Children as primary victims of family violence

An analysis of how well children are served through key government initiatives, policies and services, and whether they are recognised as victims of family violence in their own right.


The purpose of this analysis was to establish the extent to which government and agencies have reoriented policies and practice to recognise children as victims of family violence in their own right. It also sought to examine the capacity of targeted child- and youth-centred family violence services. We considered the extent to which this critical cohort is served through:

  • key foundations in legislation and government strategy
  • risk management and information-sharing reform and its effectiveness
  • policies and practice across key government service settings
  • targeted services
  • child protection practice


This chapter focuses specifically on children, legally defined as those under the age of 18 years. We acknowledge that the Royal Commission into Family Violence and the Victorian Family Violence Data Collection Framework talk about ‘children and young people’ comprising individuals aged up to 25 years old. We suggest that the needs of this cohort of young adults be considered an area for future attention. 

Royal Commission findings

The Royal Commission found that, historically, children and young people have been the ‘silent victims’ of family violence. Despite the profoundly detrimental impacts of family violence on this group and the intergenerational cycles of violence it creates, there remains a lack of targeted resources to meet the specific needs of children who have experienced family violence. 

The year the Royal Commission’s findings were handed down, the Commission for Children and Young People released its findings from its inquiry into cases where children who were known to child protection services had died. It confirmed that family violence can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences for children and called for stronger integration across the child protection and family violence systems.41

Foundations for recognising children as primary victims 

The Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 provides a legislative foundation for establishing the rights of children to have their best interests prioritised. It highlights the importance of giving weight to the child’s views and wishes, and the need to consider ‘the effects of cumulative patterns of harm on a child’s safety and development’.42 The ‘best interests principles’ provide a foundation upon which other legislation, policy and practice can acknowledge and support children as primary victims of family violence. Section 5A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 defines family violence for children as including being caused to hear, witness or otherwise be exposed to family violence or its impacts. 

Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change set the scene for the government’s commitment to the family violence reform required by the Royal Commission. It recognised the deep impacts of family violence on children and committed to meeting their specific needs and to intervening earlier to prevent harm, particularly through reform initiatives such as Support and Safety Hubs (now known as The Orange Door). 

Historically there has been limited data on children affected by family violence. The Royal Commission noted that information on children was one of the key deficiencies in family violence data collection. It suggested that the addition of Integrated Family Services and Child Protection data should be prioritised in developing the Victorian Family Violence Database.43 The Victorian Family Violence Data Collection Framework also acknowledged the lack of both administrative and survey data about experiences of children as victims of family violence.44 It encouraged services and agencies to record children as unique victims rather than ‘secondary victims’ or ‘indirect victims’,45 but this work does not appear to have occurred, with no evidence sighted of the framework being implemented. 

Information sharing and risk assessment 

The Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) Framework and information-sharing guidelines are explicit about the need for children experiencing family violence to be recognised as victim survivors in their own right. The Child Information Sharing Scheme and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme intend to provide a comprehensive understanding of children at risk and their unique circumstances. The safety and wellbeing of children is explicitly given precedence over any individual’s right to privacy. 

Through our consultations, we were advised that many staff were not yet confident in using these schemes or in some cases were unwilling to use them as intended. For example, some staff were reluctant ‘to seek or share information relating to children on the grounds that it could put at risk the privacy and confidentiality of the mother who is a victim survivor’.46 Despite there being resources to explain how the two schemes work together, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare advised us that understanding of the schemes is inconsistent.47 The Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme evaluation recommended that ‘all training and training materials need to emphasise the circumstances in which it is appropriate to use either the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme or the Child Information Sharing Scheme.48 We suggest there is a need to monitor whether the schemes are being used as expected, and to identify areas where workforces may require further support. 

