretaries’ Board Sub-Committee on Family Violence Reform (VSB-SC) and the Family Violence Reform Interdepartmental Committee (FVR-IDC).

In early November 2018 the government went into caretaker mode ahead of the State election held on 24 November 2018. During this period (and the lead up), some key governance bodies ceased meeting, including the Committee of Cabinet with responsibility for family violence and the VSB-SC. The Family Violence Steering Committee met during the caretaker period on 8 November 2018 without the Minister present.

With a new term of government, a new Minister for Prevention of Family Violence was appointed in December 2018. The new Minister has taken on responsibility for many of the key family violence reform initiatives that were previously the responsibility of the Special Minister of State.

Some machinery-of-government and administration changes also occurred with the new term of government. The Office for Women, which has responsibility for some of the primary prevention of family violence work, moved from DHHS back to DPC. The main impact for the family violence reforms was the transfer of responsibility to the new Minister for Prevention of Family Violence. This targeted focus is a demonstration of the Government’s ongoing commitment to maintain the momentum for change. FSV remained the responsible agency for the bulk of this work.

Acquittal of the Royal Commission recommendations

In May 2019 the Premier wrote to 11 of his Ministers advising them which of the Royal Commission recommendations listed on the public acquittal as currently ‘in progress’ they are responsible for. At that time there were 107 recommendations ‘in progress’ and assigned to specific Ministers. The primary change was to increase the number of recommendations for which the new Minister for Prevention of Family Violence has direct responsibility. While the remaining recommendations do not represent all the reform activity underway such as the ongoing work to embed some of the iconic features of the reforms,4 many of the remaining recommendations are among the most significant and complex. So, the allocation of recommendations provides a means of appreciating how the remaining reform activity is shared among the ministry and a priority for the government.

Figure 1a: Numbers of remaining Royal Commission Recommendations, by minister responsible

Premier 5, Attorney-General 16, Prevention of Family Violence 34, Police and Emergency Services 4, Housing 10, Ministers with three or fewer 15. Source FVRIM, based on information from DPC

As at 1 November 2019, the government has implemented a further 23 of the Royal Commission’s recommendations bringing the total implemented to 143 recommendations, with 84 remaining in progress.5

In addition to refreshing the ministerial allocations, the agencies responsible for delivering the work to implement each recommendation were also re-confirmed after the election. For each recommendation, there is a lead or coordinating entity and for most there is also a contributing entity (or multiple contributing entities).5

Figure 1b: Number of remaining Royal Commission recommendations, by coordinating entity

FSV 33, DJCS 10, CSV 10, DHHS 11, DPC 17, Victoria Police 2, Other 1

Reform implementation activity during the monitoring period

The following pages present major activities and milestones achieved during the monitoring period that are beyond the focus on the specific priority areas as they look across the whole reform. The information is collated from advice provided to the Monitor’s office by government agencies in October 2019 and relates to activity undertaken during the current monitoring period of 1 November 2018 to 1 November 2019.

The government identified four outcomes in Ending Family Violence: Victoria's 10 Year Plan for Change (2016). Information about the implementation activity was sought by the Monitor's office, and provided by the government, in line with these outcomes.

This table does not include every reported activity and it is focused on those which appear most significant, either for their impact on victim survivors, children or perpetrators, for the amount of resources they represent and/or their likely impact across the entire reform and service system.

Outcome: Family violence and gender inequality are not tolerated

Capacity building and training

  • Capacity Building and Participation Grants Program Family Violence stream provided over $2 million funding to over 30 projects for multicultural and faith communities.
  • Two primary prevention policy forums held in May and October 2019.
  • 27 scholarships awarded to experienced prevention and gender equity practitioners to upskill in accredited training and assessment.
  • 1,561 early childhood professionals received Respectful Relationships professional learning, bringing the total number to 2,072.

Strategies and reports

  • Empowering Bystanders to Act on Sexist and Sexually Harassing Behaviours report of bystander intervention trials.
  • Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health Initiative service model evaluation finalised.

Operational - services and programs

  • 449 new schools have signed-on to implement the Respectful Relationships whole-school approach, a total of 1,483, which represents 78% of Victorian Government schools opted in.
  • $2.81 million Safer and Stronger Communities Pilot (2018-2020) commenced to build capacity of five multicultural organisations in gender equality and family violence primary prevention.
  • African Communities Family Violence Leadership Program funded 15 African ethno-specific and community organisations.
  • 13 Aboriginal-led services funded through the Free from Violence Innovation Aboriginal fund to deliver family violence prevention projects.
  • Over 2,000 parents participated in Baby Makes 3 primary prevention program across five hospitals.
  • Respect Women: ‘Call it out’ campaign in cafes and extended to public transport.
  • Project commenced to establish whole-of-institution approach to prevention of violence against women in four Technical and Further Education institutes.

Outcome: Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families are safe and supported to recover and thrive

Capacity building and training

  • The MARAM Practice Guides released in July 2019.
  • Online family violence training for child protection practitioners created – mandatory completion within first six months of commencing role.
  • Family violence-specific education programs for judicial officers.
  • 25 video and animated micro-learning tools about family violence risk and management developed for the tier 2 workforce (core support or intervention agencies).

Strategies and reports

The Orange Door 2018 evaluation report completed.

Operational – services and programs

  • Specialist Family Violence Court in Shepparton commenced operating.
  • The Orange Door at Inner Gippsland opened.
  • Fourteen new sites acquired for family violence refuges.
  • 6,500 flexible and therapeutic support packages funded for victim survivors.
  • Statewide expansion of the Personal Safety Initiative.
  • Umalek Balit Koori Family Program commenced at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court and Mildura Law Court.
  • New homelessness facility Ozanam House constructed with 134 short-, medium- and long-term bed facilities.
  • Family Violence Contact Centre commenced operations to support seven courts with phone enquiries and eight sites with email enquiries.
  • New Application for family violence intervention order form.
  • Victoria Police trialled digitally recorded evidence in chief statements from family violence victims using body worn cameras – evaluation report of the trial is pending.

Legislation and governance

  • The second tranche of reforms in the Justice Legislation Amendment (Family Violence Protection and Other Matters) Act 2018 (the Act) commenced on 29 March 2019.
  • 37 magistrates gazetted to sit in Shepparton and Ballarat specialist family violence courts.
  • Review of persistent contravention offence completed (s125A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008), with advice provided to the Attorney-GeneralOutcome: Perpetrators are held to account, engaged and connected.
  • Victoria Police commenced using Video and Audio Recorded Evidence (VARE) for family violence matters.

Outcome: Perpetrators are held to account, engaged and connected

Capacity building and training

  • Swinburne Graduate Certificate in Client Assessment and Case Management (Men’s FV) – 40 places funded.
  • Workforce capacity building of mental health and alcohol and other drugs sectors.
  • Rollout of MARAM Practice Guides which include management of perpetrator risk, practice and information sharing to keep perpetrators in view.

Strategies and reports

  • Interim report of the evaluation of perpetrator intervention trials and case management services.
  • Final report from the Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions released.

Operational – services and programs

  • Victoria Police issued guidance to police on service of family violence intervention orders, their responsibility within the Family Violence Response Model for supervision of service, and requirements relating to service in training.
  • New Victoria Police form created ‘Affidavit in support of an application for an intervention order’ to provide Magistrates with a comprehensive understanding of the parties’ history and vulnerabilities to assist with deciding the appropriate conditions for family violence intervention orders.
  • Ten perpetrator intervention programs trialled targeting diverse cohorts, with 250 people receiving a tailored intervention under the trials.
  • Approx. 900 perpetrators received case management.
  • Approx. 5,400 men participated in a Men’s Behaviour Change Program.

Outcome: Preventing and responding to family violence is systemic
and enduring

Capacity building and training

  • Implementation of the Information Sharing Culture Change Strategy within the Department of Justice and Community Services (DJCS).
  • First vocational training course in identifying and responding to family violence accredited.
  • FSV provided a variety of training programs about identifying and managing family violence risks to a range of government, management and front-line staff, totalling over 10,000 people.
  • 88 Victorian public health services participated in the Strengthening Hospitals’ Response to Family Violence initiative.
  • 'Family Violence and Disability Learning Program' delivered to 115 DHHS frontline disability services staff.
  • inTouch provided training, communities of practice and partnership development for the needs of culturally diverse communities.
  • Victoria Police reviewed policy and practice, improved training and guidance to identify and respond to family violence primary aggressors.
  • Centre of Learning for Family Violence opened at the Victoria Police Academy.
  • Victoria Police developed five specific practice guides to support changes to frontline and investigative responses to family violence.
  • Victoria Police established independent auditing of police compliance with policy and practice requirements which is commencing with an audit around Family Violence Safety Notice listing timeframes.
  • Working with family violence content incorporated into core curriculum for all social work undergraduate degrees.

