Transcript of "3068 wnsw dvr-core_booklet_updated_040713"
IT STOPS HERE
Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
It Stops Here 4
Understanding domestic and family violence 7
At a glance: the NSW domestic and family violence reforms 9
Domestic and family violence is prevented 12
An integrated approach to prevention 13
Domestic and family violence is identified early 15
New minimum practice standards 15
Better availability of services where they are needed 18
Making it easier for victims to find help – Central Referral Points 19
Victims are safe and supported to recover 20
A new approach to identifying and assessing risk 20
Planning for long-term safety and support for recovery 21
Safety Action Meetings for people “at serious threat” 22
Better information sharing for improved safety 23
Perpetrators stop using violence 24
Changing perpetrators’ behaviour – the NSW Men’s Referral Service 25
Working with perpetrators - minimum practice standards 25
A supported, professional and effective sector 27
Building common ground – shared definitions and objectives 27
Gathering the evidence 29
Supporting workforce development 30
Governance and implementation 31
How will we know if we’ve been successful? 34
Have your say 36
Appendix 1 - Common Risk Identification Tool (RIT) 39
Appendix 2 - Links with other reforms 45
Appendix 3 - Alignment with national and state plans 48
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It Stops Here
Every year, too many people in our communities experience violence at the
hands of someone they know and trust: a husband, partner, family member
or relative. In our cities and in rural areas, domestic and family violence is
And it’s not just physical assaults: behaviour that controls, intimidates, terrifies
or coerces a person is also domestic and family violence. It includes verbal,
psychological, mental and emotional abuse; stalking; harassment; financial
abuse and manipulation; denial of freedom and choice; and control of access
to family and friends.
Anyone can become a victim of domestic and family violence, but women and
children are more likely to experience domestic and family violence perpetrated
by men. And it can have devastating effects on their physical, mental and
Statistics show that, for women aged under 45, domestic and family violence is
the single greatest cause of death, ill health and disability (1). In fact, approximately
50 per cent of homicides are classified as domestic homicides, involving victims
who share a family or domestic relationship with the offender (Australian Institute
We do not need statistics to argue the case that domestic and family violence
can end in death. Recently a number of high profile cases spotlighted by the
media have shown how domestic and family violence can escalate into lethal
Children who witness violence in the home experience emotional trauma
and they are also more likely to experience or use violence in their own
Preventing domestic and family violence means challenging and changing
disrespectful values, attitudes and beliefs that allow these behaviours to
occur and continue. It also means working with victims to build healthier
and safer lives.
Safeguarding people from the serious threat presented by domestic and family
violence is not the responsibility of any one person or agency. Throughout NSW,
government and non-government agencies, specialist and mainstream services,
and legal and statutory services all play a role in making our communities safe.
In many places across NSW, there are examples of highly effective programs
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that are working to prevent and reduce violence in our communities. But
we also know there are systemic problems preventing government and
non-government agencies from working as closely and effectively as
possible to respond to people who face a serious threat to their safety.
Too often, victims of domestic and family violence face major obstacles in
getting the support and protection they need to be safe. Not all victims of
violence are able to speak up and identify themselves as victims of domestic
and family violence. Those who do wish to speak up may find it difficult to
negotiate the pathways they are required to follow to get the help they need.
We also need a system that holds perpetrators to account and provides
them with opportunities to change their beliefs, attitudes and behaviours.
Our approaches to working with perpetrators must be based on a solid
understanding of the evidence about preventative behavioural change.
In a six-month process, we consulted with hundreds of individuals, groups
and agencies across the state with expertise in preventing and responding to
domestic and family violence. We have talked about the lessons we can learn
from their experiences and we have examined strategies that have worked in
other Australian states and internationally.
We have designed a series of reforms that will:
●● enable us to better identify and support people who face a “serious threat”
to their safety;
●● enable workers across various government and non-government agencies
to work in a more cohesive manner to respond and protect those people
identified as facing a serious threat to their safety;
●● enable people to move more effectively between individual agencies (both
government and non-government) without having to retell their story, thanks
to better information sharing.
