Safe and Equal welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Family Violence Reform Monitor’s Independent legislative review of family violence reforms.
We understand that this review is primarily focused on reviewing Parts 5A and 11 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (the Act), and that this encompasses the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS), the Central Information Point (CIP) and the Multiagency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) framework. As non-legal experts, our capacity to comment specifically on the Act is limited. However, as the peak body for specialist family violence services in Victoria and given our specific involvement in the MARAM and Information Sharing Sector Capacity Building Grants, we are in a unique position to comment on the extent to which the intention of the legislation is being realised through implementation and practice. We are also well placed to identify the emerging issues and barriers to successful implementation of the Act and where there are opportunities for improvement.
In preparing this submission, we have widely consulted with our members, including managers and senior practitioners working in The Orange Door sites, Disability Practice Leadership and the Risk Assessment Management Panel (RAMP) community of practice. Safe and Equal hold funding from the MARAM and Information Sharing Sector Capacity Building Grants. The expertise and knowledge of Safe and Equals MARAM and Information Sharing Advisor, the associated community of practice, and the historic knowledge of the reforms held by Safe and Equal member organisations and staff also inform this submission.
We heard consistently through our consultations that the family violence reforms, and in particular the MARAM framework and FVISS have provided a valuable authorising environment and common language for consistent and collaborative practice. However, it is a challenging task to effectively differentiate between the efficacy and impact of the legislation and the implementation of this legislation which is supported by practice guidance, frameworks and tools. Despite these challenges, we know that inconsistent implementation and interpretation of the legislation results in failure to realise the intent of the reforms.
With this in mind, this submission is structured around main themes which emerged from consultations with our member organisations and communities of practice regarding strengths and challenges of aligning to and implementing the MARAM and FVISS, as well as engagement with the legislation itself. These themes include the critical need to centre the voices and experiences of victim survivors from marginalised communities to ensure that the system is safe for everyone, implementation and finally the interface between the Act and other legislative and systemic frameworks. Within each theme, we highlight strengths and challenges and make recommendations for potential improvements and further investigation.