Submission to the Victorian Legislative Assembly’s Legal and Social Issues Committee Inquiry into Capturing Data on Family Violence Perpetrators in Victoria

Submission to the Victorian Legislative Assembly’s Legal and Social Issues Committee Inquiry into Capturing Data on Family Violence Perpetrators in Victoria

14 June 2024

down arrow

Safe and Equal welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission into the Victorian Legislative Assembly's Legal and Social Issues Committee Inquiry into Capturing Data on Family Violence Perpetrators in Victoria. How data on perpetrators of family violence is captured, used and analysed is critical to keeping victim survivors of family violence safe; the system’s inability to analyse and use data to increase victim survivors’ safety is an ongoing issue.

In addition to this submission, Safe and Equal endorses No to Violence’s (NTV) submission to the inquiry. To minimise duplicating information, our submission is contained to distinct points from the perspective of victim survivor family violence response services, including two points we wish to highlight as underpinning considerations that have informed our response:

  1. Data collected on perpetrators for the purpose of assessing and managing family violence (FV) risk to keep victim survivors safe needs to be distinguished from the data and evidence needed to understand why people perpetrate violence and how to shift their behaviour. We support NTV’s call to better understand the motivation behind, and how to shift, perpetrators’ behaviour. For this submission, we will focus on the data needed to inform FV risk assessment and management.
  2. It is also important to draw distinctions between the collection of FV perpetrator data and analysis. As highlighted in NTV’s submission, current data on perpetrators of FV is skewed towards over-policed and marginalised perpetrators who are more likely to come into contact with the system and a large segment of perpetrators who manage to avoid the system remain invisible.

Page last updated Wednesday, June 19 2024

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Safe and Equal’s submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s inquiry into justice system responses to sexual violence

Safe and Equal’s submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s inquiry into justice system responses to sexual violence

14 June 2024

down arrow

Safe and Equal endorsed the Sexual Assault Services Victoria submission and, as the peak body for Victorian organisations that specialise in family and gender-based violence across the continuum, provided this submission focussing on the co-occurrence of sexual violence within a family violence context.

A number of recommendations were made which would support the justice system respond in a more victim centred, trauma informed manner to safely support victim survivors of sexual violence and reduce their re-traumatisation by the Justice System’s processes.

The recommendations are consistent with previous submissions and reports on this topic, including Safe and Equal’s submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s inquiry, and the Victim of Crimes Commissioner’s Systemic inquiry – Victim participation in the Justice System released in March 2024.

Page last updated Friday, June 14 2024

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Submission to the Third Family Violence Rolling Action Plan

Submission to the Third Family Violence Rolling Action Plan

29 February 2024

down arrow

The third and final Rolling Action Plan (RAP) under Ending family violence - Victoria’s 10-year plan for change is an important opportunity to build on the work since the family violence reforms began and to think about ways to strengthen and embed system responses, accountability and transparency. Safe and Equal welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback on the development of this RAP.

Safe and Equal supports the priorities listed in Strong Foundations: Building on Victoria’s work to end family violence (Strong Foundations):

  • Drive down family and sexual violence
  • Children and young people
  • Strengthen support for victim survivors
  • Respond to change
  • Understand and demonstrate our impact

Our submission also highlights comprehensive advice to strengthen the priorities. We need the Victorian Government’s ongoing commitment to advocating at a Commonwealth level for these policies to improve outcomes for victim survivors and reduce family and gender-based violence.

With the need to continue to build a systems approach to the prevention and response to family violence, and with where we are in the reform journey, the success of this RAP depends on deep and meaningful engagement and collaboration with the family violence prevention and response sectors and the people we work to serve.

Watch the video from the launch of 'Strong Foundations: Building on Victoria’s work to end family violence'

Page last updated Thursday, February 29 2024

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

2024-25 Victorian State Budget Submission

2024-25 Victorian State Budget Submission

19 December 2023

down arrow

The last eight years in Victoria have been a time like no other for the specialist family violence sector. We have seen the impact government investment and prioritisation can have on improving our family violence system across the continuum. While we have come a long way, the work is not yet done.

Across the state, specialist family violence services are under severe pressure, with levels of demand reaching unsustainable levels and some victim survivors are facing wait times for case management support. Despite this, nearly $50 million dollars of funding to the family violence sector is due to lapse in June 2024. 