Strategies and reports

  • Monitoring and evaluation framework for MARAM finalised.
  • Family Violence Data Collection Framework developed by the Crime Statistics Agency.
  • Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement released.
  • Respect Victoria’s inaugural Strategic Plan 2019–2022.

Operational - services and programs

  • 208 new family violence specialist police deployed.
  • 21 new detective sergeants, 140 detective senior constables and 46 senior constable Family Violence Court Liaison Officers deployed.
  • Information Sharing Protocol between DHHS, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and the Children’s Court of Victoria came into effect.
  • Seven Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations commenced use of the L17 Family Violence portal.
  • Victoria Police launched a new risk assessment form to identify the likelihood of future family violence occurring and its severity including training in using the new form.
  • Victoria Police introduced a new case prioritisation model and tools to escalate high risk and complex family violence incidents to specialist teams.

Legislation and governance

  • VSB-SC on Family Violence Reform reconvened.
  • New Family Violence Reform Monitoring and Reporting Framework.
  • New entity portfolio reports rolled out.
  • Refresh of Strategic Reform Risk Register.

Footnotes

1. Victorian Government Media Release (27 April 2016): Urgent Family Violence Investment Will Help Keep Women Safe. Available at premier.vic.gov.au/ (accessed 2 December 2019).

2. Victorian Government (2016): Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change. Available at vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-07/Ending-Family-Violence-10-Year-Plan.pdf (accessed 2 December 2019).

3. This terminology is used in Victorian Government (2017): Family Violence Rolling Action Plan 2017–2020.

4. For example, it does not include any of the activity being undertaken to implement MARAM.

5. Victorian Government (2019): Family Violence Reform: The 227 Recommendations. Available at: vic.gov.au/familyviolence/recommendations.html (accessed 21 November 2019).


Specialist Family Violence Courts

The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria has had a range of ‘specialist’ family violence powers, functions and services operating for many years at some of its nearly 60 court locations.

The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria has had a range of ‘specialist’ family violence powers, functions and services operating for many years at some of its nearly 60 court locations.6 The Royal Commission recommended that all family violence matters be heard and determined in specialist family violence courts. It recommended that the system evolve to achieve this by having the functions of the Family Violence Court Division and specialist family violence services be extended to operate at all 14 headquarter Magistrates’ Courts across Victoria, including those courts that already had some specialist family violence functions, such as Moorabbin and Werribee Magistrates’ Courts.

The 2017 state budget allocated $130 million over four years to the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria to respond to the Royal Commission’s recommendations. This funding commitment included both capital and operational funding to create five new Specialist Family Violence Courts (SFVCs) across Victoria.

The Magistrates’ Court developed a new SFVCs model to progress this work, bringing together different elements of good practice that had been operating at different courts into one holistic model which includes more staff specialised in family violence (both legal and non-legal) and access to support services. A significant focus of this work is to achieve greater consistency in family violence functions and service across courts.

The model also includes:

  • Specialist Magistrates who have powers to mandate counselling such as men’s behaviour change programs
  • purpose-built environments that are more secure and accessible and provide choice for how affected family members participate in the court process, including separate waiting areas
  • consistent listings policy and practices across courts, including list capping
  • new processes to increase efficiency
  • a new ongoing family violence learning and development program for all specialist family violence staff working in courts

Funding

The Royal Commission recommended that SFVCs be established at 14 courts in total, and so far funding has been allocated for the first five court locations. Some of the remaining nine courts already have aspects of the specialist family violence model operating, such as specialist family violence staff.

Governance

The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria is managing its response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations as a coordinated program of work, which includes the specialist courts and extends to a range of other initiatives. It has established a robust governance structure, shown in Figure 2A, with an overarching program Steering Committee chaired by the Chief Magistrate, a Program Board chaired by a Deputy Chief Magistrate overseeing the court’s workstreams (managed as projects), and a separate Project Control Group for the Koori Family Violence project (which is co-chaired by a Deputy Chief Magistrate and an Aboriginal community leader).

Figure 2a: Government Structure of Courts Family Violence Reform Program 

Courts Family Violence Reform Program Steering Committee chair: Chief Magistrate, Koori Family Violence PRoject Control Group Chair: Deputy Chief Magistrate, Projects and workstreams: Operations workstream. Whole of Government workstream, Family Violence Digital Transition Project, Perpetrator Interventions Project, Family Law Project, SPecialist Family Violence Courts Project, Koori Family Violence Project, Workforce development workstream, Family Violence Contact Centre Project

Source: FVRIM, based on information from the Magistrates' Court of Victoria 

The Steering Committee and Program Board actively monitor and manage risks, including considering the impacts of any changes to timeframes on other areas of the reform. This approach has enabled some beneficial actions in managing the implementation of these complex reforms, as shown by the following examples:

  • The capital works to build new courts was a separate project from developing and implementing the operational model but the steering committee’s oversight of both allowed reallocation of resources when there were some delays.
  • The Program Board identified that specialist court usage can be impacted by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s (VCAT) use of the same premises. This matter was escalated to the Steering Committee which subsequently invited VCAT to attend its meetings, where they now present a status report at each meeting. This has created opportunities to actively manage this risk as any challenges occur with court availability.
  • At the initiation of the Family Law Demonstration Pilot Project, the lack of family law legal assistance within the courts was identified as a key project risk. This matter was escalated to the Steering Committee which approved a proposal, and the allocation of necessary funds from its program contingency funds, for Victoria Legal Aid to recruit a senior lawyer and establish a private practitioner legal advice scheme to address this risk.

A dependency register has recently been created to document those elements of the reform activity, both within and external to the Magistrates’ Courts, which are inter-connected. The dependency register is being used as a strategic risk management tool. It also enables reporting and management of dependencies and strategic communication with external agencies.

The Magistrates’ Court has an outcomes framework for its family violence reform activities which is connected to the Family Violence Outcomes Framework. An evaluation of the program has commenced with the evaluators appointed in September 2019. The first findings from the evaluation are due in 2020, with others due in 2021 and 2022.

Implementation progress

The Shepparton SFVC (shown at Figure 2B) commenced operation on 30 September 2019 and the Ballarat SFVC commenced operations in November 2019. As at October 2019, the Moorabbin court was forecast to be opened in March 2020 and Heidelberg and Frankston courts in November 2020. The Magistrates' Court advised that delays with opening these courts are a result of the delayed building program.

A trial offering remote hearings has also commenced, so that a victim can give their statement in a different and confidential location from the court where the judge and perpetrator are located. Remote hearings aim to reduce the risk of violence at court, minimise the trauma associated with face-to-face interactions and increase the choice available to victim survivors as to how they participate in the court process. In the first three months of the trial, which commenced in July 2019 at the headquarter court in Geelong, three out of four of all victims in self-initiated matters took up the option of a remote hearing.

Figure 2b: Shepparton Specialist Family Violence Court 

Source Magistrates' Court of Victoria

An important part of the SFVC model is positive early engagement with the police and court as well as referrals to appropriate legal and non-legal support services. This includes confirming special requirements, such as whether an interpreter is needed, whether there are any accessibility requirements or plans to bring children to court. The consideration of children has been flagged as a future area of focus. The Magistrates’ Court has committed to consult with stakeholders to understand how the specialist courts can ‘better respond to the needs of children and young people, and to formally incorporate this into the model’.7 This is a critical piece of work that will make a substantial impact to responding to the Royal Commission’s recommendations when it is progressed.

A trial offering remote hearings has also commenced, so that a victim can give their statement in a different and confidential location from the court where the judge and perpetrator are located. Remote hearings aim to reduce the risk of violence at court, minimise the trauma associated with face-to-face interactions and increase the choice available to victim survivors as to how they participate in the court process. In the first three months of the trial, which commenced in July 2019 at the headquarter court in Geelong, three out of four of all victims in self-initiated matters took up the option of a remote hearing.

Figure 2c: Locations of Specialist Family Violence Courts - existing and planned 

Existing locations, Planned locations, Shepparton, Ballarat, Heidelberg, Moorabin, Frankston Source: FVRIM based on information from Magistrates' Court of Victoria

The new specialist courts are part of a broader program of work that includes:

  • identifying the workforce needed to support a family violence response across all courts
  • reviewing assets and security at courts to ensure safety
  • improving access to the SFVC model for all Victorians
  • improving perpetrator accountability.