These changes move the NSW Government and DFV service sector onto a
different path. They will make considerable progress in the way we respond to
domestic and family violence. There is no doubt more to do, particularly in areas
such as prevention, because domestic and family violence is a complex issue that
cannot be fixed overnight. So we will review these changes and enhance them
in the coming years. Nevertheless, through these reforms we are confident we
are sending NSW in the right direction, to a future where domestic and family
violence will not be tolerated in any of our communities A future where we can
stand together to support the victims facing domestic and family violence to
ensure “it stops here”.
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The case for change
Two reviews of the domestic and family violence service system in NSW - one
by the NSW Parliament’s Standing Committee on Social Issues (2) and the other
by the NSW Auditor-General (3) - identified a number of issues preventing a
robust response to domestic and family violence, including:
●● Agencies trying to work together to prevent and respond to domestic and
family violence are doing so without a common framework for their activities,
and without common goals or objectives.
●● Organisations don’t identify or assess risk in any common way – which
means that victims of violence can fall through gaps between the agencies.
●● There are significant barriers to sharing information between agencies. Sharing
information is important if we are to help people stay safe from violence.
●● There are few programs that seek to change behaviour in perpetrators and
few programs for male victims of domestic violence.
This document summarises the strategic direction of a reform program that will
strengthen our responses to domestic and family violence for the purpose of
public consultation, facilitated by the NSW Government website, Have Your Say
www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au. If you would like more detailed information
about how the proposed reforms might work in practice, please refer to the
discussion papers available under the Consultation Documents tab.
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Understanding domestic and family
Domestic and family violence is a complex issue. It includes behaviours that
control or dominate a person, causing them to fear for their own (or someone
else’s) safety. It includes physical and sexual assault and abuse and other
In 2008/09, the national cost of domestic and family violence was estimated at
$13.6 billion and it is predicted to exceed $15.6 billion by 2021/22 (4). In NSW,
the cost is estimated at more than $4.5 billion each year (5).
While men can be victims of domestic and family violence, women and children
are more likely than men to be victims of violence and men are more likely than
women to be perpetrators.
And while anyone can potentially become a victim of domestic and family
violence, some people within our community are at greater risk of experiencing
violence. Women and children who experience violence are frequently already
dealing with challenging circumstances. They may have limited financial or social
supports, or they may have health factors that complicate the situation, making
it difficult to find services to help them break free from violence.
We also know that:
●● Aboriginal people experience domestic and family violence at significantly
higher rates than non-Aboriginal people. Family violence in Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander communities occurs within a range of family
and kinship relationships, and is not limited to intimate relationships or a
person’s immediate family. (6) It is often complicated by a range of factors
that contribute to increased rates of violence, including the historical trauma
experienced by Aboriginal people and the resulting distrust of authority.
●● Women who have a disability experience domestic and family violence at
higher rates, greater severity, and over longer periods than other people. (7)
(8) Attitudes towards disability, dependence on the perpetrator for personal
care, power dynamics, access and opportunity to commit abuse, are all
risk factors for people with a disability and impact on the person’s ability to
escape the violence. (9)
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●● Women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds,
including newly arrived migrants and refugees face barriers in accessing
services. These include social isolation, language and communication
difficulties, financial dependence, the impact of immigration status on service
eligibility, fear that they will not be able to remain in Australia if they leave a
violent relationship, and the influence of family and community attitudes.
●● People who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, intersex or
queer (LGBTIQ) experience domestic and family violence at similar rates
to that of the wider community but are less likely to identify the experience
as abuse, less likely to report violence to the police or seek support from a
domestic and family violence support organisation for fear of prejudice and
discrimination. (10) Sometimes, response services may not understand the
needs of a LGBTIQ person or the nature of their relationship, or support
workers may have preconceived ideas about the diversity of sex, sexuality,
gender or family.
●● Younger women may be less likely to identify an abusive relationship, report it
to the police or approach a domestic and family violence service for support.
●● Older women are at higher risk due to social isolation and dependence on
partners and children.
●● Pregnant women and women with children are known to face greater risk of
escalating violence where violence is present in a relationship.
●● People living in remote communities may experience geographic isolation
and face a lack of appropriate support options as well as experiencing
higher rates of domestic and family violence.
●● Women with mental health and/or drug and alcohol issues are more
vulnerable and face additional barriers in seeking support.
Domestic and family violence in NSW
In 2012, there were 29,900 domestic violence related assaults recorded by
NSW Police. (11) Most of these assaults occurred in the home, on weekends
and at night. But these recorded assaults are only a small part of the picture
as these figures only capture physical assaults. And we also know that less
than half of all domestic violence incidents are reported to police.