There is also a strong desire to build capacity around the use of the MARAM Framework with children. While training to date appears effective, some people want further support to build confidence. For example, 88% of MARAM training participants reported an improvement in their knowledge and ability to use the Child Assessment Tool; 60% of these considered themselves highly capable of using the tool.49 The Census of Workforces that Intersect with Family Violence found that 36% of the specialist workforce and 45% of the broader workforce would like more training on working with children exposed to family violence.50

The MARAM victim–survivor focused practice guides provide guidance on identifying and screening for family violence risk with children, including deciding when and how to talk to a child directly. The guides include a Child Victim Survivor Assessment Tool and a risk management tool specifically for older children and young people. Risk screening and management tools for adults also include risk screening and safety planning for children. An important area for improvement in further developing guidance and training for staff is including the voices and perspectives of children and young people when designing tools and guidance about how to work with this cohort, and in their own risk assessment and safety planning, including how to engage with and assess very young children.51

Policies and practice across key government service settings 

There has been significant strategic work across departments and agencies to ensure family violence and related systems are set up to acknowledge children as victim survivors. However, stakeholders consistently advised that there has not yet been the systemic reorientation to consider children as primary victims with their own needs, including the required increase in dedicated services. They have also advised that a stronger system approach to prevention and early intervention is required. For example, Respect Victoria highlighted that ‘there needs to be a further focus on the “early” end of early intervention, particularly for children and young people who are at risk or displaying concerning behaviours, including children in out-of-home care, and victims of family violence’.52

Family Safety Victoria provided us with a thorough analysis of its own activities relating to children’s needs and engagement with children, including adolescents using violence in the home. It showed some inconsistency across projects, including in the language used about children and the degree to which their needs were actively considered, highlighting that inconsistencies can exist even within one entity. This suggests the need for a more considered approach within and across organisations to improve consistency. 

While much of the evidence we reviewed was clear about children and young people being primary victims of family violence, there was minimal evidence that the perspectives of young victim survivors were being sought as standard practice. Berry Street’s Y-Change team of young people with lived experience of family violence shared that ‘the voices of children and young people are still overwhelmingly missing from the family violence narrative’.53 Finding ways to safely and effectively hear the voices of these otherwise ‘silent’ victims of family violence is an important area for future efforts. 

Aboriginal children and families 

A holistic, children and family-centred approach is at the heart of strategies and frameworks preventing family violence and to promoting healing for Aboriginal communities. The 2018 Wungurilwil Gapgapduir: Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement between the Aboriginal community, Victorian Government and community service organisations aims to ‘reduce the number of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care by building their connection to culture, Country and community’.54 The agreement focuses on intervening earlier through family support, acknowledging the Taskforce 1000 findings55 that described family violence and substance misuse as presenting issues for the overwhelming majority of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care.56 The Aboriginal Children’s Forum works to implement and monitor the agreement. A similar partnership approach may be worth considering for vulnerable Victorian children more broadly. 


A child was present at approximately 36% of family violence incidents that police attended in 2019–20.57 All of Victoria Police’s strategies, operational policies and practice guides are clear about children and young people being recognised as victim survivors whose needs should be considered and addressed independently of their parents’. The documentation we reviewed was clear about the specific harm to children and young people that is caused by family violence and explicitly acknowledged that a child doesn’t need to be physically present when violence occurs to experience this harm.58

Child-specific training is mandatory for relevant staff, and processes have been redesigned to better acknowledge children as primary victims of family violence. For example, all family violence safety notices and applications for family violence intervention orders list children as separate parties. 


Parents accessing the courts for family violence matters will often have to bring their children with them. Consideration of ways to ensure courts can accommodate children is therefore essential. The Specialist Family Violence Court model, developed by the Magistrates’ Court, explicitly acknowledges children and young people who have experienced family violence as victim survivors.59 For example, the court’s physical design features include safe and child-friendly waiting areas, separate and secure entrances and exits, and security escorts for affected family members and their children who are at heightened risk at court. 

We also saw evidence of a range of other initiatives operating at the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and Children’s Court of Victoria to improve understanding and responsiveness to the needs of children, including through family violence practitioners. 

The Court Support for Kids program is offered at the Melbourne Children’s Court and selected Magistrates’ Courts. The program allows a trained children’s worker to engage in onsite support, creative play and distraction for children, enabling their mothers to focus on their legal proceedings. It also allows children to explore their thoughts, feelings and emotions and has exposed incidents of family violence experienced directly by the children.60 Funding for the program has been uncertain, based on a number of one-off government grants and philanthropic funding.61 Court Services Victoria has, however, funded Court Support for Kids for an additional 12 months to 30 June 2021. 