As a part of its response to recommendation 63 of the Royal Commission, the Magistrates’ Court established a Family Violence Contact Centre which commenced operating in May 2018 and now receives approximately 6,500 enquiries per month that were previously managed by individual courts. The Contact Centre is providing a more timely and accessible service to the public, as well as creating efficiencies by freeing up staff time at local courts.

Koori family violence

The Royal Commission recommended specific work to improve the experience of Aboriginal people experiencing family violence, which included extending the jurisdiction of the Koori Magistrates’ and County Courts to include offences where it is alleged that a family violence intervention order has been contravened. The Mildura Koori Magistrates’ and County Courts commenced hearing contraventions of intervention order matters in May 2019 and have heard 20 such matters to date.

Umalek Balit (meaning ‘give strength’ in Woiwurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri people) is a service that includes women’s and men’s practitioners working with Aboriginal people to guide them through the court process, including family violence-related intervention orders and criminal or Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal matters. The service has been developed in conjunction with the Aboriginal community and builds on a program first developed at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

Umalek Balit was officially launched in November 2018 and has now been implemented at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court where it has supported 92 clients (70 per cent male) to date. It has also been operating at Mildura Law Court since May 2019 where it has supported 63 clients (40 per cent male) in its first six months. The service is planned to be integrated into the new SFVCs, commencing with Shepparton and Ballarat in 2019, and is progressing well.

Voices of victim survivors

The Magistrates’ Court has taken some significant steps to ensure that the voices of victim survivors of family violence are incorporated into its work. It has created a Victim Consultant role (one of the members of the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council (VSAC), discussed further in chapter 6) to provide input across its reform program. The role provides practical advice from a victim’s perspective of how people use the system and how service delivery can be improved. A representative of VSAC also sits on the Chief Magistrate’s Family Violence Taskforce.

The following reform activities have all involved victim survivors’ voices being applied in practice:

  • review of the Family Violence Intervention application form
  • development of the Family Violence Contact Centre service model
  • speaking with all family violence Registrars and Practitioners about the importance of their roles in a victim’s journey
  • review of the content of court process information and materials to ensure they are relevant to victim survivors and written in plain language
  • various program design workshops
  • review of training materials for staff and the judiciary.

Footnotes

6. Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016): Report and Recommendations, Vol 3, p. 120.

7. Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (2019): Specialist Family Violence Courts Operating Model, p. 66.


Perpetrator accountability

The Royal Commission made eight recommendations about increasing the accountability of perpetrators of family violence.

The Royal Commission made eight recommendations about increasing the accountability of perpetrators of family violence. These recommendations focus on short- to medium-term changes with a view to:

  • enhancing existing perpetrator interventions, such as men’s behaviour change programs and counselling orders
  • increasing the supply of existing perpetrator interventions to respond to demand
  • improving research and evaluation to establish longer-term effectiveness in improving the design of men’s behaviour change programs
  • expanding the breadth of specialist perpetrator interventions to respond to perpetrators with complex needs and from diverse cohorts

Expert advisory committee on perpetrator interventions

There was a foundational recommendation that specifically called on the government to convene a committee of experts to provide advice on what perpetrator interventions should be available in Victoria. This group, which was convened in November 2016, produced its interim report in December 2017. It formally ceased its term in June 2018 and provided a final report to government in October 2018. The report was released in October 2019. The report contains 22 recommendations about how to improve the range, accessibility and robustness of perpetrator interventions that are available in Victoria.

During 2019 FSV formed a project team, a steering committee and a working group with the purpose of ‘delivering a whole-of-system reform package that supports government objectives of holding perpetrators to account and keeping victim/survivors safe’.15  The strategy is due for release in 2020.

Figure 4A: Factors recorded at time of police response to family violence incidents 2017-2018 

History of violent behavior 18.4%, Drug use possible or definite 29.2%, Alcohol use possile of definite 29.1%, Children present 23,595 incidents, Referral to Child First or Child Protection 16.6%, Financial difficulties 11.0%, Assessed as high risk 3.2%, Source: Family Safety Victoria analysis of data from Crime Statistics Agency.

Early planning work of this new team has produced some new data about perpetrators of family violence which shows the complexity and challenges of designing a response. In the 12-months from July 2017 to June 2018, the factors shown in Figure 4A were recorded by Victoria Police after responding to a family violence incident.

Other progress identified

In monitoring the other focus areas, some notable progress in perpetrator accountability was identified.

Victoria Police’s significant expansion of its specialist family violence roles is clearly a critical part of increasing perpetrator accountability. It has established 415 specialist family violence police roles and 113 other specialist family violence roles such as lawyers, intelligence staff and clinicians to provide debriefing support. In addition, the new Centre of Learning for Family Violence is increasing the capacity of all police to work with family violence.

The Magistrates’ Court has commissioned a review of its two counselling order programs that mandate attendance into men’s behaviour change programs. The review has resulted in a single model for counselling order programs that will be implemented across the SFVCs in 2020.

DHHS is working with the Magistrates’ Court on developing targeted initiatives to strengthen system coordination and service provision for perpetrators referred by SFVCs. This has included an integrated alcohol and other drug and family violence perpetrators program named ‘U-Turn’ as a referral pathway through the Family Violence Court at Moorabbin.

There has been a significant amount of work done to strengthen efforts with perpetrators in diverse communities. DJCS is currently undertaking five trials of interventions that respond to perpetrators in contact with the justice system who have complex needs; are fathers; are Aboriginal people; are women of any sexual orientation; or are transgender and gender diverse people using violence. An evaluation of the trials completed in June 2019 found that all trials produced benefits for their targeted cohorts, including an improved understanding of the dynamics of family violence and its impacts on children, strategies to support behaviour change and reduced offending reported through anecdotal evidence from police and internal monitoring processes.

DJCS has also trialled a program adapted for culturally and linguistically diverse communities in prison and is funding the evaluation of interventions at the Children’s Court. The Magistrates' Court has established LGBTI applicant and respondent workers and is planning to introduce a trial of a court-based case management model for perpetrators with complex needs. Regular outreach services by an LGBTI practitioner team commenced delivering services to Heidelberg and Melbourne Magistrates’ Courts in May 2019.

Footnote

15 Family Safety Victoria (2019): Perpetrator Accountability Steering Committee Purpose STatement, 10 May 2019. 


The Orange Door

The Royal Commission recommended that 17 Support and Safety Hubs (‘the Hubs’) be established, one in each of DHHS’ geographic areas, to improve the experience of people seeking family violence services.

The intention was to integrate and co-locate the three types of intake services (specialist family violence services for women, specialist men’s/perpetrator services and children and family services) which were previously managed and delivered mostly through separate organisations and premises. The Hubs have been branded and promoted under the name ‘The Orange Door’.

Source: FSV

The Hubs were a focus area of the FVRIM in 2018 and formed a significant part of the Monitor’s second report to Parliament.16 At the time of that report the first five premises for The Orange Door had very recently opened. Non-government sector stakeholders felt it was important to continue monitoring to see how this iconic and high-profile element of the reform was progressing. They also recommended that the FVRIM consider how The Orange Door was engaging with perpetrators of family violence. During the first half of 2019 FSV received its independent evaluation report and Domestic Violence Victoria completed a position paper on The Orange Door, both of which raised some matters of concern (discussed below). In this context, the former Monitor decided to continue to monitor the implementation of The Orange Door.

In May 2019, the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) advised that it was commencing a performance audit of the Hubs. The FVRIM subsequently contributed its draft monitoring plan into VAGO’s audit planning, responded to its information requests and reduced the active monitoring activities around The Orange Door until VAGO had completed its report, which is due for tabling in the Victorian Parliament in May 2020.

Implementation progress

The Orange Door is currently operating in five areas, as follows:

  • Bayside Peninsula area, Frankston – opened 14 May 2018
  • Mallee area, Mildura – opened 31 May 2018
  • Barwon area, Geelong – opened 31 May 2018
  • North East Melbourne area, Heidelberg – opened 10 July 2018
  • Inner Gippsland area, Morwell – opened 20 November 2018

The Orange Door is planned for opening in three further areas during 2020, with the remaining nine areas scheduled to open their premises by the end of 2022. The Royal Commission’s recommendation that it open in all 17 areas by 1 July 2018 was a very ambitious timeframe. It did not account for the challenges in bringing together three workforces who had not previously worked closely together, nor with securing and fitting out appropriate facilities in the necessary locations.