When we consider the wide range of behaviours that constitute domestic and
family violence and the under-reporting of these actions and behaviours, it
seems likely that the problem is far greater than many people realise. This
is backed up by findings from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal
Safety Survey (2005) (12) which found that one-third of Australian women
have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and almost one-fifth
have experienced sexual violence.
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At a glance: the NSW domestic and
family violence reforms
The reforms have been developed to align with the four key outcomes stated by
the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children 2010-2022:
1 Communities are safe and promote healthy, respectful relationships free
2 Women and children are safe, supported to recover and intergenerational
abuse is averted.
3 Activity targets the needs of groups that are at high risk of experiencing
domestic and family violence.
4 Perpetrators are held to account and supported to be non-violent.
Against these four outcomes, gaps in the way we currently respond to domestic
and family violence were identified, which led to the development of the reform’s
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What we have now What we want How we’ll get there
An inconsistent approach to
preventing domestic and
family violence in NSW
A new focus on effective
prevention and a prevention-
focused funding program
Different service standards
in different organisations
Shared minimum practice
standards across all services
Inconsistent approaches to
An electronic, common risk
A complex system that relies
on the individual to identify
and negotiate pathways to
the support they need
Central referral points to
make the path easier for
victims seeking support
from the system
Inconsistent availability of
services for victims around
Targeted provision of
specific services to
communities at high risk
of domestic and family
Targeted expansion of core
programs to address supply
Barriers to the flow of
important information about
risks to a victim’s safety
New information sharing
arrangements to help
agencies work together
for victim safety
An inconsistent approach to
considering and addressing
safety issues for people
Implementation of Safety
Action Meetings to monitor
and assess victims at
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What we have now What we want How we’ll get there
An inconsistent approach to
responding to perpetrators
Implementation of the
Domestic Violence Justice
Programs that hold
perpetrators to account for
their actions and support
them to stop using violence
A sector without a unified
vision of what it wants to
A shared vision for all
government and non-
and services working in
the domestic and family
No common definition of
domestic and family
An agreed policy definition
shared by all agencies
working in the domestic
and family violence sector
approaches to service
funding and delivery not
supported by evidence
A new approach to investing
in research and building
evidence to support our
activities and investments
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Domestic and family violence
Preventing domestic and family violence is a challenge for all communities.
While we must always have services that can respond once violence has
occurred, if we can prevent violence from occurring in the first place we
stand to make our community a healthier and safer place for everyone.
But preventing violence is not a simple task. To prevent violence, we must tackle
the beliefs, attitudes and social norms that either explicitly or implicitly allow
violence to continue. These can include beliefs about men and women and their
roles in relationships and society. They are often long and deeply-held beliefs.
The NSW Government already funds and supports a range of prevention
activity, mostly through grants to encourage local initiatives. In the non-
government sector, organisations carry out a range of activities to strengthen
families and communities, support women and children who are at risk of
experiencing violence and abuse, and work with boys and men to reject
violence, and promote alternative, respectful attitudes, values and behaviours.
But NSW has not had a consistent approach to prevention activity. While some
innovative projects have been developed locally, most programs have not been
evaluated to determine whether they have had a lasting impact on individuals,
families or communities.
There is a tremendous opportunity to consolidate the shared understanding of
good practice and improve future initiatives that work to prevent violence from
occurring in the first place. We will encourage and support communities to talk
about the beliefs, attitudes and values that enable violence to keep occurring.
And together we will find new ways to change those attitudes and behaviours
that silently support domestic and family violence.
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An integrated approach to prevention
It is vital we continue investing in an effective response to domestic and family
violence through improving service, police and justice systems. We also know
that focusing on the problem alone won’t reduce the number of new incidences.
Ultimately we need to find ways to create relationships, communities and
organisations that are non-violent and respectful of everyone – where
women and their children feel safe and can reach their full potential.
This new approach recognises that domestic and family violence is a community
problem that requires a community response. Breaking the cycle of violence
requires action from individuals, neighbourhoods, community networks and
organisations, workplaces, sporting clubs and faith based leaders, and all
levels of government.