Safe and Equal is calling on the Victorian Government to make this funding ongoing, as one of four critical areas to prioritise in the 2024-25 State Budget: 

  1. Sustainably fund the specialist family violence response sector 
  2. Increase safe and affordable housing to facilitate recovery from family violence 
  3. Continue funding to embed the Multi Agency Risk and Assessment Management (MARAM) Framework across prescribed workforces 
  4. Maintain primary prevention work 

Family and gender-based violence is preventable. Ending family violence in a generation doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. It’s a huge task, one that takes renewed commitment and investment, alongside ongoing, coordinated action across all parts of our community and all levels of government. It is our hope the Victorian Government will prioritise addressing these critical gaps and issues, so every Victorian has the chance to live a life free from violence. 

We call on the Victorian Government to invest in the areas we have highlighted throughout this submission. These priorities have been drawn from the Measuring Family Violence Service Demand and Capacity report and our consultations with members and people with lived experience.  

Page last updated Tuesday, December 19 2023

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Response to the Inquiry into the rental and housing affordability crisis in Victoria final report

Response to the Inquiry into the rental and housing affordability crisis in Victoria final report

11 December 2023

down arrow

Safe and Equal welcomes the Final Report of the Inquiry into the rental and housing affordability crisis in Victoria, released last week by the Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee. While the scope of the report is broad, it recognises the significant impacts an absence of safe and secure housing can have on victim survivors of family violence, and the difficult choice victim survivors are often faced with - to remain in an abusive home or face homelessness.

The housing crisis in Victoria is putting enormous pressure on many people in the community – particularly those experiencing or at risk of family violence. Family violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women, children and young people across Australia1. In Victoria specifically, 44 per cent of people seeking assistance from specialist homelessness services during 2021-22 did so due to family violence2. Furthermore, the increasing cost of housing and rising costs of living are further compounded for victim survivors by the deep and lasting financial impacts of family violence, including specific experiences of economic abuse3. 

Safe and Equal made a submission to the inquiry earlier this year. We are pleased to see the report include our recommendation that the Victorian Government commit to building 60,000 new social housing dwellings by 2034. We strongly support the report’s focus on the creation of new social homes, alongside increased support for private rental schemes, such as the Private Rental Assistance Program, and further examination of tax concessions such as negative gearing by the Commonwealth Government.  

The recommendations in this report articulate a plan to address the housing affordability crisis in Victoria. However, to end homelessness among victim survivors, these recommendations alone will not get us there. With victim survivors waiting an average of nearly two years for social housing4 and just 109 private rental properties across Victoria classified as affordable for single people earning minimum wage5, we need the Victorian Government to take immediate action to ensure every person escaping violence has timely access to safe and affordable housing options.  

Combined with the recommendations listed in this report, we need  initiatives that enable and support victim survivors to remain safe in their own homes, such as increased access to family violence financial counsellors and legal assistance, increased access to income through well-paid employment opportunities and increased social security payments; expanded ways to keep perpetrators accountable, and increased housing for perpetrators so more victim survivors can feel that staying safe in their home is a viable option. 

We thank the Committee for this report and encourage the Victorian Government to implement the report’s recommendations and take urgent action to ensure all victim survivors having a safe place to call home. 

Read the Final Report here.

Footnotes

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘Specialist homelessness services annual report 2021-22’, 8 December 22. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-annual-report/contents/clients-who-have-experienced-family-and-domestic-v
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘Specialist homelessness services 2021-22: Victoria’, Accessed 15 November 2023. https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/5b974c8a-85d2-4f3e-8573-c14deec7a559/hou331_factsheet_vic.pdf.aspx
  3. 23% of Australian women have faced direct economic abuse from a cohabiting partner: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2022, Personal Safety Survey 2022https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-and-justice/personal-safety-australia/latest-release#cohabiting-partner-violence-emotional-abuse-and-economic-abuse
  4. The Guardian, ‘Victorian domestic violence victims wait two years for public housing, data shows’, 1 November 2023. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/nov/01/victorian-domestic-violence-victims-wait-two-years-for-public-housing-data-shows#:~:text=Data%20from%20the%20latest%20Department,waiting%20time%20was%2011.1%20months
  5. Anglicare Australia, ‘Rental Affordability Snapshot report 2023’, pg. 97. https://www.anglicare.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Rental-Affordability-Snapshot-Regional-Reports.pdf

Page last updated Monday, December 11 2023

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Response to National Autism Strategy

Response to National Autism Strategy

30 October 2023

down arrow

Safe and Equal recently responded to the consultations for the development of a National Autism Strategy being undertaken by the Department of Social Services.