Australian family law 

Although not within Victoria’s jurisdiction, the Australian family law context appears to create a point of tension with Victoria’s efforts to acknowledge children and young people as primary victims. 

Only 3% of cases heard by the Family Court lead to orders for no contact with one parent being made, despite the fact that most cases where parents use the courts to make parenting arrangements involve family violence, child safety concerns and other complex issues.62 While we cannot comment on the appropriateness of the family law system, several submissions we received outlined significant concerns and suggested that children’s safety and wellbeing are not being adequately considered when deciding custody and access arrangements.63 Police may ‘make an application to the Magistrates’ Court to exercise its jurisdiction to vary, discharge or suspend the operation of the Family Law Act order’64 where they find it is inconsistent with the safety needs of a child, but the extent to which this happens is not known. 

Youth justice 

There is evidence that many adolescents who use violence in the home have been exposed to family violence themselves.65 Therefore it is vital for the justice system, as well as police and support services, to understand the impacts of family violence on young people and to use a trauma-informed, child development approach. 

Consistent with this, Youth Justice developed practice guidance for its staff that outlines requirements for family violence screening for all young people upon intake, risk assessment and risk management, to be used throughout a young person’s involvement with the youth justice system. 

Similarly, the Youth Parole Board requires that all young people before the board are screened for family violence risk using the MARAM Framework and that a risk management plan is developed for all young people who have been a victim of, or who have used, family violence. The board can refer cases to the Youth Justice High Risk Panel chaired by the Commissioner of Youth Justice to strengthen planning for parole and safety for young people who are victims or use violence.

The Orange Door 

The Orange Door’s service model includes numerous elements that demonstrate a strategic shift to ensure children and young people are seen as primary victims. It recognises that ‘each child has unique needs that will be assessed individually’ and that safety plans and broader supports will be tailored for children.66 It acknowledges the importance of listening to the voices of children and provides guidance on specific questions to ask children about family violence. Figure 4.1 shows the number of children provided with a response at The Orange Door in 2019–20.

23,055 children were provided with a response at The Orange Door in 2019–20, a 17% increase from 2018-2019.

In 2018, Family Safety Victoria released its Client Experience Toolkit, which includes high-level consideration of children and young people’s journeys through The Orange Door and identifies children and young people as a priority group (Figure 4.2)

Figure 4.2: Excerpt from The Orange Door’s Client Experience Toolkit for staff

Family Safety Victoria (2018): Support and Safety Hubs Client Experience Toolkit
Figure 4.2: Excerpt from The Orange Door’s Client Experience Toolkit for staff

Client journey and practise tips for Children and Young People

Access: Before, Referral, Call up, Walk in

Screening, ID & Triage: First connection, Screening

Assessment & Planning: Exploring issues & context, In between (this could be true for a transition between any stages in the service experience)

Connecting to Services: Transition, Leaving

After: Follow-up

Emotional Journey

How the client might be feeling and what might be going through their mind

  • Thoughts and questions; who are these people? Can they help me? Curiosity. Emotions.
  • What's the point of this? Will there be a place to sit or play that feels comfortable? Anxious. Nervous.
  • Is this just going to be like all the other services? They seem friendly, not too bubbly. What should I say? Heard. Understood. Respected. 
  • Will my parents get in trouble? Will I be separated from my siblings? Anxious. Worried. 
  • Have I shared too much? How are they using this information? Nervous.
  • Have I done something wrong? Should I leave? Uncertain. 
  • These people seem nice and helpful. Maybe everything is going to be alright. Supported.
  • Who's going to take care of me? What will happen to my family after? Worry. Fear. 
  • Wow. Someone cares. Maybe it will be alright. Hopeful. 

What Staff Can Do

Making the experience safe and comfortable

  • Have a calm tone and attitude, but not too cheerful or bubbly. Smile and appear approachable. This helps young people feel safe to share and sets you apart from their past experience of workers. 
  • Explain the system and possible outcomes in plain English as early as possible. This reduces uncertainty and stress, reducing the fear to not speak up. 
  • Explain how information will be used and how you're here to help. This helps them feel supported and safe to share.
  • Be lighthearted and reciprocal in conversation. This helps them see you as a friendly professional that they can trust; they will be more willing to continue engaging when working with someone they respect and feel respected by. 
  • Check in to see how the service is working for people. This helps people know someone is looking out for them and gives them confidence to continue. It helps you ensure the service is a good fit or it is switched if not. 