Progress is already being made. In October 2012, the NSW Government
announced the Domestic and Family Violence Funding Program (valued at
$9.8m over three years). This funding will allow us to make strategic investments
that will address gaps in our prevention and early intervention programs. The
funding program will invest in building our understanding of the evidence about
what works and what doesn’t, in preventing domestic and family violence.
We will continue to develop a range of interventions for implementation and
we will focus prevention research and funding into four key outcomes:
1 Relationships are respectful
We know that respectful relationships education can be an effective way
to change attitudes and to promote behavioural change among children,
young people and adults. Our immediate priority will be to support respectful
relationships education to children and young people in formative periods
of their lives.
2 Men and boys are supported to be non-violent
Engaging men and boys to prevent domestic and family violence and to reduce
recidivism (a habitual relapse into crime) is a key part of our approach. We will
invest in reviewing existing initiatives that engage men and boys in violence
prevention and early intervention, and make investments in effective innovative
approaches and programs.
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3 High-risk groups and communities are safe and free
Our new approach will target and prioritise funding to populations, communities
and groups we know are at greater risk of experiencing violence or who face
distinct barriers in accessing support and services. This will include victims
from Aboriginal communities and with CALD backgrounds, people who identify
as being LGBTIQ and victims living with a disability.
4 Children experiencing violence are supported and
inter-generational violence is averted
We know that supporting children affected by domestic and family violence
can help break the cycle of violence by assisting those children to avoid using
or experiencing domestic and family violence as adults. We will progressively
research, scope and develop child-centred early intervention strategies that aim
to prevent the recurrence of domestic and family violence in future generations.
In undertaking this work our approach will be to seek to establish strong
partnerships and leverage commitment and resources across governments,
the private and public sectors and community organisations to bring about
We have developed a detailed strategy to direct our prevention efforts under
the reforms. If you would like more information about the strategy, please refer
to the discussion paper Preventing domestic and family violence.
The paper is available online at engage.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/it-stops-here
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Domestic and family violence is
identified early - providing better support
for victims of violence
Experiencing violence within a relationship is a traumatic experience. It can be
difficult to know where to turn for help. Some victims of violence feel shame, as
if they deserve what has happened to them. In some cases, particularly where
there hasn’t been physical violence, an individual may feel they have no right to
seek support – that the behaviours are a normal part of a relationship, or that
they cannot be changed.
There are services that can provide support, advice and assistance to victims
of violence. But how does a person find the services they need? Depending
on their individual experiences, they might seek help directly from a specialist
domestic and family violence service; they may talk about what has happened
to someone at a mainstream service (such as a GP or housing provider); they
might be identified through a routine screening program in the public health
system; or they may come into contact with the police or criminal justice system
when an incident has occurred.
Each agency within each of these service spheres has its own structures,
relationships, protocols and procedures for responding to violence. Depending
on their point of entry to the system, two individuals both seeking help to leave
violence behind may have vastly different experiences.
It is important that services can operate flexibly – we know that a one-size-fits-
all approach is not appropriate. But we strongly believe that victims of violence
should be able to expect a certain standard of service whether they are seeking
housing assistance, health care, counselling, legal protection or financial
support wherever they live in NSW.
New minimum practice standards
All victims of domestic and family violence must receive a minimum level of
response that offers them support and assistance in recovering from the
violence. In consultation with our partners, we have prepared minimum practice
standards for mainstream agencies and specialist domestic and family violence
services (both government and non government). This means that victims of
family and domestic violence will receive a level of response that helps them
to recover and move on from the violence they have experienced – regardless
of the point at which they enter the system.
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Minimum practice standards: screening and early identification
●● All services involved in screening will use a structured approach to identify
domestic and family violence based on an agreed policy definition of
domestic and family violence.
●● Where domestic and family violence is identified through screening, sector
workers will provide information to the victim and refer them to a local Central
Referral Point for risk assessment and assistance.
These minimum practice standards will apply to all mainstream services.
Across the state, we need a consistent and appropriate level of response
from mainstream and specialist domestic and family violence services. The
minimum practice standards will provide this to victims regardless of how
they enter the system and where they live.
Minimum practice standards: responding to all victims of domestic
and family violence
●● Police officers who respond to incidents of domestic and family violence will
complete a common risk identification tool (electronic) by the end of their shift
(see Appendix 1).
●● The completed form will be sent through to the Central Referral Point by the
end of the shift.