Safe and Equal recognises the lack of research at the intersection of family violence and autism and the need to fill these critical information gaps to ensure that our prevention activities and responses for victim survivors are inclusive and appropriate for people with autism.

Page last updated Tuesday, October 31 2023

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Submission to the National Housing and Homelessness Plan

Submission to the National Housing and Homelessness Plan

25 October 2023

down arrow

Safe and Equal welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the National Housing and Homelessness Plan. As the peak body for specialist family violence services in Victoria, and given that family violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in Australia, this submission focuses on the inextricable link between family violence and homelessness, and how the government can reduce homelessness for adult and child victim survivors in Australia.

The housing affordability crisis is increasing demand on specialist family violence services and is ultimately costly for the service system and those who use it. Specialist family violence services in Victoria report that one of the top patterns and trends amongst re-presenting clients is a lack of safe and affordable housing, with nearly 80% of services reporting that repeat clients are common. For other areas of the service system, it can be difficult to provide quality support to victim survivors and their children if they do not have a safe or reliable place to call home.

The absence of housing heightens a victim survivor’s chance of becoming stuck in the family violence system. Family violence accommodation services in Victoria record longer case management support periods than other Victorian family violence services.

If victim survivors of family violence could be housed quickly, in safe and affordable housing, a significant amount of homelessness would cease to exist. To make this happen, we require robust connections between the Commonwealth Government’s National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2023, this National Housing and Homelessness Plan, and strong reform to the areas as covered within this submission. We call for the bold and visionary planning and investment required to meaningfully address – and end – family violence and homelessness across the country in one generation.

Page last updated Wednesday, October 25 2023

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Submission to the Independent Review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Submission to the Independent Review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme

30 August 2023

down arrow

Safe and Equal recently responded to the Independent Review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Safe and Equal recognises that the lack of clear policies and processes about family violence within the NDIS is resulting in insufficient and inconsistent responses for victim survivors with a disability that can potentially leave them in unsafe situations or without the appropriate supports while in crisis. Alongside these challenges victim survivors are facing structural barriers to accessing the NDIS and are not receiving cohesive and integrated supports across the NDIS and family violence workforces.

Page last updated Wednesday, August 30 2023

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Submission to the Senate inquiry into the Worsening Rental Crisis in Australia

Submission to the Senate inquiry into the Worsening Rental Crisis in Australia

28 August 2023

down arrow

Safe and Equal recently responded to the Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs inquiry into the Worsening Rental Crisis in Australia.

Safe and Equal recognises that current lack of affordable housing options, inclusive of rental properties, inhibits victim survivors’ safety and recovery as they continue to face uncertainty and the risk of homelessness when considering whether or not to leave abusive partners or family members.

Page last updated Monday, August 28 2023

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Submission to Draft regulations and Regulatory Impact Statement for social services

Submission to Draft regulations and Regulatory Impact Statement for social services

20 July 2023

down arrow

Safe and Equal welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the consultation on the Draft Regulations and the Regulatory Impact Statement on the Social Services Regulation.

As the peak body for specialist family violence services, this submission will focus solely on the issue of the timing of the introduction of the regulations, that FSV/DFFH should be bound by regulations through their operation of the Orange Door and the difficulty for services to determine costs when the compliance regime is unlikely to be established until well into the first half of 2024.

In addition to the feedback provided in our submission, Safe and Equal also endorses the recommendations in the following submissions:

  1. Submission on Draft Regulations and Regulatory Impact Statement for Social Services (VCOSS)
  2. Submission in response to the Draft Regulations and Regulatory Impact Statement for social services (NGO representatives of the Social Services Regulations Taskforce)
  3. Djirra_Social Services Regulatory Scheme submission 11 July 2023.

Page last updated Thursday, July 20 2023

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Submission to the Inquiry into the Rental and Housing Affordability Crisis in Victoria

Submission to the Inquiry into the Rental and Housing Affordability Crisis in Victoria

5 July 2023

down arrow

Safe and Equal welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Inquiry into the Rental and Housing Affordability Crisis in Victoria. As the peak body for specialist family violence services, this submission will focus solely on Part 7 of the Terms of Reference, for which Safe and Equal holds relevant expertise, and will conclude with three priority recommendations.