Qualities and Behaviours

Essential considerations for creating a positive and safe client experience

  1. building trust through authenticity
  2. reducing uncertainty and cognitive fatigue
  3. listening, understanding and taking action
  4. modelling positive relationships
  5. instilling hope and possibility
  6. validating initiative and commending progress
  7. respectful and non-judgemental attitudes
  8. welcoming
Download Figure 4.2: Excerpt from The Orange Door’s Client Experience Toolkit for staff

In practice, child and family services practitioners feel there is insufficient focus on child wellbeing,67 while the family violence sector reportedly considers that family violence expertise and specialist interventions are being marginalised in The Orange Door model.68

An internal Family Safety Victoria review reported that, of the 9,597 children identified at The Orange Door as victim survivors of family violence in 2019–20, only 943 comprehensive child family violence assessments were conducted. While a comprehensive assessment is not required if a rapid response is provided,69 the appropriateness of only approximately 10% of child victim survivors receiving a comprehensive assessment warrants further exploration. Reflecting the broader issues around the availability of data on children and young people, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare,70 the Commission for Children and Young People71 and the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office72 have all raised the need to improve the data collected at The Orange Door. This will require enhancements to the client management system and ongoing workforce support to maximise data quality.

Sufficiently available targeted services 

The MARAM Framework describes that appropriate responses for children experiencing family violence should be therapeutic interventions, including counselling and early intervention programs, as well as youth-appropriate accommodation if required.73 The Royal Commission highlighted the need to increase the availability of such services.74 

Therapeutic interventions 

There has been a substantial increase in funding for therapeutic interventions for victims of family violence, predominantly women and children, as shown in Table 4.1. This represents an increase of 366% in investment in therapeutic interventions for victims of family violence since the Royal Commission. Of therapeutic interventions funding, 40% must be targeted to children. An organisation in each of the 17 Department of Health and Human Services areas is funded to deliver a suite of programs in partnership with one or more organisations, and these agencies report monthly to the Department of Health and Human Services. We are advised that from September 2019 to June 2020, 32 per cent of therapeutic services were provided to children (Figure 4.3). 

Table 4.1: Funding for community therapeutic interventions for victim survivors of family violence (including children)

2014–15 2019-20
Family violence support services $6,860,000 Family violence counselling $11,276,042
Family violence therapeutic
Aboriginal demonstration projects $4,413,217
Total $6,860,000 Total $31,980,084

Children represented 39% of people provided with a response at The Orange Door in 2019–20, while 32% of therapeutic services were provided to children from September 2019 to June 2020.

Despite this significant investment, stakeholders such as the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, the Commission for Children and Young People, Berry Street, the Salvation Army and Victoria Police have all advised that the currently available therapeutic services for children are unable to meet demand — that there are long waiting lists and significant service gaps. It is unfortunate that in the absence of reliable data it is not possible to validate the extent of service gaps. This requires urgent attention. Stakeholders also noted a lack of clarity about the type  of services that are available for children. There appears to be a need for clear referral pathways that a range of different workforces can use to determine which service will be appropriate for which child under which circumstances. A list of mainstream and Aboriginal therapeutic service providers is now available online75 and this is a positive step, especially while we wait for The Orange Door to be rolled out across the state.

Crisis accommodation 

The Royal Commission found that the capacity of refuges and crisis accommodation services needed to improve to meet children’s needs. One-off funding of $3.5 million for child-related resources was provided to refuges in August 2018. Family Safety Victoria was due to report on the impacts on children’s wellbeing as a result of the funding by June 2019, but this has not occurred. 

Through the Learning and Development Project, the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria is developing a set of minimum practice and operational requirements for supporting children in refuge and crisis accommodation. To date, the project has included the Children in Refuge Guiding Document (released in 2019) and in-person training for managers and practitioners.

One stakeholder described to us the practical barriers to delivering services to children when working with whole families in refuge. For example, case managers often work with 12 families at a time, some very large, with up to seven children. Meeting each family member’s immediate needs such as food, clothing and shelter subsumes most of the initial effort, and funding for a family in refuge only covers a period of up to six weeks. Acknowledging these challenges will be essential as workforce development activities continue.

Services for Aboriginal children 

Through our consultations we heard about the need for holistic family responses to Aboriginal families, including children, experiencing family violence. There is also a strong need for sexual assault therapeutic services for Aboriginal people, including for children, that are both trauma and culturally informed.76 

As part of the government’s response to the Royal Commission’s recommendation about the need for adequate funding to Aboriginal community-controlled organisations for culturally appropriate service delivery, the Dhelk Dja Family Violence Fund has been created. The fund is a flexible pool of funds targeted to Aboriginal organisations and communities to enable a range of tailored, Aboriginal-led responses and initiatives for Aboriginal families, including children. We look forward to hearing about the funded initiatives, including how they will address the specific needs of children. 

Child protection practice — building family violence capability 

Child protection services are designed, by their very nature, to prioritise the needs of children. The Best Interests Case Practice Model, based on the principles in the Children, Youth and Families Act, guides practice in family services, child protection, placement and support services and places the best interests of the child at the centre of all actions and decisions. Roadmap for Reform: Strong Families, Safe Children, the 2016 reform strategy for the children, youth and families service systems, emphasised the importance of intervening earlier to protect children from harm. 

Policies, procedures and advice relating to family violence are published in the Child Protection Manual, and there are some key family violence capability-building initiatives that have occurred over recent years, including Tilting Our Practice for the entire child protection workforce and the co-location of family violence workers in Victoria’s child protection offices.77 Positively, 94% of Tilting Our Practice participants agree that ‘they have the knowledge, skills and confidence to work effectively with families experiencing family violence after participating in the training’.78 MARAM training and support for the whole workforce is now underway and is an ongoing priority. 

However, the Commission for Children and Young People advised in its submission to the Monitor that ‘family violence continues to be a persistent and pervasive theme in the Commission’s child death inquiries’.79 The Commission has concerns about poor practice by services, whereby Child Protection is viewed as failing to adequately consider family violence and that ‘despite repeated and often early reports to Child Protection, many cases were successively closed and critical opportunities for support missed’.80 Similarly, the legislated review of the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme found that ‘Child Protection did not always appear to fully recognise or effectively respond to family violence risk’.81 Similarly, Risk Assessment and Management Panel coordinators from across the state have advised the Monitor that this issue is regularly discussed at their meetings.

The Commission also highlighted that the service system was fragmented and referrals to other support services were often lost and led nowhere,82 and that there was often a lack of direct engagement with children and young people, despite the fact that they are generally in the best position to talk about their needs. 

This is a crucial workforce known to have high levels of turnover. Ongoing efforts to support child protection workers to identify and respond to family violence risk should be prioritised. 

Key issues 

Clear need for improved availability of support services that meet children’s needs 

During our consultations there was universal agreement that services specifically designed to work with children as victim survivors of family violence are, frequently, not available. Many services are only available in limited areas and demand often exceeds supply, leading to long waiting lists — while the nature of family violence means timely support at the time of crisis is crucial. Stakeholders are unanimously calling for more investment in this area.

There appears to be a need for a comprehensive analysis of referral pathways that explores the services that are and that should be available for children under various circumstances. A system-wide analysis could help identify service gaps and could inform referral pathways for all workforces that may be needing to refer children to targeted family violence support services. This work needs to consider that The Orange Door does not yet exist in many areas and include resourcing for all workforces. 

There is also a need for explicit monitoring of the services that are being delivered specifically to children, to enable understanding of whether access, and early access, is increasing. 

Quality data about children remains a significant gap 

Four years on from the Royal Commission it is troubling that a robust data collection framework doesn’t appear to exist. This lack of data creates a significant gap in the ability of services to meet the needs of children and makes it impossible to determine whether the supply of services is meeting demand. 

If children are truly to be acknowledged as victim survivors of family violence, it is essential that there is quality data on which to base the design, funding and delivery of services, and to effectively understand demand for services. The Royal Commission and the subsequent Victorian Family Violence Data Collection Framework highlighted the lack of available data about children experiencing family violence, and this issue appears to remain. For example, Integrated Family Services and Child Protection datasets have not been added to the Victorian Family Violence Database, despite the Royal Commission listing them as priority areas for inclusion. A lack of information about children’s journeys through The Orange Door has also been raised. 

