Service responses to family violence

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People experiencing family violence may receive support from a wide range of individuals and services. This may include their friends and family members, work colleagues, their doctor, or members of their faith community. Beyond these informal supports, there is the coordinated family violence system, made up of many different sectors working together to support victim survivors and hold perpetrators to account.

This service system includes: 

  • specialist family violence services for victim survivors
  • perpetrator interventions and behaviour change services 
  • sexual assault services
  • police
  • courts
  • legal services
  • child and family services
  • child protection services
  • homelessness and housing services
  • mental health services
  • alcohol and drug services 
  • universal services.

The coordinated family violence response system is premised on the reality that family violence brings people into contact with a range of different services and sectors. Professionals in these organisations have responsibilities to prevent, recognise and respond to adult and child victim survivor safety risks and promote perpetrator accountability within the scope and limitations of their role.

The purpose of coordinated responses is to:

  • reduce silos and minimise duplication between services in the family violence response system 
  • provide seamless, connected and integrated support for victim survivors 
  • address the specific needs of infants, children and young people 
  • provide inclusive responses for people from diverse backgrounds and age groups 
  • activate systems that address and monitor perpetrator behaviours and risks.

Coordination and collaboration is a key organising principle of the family violence response system to enable effective and seamless multi-agency responses. A full description of the workforces involved in the family violence response system can be found in the Responding to Family Violence Capability Framework

The specialist family violence sector

Specialist family violence services are primarily situated at the response end of the system, although many services also lead or contribute to family violence prevention initiatives and early intervention programs. 

It is important that specialist family violence services play a leadership role in the family violence response system. Their everyday work with victim survivors, analysis of systemic trends and gaps, and specialist expertise provides a unique vantage point to assess the effectiveness and functioning of the system. 

Read about what specialist family violence services do.

Multi-agency initiatives

Multi-agency initiatives operate in the family violence response system across Victoria and directly involve specialist family violence services. Specialist services often provide other types of local community outreach initiatives.

Risk Assessment and Management Panels
Risk Assessment and Management Panels or ‘RAMPs’ provide locally coordinated, multi-agency responses to assess and manage the safety needs of people (primarily women and children) where there is a serious and imminent threat of death or serious injury because of the family violence risk posed by the perpetrator. 

Read more about RAMPs and how they work.

The Orange Door network
Established by the Victorian Government, these support and safety hubs – known as ‘The Orange Door’ – bring together specialist family violence and perpetrator services, family services and Aboriginal services to provide an integrated intake pathway for people affected by family violence.
Multidisciplinary Centres
Multidisciplinary Centres (MDCs) are a Victoria Police initiative that co-locates a range of agencies in one building to provide a victim-centred, integrated and holistic response to victims of sexual crime, family violence and child abuse. MDC buildings are located away from police stations and provide a welcoming, confidential and safe environment for victim survivors. Some of the MDCs include specialist family violence services within their co-located environment.
Regional Integration Committees
A vital part of Victoria’s family violence system, these committees are situated in all metropolitan and regional parts of the state and bring together local representatives from across the family violence prevention, early intervention and response system.

Find out where Regional Integration Committees are located.

Other services

There are other parts of the human services system that victim survivors and perpetrators come into contact with, and therefore have a role in recognising and responding to family violence.

Housing services
Housing services assist with crisis accommodation, short-term transitional housing for victim survivors moving out of crisis accommodation and longer‐term housing.
Community legal centres
Community legal centres provide legal advice and support on intervention orders and a range of matters relating to the separation process. 

There are also community legal services located within specialist family violence services with expertise in working with particular community members. inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence provides legal assistance for victim survivors from immigrant and refugee backgrounds, and Djirra provides legal assistance and support for Aboriginal victim survivors.

Victoria Police officers attend family violence incidents if they are called. They make referrals (L17s) to specialist family violence services, family services and child protection as necessary and can issue intervention orders against perpetrators. They are also involved in family violence court proceedings.
Different courts serve different purposes. In family violence cases, Magistrates’ Courts deal with intervention orders and breaches, and issues related to financial abuse. They can make orders for perpetrators to attend a men’s behaviour change program or sentence them to serve time in jail for breaching an intervention order. 

The Family Courts (which are under the Commonwealth jurisdiction) deal with divorce, property settlement and parenting arrangements. 

The Koori Court, the Children’s Court and the County Court also hear matters related to family violence.

Child and family services
Child FIRST and other family services work with families at risk of a range of problems associated with alcohol and other drugs, mental health and other social disadvantages, and who may also be experiencing family violence.
Child Protection
Child Protection – part of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing – may become involved where children are at serious risk of harm.
Men’s referral services and men’s behaviour change programs
Men’s referral services provide information, counselling support and referral to behaviour change programs for perpetrators of family violence.
Corrections Victoria
Corrections Victoria is part of the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety and is responsible for correctional facilities, and decisions about bail, parole and community orders.


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