The housing crisis in Victoria is putting enormous pressure on many people in the community – particularly those experiencing or at risk of family violence. The current lack of affordable housing options inhibits victim survivors’ safety and recovery as they continue to face uncertainty and the risk of homelessness when considering whether or not to leave abusive partners.

Homelessness and family violence are inextricably linked, with family violence the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in Australia. Homelessness as a result of family violence often leads to a lifetime of disadvantage, discrimination and poverty. This is particularly true for children, as research demonstrates that children who experience homelessness are more likely to experience homelessness as adults. All victim survivors of family violence deserve a safe place to call home, and the current housing affordability crisis is forcing victim survivors to choose between violence and homelessness.

While recommendations on how to manipulate the housing market to become more affordable is outside the scope of Safe and Equal’s expertise, we support calls to action related to this in the statement made by the Victorian Housing Peaks Alliance, of which Safe and Equal are a member. Within this submission, we have made recommendations to mitigate the effects of the housing affordability crisis on victim survivors of family violence to make the vision of all victim survivors of family violence having a safe place to call home a reality.

Page last updated Friday, July 7 2023

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Safe and Equal’s submission to the MARAM 5-year evidence review

Safe and Equal’s submission to the MARAM 5-year evidence review

26 June 2023

down arrow

Safe and Equal is pleased to provide a submission to the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework’s (MARAM) 5-year evidence review.

Allen and Clarke are appointed to undertake the legislated review, which aims to:

  • assess whether the approved framework reflects the current evidence of best practices of family violence risk assessment and family violence risk management. 
  • recommend if any changes are required to ensure the approved framework is consistent with those best practices. 

The MARAM framework, practice guides and associated tools have resulted in improvements in risk assessment and risk management practice across the service continuum. Our member consultations, historic and current work on MARAM have demonstrated that there remain opportunities to strengthen and amend them to truly meet current best practice.

Subequently, Safe and Equal’s submission outlines a number of recommendations relating to accessibility, intersectionality, working with children and young people, evidence-based risk factors, risk assessment and safety planning tools. We look forward to the outcome of this important review, to ensure victim survivors receive a best practice response wherever they seek support. 

Page last updated Monday, June 26 2023

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Family Law Council Consultation Submission Summary

Family Law Council Consultation Submission Summary

9 March 2023

down arrow

Safe and Equal recently responded to an online Family Law Council consultation on the experiences of children and young people moving thorough the Australian family law system.

The Family Law Council consultation sought to understand:

  1. The extent to which the family law system upholds the rights of children and young people under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  2. Whether or not particular parts of the family law system manage the participation of children and young people effectively.
  3. What, if any, changes would improve the way the family law system upholds the rights of children and young people.

Safe and Equal’s response was informed by consultation with member organisations, particularly Djirra, to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-specific issues were included. The points raised in our response reflect both Safe and Equal and Djirra’s concerns about the family law system, as well as those of other member organisations and stakeholders.

Based on feedback from victim survivors, our member services and other allied organisations, Safe and Equal does not believe that the Australian family law system meets its obligations and upholds the rights of children and young people under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Australian family law system does not provide space and mechanisms for children’s voices to be heard and considered in decision making processes.

The prevalence of family violence in family court proceedings has a major impact on children. Children and young people are victim survivors of family violence in their own right and can experience family violence directly or indirectly. Family law processes and decisions that expose children to a perpetrator of family violence, even if the violence has not been directly perpetrated against them, can have devastating impacts for children and their welfare. Therefore, decisions made about a child’s future must be safe and based upon family violence expertise and should afford substantially more weight to the wishes and feelings of children than current practice.

Page last updated Thursday, March 9 2023

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

2023 State Budget Submission

2023 State Budget Submission

20 February 2023

down arrow

Safe and Equal calls for continued investment, collaboration and action for the specialist family violence services and primary prevention sectors in the 2023 State Budget.

The foundations have been laid for a system where every person experiencing or at risk of family violence can access the support they need when they need it. But women are still waiting too long for the help they urgently need, families are still sleeping in unsafe motels, the specialist workforce is burning out, and the system is continuing to fail people and communities.

Victoria has led the way in redesigning responses to family violence, and we need continued investment to keep building a system that works, together.

It is only through continued investment that the Victorian Government can realise the ambitious vision set by the Royal Commission into Family Violence. In particular, we are calling for a focus in this year’s State Budget on:

  1. Increasing sustainable funding for the specialist family violence sector to meet demand
  2. Growing, developing, and retaining specialist workforces
  3. Eliminating the impossible ‘choice’ between violence and homelessness
  4. Addressing key gaps and barriers in the expanding family violence system
  5. Investing meaningfully into primary prevention.