There is an important opportunity now to consider the additional data that should be collected at The Orange Door and elsewhere that could make a significant difference to better understanding the needs of children and the extent to which these are being met. 

Workforce capability-building in working with and for children must be a continued focus 

Although we saw evidence of practice guidance and training, there appears to remain a lack of confidence in working directly with children among some crucial workforces, including The Orange Door workforce. Significant proportions of the specialist family violence and broader workforces would like more MARAM training on working with children who are exposed to family violence. There is also a need for further guidance on both information- sharing schemes, especially willingness to share information under the Child Information Sharing Scheme. 

There is an opportunity to consider lessons from the learning and development strategy for responding to children in refuge and the capability-building activities at The Orange Door. Promptly sharing the lessons from these initiatives will make an important contribution to the reform. It would also be beneficial for Family Safety Victoria to revisit the significant piece of work it undertook to review its own capability around children and young people in 2019 and to consider the recommendations. 

A system-wide approach to early intervention is required 

Beginning with the Royal Commission’s report, and flowing down to other policies and guidelines, there is clear recognition of the need for different parts of the system to work together to intervene earlier to prevent harm to children from family violence. A range of universal and targeted services have a role to play in preventing family violence escalation and keeping children safe. 

Notwithstanding the role of broader services, Child Protection and child and family services have the opportunity to initiate interventions to support children in situations where family violence has escalated or has persisted over time. Yet, the Commission for Children and Young People continues to observe, and raise concerns about, the inability of these services to intervene early, in relation to when a child first comes to their attention. It is reported by some that service integration is proving difficult within The Orange Door, with tensions between different workforces relating to different views on how much of a focus there should be on child welfare. 

This suggests there may be benefit in clearly articulating how different parts of the system should work together to address the independent needs of children, including being explicit about the importance of intervening early rather than being crisis-focused. 

Voices of children and young people should be actively sought 

Berry Street’s Y-Change team told us that ‘voices of children and young people are still overwhelmingly missing’ — they articulated this with regard to both the reform and service development, and in-service delivery and practice with individual victim survivors. They suggested that children and young people with lived experience of family violence should be ongoing partners in design and implementation, with their voices sought, listened to and acted upon. This is an important area of improvement to ensure systems and services are designed in a way that directly considers the needs of children and young people.

In relation to individual cases, the Children, Youth and Families Act is clear about the importance of listening to the child’s views and wishes, and the Commission for Children and Young People has described how children are often best placed to identify what they need. Given what we have discovered about the lack of confidence among workforces in working directly with children, there is an opportunity to develop further guidance and capability around actively seeking the independent voices of children in both designing and delivering services and responses for children. 

Looking forward 

This analysis has shown that a great deal of work to better acknowledge children as victim survivors of family violence in their own right has been undertaken, but more is needed. We suggest the following actions should be prioritised to help bring about the systemic shift required to ensure widespread understanding of children’s experiences as victims of family violence and tailored responses to meet their unique needs:

  • Improve the availability of data about children’s family violence–related experiences, including data about demand and wait times for services and outcomes for children following a service response.
  • Continue to invest in and refine capacity-building activities, including supporting workforces to engage directly with children as appropriate to determine their needs and wishes, applying the MARAM Framework and information-sharing schemes to children, and supporting child and family services practitioners to identify and respond to family violence risk. 
  • Clearly articulate and support the roles and responsibilities of all parties (family violence prevention and response systems and beyond) in supporting early intervention for children to keep them safe from family violence.
  • Work to incorporate the voices of children and young people in the design of policies, tools, guidance and training for staff about working with child victim survivors.
  • Further investigate stakeholders’ concerns about the application of Australian family law in Victorian cases where family violence is a factor, including consideration of the rate at which police apply to change a Family Law Act order and the outcomes in these cases.
  • Map services and referral pathways to support workforces to identify appropriate services for children requiring support and to identify and respond to, where possible, service gaps for children requiring family violence–related support.


