There are a range of essential legislative and policy frameworks that inform specialist family violence service provision.
It’s important that people and services working to respond to family violence understand these foundational frameworks and strategies. These are either legislated or embedded as key system enablers to facilitate consistent, safe and quality responses to family violence in the community.
This page does not provide an exhaustive list of policy, legislation, operational or practice guidelines, as these are subject to frequent change. Professionals working in Safe and Equal member services can contact us for support and advice as the frameworks underpinning the family violence system continue to expand and evolve.
The MARAM Framework allocates multiple responsibilities to specialist family violence services as part of the broader family violence response system. As such, the Code of Practice frequently references MARAM Framework materials. However, to fully support implementation, specialist family violence service providers are required to implement the MARAM Framework and its accompanying risk assessment tools, practice guides (foundational and responsibility-based), and organisational alignment resources.
Specialist family violence practitioners are in Tier 1 of the framework as they carry considerable responsibility and leadership in responding to family violence and managing serious levels of risk.
Specialist family violence service providers benefit from using this resource to develop consistent approaches for recruiting, managing and supervising the specialist practitioner workforce.
The FVISS authorises prescribed Information Sharing Entities (ISEs) to share information for a family violence assessment or family violence protection purpose. The CISS authorises prescribed ISEs to share information for the purpose of promoting a child or group of children’s wellbeing and safety. In the context of family violence, both FVISS and CISS must be used in conjunction with the MARAM Framework.
Organisations that are funded to provide specialist family violence services are prescribed with information sharing responsibilities under both schemes and must refer to the guidelines to appropriately share information and meet their legal obligations.
- maximise safety for children and adults who have experienced family violence
- prevent and reduce family violence to the greatest extent possible
- promote the accountability of perpetrators of family violence for their actions.
The Act aims to achieve its purpose by providing an effective and accessible system of family violence intervention orders and family violence safety notices.
Specialist family violence services are not legal or law enforcement services. However, they should be familiar with the Act and its functions to support victim survivor safety and risk management planning.
- to provide for community services to support children and families
- to provide for the protection of children
- to make provision in relation to children who have been charged with, or who have been found guilty of, offences
- to continue the Children’s Court of Victoria as a specialist court dealing with matters relating to children.
Specialist family violence services should be familiar with the Act and guiding resources, including the Best Interests Framework for Vulnerable Children and Youth and the Best Interests Case Practice Model. These resources provide guidance on the developmental needs of infants, children and young people; children’s rights to be protected from harm; and thresholds and decision-making for reporting concerns about child protection or wellbeing.
The Reportable Conduct Scheme seeks to improve how organisations respond to and investigate allegations of child abuse and child-related misconduct. It achieves this by requiring heads of organisations to report to the Commission for Children and Young People any allegation that a worker or volunteer has committed child abuse or child-related misconduct.
Specialist family violence services are responsible for implementing their responsibilities to these resources and should seek guidance from the Commission for Children and Young People if required.
The Code of Practice is informed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ right to cultural safety and self-determination as described by the agreement. Specialist family violence services should be familiar with this document to guide partnership work and service coordination with Aboriginal organisations and communities.
The Code of Practice is informed by this guideline; however, specialist family violence services should use it to develop their own equal opportunity policy and continuous improvement processes to deliver inclusive and equitable services.
It acknowledges and recognises the diversity inherent within each of us, and the need for family violence and universal services to build a better understanding of the barriers that can prohibit inclusion and access through the understanding and application of an intersectionality framework.
The statement’s vision for an inclusive, safe, responsive and accountable system for all Victorians will mean that anyone seeking help for family violence will be able to choose what service they access and know they will receive the help they need.
All agencies that are funded or registered by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide services to clients are required to meet the standards. Compliance is generally assessed through service providers achieving accredited certification via an independent review. The standards and the review process seek to ensure that people experience the same quality of service no matter what service they are accessing. It also helps ensure service providers have systems in place that promote acceptable levels of management, administration and service delivery.
The framework has been developed so that services can scale, adapt and implement components to meet the needs and scope of their organisation. Each service should use it to review, design and continuously improve its own structures, systems and processes. It specifies that everyone – whether a volunteer, manager, CEO or member of a governing body – has a role to play in achieving the best possible experience and outcome for the people who use community services.