We all want to see Victoria continue to create a family violence system which gives victim survivors a voice, a home, and a timely and clear pathway to recovery.

Our work together is not done. We call on the Victorian Government to invest in the areas we have highlighted throughout this submission. Through continued investment, collaboration and action, we can create a world where family and gender-based violence does not exist.

Page last updated Monday, February 20 2023

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Employment White Paper Response

Employment White Paper Response

7 December 2022

down arrow

This submission will focus on the future of work, and the implications of structural change, for the care economy, specifically the specialist family violence sector, as well as job security, pay equity and equal opportunities for women.

Safe and Equal welcomes the focus of the White Paper on a sustainable care industry alongside women’s economic participation, experiences of the labour market and the challenges of ensuring women have equal opportunities and equal pay. There are two foremost components to this submission: the first is, the financial policy approaches required for a sustainable and specialised family violence workforce; and the second is, economic strategies required to tackle issues flowing from the gendered nature of the specialist family violence workforce.

Page last updated Wednesday, December 7 2022

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Five-year legislative review – Submission to the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor

Five-year legislative review – Submission to the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor

15 September 2022

down arrow

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.

Page last updated Thursday, September 15 2022

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Submission to the Inquiry into children affected by parental incarceration

Submission to the Inquiry into children affected by parental incarceration

11 May 2022

down arrow

Safe and Equal welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Inquiry into Children of Imprisoned Parents. As the peak body for specialist family violence services that provide support to victim survivors in Victoria, our response to this inquiry centres the devastating and long-term impacts of family violence on children and their incarcerated family members.

The majority of women and gender diverse people in prison are survivors of violence and trauma (experienced either in childhood or as an adult) and up to 70% of women in prison are parents. Victoria is experiencing a dramatic and unacceptable increase in the number of women being incarcerated (137.82% over the previous decade), including a dramatic rise in the number of unsentenced women entering the prison system on remand (43% of the total number of women in prison in 2020). Women risk losing housing, employment and custody of their children while imprisoned. Even short periods of imprisonment due to remand can result in catastrophic implications for women and their children, furthering the legacy of family violence, trauma and structural disadvantage.

Concerted and urgent measures to address the drivers of women’s incarceration are required to stop Victoria’s “prisons functioning as a substitute for social and community infrastructure.

Page last updated Wednesday, May 11 2022

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Safe and Equal Response to the NHHA Issues Paper

Safe and Equal Response to the NHHA Issues Paper

3 March 2022

down arrow

Safe and Equal welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Productivity Commission’s review of the effectiveness of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA).

Housing, homelessness and family violence are inextricably linked. Family violence is one of the biggest drivers of homelessness and base funding for the specialist family violence sector is currently funded under the NHHA. In Victoria, the specialist family violence system has undergone significant reform following the Royal Commission into Family Violence in 2016. Despite unprecedented investment in the family violence system, unfortunately, housing outcomes for victim-survivors of family violence have not improved. Forty-seven percent of people seeking support from a homelessness service in Victoria do so due to family violence.

The NHHA is an important policy mechanism by which funding for social housing and homelessness services, including specialist family violence services, flows from the Commonwealth Government to the states and territories. It establishes that the Commonwealth and state governments have a mutual interest in ending homelessness and improving housing affordability. This and past agreements have been successful in providing critical resources to the homelessness sector, including specialist family violence services, and, to some extent, have been successful at growing and maintaining social housing stock. It is vital that we continue to have such agreements between the Commonwealth and state governments.

However, the desired outcomes of the NHHA have not been achieved. In fact, by most measures, things have gotten worse. It is therefore timely for the Productivity Commission to conduct this review. Within our submission, we make four recommendations on how to make the next and future NHHAs stronger and more effective. These are:

  1. Develop a National Housing and Homelessness Strategy to sit above the NHHA,
  2. Take a gendered approach to a National Housing and Homelessness Strategy and
    the NHHA,
  3. Improve data collection relating to priority cohorts, specifically victim-survivors of
    family violence and those experiencing intersecting forms of marginalization, and
  4. Increase the quantum of funding delivered through the agreement to truly meet
    demand for social housing and homelessness support services.

Page last updated Thursday, March 3 2022

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Submission to the Social Housing Regulation Review Interim Report

Submission to the Social Housing Regulation Review Interim Report

3 March 2022

down arrow

Safe and Equal welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Social Housing Regulation Review Interim Report.

