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Northern Integrated Family
Violence Services Partnership
For professionals supporting the
safety of victim survivors in Melbourne's
northern metropolitan region

Family Safety Victoria (FSV) have commenced the development of MARAM practice guidance for:

  • Direct risk and wellbeing assessment of children and young people victim survivors
  • Identifying and responding to young people using family violence in the home and in intimate partner/dating relationships.

FSV has contracted a range of subject matter experts, including the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare and the Centre for Innovative Justice, RMIT. Further subject matter experts supporting development of lived experience practice and supporting Aboriginal children and young people are anticipated to be engaged shortly.

FSV is seeking additional nominations to support the development of these MARAM practice guidance across 2022-2023, including practitioners, team leaders, policy and research professional across organisations working with children and young people, either experiencing or using family violence.

To express interest in nominating contact infosharing@familysafety.vic.gov.au.

(Source: MARAMIS Quarterly Newsletter, Quarter 3 2021-22)

Along with Berry Street and McAuley, Good Samaritan Inn (GSI) have been successful in gaining funding through the state budget to provide additional housing and support responses utilising suitable agency owned infrastructure. $11.2 million over four years has been allocated to support the agency-led proposals.

Through the state budget, Family Safety Victoria have agreed to provide GSI with the capital funds required to redevelop an unused catholic church owned property in Banyule to create 10 new self-contained transitional units for women and children experiencing family violence.

For sustained recovery some women and families require longer term support, therefore GSI plans to expand and extend the service to provide a continuation of the supportive engagement process it has begun at GSI’s crisis refuge. The new service extension will prioritise women and families from marginalised groups including those with no permanent residency.  

Berry Street has been funded to assist with operating a five-unit residential facility and three-bedroom property by providing additional staffing, therapeutic supports and brokerage for family needs. 

(Source: Safe and Equal member update & Good Samaritan Inn email, 18.5.22)

Welcome to our new Sessional Trainer Kelly Finch, who joins the NIFVS Training team to deliver the Resisting Collusion with Male Perpetrators training alongside Ada Conroy, Workforce Development Coordinator.

Kelly has worked in the children and families social work and family violence sectors in Australia and in Scotland for the last 18 years. Kelly’s passion for gender equality and ending violence against women and children, has seen her work across family violence response services, including specialist support to children, in education, health, and until recently, in perpetrator intervention. Kelly is currently working as a family violence trainer with Safe and Equal.

On 15 March, the NIFVS partnership hosted the Observing, Documenting & Sharing: Engaging perpetrators under MARAM webinar to explore how organisational leaders and practitioners can use the new MARAM for Adults Using Family Violence.

Simone Tassone (FSV) highlighted how the new MARAM will assist practitioners to use structured professional judgement to:

  • Observe narratives and behaviours that indicate or inadvertently disclose an adult’s use of violence
  • Identify overt and subtle narratives that indicate beliefs and attitudes
  • Analyse the narrative and risk-relevant information through the lens of impact on victim survivors
  • Elevate victim survivor self-assessment of risk.

Erin Lockington (No To Violence) elaborated on how to observe the narratives and behaviours of people using family violence, and panellists provided specialist information about the impact of the new MARAM in a variety of settings.

Access the webinar, presenters’ slides and more resources here.

Presenters: Erin Lockington (No to Violence), Robin Gregory (NIFVS), Maya Serelis (Berry Street/Child Protection), Simone Tassone (Family Safety Victoria), Lucy Burnett (Thorne Harbour Health), Ada Conroy (NIFVS).

The Victorian Government, through Family Safety Victoria (FSV) is providing $2.2 million for the Aboriginal Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) in 2022-23, to implement community led projects that educate, prevent, reduce and respond to family violence in Aboriginal communities across Victoria.

Projects funded through CIF support and address priorities that are identified by the eleven Dhelk Dja Action Groups (Action Groups) to address family violence at a local level.

It supports projects that:

  • Are Aboriginal led, including Aboriginal led partnerships
  • Are consistent with the goals and objectives of Action Groups and strengthen the capacity of Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal organisations to address family violence at a local level
  • Will provide an ongoing or long-term benefit to the community
  • Complement existing local community projects or initiatives and demonstrate partnerships with other government or non-government initiatives
  • Align with the Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families 10 YearAgreement (2018-2028).

Applications close on Thursday 14 July 2022, at 5pm. Find out more.

Clear Space is the first fully online Men’s Behaviour Change group in Australia for gay, bi, trans and queer men who are looking to change their use of violence in their relationships.