●● Staff at the Central Referral Point will use the form to identify victims at
serious threat of further harm or escalating violence, and will refer these
cases to the Safety Action Meeting.
●● Staff at the Central Referral Point will contact the victim by the end of the
next business day to discuss safety as part of ongoing safety and risk
management. Safety Planning will be encouraged.
●● The safety of children will be considered separately and where feasible
children will have their own case plans developed as part of an integrated
child protection response.
●● Services will directly involve victims in safety and case planning and
identifying risk and safety concerns.
●● Sector workers will know about local and regional services and engage
additional services to support victims.
●● Services working with victims will develop and sustain formal relationships
with key statutory and legal services.
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●● Sector workers will re-evaluate risk to, and safety of, victims throughout
the duration of the service response.
●● All sector workers providing a case coordination or case management
response will ensure adequate arrangements are in place for the victim’s
safety and recovery prior to case closure.
●● Services will be committed to continuous improvement in the quality of
service response provided to victims of domestic and family violence.
●● These minimum practice standards will apply to specialist domestic and
family violence services.
Minimum practice standards for responding to victims who are
at serious threat
●● Services will coordinate an immediate response for a victim assessed as
being at serious threat (using the electronic risk identification tool), and for
●● Victims at serious threat will be contacted by the Central Referral Point
within one business day and will be considered at the next available
Safety Action Meeting.
●● Victims at serious threat will be referred to a specialist domestic and family
violence services for case management support if this is needed.
●● Where appropriate, member agencies will participate in Safety Action
Meetings to develop, implement and monitor safety plans for victims at
serious threat and for the perpetrators.
These minimum practice standards will apply to specialist domestic and family
violence services and member organisations of Safety Action Meetings.
When a person is identified as being at serious threat of further violence, a
specific set of minimum practice standards has been designed to minimise
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Better availability of services where they are needed
Every year, approximately $62m is directed to domestic and family violence
services in NSW from both federal and state sources. This figure does not
include the cost associated with services delivered by mainstream government
agencies that respond to domestic and family violence services including Police,
Courts, Community Services and Health.
However, the NSW Parliament’s Standing Committee on Social Issues report
on domestic violence trends and issues in NSW identified a number of service
categories needing an improved level of availability:
●● emergency accommodation and housing
●● case management for victims of violence
●● therapeutic services (including counselling)
●● legal services (particularly for groups who face additional challenges in
accessing legal support such as Aboriginal people, people with disability
and people living in remote locations)
●● perpetrator programs.
Historically, we have seen services located in areas with high populations (that
is, the more people in an area, the more funding provided for domestic and
family violence services). But this approach ignores the fact that the highest
rates of domestic and family violence and the highest number of risk factors for
domestic and family violence are often seen in areas with smaller populations.
We will review our approaches to service planning and our funding models to
base our decisions about funding and locating services on a more comprehensive
and nuanced understanding of the factors that contribute to current and future
demand for services.
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Making it easier for victims to find help – Central Referral
Victims of domestic and family violence need a range of supports to help
them recover from violence. They may need assistance with:
●● protection from further violence through the justice system
●● physical health issues associated with the violence they have experienced
●● the emotional and psychological effects of violence
●● practical safety and security concerns (replacing locks, for instance)
●● financial, transport and accommodation support
At a time when they are already vulnerable, under the current system an
individual frequently has to work very hard to find the support they need,
and advocate on their own behalf to get it.
We want to turn the system around, so that it works better for the victim.
Changes to the system will build on what’s already in place to create an
integrated response. We will create Central Referral Points to better meet
the needs of victims.
Central referral points will connect victims with the supports they need and will:
●● take referrals from agencies who have identified someone as experiencing
domestic and family violence
●● contact the victim to offer safety planning support
●● assess the risks to that person and, in consultation with them, identify the
local services and support they need to be safe
●● with the victim’s consent, share their relevant information with the service
providers so the victim doesn’t have to tell their story again and again
●● facilitate the connection between the individual and the services they need
●● coordinate Safety Action Meetings for individuals at serious threat of
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Victims are safe and supported to
recover - A system that focuses on safety
Different agencies and organisations have different ways of identifying whether
a person is at risk of further harm, and assessing the extent of that risk. We do
not currently have a consistent way to identify risk, nor do we have a process
that enables a tiered level of response based on the assessed risk to an
We will implement a new process that is initiated when a victim makes contact
with the system. We are taking a new approach to identifying and assessing
risk based on:
1 the presence of known risk factors
2 the victim’s perception of their own level of risk
3 the judgement, experience and knowledge of the professional conducting
A new approach to identifying and assessing risk
A common risk identification tool (RIT) has been developed for implementation.
