If you want to work in a specialist family violence role that provides direct services to victim survivors or people using violence (such as safety planning, assessment and intake, case management and service navigation) there are minimum qualifications you will need.
To ensure there is a consistent baseline of knowledge and understanding across specialist family violence services, from July 2021 specialist family violence practitioners need to meet mandatory minimum qualifications.
There are different pathways you can take:
- Combining qualifications
A Bachelor of Social Work is one of the ways to meet the mandatory minimum qualifications, but there are many other qualifications that are considered equivalent and there is a wide range of qualifications and training that can combine to meet the equivalent mandatory minimum qualification.
- Qualifications and professional experience
If you have a related qualification or five years of relevant professional experience, employers may offer you a role and ask you to enter into a formal learning plan so you can meet the minimum qualification while you’re working. You will have five years to complete your learning. This is a transitional pathway available until 30 June 2026.
- Recognition of cultural knowledge or lived experience
If you bring significant cultural knowledge or lived experience and have faced barriers to education, additional support is available to enter the sector. You would need to enter into a formal learning plan to meet the required qualifications and will have 10 years to complete your learning.
If you want to check your eligibility, we’ve developed tools to help you work this out.
Note: Specialist family violence practitioners who were employed prior to 1 July 2021 are exempt from meeting the mandatory minimum qualifications so long as they do not take breaks of more than four years.
Family Safety Victoria has developed seven ‘equivalency principles’ to determine the key competencies required for work as a specialist family violence practitioner. Employers are responsible for assessing whether a candidate’s qualifications and other formal learning meet the equivalency principles. However, we recommend you read the equivalency principles carefully to find out whether the previous study you’ve undertaken could contribute to the minimum qualifications. For more information, visit the Victorian Government website.
Other ways to gain knowledge
In addition to meeting minimum qualifications, we recommend you read position descriptions or job ads to find out whether you have qualifications or other experience that would be valued by employers.
The Code of Practice for Specialist Family Violence Services
Domestic Violence Victoria established the first edition of the Code in 2006. It informed the development of the sector over many years and provided a key resource for the broader family violence system. The second edition of the Code, published in 2020, articulates principles and standards to guide consistent quality service provision for victim survivors accessing specialist family violence services in Victoria. It was developed using a range of research processes, including participatory consultations with specialist family violence service leaders and practitioners, government and sector partners, and victim survivor advisers.
In Victoria, the Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) framework ensures all services are effectively and consistently identifying, assessing and managing family violence risk. Specialist family violence workers are required to complete training to understand the MARAM framework and how to assess and manage risk. This training is free and will generally be organised as part of your employment.
Family Violence Foundations
This free self-paced online learning package helps professionals to understand the drivers of family violence and violence against women, its nature and impact, and referral pathways.
Royal Commission into Family Violence Summary and Recommendations
The report released in 2016 summarises the views heard by the Commission and outlines the priorities for reform and the principles that must underpin future strategies, policies and programs aimed at dealing with family violence in Victoria.