Figure 5b: Locations of The Orange Doors - existing and planned 

Existing locations, Planned locations, Mildura, Shepparton, Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Hidelberg, Frankston, Geelong, Morwell

FSV has led the work to implement The Orange Door initiative since July 2017, with DPC doing the early work. FSV has committed to learning and evaluation during the implementation, including keeping a register of ‘lessons learned’ that resides with the project steering committee and commissioning an independent evaluation of the opening of the first four premises (discussed below). That steering committee includes representatives from government agencies with an interest in The Orange Door initiative, including Victoria Police, the Magistrates’ Court, DHHS, DJCS, DTF, DET and DPC.

Figure 5C: Progress with opening The Orange Door premises 

Area  Publicly announced commencement  Revised planned* Actual Variance planned and actual 
Bayside Peninsula  December 2017 April 2018  May 2018  +1 month 
Barwon  December 2017  March 2018 May 2018  +2 months
Mallee December 2017 February 2018  May 2018  +3months 
North East Melbourne  December 2017 March 2018  July 2018  +3.5months 
Inner Gipsland  December 2017 April 2018  November 2018  +7months 
Central Highlands  October 2019 March 2020 - -
Loddon  October 2019 March 2020  - -
Goulburn  Ovtober 2019 July 2020 - -
Remaining nine  By end 2021  TBC - -

Source: FVRIM, based on information from Family Safety Victoria 

*Note:'Revised planned' dates for the first five Orange Door areas are taken from baseline dates within Sycle (the project reporting system used for this reform) as at 10 January 2018. 'Revised planned' dates for the remaining areas were approved by the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence on 7 June 2019 and The Orange Door Steering Committee on 12 September 2019.  

The opening of The Orange Door in the next three planned areas has been delayed by protracted lease negotiations and difficulty locating appropriate premises in announced areas. Recruiting staff with sufficient experience and coordinating with other reform elements, such as MARAM and SFVC are also acknowledged as risks to service commencement and have been built into the critical path plan for each area. The recruitment risk is actively managed by FSV’s manager in each area together with the Leadership Group comprised of managers from the co-located services.

Governance and management arrangements

The Orange Door model involves staff from at least three different organisations working together but maintaining their employment arrangements, including formal line management, with their own organisations. A manager is also employed by FSV to provide additional management and oversight. While the day-to-day administration of these employment arrangements may be complicated, it appears to be progressing well.

The bigger challenge with implementing and maturing the model is that it requires three different workforces to work in an integrated way, those specialised to work with each of victims of family violence, perpetrators of family violence and families) that each have their own practices, philosophies and risk frameworks. Sector stakeholders have reported a lack of clarity over whether staff are expected to be generalists working with all three groups, either in the short term to smooth demand issues or as part of the longer-term maturation of the model. These stakeholders have reported that workers have been working outside their specialisations from time-to-time. A clearer plan for how The Orange Door will upskill staff where they are required to do work outside the scope of their practice and training in periods of peak demand would be beneficial. Additionally, sector stakeholders have indicated a desire to be better informed about how and when The Orange Door will mature beyond the foundational model currently in operation. It remains early days for The Orange Door and practices will continue to develop over time. The Orange Door Workforce Strategy and Action Plan developed during 2019 outlines a range of activities, under five defined priorities, to support staff as The Orange Door’s service model evolves.

Operating model

The independent evaluation of the first four premises for The Orange Door (discussed below) noted that all foundational documents produced to date, such as a concept paper and operational guidance, are ‘not well understood or used by practitioners’ and that ‘operational translation’ of these policy documents needs to be ‘co-produced with practitioners’.17 This will be an important matter to resolve in the ongoing implementation of the service model.

The Orange Door was one of the first services to be aligned with MARAM as it has a platform called Tools for Risk Assessment and Management (TRAM) integrated into its client management database.

An evidence-based risk assessment tool to use with perpetrators in The Orange Door is in development. Meanwhile, specialists who work with perpetrators in The Orange Door are using a range of locally-developed tools which they are adapting as required. There is a potential risk of inconsistency in practice between different areas of The Orange Door. These specialist workers are managing this risk by meeting regularly as a state-wide network to discuss current and developing practice in The Orange Door. Work is occurring in a range of areas to build consistency across The Orange Door including through the Minimum Standards for Perpetrator Interventions released in 2018.

There is also a considerable challenge where frontline workers can be required to assess risk with perpetrators who use The Orange Door when they have had neither training nor experience in doing so. Working directly with perpetrators of violence requires special skills and this specialisation is one of the areas most underdeveloped. FSV is aware of the need to develop both the specialist workforce for perpetrators and the capability of the rest of The Orange Door workforce to deal appropriately and safely with perpetrators.

Review and evolution of the model

The report from the independent evaluation commissioned by FSV of The Orange Door in the first four areas was presented in May 2019. The evaluation recognised that it was very early in the implementation of The Orange Door and the practice was still developing and noted a very strong commitment from organisations and professionals involved to make The Orange Door successful.

The evaluation was not able to assess client experience of using The Orange Door, which represented a major gap in understanding The Orange Door at the time of the evaluation. FSV has since been pursuing a range of activities to engage victim survivors and people with lived experience of family violence services in the development of The Orange Door, including testing the client experience of an upgraded call management system, informing the development of the interface with legal services and contributing to the design of Aboriginal Access Points. From July 2019, a paper-based survey to collect client experience and feedback has been introduced. This should provide important information that should be used to inform the evolution of the service model.

One of the main challenges for The Orange Door is bringing together three different professions to work in a different and more integrated way. Aboriginal organisations and their professionals are leaders in working in an integrated way like this – the evaluation recommended exploring their approaches to inform the development of The Orange Door model.

The integrated practice challenge was a major focus of a position paper published in March 2019 by Domestic Violence Victoria, the peak body for the specialist family violence services for women and children. The paper collated its member organisations’ experiences and concerns with implementation of The Orange Door together with other key stakeholders representing men’s and children’s services that are a part of The Orange Door. The contributing organisations and their relevant members are all represented on some of the governance groups overseeing The Orange Door’s implementation, but they reported that they did not feel that these mechanisms had allowed them to communicate their concerns sufficiently.

FSV advised that none of the current governance groups had the capacity to work through the implementation issues raised in the paper. This was because they either did not have sector representation or were too large to undertake such a role. FSV has subsequently established a new group, ‘The Orange Door Working Group of the Statewide Reference Group’ which has been meeting regularly during 2019 and has an advisory role to the Statewide Reference Group which represents all the agencies and peak bodies with an interest in The Orange Door.

It will be important that the new group’s Terms of Reference, which are currently being finalised, are clear about how its work is connected to decision-making functions around The Orange Door. This might be achieved either through its membership including relevant staff and executives or by clearly connecting it with those governance groups that have decision-making roles, or both.

While the above hurdles can present difficulties, they should not be unexpected given the enormous task of establishing a new model for delivering services. The service designers and providers are monitoring progress closely and working in partnership to address the various issues that arise as the service evolves.

Footnotes

16 Family Violence Redorm Implementation Monitor (2019): Report as at 1 November 2018 available at fvrim.vic.gov.au

17 PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting Australia (2019): The Orange Door 2018 evaluation report prepared for Family Safety Victoria.


Voices of victim survivors

The Royal Commission recommended that the voices of victim survivors are heard and inform both policy development and service planning.

Its conclusions discussed a need to directly inform service planning and evaluations of services’ performance with a view to system improvement.18

From the beginning of the reform, the government has sought to listen to and include the voices of people with lived experience of family violence, including people from diverse communities. The primary means of engaging with victim survivors has been through VSAC.

Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council

VSAC has continued to meet every six weeks. It has 12 members with a variety of personal experiences of family violence. Members are provided with a range of financial and other supports such as training and professional coaching to support them in these roles.

In August 2019 Rosie Batty AM formally resigned from her role as Inaugural Chair. A further eight of the original members, including the new Chair, have tenures that expire at the end of 2019. Supporting this major transition, including expressions of interest for new members, is an important focus of FSV’s current activity.