It uses evidence-based criteria (safety risk factors) and has been designed to be
used with adult victims of domestic and family violence. In later stages of the
reform process, we will also adapt the risk assessment processes for use with
children. We want the assessment of risk to children to form part of an integrated
child protection response that connects with existing child protection processes
such as Structured Decision Making and mandatory reporting practices.
The use of the RIT and referrals to the Central Referral Point will be electronic
to enable us to exchange information quickly between agencies and service
Police attending domestic and family violence incidents will complete the RIT. It
will also be available to specialist domestic and family violence services and other
agencies who want to make referrals to the Central Referral Point for clients.
If the assessor using the RIT determines that the person is “at threat” or “at
serious threat”, the form will be sent to the Central Referral Point for review.
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Of course, this process does not stop police or (in the case of another agency
using the RIT) another service taking the necessary steps to immediately reduce
the risk and secure the safety of the victim.
By the end of the next business day, the Central Referral Point will contact the
victim to talk about their situation and offer support, and to confirm the risk level
determined by the professional who completed the RIT.
The NSW Government proposes that completion of the RIT is mandatory for
police attending domestic and family violence related incidents, and that other
mainstream and domestic and family violence services will be encouraged to
use the RIT.
Planning for long-term safety and support for recovery
The risks faced by individuals experiencing domestic and family violence vary
from person to person. Each individual needs services, supports and plans that
take into account their specific circumstances and the level of risk they face.
As a natural complement to a common risk identification and assessment
process, we will implement safety planning. Safety planning links the risk
assessment process with the firm action that is required to help the victim
When the Central Referral Point receives a referral, they will contact the victim
to talk about their situation and confirm or (if necessary) increase the level of
assessed risk. If the individual is assessed as being “at threat”, they will be
offered the opportunity to work with a service to develop a safety plan.
The safety planning process will give power back to the victim to make
decisions and take control of their life. The process will consider the victim’s
own perception of their risk, their safety goals, their ability to access services,
and the priority they place on different services.
Safety and support planning may include:
●● Supported referral, which connects victims to the services that they need
to maintain their safety and to recover from their experience of violence.
●● Case coordination, which provides case monitoring and a brokerage role
for victims with more complex support needs.
●● More intensive ongoing support through case management, which often
has a therapeutic focus on recovery, and includes counselling and coaching
to assist the victim to regain control of their life, build essential skills and
capabilities, and recover from their experience of violence.
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●● Monitoring and review, because risk is by nature dynamic and changeable.
The cyclical nature of domestic and family violence also requires regular
re-assessment of risk
●● Exit planning, which includes working with the victim to enable them to
manage their situation safely and to move towards independence from
the support system
Safety Action Meetings for people “at serious threat”
If a person is assessed by police or staff at the Central Referral Point as “at
serious threat”, they will be referred to a Safety Action Meeting. Safety Action
Meetings bring together local agencies and service providers to discuss the
risks facing an individual and to develop a comprehensive Safety Action Plan
to address those risks.
An assessment of “at serious threat” means that more than half of the risk
factors on the RIT are present. An assessment of “at serious threat” can also
be made based on the professional judgement of the person completing or
reviewing the RIT, taking into account the victim’s own perception of the risk
they face, even if 50% of the risk factors are not present.
Chaired by a senior representative of the NSW Police Force, a Safety Action
Meeting may include representatives of other government agencies (including
NSW Health, Community Services, Housing, Education, and Corrective
Services) and non-government service providers in the local area. Broader
membership of the meetings will reflect the needs of the local community.
A coordinator will be appointed in each Central Referral Point to administer
and support Safety Action Meetings and assist the Chair.
Each member organisation of the Safety Action Meeting will be responsible
for reviewing the records their agency has relating to a victim or perpetrator on
the agenda, and compiling this information for discussion at the meeting. This
means that members of the Safety Action Meeting will have strong information
on which they can base their decisions at each meeting.