41   Commission for Children and Young People (2016): Neither Seen Nor Heard: Inquiry into Issues of Family Violence in Child Deaths.
42   Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic), ss. 10.3(d) and (e).
43   State of Victoria (2014–2016): Royal Commission into Family Violence: Report and Recommendations, Parl Paper No 132, Vol 6, Chapter 39.
44   Department of Premier and Cabinet (2019): Victorian Family Violence Data Collection Framework. Available at: (accessed 7 August 2020).
45   Ibid., p. 44.
46   Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, submission 122, p. 1.
47   Ibid.
48   Monash University (2020): Family Safety Victoria Review of the Family Violence Information Sharing Legislative Scheme, May 2020, p. 4.
49   Cube Group (2020): Family Safety Victoria: Process evaluation of the MARAM Reforms, Final Report (unpublished).
50   ORIMA Research (2020): 2019–20 Census of Workforces that Intersect with Family Violence: Survey Findings Report — Specialist Family Violence Response Workforce (not yet published).
51   Berry Street, submission 74.
52   Respect Victoria, submission 78, p.9.
53   Berry Street Y-Change Initiative, submission 26, p. 1.
54   Department of Health and Human Services (2018): Wungurilwil Gapgapduir Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement. Available at: (accessed 6 August 2020).
55   Taskforce 1000 reviewed the cases of approximately 1,000 Aboriginal children in out-of-home care in Victoria.
56   Department of Health and Human Services (2018): Wungurilwil Gapgapduir: Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement, p. 10. Available at: (accessed 6 August 2020).
57   Unpublished data provided to the Monitor by the Crime Statistics Agency, December 2020.
58   Victoria Police (2019): Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence, edition 3, Vol 4.
59   Magistrates Court of Victoria (2019): Specialist Family Violence Court Division Operational Guidelines, Vol 1.2, September 2019.
60   Underwood (2016): Mums in Court, DVRCV Advocate, 1. Available at: (accessed 16 September 2020).
61   McAuley Community Services for Women, submission 48.
62   Australian Institute of Family Studies (2019): Parenting Arrangements After Separation: Research Summary, October 2019.
63   For broader discussion of this issue, see, for example: Humphreys (2020): We’ve lost the wisdom of Solomon. Pursuit by the University of Melbourne; and Hill (2020): Children and Family Law: ‘How can you share parenting with an abusive parent?’, The Guardian, 15 March 2020.
64   Victoria Police (2019): Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence, edition 3, Vol 4, p. 17
65   Australian Institute of Criminology (2014–2015), Evaluation of the Adolescent Family Violence Program, p. 41.
66   Family Safety Victoria (2019): The Orange Door Service Model, p. 21. Available at: (accessed 6 August 2020).
67   Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (2020): Managing Support and Safety Hubs. Available at: (accessed 6 August 2020).
68   Domestic Violence Victoria (2019): Position Paper on the Support and Safety Hubs Model & Implementation, First Edition, March 2019.
69   Family Safety Victoria (2019): The Orange Door Annual Service Delivery Report 2018–2019. Available at: (accessed 6 August 2020).
70   Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, submission 122.
71   Commission for Children and Young People (2019): Lost, Not Forgotten: Inquiry into Children Who Died by Suicide and Were Known to Child Protection.
72   Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (2020): Managing Support and Safety Hubs. Available at: (accessed 6 August 2020).
73   Family Safety Victoria (2018): Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework: A shared responsibility for assessing and managing family violence risk.
74   State of Victoria (2014–2016): Royal Commission into Family Violence: Report and Recommendations, Parl Paper No 132, Vol 5, Chapter 34.
75   Refer to:
76   Aboriginal Sexual Assault Support Service Working Group and McIntyre (2019): Mapping of Contemporary Approaches: Community Healing and Support Service for Sexual Abuse.
77   Department of Health and Human Services (2016): Roadmap for Reform: Strong Families, Safe Children.
78   Cube Group (2018): Department of Health and Human Services — Evaluation of Child Protection Family Violence Training: Final Report, p. 8.
79   Commission for Children and Young People, submission 115, p. 2.
80   Ibid., p.3.
81   Monash University (2020): Family Safety Victoria Review of the Family Violence Information Sharing Legislative Scheme, May 2020, p. 7.
82   Commission for Children and Young People, submission 115.

Reviewed 05 May 2021

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