The minutes of VSAC meetings during the monitoring period were analysed and it was pleasing to see that VSAC is being consulted on a large number of different reform activities, such as the language being used in Respect Victoria’s mission statement, the proposed definitions and domains of FSV’s Trauma-Informed Practice Framework and a new process to enable clients of The Orange Door to have a voice in service delivery and improvement. Through the monitoring undertaken, it was sometimes difficult to ascertain what actions were taken in response to VSAC’s feedback. The former Monitor met with VSAC in May 2019 and they communicated some examples where they felt they were being used as a ‘gatekeeper’ to consult but their input was not used, or they were not advised on how their input was used. To fully respond to the Royal Commission’s recommendation, it will be important for agencies to keep developing experience and practice around working with victim survivors and ensuring their voices are informing policies and services.

A reflection on the work of VSAC is underway through FSV’s Valuing the Lived Experience project.

During the monitoring period, some additional ways that agencies have sought to include victim survivors’ voices in their work were observed.

Client Partnership Strategy for The Orange Door

FSV is developing a strategy for The Orange Door to outline a vision for partnership with clients of their services, which includes victim survivors, children and perpetrators across all of the client, operational and system levels. This work has drawn on good practice models from other sectors and also explores strategies for partnering with specific communities. Having a clear strategy for such a complex and multifaceted undertaking is important to ensure that progress is being made.

The strategy defines a client partnership framework and proposes seven independent initiatives to inform the design and delivery of The Orange Door, as shown in Figure 6A. Progressing this work will make a substantial contribution to implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendation.

Voices of children affected by family violence

There have been several landmark undertakings recently to raise the voices of children and young people who are victim survivors.

‘TASH’ is an animated film that tells one young Victorian woman’s personal story of family violence that she experienced as a child. The film was shown at the Sydney Film Festival in June 2019, nominated for the Yoram Gross Award for Best Animation and screened at the United Nations Association Film Festival in California in October 2019. It was produced and supported by FSV. This is an important contribution to the societal and cultural change that needs to underpin family violence reform.

The FVRIM staff met with Dr Katie Lamb from the University of Melbourne to discuss her research, which was published and presented internationally in recent months. The research involved interviewing children and young people who had been the victims of family violence perpetrated by their fathers. Dr Lamb said that her interviewees had very strong views on what they wanted their fathers to learn and what their fathers needed to know about how they had hurt them. She also indicated that an important message from her study was that all the children she interviewed wanted to be in control of what their future relationship with their fathers looked like. They also wanted their voices to be heard in programs for fathers who use violence.

Dr Lamb’s research included supporting some of the young people to create digital stories – she also investigated how these digital stories could most appropriately be used within men’s behaviour change programs, and the barriers to their use. It was very pleasing to hear that several men’s behaviour change programs including the Centre for Non-Violence in Bendigo and Caring Dads, a 17-week early intervention group program, have been trialling incorporating these digital stories, and therefore the voices of child victim survivors into their programs. This is work that should be followed closely to understand the impact and opportunities of using children’s voices in interventions for fathers who have used violence.

Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016): Report and recommendations, Vol 6, Chapter 38, p. 99-113.

Figure 6b: Good practice example evaluation of the therapeutic intervention trials

In January 2019 an evaluation was completed of the 26 Family Violence Therapeutic Interventions Demonstration Projects, which had been funded in 2017 to trial new ways to provide intensive support to people and communities experiencing or recovering from family violence.

The evaluation was especially significant because it included interviews with 107 clients, including children and young people, which represents a substantial commitment from both the clients themselves and the evaluators and government agencies to invest the necessary resources to ensure that the voices of victim survivors are heard in service review and development.

The evaluation was also significant because it was used to directly inform the approach to a substantial new investment, $20.9 million over four years committed in the 2019-20 State Budget to establish the statewide platform for therapeutic interventions. Together these undertakings represent a strong example of including the voices of victim survivors, including children and young people, into service and policy reform.

Footnote

18 Royal Commision into Family Violence (2016): Report and recommendations, vol 6, Chapter 38, p. 99-113


Whole-of-reform matters

Monitoring during the period to 1 November 2019 identified some matters which apply across multiple areas of the reform.

Societal and cultural change

Ending family violence will take a generation or more, and significant progress has continued to be made on the crucial area of addressing the deep underlying causes of family violence – the social norms, structures and practices that influence individual attitudes and behaviours – and acting across the whole population to change these.19

Since its establishment in October 2018 Respect Victoria has developed its inaugural strategic plan which sets out its program of work building strong foundations for sustained primary prevention of all forms of family violence and violence against women. It has initiated a suite of new research programs to strengthen the evidence base for the prevention of family violence and violence against women. A dedicated independent statutory body signals a very significant and positive commitment towards the long-term vision of preventing family violence.

As at September 2019 the Respect Women: Call It Out campaign (example at Figure 7A below) had been seen by Victorians more than 11 million times, with close to half of all Victorians able to recall this campaign and its key messages unprompted. The campaign's evaluation also found that 44 per cent of Victorians who have seen the campaign have taken further action (such as: discussed the campaign, visited the website, re-thought about what constitutes family violence).

Figure 7a: Respect Women: Call it out campaign advertisement 

A new part of this campaign began in 2019 to specifically target elder abuse:20 ‘Respect Older People: Call it out’ (example at Figure 7B below). A month of media was complemented by printed materials distributed broadly to seniors’ services, non-government organisations, councils, libraries and hospitals to raise awareness of elder abuse and assist Victorian families, healthcare practitioners and service providers to identify the early signs of elder abuse. A second phase of the campaign targeted older non-English speaking Victorians, family members and people in contact with older Victorians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. An evaluation of the campaign and its impacts is currently underway.

Insert Figure 7b: Respect Older People: Call it out campaign 

Victoria’s work to embed the world-leading Respectful Relationships program in schools has also continued. Respectful Relationships addresses gender inequality and how it contributes to family violence. In May the then Monitor visited the Maryborough Education Centre where students spoke directly about their school’s implementation of the program. Theirs was one of the first 19 schools to introduce the program in 2015 and students expressed that it has had a profound effect on their school. They were extremely proud that two of their senior students had recently attended an international conference in Canada to speak about the program, supported by a scholarship program initiated by a former student to provide this cultural and educational experience.

Over 20,000 teachers and other school-based staff have participated in professional learning about the Respectful Relationships program. New professional learning for early childhood educators launched in September 2018 has now reached 2,072 early childhood professionals.

Diversity and inclusion

The Royal Commission made a series of recommendations aimed at building and ensuring accessible, inclusive and non-discriminatory service delivery and expanding understanding of the complexity of family violence in a range of communities.

In the implementation of the family violence reform, there is a commitment to inclusion and equity, underpinned by an intersectionality framework. An intersectionality approach recognises the interconnected nature of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, language, religion, class, socio-economic status, ability and age, which create overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage for either an individual or group.

In April 2019 the Victorian Government published Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement, a 10-year commitment that supports Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change. Figure 7C shows an overview of the statement. FSV is in the process of developing the first three-year Inclusion and Equity Blueprint which supports the implementation of the commitments in this statement.

Increasing demand

Demand for services continues to grow, likely due in part to the increased community awareness of family violence the reforms have supported. The existing system needs to simultaneously grow and reform while meeting the immediate needs of victim survivors. This is a pressure being felt across all areas of government and community organisations involved in family violence and is a pressure that is recognised across the reforms.

The Royal Commission identified the need for industry planning to meet demand as well as to lift the family violence capability of legal, family violence and universal services as well as non-family-violence-specific services in Victoria. The government established the Centre for Workforce Excellence within FSV and in December 2017 it released Building from Strength: 10-year Industry Plan for Family Violence Prevention and Response (the Industry Plan). The Industry Plan 3-year rolling action plan was significantly delayed, however it was released on 24 November 2019.21

Non-government representatives have consistently raised concerns about the ability of the family violence workforce to meet current and future demand. The government has identified workforce resourcing as one of the top five risks to the reform, demonstrating an acute awareness of the issue.22

The first Rolling Action Plan for the Industry Plan is targeted at addressing these issues. Agencies have taken steps already, for example, FSV and DHHS’s Enhanced Pathways to Family Violence Work project, increasing capacity for student placements within the family violence and broader community services sector, is in its second year of operation. Additionally, in 2019 FSV commenced development of a targeted advertising campaign to attract workforces to the family violence sector.

Reporting on completion of Royal Commission recommendations

Reporting on overall progress for such a complex reform presents many challenges and requires a multi-faceted approach. The approach taken to date is for the government to publicly report on the number of Royal Commission recommendations assessed as implemented. While this shows the completion status of recommendations and is a way for the government to be transparent about when individual recommendations have been implemented, it does not show a comprehensive view of the complex reform work that has been and is being done, to achieve the government’s vision outlined in its 10 Year Plan.

At the conclusion of the monitoring period on 1 November 2019, the government’s website stated that 120 of the 227 recommendations have been implemented.23 On 21 November 2019, the government’s website was updated to show that as at 1 July 2019, 143 recommendations have been implemented, as shown in Figure 7D. This represents the government’s implementation of a further 23 of the Royal Commission’s recommendations during the monitoring period, leaving 84 recommendations remaining in progress.

Figure 7d: The number of Royal Commission Recommendations Implemented as at 1 July 2019

In Progess (84), Impplemented(143), 227 Recommendations, Tracking our progress in the Royal Commission recommendations for change, Source: VictorianGovernment vic.gov.au/familyviolence/recommendations.html (accessed 21 November 2019).
The recommendation implementation approach meets community expectations of timely and transparent delivery in a manner that increases safety? 
Is there a distinction between immediate actions to acquit a recommendation and ongoing work required to build reforms into business as usual activities? 
If the recommendation requires further or ongoing work, what is the rationale for marking it as implemented? 
Can government demonstrate considerations of the impact on diverse and rural or regional communities in the implementation approach? 

If there are dependencies with other reform work, is the implementation undertaken to a standard required for dependent work to commence/continue? 

Is there evidence of recommendation implementation available in formats appropriate to the implementation approach (project, program or business as usual) of the recommendation and in line with the criteria below? 
If there has been a departure from the text of the recommendation or report context (including indicative timeframes), has rationale for the departure been provided? 

Source: Department of Premier and CAbinet, RCFV Recommendation Assessment Policy, April 2019. 

The government has a ‘Royal Commission into Family Violence Recommendation Assessment Policy’ which outlines the process for considering recommendations ‘implemented’, and for considering agency requests for extensions to time lines for implementation. It requires the lead agency responsible for a recommendation to assess implementation in accordance with seven principles (see Figure 7E) and includes specific assessment criteria for categories of actions.

The policy was revised during 2019 and now requires the FVR-IDC to review and endorse agencies’ assessment that a recommendation is complete before it is signed off by the lead Minister and ultimately submitted for Cabinet approval(see Figure 7F).

Figure 7f: Approval process for recommendation implementation and extension requests 

Department/agency self assessment, IDC review and endorsement, Ministerial sign-off via department/agency, Cabinet Approval, Public website updated, Exsisting process, New process, Source: FVRIM, based on information from the Family Violence Reform Interdepartmental Committee, Agenda Paper Item 2 WoVG FVR Recommendation Implementation and Extension PRocess, 3 April 2019

The inclusion of the FVR-IDC review and approval stage is a progressive step, recognising the whole-of-government effort to implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

The policy also specifically considers departures from the text of the Royal Commission’s report and recommendations and requires an assessment of whether this departure is ‘reasonable’. The inclusion of this consideration in the assessment process is important.

The approval process puts the onus on the lead government agencies and Ministers responsible to obtain agreement from those agencies nominated as contributing to that recommendation’s implementation. The process of obtaining contributing agencies’ approval is not a formal step in the recommendation implementation process; this agreement should be sought prior to the recommendation approval request being put to the FVR-IDC for consideration.

Representatives of government agencies have commented to the Monitor’s office that this policy represents a more rigorous approach than that taken for past inquiries. This is consistent with the government’s desire to ensure that all the Royal Commission’s recommendations are implemented and places accountability for acquittal of the actions taken at the highest level.

Family Violence Outcomes Framework

Monitoring outcomes is a significant priority for the Victorian Government. Defining and measuring outcomes in family violence is complex as it involves a combination of immediate service responses and long-term supports and, ultimately, changed attitudes in the community. There is a tension between designing an outcomes framework that seeks to measure the most important outcomes but for which there is no data, and an outcomes framework that draws on existing data but may not go to the core of the issues to be addressed. The Royal Commission noted ‘serious gaps in our knowledge about the characteristics of victims and perpetrators of family violence and about how the systems that respond to such violence are working.24’ Improving data collection to measure what matters most may take time but will be more effective.

In March 2019 the Secretary of DPC stated:25

The best way to deliver public value to the people of Victoria is to clearly define the outcomes we are trying to achieve, and measure progress along the way.

The government’s 10 Year Plan published in November 2016 introduced the Family Violence Outcomes Framework and outlined five ‘ultimate outcomes’ and some ‘long-term’ and ‘interim’ targets against these outcomes. The 2017–2020 RAP published in May 2017 significantly developed these outcomes by including indicators for three of the four outcomes domains and committed $5.7 million ‘to embed the Outcomes Framework’. In September 2019, DPC commenced work to develop indicators for the fourth ‘system’ domain.

During 2018 a cross-government working group developed draft measures for the three Family Violence Outcomes Framework outcomes domains with published indicators (in the RAP). In early 2019 DPC led an investigation into the availability of baseline data for the draft measures but was unable to complete this task to its own satisfaction. It subsequently committed to ‘refresh’ the Family Violence Outcomes Framework. DPC has advised that this work is underway and will continue through 2020.

A significant contributor to the lack of data was identified as the poor quality of service delivery data. The Family Violence Data Collection Framework (FVDCF) was developed to remedy the gaps in the collection of demographic data (particularly for diverse communities such as Aboriginal communities and people with a disability) identified by the Royal Commission and provide some of the data needed for the Family Violence Outcomes Framework. The FVDCF is non-mandatory, and an implementation plan associated with it is yet to be developed.

An outcomes framework has been developed for Free from violence: Victoria’s strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women, and commitments have been made to develop one for the Dhelk Dja agreement as well as the planned perpetrator accountability strategy.

Each Victorian Government department has an outcomes framework, several of which include outcomes related to family violence. For example, in 2017, Victoria Police published four strategic outcomes with performance measures and service indicators in its five-year family violence strategy26 and in 2019, DHHS published an outcomes framework within its 2019-20 Strategic Plan which included ‘Victorians live free from abuse and violence’ as one of its ten outcomes. There are also outcomes frameworks that cut across departments on particular issues. There are outcomes related to family violence contained in three of these whole-of-government frameworks:

  • The Victorian public health and wellbeing outcomes framework published in 2016 has an indicator for family violence as a part of ‘Outcome 2.1: Victorians live free from abuse and violence’ – ‘Reduce prevalence and impact of family violence’.
  • The Victorian Gender Equality Framework includes an outcome to decrease family violence, which references the Family Violence Outcomes Framework.
  • The Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework has an objective to reduce the incidence and impact of family violence affecting Aboriginal families with three measures that the government reports against each year in the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs report.

Both the Free from Violence and Gender Equality frameworks draw on aspects of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework.

Governance arrangements

There are many inter-related committees currently performing different roles within the family violence reform area. The Royal Commission recommended a suite of new governance arrangements for family violence. The current arrangements vary from this proposal in that the bipartisan parliamentary committee on family violence has not yet been established and the regional governance arrangements have not been fully incorporated. The number and variety of governance committees, advisory bodies, working groups and taskforces operating is indicative of the size and complexity of the family violence reform. It is also indicative of the government’s efforts to engage non-government stakeholders in the reform implementation with a focus on diverse representation. This broad engagement is a strength, however, the potential for consultation fatigue needs to be closely watched to ensure stakeholders can remain engaged with the reform implementation.

A VSB-SC focusing on family violence was established in line with the Royal Commission recommendation 196. It met quarterly until August 2018 and recommenced meeting in August 2019, following the election period, machinery of government changes and settling the second term government’s new arrangements. During this time the FVR-IDC met regularly, approximately every six weeks. Since it commenced at the beginning of 2018, the FVR-IDC has reviewed its terms of reference several times and has increased the seniority of those attending. Over time, the FVR-IDC has become increasingly focused on whole-of-reform reporting, oversight and risk management, as discussed below.

Whole-of-reform reporting and oversight

During the monitoring period, DPC led steps to improve the whole-of-reform reporting by introducing a new whole-of-government monitoring and reporting framework in June 2019. The new framework requires agencies responsible for family violence reform activities (who are described as entities) to prepare reports which are then consolidated by DPC into an overall progress report. The reports will be prepared quarterly. As the FVR-IDC usually meets every six weeks, whole-of-reform progress reporting will be considered at approximately every second meeting.

The first combined report (now described as the Overall FVR Portfolio Report) was prepared by DPC and considered by the FVR-IDC in September 2019. The report included diagrammatic representations of overall ‘schedule progress’ and overall ‘budget progress’ based on the reported, planned activity to implement projects and recommendations. Data collection and reporting systems across many different agencies need to develop and mature in a range of ways to support this new method of reporting. DPC has indicated that it will continue to work with departments and agencies to assist in improving data quality and accuracy in reporting. This overall progress reporting should make an important contribution to oversight, and consequently progress, of the reform.

The first Family Violence Rolling Action Plan (RAP), which sits under the government’s 10 Year Plan, is due to expire in 2020. DPC is leading the work to develop and implement the next RAP, with a plan to publish it by the middle of 2020.

The development of this RAP presents an opportunity for agencies and departments to undertake further planning and implementation mapping to support reform oversight and improve progress measurement.

There have been substantial efforts towards improved whole-of-reform reporting during the monitoring period, led by DPC and the FVR-IDC. DPC has acknowledged that data limitations are impacting on its ability to report accurately on progress at the whole-of-reform level and plans to improve the quality of the data feeding into the overall report.

Managing risk

In 2018 DPC worked together with departments and agencies, in partnership with the Victorian Managed Insurance Agency to identify strategic risks to the family violence reform. During the monitoring period, DPC led further work to improve whole-of-reform risk management.

At its February 2019 meeting, the FVR-IDC endorsed the identification and initial assessment of the whole-of-reform strategic risks. It also agreed to compile existing risk responses (mitigations) at an individual agency level. At the May 2019 meeting the FVR-IDC noted:

  • the collation of agencies’ mitigation activities already undertaken
  • that the next phase of work would be to allocate risk ownership and analyse the details of risk mitigations, followed by a reassessment of the risk ratings

The whole-of-reform strategic risk register was endorsed at the July 2019 meeting, together with a revised Family Violence Reform Risk Management Framework and Strategy and a paper analysing the agency-level mitigations previously identified.

The VSB-SC considered the current top five strategic reform risks at its meeting on 22 August 2019, identifying: integration planning; financial; stakeholder engagement; data and demand; and workforce resourcing as key priorities, noting that priority risks are subject to change. These risks are a feature of the quarterly whole-of-government portfolio reports which were discussed earlier, where the key reform risks are accompanied by relevant mitigation actions at the agency-level. The VSB-SC agreed to ask the FVR-IDC to focus on developing broad shared mitigations to the priority risks. This direction from the VSB-SC was reported back to the September 2019 meeting of the FVR-IDC. An inter-agency workshop was subsequently held to identify ‘cross-cutting’ mitigation actions.

The portfolio report also identifies ‘issues’ for the reform, and the first report notes the number one issue as ‘delayed activity implementation (schedule delays)’.

Using the Overall FVR Portfolio Report, the FVR-IDC and the VSB-SC are now able to see the overall risk profile of the reform and are now working to collectively identify and apply mitigations.

Important steps were taken during the monitoring period to identify the most important risks to the reform. The VSB-SC has taken an interest in strategic risk management and is supportive of the FVR-IDC overall approach. Risk management is an active and ongoing process which requires regular reassessment and re-identification of the risks to the reform. At the conclusion of the monitoring period, the FVR-IDC was yet to move from risk identification and assessment to risk ownership and collective mitigation but was heading in that direction.

Footnotes

19 Victorian Government (2017). Free from Violence: Victoria’s strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women, p. 3.

20 Elder abuse is defined as any act occurring within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which results in harm to an older person. Reference: Respect Victoria (2019): What is elder abuse? Available at respectvictoria.vic.gov.au (accessed 21 October 2019).

21 Victorian Government (2019): Strengthening the Foundations: First Rolling Action Plan 2019-22. Available at vic.gov.au/strengthening-foundations-first-rolling-action-plan-2019-22 (accessed 2 December 2019).

22 FVR-IDC (2018): September 2018 Meeting papers, Agenda item 5 – Attachment 1, p. 2.

23 Victorian Government (2019): Family Violence Reform: The 227 Recommendations. Available at: vic.gov.au/familyviolence/recommendations.html (accessed 21 November 2019).

24 Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016): Final Report Summary, p. 41.

25 Victorian Government (2019), Outcomes Reform in Victoria. Available at vic.gov.au (accessed 7 October 2019).

26 Victoria Police (2017): Policing Harm, Upholding the Right: Victoria Police Strategy for Family Violence, Sexual Offences and Child Abuse 2018-2023.


Glossary

Glossary of terms used in this report.

10 Year Plan

Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change published in November 2016, available at vic.gov.au/familyviolence

CALD

Culturally and linguistically diverse

Caretaker period

As soon as an election is called, the government enters a ‘caretaker period’ which remains in place until the election is settled. During this time several conventions are observed, designed (amongst other things) to preserve the political neutrality of the public sector.

CIP

Central Information Point. The CIP allows representatives from Court Services Victoria, Victoria Police, Corrections and the Department of Health and Human Services to consolidate critical information about perpetrators of family violence, when requested from within The Orange Door or Berry Street and provide a single report to the frontline Family violence specialist worker.

CISS

Child Information Sharing Scheme. Enables authorised organisations and services to share information to promote the wellbeing and safety of children.

CRAF

Child Information Sharing Scheme. Enables authorised organisations and services to share information to promote the wellbeing and safety of children.

Dependencies

Dependencies are the relationships between tasks which determine the order in which activities need to be performed, where one activity relies on another being completed before it can either start, or be completed itself.

Designated mental health services

A designated mental health service is a health service that may provide compulsory assessment and treatment to people in accordance with the Mental Health Act 2014.

DET

Department of Education and Training.

Dhelk Dja agreement

Dhelk Dja – Safe Our Way: Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families, the Aboriginal community-led agreement articulating a long-term partnership and directions to ensure that Aboriginal people, families and communities can be free from violence.

DHHS

Department of Health and Human Services

DJCS

Department of Justice and Community Safety

DPC

Department of Premier and Cabinet

DTF

Department of Treasury and Finance

FSV

Family Safety Victoria. FSV is an Administrative Office attached to DHHS with dedicated responsibility for delivering key elements of the FV reform, including The Orange Door and MARAM.

FVDCF

The Family Violence Data Collection Framework

FVISS

Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme. Enables authorised organisations and services to share information to facilitate assessment and management of family violence risk to children and adults.

The MARAM Framework will guide information sharing wherever family violence is present.

Family Violence Outcomes Framework

The Framework is published on pages 10 and 11 of the Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change.

FVR-IDC

Family Violence Reform Interdepartmental Committee

ISE

Information Sharing Entity. Any organisation authorised to share information for family violence protection purposes.

Koori

A regional word for Aboriginal Australians in NSW and Victoria, used mainly by DJCS to describe programs specifically for Aboriginal Victorians.

LGBTIQ

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning

MARAM

Multi-agency Risk Assessment and Management. New framework and supporting resources that aims to ensure services are effectively identifying, assessing and managing family violence risk. Certain prescribed organisations are required to align their practices and policies with MARAM.

MARAM products and supporting resources

Supporting resources or products are terms used interchangeably to refer to the suite of tools and practice guides that a wide range of practitioners should utilise to assess and manage risk.

Practice guidance (MARAM)

Organisations required under law to align their internal policies and processes to MARAM

Risk assessment entities (MARAM)

A subset of ISEs that can request, collect and use information for a family violence assessment purpose, to establish and assess risk at the outset.

RAMPs

Risk Assessment and Management Panels. Convened in local service areas for the very highest risk family violence cases. The rollout of RAMPs across Victoria was recommendation 4 of the Royal Commission and is reported as ‘implemented’ on the government’s public acquittal website.

RAP

Rolling Action Plan. Family Violence Rolling Action Plan 2017-2020 published May 2017. Available at vic.gov.au/familyviolence.

RCFV

Royal Commission into Family Violence

Risk Assessment (MARAM)

The process of applying structured professional judgement to determine the level of family violence risk.

Risk factors (MARAM)

Evidence based factors that are associated with the likelihood of family violence occurring and the severity of the risk of family violence.

Risk identification (MARAM)

Recognising through observation or enquiry that family violence risk factors are present, and then taking appropriate actions to refer or manage the risk.

Risk management (MARAM)

Any action or intervention taken to reduce the level of risk posed to a victim survivor, and to hold perpetrators to account. These are appropriate to the level of risk identified in the risk assessment stage.

Screening tool

A short assessment that all professionals can use when they suspect or have identified family violence.

SFVC

Specialist Family Violence Courts

SFVCD

Specialist Family Violence Court Division

Support and Safety Hubs (the Hubs)

see The Orange Door

Sycle

The internal project reporting system introduced by DPC and used by implementation agencies to record progress on projects and individual recommendations.