The outcome of the Safety Action Meeting is a Safety Action Plan that includes
each agency’s commitment to carry out, follow up and report on agreed actions
within an established timeframe. Participants will report back to the coordinator
when their actions have been completed.
23 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Better information sharing for improved safety
Our approach to safety planning and to reducing risks to people at serious
threat from domestic and family violence will require a number of supporting
reforms. Perhaps the most significant are the reforms we will make to allow
better sharing of information between agencies and services supporting
victims of domestic and family violence.
Under existing legislation, we can only collect, store and share information about
a victim of domestic and family violence if we have their consent (except where it
is deemed necessary to prevent or lessen an ‘imminent and serious threat’ to the
life or health of an individual). We respect the right of the individual to determine
how much of their information is shared and between which agencies, but we
need to strike a balance between those rights and the need to take action to
keep them (and others) safe.
Best practice is always to obtain the consent of a victim before collecting or
sharing information as part of a referral. The primacy of consent is acknowledged.
However, in situations involving a serious threat of domestic and family violence it
may not be possible or practical to gain consent. Our proposal seeks to remove
the requirement that the threat be ‘imminent’ allowing us to share information
between agencies when a victim is assessed as being “at serious threat”
according to the RIT. It will also allow us to share information about an alleged
perpetrator without his or her consent.
Changes to legislation to enable information sharing for referral to services and
safety planning will be accompanied by new information sharing protocols and
practitioner training. These changes represent an essential part of our new risk
Better information sharing means that information about the victim, the
alleged perpetrator and their circumstances can travel with the referral,
rather than the victim having to re-tell their story every time they come into
contact with a new service or agency. A first round of enhancements to
information sharing protocols has commenced under the Domestic Violence
Justice Strategy (DVJS) implementation. For more information about the
DVJS, see Appendix 2.
24 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Perpetrators stop using violence
The NSW Government has already instigated a program of reforms to
strengthen the justice system’s responses to domestic and family violence.
The NSW Domestic Violence Justice Strategy is an operational framework that
outlines the approaches and standards justice agencies in NSW will adopt to
improve the justice system’s response to domestic violence. Its fundamental
objectives are to make victims safer, hold perpetrators accountable and prevent
domestic violence from reoccurring.
The strategy commits all justice agencies and victims support services to work
together to provide an effective and integrated response. It sets out six justice
outcomes agencies will aspire to achieve to ensure victims and perpetrators
experience high standards of service across the NSW justice system.
The Strategy also identifies areas where reform is needed to ensure effective
implementation. These key areas will be addressed through research, and
policy and legislative reform throughout its term.
In addition to the Domestic Violence Justice Strategy, the Department of Attorney
General and Justice is conducting a statutory review of the Crimes (Domestic and
Personal Violence) Act 2007. Reviews of victim support services and the victim’s
compensation scheme have also been undertaken and reform proposals are
Practical changes, such as allowing police officers at the rank of sergeant or above
to issue provisional ADVOs, as well as allowing an officer to detain a defendant for
up to two hours for the purpose of making and serving such an order if they refuse
a direction to cooperate, will also strengthen the justice response.
25 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Changing perpetrators’ behaviour – the NSW Men’s
Our mapping of domestic and family violence services identified significant
gaps in responses to perpetrators outside the criminal justice system. While
perpetrators who are currently in custody may be admitted to behaviour change
programs within the criminal justice system, this response only reaches those
perpetrators who have already been convicted of violent offences. NSW
currently lacks programs and services external to the criminal justice system
that can support perpetrators to understand and change their behaviour – an
important part of violence prevention.
We will establish a state-wide Men’s Referral Service, providing a referral point
for men who have perpetrated violence against members of their family (or are
at risk of doing so). It will provide a telephone counselling and referral service to
assist men who want help to change their behaviours. Referrals to the service
can be made by police and other agencies and men will also be able to self-
refer to the Men’s Referral Service. Linking this service to the Central Referral
Points will enable concurrent referral of victims and perpetrators to support
The service will also offer support to women and family members, as well as
neighbours or colleagues, who are concerned about the violent behaviour of
a male partner or family member.
Working with perpetrators - minimum practice standards
NSW has already implemented NSW Minimum Standards for Men’s Behaviour
Change Programs www.domesticviolence.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/minimum_
standards_mdvbcp.html, but we also propose a new set of minimum practice
standards for agencies working with perpetrators of family and domestic
●● Services working with perpetrators will have knowledge of local and regional
services and will engage additional services to support perpetrators.