A partnership between No to Violence (NTV), ACON (NSW) and Thorne Harbour Health, Clear Space is a pilot program that has been funded by NTV and will be evaluated by Monash. By providing this space for gay, bi, trans and queer men in the Men’s Behaviour Change space, the hope is to build an evidence base to support more effective, inclusive interventions with LGBTIQA+ people who have used violence in their relationships.

The Clear Space group will meet online, and support participants to discuss the impacts of their behaviour on themselves, partners and others. Throughout the group program, participants will look at ways to make the changes needed, to have the kinds of relationships they want. The focus will be on honesty, responsibility and support for making change.

Find out more about Clear Space.

(Thorne Harbour Health email, 26.5.22)

The Victorian Government handed down the 2022-23 budget on 3 May 2022, which includes a continued focus on family violence.

The Budget includes:

  • $2.9 million to continue the Elder Abuse Prevention Networks.
  • An additional $504 million for early intervention initiatives to support vulnerable families and children.
  • A further $241 million to support victim survivors of family violence:
    • $69 million to continue funding for family violence refuges.
    • Upgrade three existing partner agency-operated facilities and purchase six new crisis accommodation properties.
    • $43 million for family violence services, including additional crisis case management for victim survivors of family violence, specialist therapeutic counselling services for children and young people, and financial supports for victim survivors fleeing family violence.
    • $30 million including continued support for perpetrators behavioural change programs, including enabling family violence specialists to engage with perpetrators who have gone through MBCPs to understand how to make these services more effective in the future. $3.2 million over three years to pilot intensive interventions for high-risk perpetrators.
    • $30 million to expand the capabilities of the Central Information Point to Safe Steps and the Men’s Referral Service to further support crisis responses for victim survivors and perpetrator response.
    • $2.1 million over three years to fund increased demand and a technology upgrade for Sexual Assault Help Line.
  • A boost of $19.4 million will support Victoria’s women’s health services (including WHIN) to continue their vital work in promoting the health and wellbeing of women and preventing family and gendered violence.

Funding for the From Homelessness to a Home (H2H) program has been reduced by $43 million annually, 78% of its earlier budget.

(Source: Premier’s Media release, 3.5.22; Safe and Equal member update, 4.5.22; Homelessness Network Coordinator – Northern Region email, 4.5.22)

The third of seven topic-based reports by the Family Violence Implementation Monitor examines the early identification of family violence within universal services.

Themes arising from the report:

  • Concerted efforts have been made to build the capacity of universal health and education workforces to identify family violence.
  • There are areas of planning and modelling that could be strengthened.
  • There is variability in access to services after family violence has been identified.
  • A clear model for secondary consultations would improve coordination and consistency.
  • Ongoing monitoring of reform progress and impact is essential.
  • Certain cohorts face additional barriers to having family violence identified by universal services.

Recommendations include:

  • Allocate implementation support funding for multiple years and ensure further funding is communicated well in advance.
  • Provide sector-specific advice to staff in universal services on referral and secondary consultation options.
  • Ensure that prescribed organisations have appropriate trauma-informed policies and support for staff with lived experience.
  • Further consider what is required to embed MARAM including through:
    • Additional strategies to incentivise phase 2 workforces to engage in training etc.
    • Access for every prescribed organisation to some form of dedicated support for their organisational alignment with MARAM.

(Source: Family Violence Monitors Reports webpage, May 2022)

Practitioners (including health care professionals) responding to people who experienced or used family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic (April 2020 to present) in Victoria are invited to participate in this survey and contribute to the Future-proofing Safety project.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies is partnering with Drummond Street Services’ Centre for Family Research and Evaluation and RMIT University’s Centre for Innovative Justice to examine service interactions for people who experienced and used family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Source: Australian Institute of Family Studies email, 11.5.22)

The Policing Family Violence; Changing the Story Project is seeking input from family violence workers, community lawyers, and other workers with observations of family violence policing to provide reflections from their family violence support work and practice.

This survey is part of the ‘Policing family violence: Changing the Story’ project, a collaboration between Flat Out, the Police Accountability Project, The Law & Advocacy Centre for Women, Inner Melbourne Community Legal and St Kilda Legal Service. 

Complete the survey here.

(Source: WIFVS eNews, 6.4.22)

The Australian Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Recovery Alliance is a newly formed community-based coalition of domestic, family and sexual violence recovery services and survivor advocates from across Australia.

The Alliance will consolidate and strengthen national advocacy efforts to support awareness raising about the long-term impact of domestic, family and sexual violence and abuse, and the urgent need for accessible and appropriate multisectoral services for victim survivors to support their recovery and prevent ongoing cycles of violence.

(Source: Australian Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Recovery Alliance website, 11.5.22)