Housing, homelessness and family violence are inextricably linked. Therefore, as the peak body for specialist family violence services in Victoria, Safe and Equal has a special interest in making sure social housing meets the needs of victim survivors and supports their safety. Proper regulation is one mechanism to help achieve this.

The Panel has taken a broad view of regulation and the Interim Report touches on several topics outside of Safe and Equal’s remit and expertise. We therefore will not be commenting on every aspect of the Interim Report, but rather seek to share our thoughts on relevant proposals from a family violence perspective.

Safe and Equal commend the panel for a thoughtful interim report that is focused on fundamentally improving the way social housing is delivered and provided to social housing tenants. We look forward to continuing to work with Panel to ensure social housing regulation can produce the most positive outcomes for current, prospective and future social housing tenants, particularly those who are victim survivors of family violence.

Page last updated Thursday, March 3 2022

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Feedback for the Draft National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022 – 2032

Feedback for the Draft National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022 – 2032

28 February 2022

down arrow

Safe and Equal welcomes the opportunity to comment on the draft National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032 and we note the work and effort it has taken to get to this point.

National strategies are critical if we ever hope to comprehensively address our society’s most wicked problems. To reduce, and ultimately end, family violence and violence against women and children, we need all parts of our community and all levels of government to commit to tangible, measurable actions, and for these to be backed by dedicated funding.

In order to do this, we need a clear overarching vision, objectives, outcomes and targets.

The National Plan should articulate the roles and responsibilities for each level of government in addressing family violence and violence against women. It should identify the drivers of violence, and the systemic and structural barriers to accessing support and safety, and attribute responsibility for addressing these to the appropriate level of government. Concrete actions and targets should flow from this.

The National Plan must clearly articulate what the Commonwealth Government’s overall plan is to end violence against women and children, and this must include specifics. The National Plan must also articulate a mechanism for how progress will be measured and evaluated. The evaluation of the previous plan and consultation reports that informed the development of this draft have not been publicly released, so we are unable to comment on whether the draft accurately reflects and builds upon these learnings.

It is critical that the Evaluation Plan and Outcomes Framework mentioned in the draft are developed in consultation with the specialist sectors and people with lived experience, and that they are made public to ensure accountability for this plan’s implementation. The Commonwealth Government has committed to open and transparent engagement with victim-survivors and the community in developing this National Plan. We call on the Government to revise this plan to articulate a concrete plan forward for how we as a nation will address family violence and violence against women and children.

Page last updated Monday, February 28 2022

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

Current Scheme Implementation and Forecasting for the NDIS: Response to the Terms of Reference

Current Scheme Implementation and Forecasting for the NDIS: Response to the Terms of Reference

February 2022

down arrow

Safe and Equal welcomes the opportunity to contribute to this inquiry on the Current Scheme Implementation and Forecasting for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Given our central position in the Victorian family violence system, we are well placed to provide insights into the unique and complex experience of family violence for people with disabilities and the provisions victim-survivors need to access support and safety.

This submission will focus on the intersection between the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and specialist family violence services, as these are two service systems that victim-survivors with disabilities are likely to encounter if they report family violence or seek help.

This submission will outline the prevalence of family violence against people with disabilities and the need to embed a family violence and trauma-informed lens throughout the NDIS, before responding directly to section (b) in the Terms of Reference.

Page last updated Tuesday, February 1 2022

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin

2022 State Budget Submission

2022 State Budget Submission

18 January 2022

down arrow

Safe and Equal calls for an urgent uplift in funding for the specialist family violence services sector in the 2022 State Budget.

Whilst the significant amount of investment in improving Victoria’s family violence system following the Royal Commission is much welcomed, a range of complex factors are creating clear gaps and pressure points. These must be addressed immediately to ensure every victim survivor can access the support and safety they need at the time they need it.

In Victoria, specialist family violence services are not funded at a level that meets increasing demand. The lack of funding not only impacts victim survivors but also results in high levels of staff turnover and burnout, with extreme difficulties recruiting and retaining experienced staff.

If adequately funded, the focus areas outlined in our budget submission will enable the specialist family violence sector to respond to not just increasing levels of demand and client complexity but to a rapidly changing service environment stemming from the unprecedented level of government and systemic reform.  

Page last updated Tuesday, January 18 2022

KEEP
UP TO DATE

With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin