As the Victorian Government today announced the acquittal of all recommendations from 2016’s Royal Commission into Family Violence, we reflect on the landmark achievements and progress made in the past seven years and set our sights forward on the continued commitment and investment required to realise the Royal Commission’s vision: a Victoria free from family violence.
Since the Royal Commission published its 227 recommendations in March 2016, we have seen unprecedented investment into Victoria’s family violence system.
Based on a robust and comprehensive evidence base, the Royal Commission’s findings and recommendations cemented Victoria as a world leader in the prioritisation of eliminating family and gender-based violence. It provided the Victorian government, specialist family violence sector and the broader community a once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally change the way we respond to family violence and improve the safety and wellbeing of all victim survivors.
Now, nearly seven years on, we have seen great progress on several significant reforms, with the foundations in place for a whole-of-system response to family violence in our state.
“The Royal Commission into Family Violence signalled a monumental shift in the way we approach family violence in Victoria, and we commend the government for committing to all the recommendations and its overarching vision,” said Safe and Equal CEO Tania Farha.
“But our work isn’t done. As we celebrate these important achievements, we must continue to stay the course for change and maintain our focus – which is to eliminate family violence completely.”
Significant achievements from the Royal Commission include the establishment of the MARAM Framework as a consistent and comprehensive risk assessment across the system; the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme; the creation of the Support and Safety Hubs in the form of the Orange Door Network; and the establishment of the Dhelk Dja: Safe our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families 10-year plan.
Additionally, the Royal Commission provided the opportunity for people with lived experience to share their stories, shining visibility on the voices of victim survivors and advocates and centering their expertise in system design and reform.
“The Royal Commission would never have been established without the tireless efforts of people with lived experience and those who support them – including the advocacy of Rosie Batty, and the CEO of Domestic Violence Victoria at the time, Fiona McCormack,” said Ms Farha.
“The voices of lived experience are much more visible and continue to inform system improvements today, which is in large part due to the efforts of those who so bravely spoke out during the Royal Commission.”
In celebrating these achievements, we can see the impact government investment and prioritisation can have on improving Victoria’s family violence system, across the continuum from prevention through to response and recovery.
We can also see that more remains to be done, particularly to address the prevention of violence and the recovery of victim survivors. To fulfill the vision of the commission ongoing, we need to focus on an accessible, sustainable and seamless service system that can respond to all levels of demand and need, increased access and availability to safe and affordable housing, and an increased investment in addressing the deeply ingrained attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that allow violence against women to thrive.
“We know family and gender-based violence is entirely preventable,” said Ms Farha.
“It’s a huge task, one that takes renewed commitment and the ongoing, coordinated action of all parts of our community and all levels of government. But it is possible.”
As we reflect on and acknowledge the significant impact of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, Safe and Equal look forward to continuing to work in partnership with government, specialist services and those with lived experience to increase systems integration and inclusion, and to provide a coordinated response that meets the needs of all victim survivors and holds perpetrators to account.