The Orange Door

The Orange Door provides an integrated intake pathway to women’s and children’s family violence services, services for men who use violence and family services. The Orange Door works with the person (including children and young people) and where relevant the whole family, and any services or professionals already involved, to assess and manage risk and connect people to the services they need.

TRAM

Tools for Risk Assessment and Management. Used in The Orange Door. Aligned with MARAM.

VACSAL

Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Limited

VAGO

Victorian Auditor-General’s Office

VCAT

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

VMIA

Victorian Managed Insurance Agency

VSAC

Victim Survivors' Advisory Council

VSB-SC FVR

The Victorian Secretaries’ Board Sub-Committee on Family Violence Reform


Appendix 1: Monitoring approach in 2018–19

Role, values and selection of priority areas by the Monitor.

The role of the Monitor

Ending Family Violence – Victoria’s Plan for Change (the 10 Year Plan) sets out an ambitious reform program. The size and complexity of this reform, requiring new and innovative ways of working, make this a high-risk reform. The role of the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor (FVRIM; the Monitor) was established to mitigate against some of these risks and to provide the Victorian people and Parliament with an independent assessment of the progress of the government’s implementation of the reform.

The Monitor is established under the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor Act 2016 (the Act) as an independent officer of Parliament. The Monitor’s functions are set out in section 14 of the Act.

The Monitor is required to report to Parliament on progress of the reforms as at 1 November each year, and this report is the third such report. The two previous reports are available on the Monitor’s website at fvrim.vic.gov.au.

During the 2018–19 monitoring period which this report covers, the Monitor role has been held by three individuals:

  • Tim Cartwright APM concluded on 1 August 2019
  • Simon Kent, Interim Monitor, 2 August 2019 – 1 October 2019
  • Jan Shuard PSM commenced on 2 October 2019.

Values of the Monitor

The Monitor is driven by a set of core values, which are embedded in the Monitor’s approach, including stakeholder engagement and the messages communicated about the reform.

Specifically, the values of the Monitor are to:

  • exercise integrity by reporting independently on the implementation of the reform
  • be supportive and constructive in approach and advice to the government
  • demonstrate commitment to the reform through perseverance and continuing to push the government to do better
  • demonstrate courage in delivering frank and fearless advice
  • be outcomes-focused, considering what is best for current and future victim survivors and what might break the cycle of family violence
  • reflect on how best to use the role to make a difference.

The work of the Monitor was also guided by two questions:

  • What is best for current and future victim survivors?
  • What will break the cycle, and avoid people becoming perpetrators, victims or victim survivors?

Selection of priority areas

Monitoring is an effective form of risk mitigation when it enables those responsible for implementation to address issues as they arise. To this end, monitoring occurs alongside implementation, rather than after completion and the Monitor aims to act as an early warning system for risks and issues that could mean the reform is less effective for victim survivors now and in the future.

The size and complexity of the reform means that it has not been possible to monitor everything.

The Monitor held workshops with representatives from the family violence and family services sectors and with VSAC to identify areas of the reform they considered should be monitored in this period. The Monitor also met with government department and agency representatives through the FVR-IDC and asked them to advise the areas they thought the Monitor should focus on.

The Monitor chose to focus on five key areas in the 2018–19 monitoring period:

  1. Specialist Family Violence Courts
  2. Multi-agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM)
  3. Support and Safety Hubs, also known as The Orange Door
  4. perpetrator accountability (including in the context of The Orange Door)
  5. voices of victim survivors.

The Monitor also chose to monitor for emerging risks using a risk register approach and to build in review points during the year to consider how the monitoring was progressing and whether external/internal factors may require a change in focus.

In addition to the issues highlighted by stakeholders, the selected monitoring focus areas were based on careful consideration of:

  • possible level of impact on the experiences of current and future victim survivors
  • level of risk involved if this is not implemented well
  • delivery timeframe within current monitoring period
  • longevity of impact
  • impact on whole-of-reform outcomes
  • level of funding involved
  • resources of the Monitor’s office.

Monitoring approach

Monitoring in this period was based predominantly on information gathered from:

  • consultations with government agency staff on the progress of implementation, particularly around any changes to timeframe or budget, the reason for delays, and the level of collaboration
  • consultations with community groups and victim support groups on whether the implementation plans are meeting their needs, and whether there are any early indicators of effectiveness
  • attendance at key governance and advisory committee meetings
  • review of documentation from implementation agencies, meeting papers and records of decisions by governance bodies.
  • The Monitor also gathered information through observations and interactions with a wide range of experts and stakeholders and through observing relevant governance and advisory groups (see Appendix 2).

Regular separate face-to-face meetings were held throughout the monitoring period with key agencies responsible for implementation of the reforms: DPC, FSV, DHHS, DJCS, Courts Services Victoria, Victoria Police, Respect Victoria, Office for Women and DET.

Part of the approach for this year was to meet with the specialist family violence sector’s organisations in group settings, as well as individually. This approach facilitated a broader discussion among these organisations in relation to the progress of the reforms and the Monitor’s findings.

Throughout the monitoring period, the Monitor specifically sought to identify progress in the following critical areas:

  • working with diverse communities
  • working with Aboriginal communities
  • ensuring the voices of victim survivors are heard
  • workforce and cultural change
  • planning and systemic implementation considerations
  • best practice examples.

Appendix 2: Stakeholder consultations in 2018-19 monitoring period

The Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor would like to thank the following organisations, committees and stakeholders for their time.

Names of people and organisations generally reflect their status during the monitoring period.

Agencies and organisations

Berry Street

Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare

Centre for Non-Violence, Bendigo

Court Services Victoria

Department of Education and Training

Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Justice and Community Safety

Department of Premier and Cabinet

Department of Treasury and Finance

Djirra (formerly Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service)

Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria

Domestic Violence Victoria

Domestic Violence Victoria’s Members Forum

Family Safety Victoria

InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence

Magistrates’ Court of Victoria

Maryborough Education Centre

Neighbourhood Justice Centre

No To Violence / Men’s Referral Service

Office for Women, Department of Premier and Cabinet

Our Watch

Project Respect

Respect Victoria

Safe Steps

The Orange Door, Barwon

The Orange Door, North East Metropolitan region

The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre, Geelong

Victoria Legal Aid

Victoria Police

Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency

Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Ltd

Victorian Auditor-General’s Office

Victorian Council of Social Services

Women’s Legal Service

Women with Disabilities Victoria

Committees and representative bodies

Central Highlands Integrated Family Violence Committee

Central Information Point and CRM Project Steering Committee

Chief Magistrate’s Family Violence Taskforce

Courts Family Violence Reform Program Board

Courts Family Violence Reform Program Steering Committee

Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum, formerly the Indigenous Family Violence Partnership Forum

Eastern Metropolitan Regional Family Violence Partnership Forum

Elder Abuse Roundtable

Family Violence Steering Committee

Industry Plan Project Steering Committee

Industry Taskforce

Interdepartmental Committee on the Family Violence Reforms

Monash University Family Violence Prevention Centre

Multiagency Risk Assessment and Management and Information Sharing Expert Advisory Group

Multiagency Risk Assessment and Management and Information Sharing Steering Committee

Multiagency Risk Assessment and Management and Information Sharing Working Group

Northern Integrated Family Violence Committee

Perpetrator Accountability Steering Committee (formerly Perpetrator Interventions Steering Committee)

Principal strategic advisors / Regional Integrated Family Violence Coordinators Statewide meeting

The Orange Door (Support and Safety Hubs) Steering Committee

The Orange Door Working Group

Victim Survivors Advisory Council

Victorian Secretaries Board sub-committee on Family Violence Reform

Western Integrated Family Violence Committee

Individuals

Ro Allen, Gender and Sexuality Commissioner

The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria

Penny Armytage, Chair, Mental Health Royal Commission

Sven Bluemmel, Victorian Information Commissioner

Liana Buchanan, Commissioner for Children and Young People

Greg Davies, Former Victims of Crime Commissioner

Ron Iddles OAM APM, Community Safety Trustee

The Hon. Gavin Jennings MP, Special Minister of State

Dr Katie Lamb, University of Melbourne

Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen

Fiona McCormack, Victims of Crime Commissioner

Professor Jude McCulloch, Monash University

Professor JaneMaree Maher, Monash University

Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians

Justin Mohamed, Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People

The Hon. Marcia Neave AO, Chair, Royal Commission into Family Violence

The Hon. Gabrielle Williams MP, Minister for Prevention of Family Violence


Reviewed 05 May 2021