●● Services working with perpetrators will develop and sustain formal
relationships with key statutory and legal services.
●● Services working with perpetrators will have procedures and protocols in
place for communication with the victim’s services in relation to any matters
affecting the victim’s safety.
26 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
●● Services will provide training and ongoing support to ensure practitioners have
the appropriate skills and qualifications to respond effectively to perpetrators.
●● Providers of men’s behaviour change services will comply with the NSW
Minimum Standards for Men’s Behaviour Change Programs.
These minimum practice standards will apply to all services working with
If you would like more information about the minimum practice standards,
Central Referral Points, the common Risk Identification Tool, behaviour change
programs, Safety Action Meetings or information sharing, please refer to the
discussion paper, Securing safety: discussion paper 2.
The paper is available online at engage.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/it-stops-here
27 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
A supported, professional and effective sector
Building common ground – shared definitions and objectives
With multiple agencies across a range of fields providing diverse services for
victims and perpetrators of violence, it can be challenging to implement
meaningful reform. To build a more responsive and effective system that
places human rights, safety and wellbeing at the heart of our actions we
need a shared policy framework to guide our programs and activities. This
shared framework will form a strong foundation for implementing reform.
With our non-government partners, advocacy groups and experts we have
developed a new vision and a shared policy definition of domestic and family
violence, the outcomes our reforms will contribute to, and a set of guiding
principles that will underpin all our actions in this reform program.
We have a vision that communities in NSW will be safe, and promote healthy,
respectful relationships that are free of domestic and family violence.
One of the most significant and important challenges in developing the reforms
was agreeing a policy definition of domestic and family violence between all
agencies. Depending on their service orientation, different agencies have
historically adopted different definitions.
‘Domestic violence’ was considered by some to be too narrow a term, focusing
on those in a marital or de facto relationship and excluding the range of extended
family and kinship relationships that may be affected by violence. For others, using
the term ‘domestic violence’ was not narrow enough, extending the domain to
those who were, for example, flatmates or in a shared living arrangement.
On some things, though, there was fundamental agreement: that domestic and
family violence is a violation of human rights and a crime. Over several months, we
worked together to develop a new policy definition for domestic and family violence.
The Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 contains legislative
definitions relating to apprehended violence orders, for example “domestic
relationship” and “domestic violence offence”. Agencies (such as Police) will
use the definitions in this Act when dealing with apprehended violence orders.
The Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 is currently under review.
The new policy definition will sit at the core of our prevention programs, our
response and recovery services for victims of violence, and our perpetrator
28 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Domestic and Family Violence: Policy Definition
Domestic and family violence is a violation of human rights and a crime. It
includes any behaviour, in an intimate or family relationship, which is violent,
threatening, coercive or controlling, causing a person to live in fear. It is usually
manifested as part of a pattern of controlling or coercive behaviour.
An intimate relationship refers to people who are, or have been, in an intimate
partnership; whether or not the relationship involves or has involved a relationship
of a sexual nature i.e. married or engaged to be married, separated, divorced, de
facto partners (whether of the same or a different sex), couples promised to each
other under cultural or religious tradition or dating.
A family relationship has a broader definition and includes people who are related
to one another through blood, marriage or de facto partnerships, adoption and
fostering relationships, sibling and extended family relationships. It includes the
full range of kinship ties in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,
extended family relationships in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)
communities and constructs of family within Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual,
Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LBGTIQ) relationships and families.
The behaviours that constitute domestic and family violence include:
●● physical assault or abuse
●● sexual assault, sexually abusive or coercive behaviour
●● verbal, emotional or psychological abuse
●● threats of violence
●● intentionally damaging or destroying property
●● intentionally causing harm, injury or death to an animal with a view to cause fear
●● denying a person reasonable financial autonomy or financial support
●● unreasonably preventing the other person from making or keeping
connections with her or his family or kin, friends, faith or culture
●● unlawfully depriving a person, or any member of a person’s family, of her or
●● intentionally shaming a person in their community
●● harassment, intimidation or coercion of the other person’s family in order to
●● ongoing harassment, including through the use of electronic communication
or social media.
29 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Our reforms will be underpinned by these guiding principles:
●● Domestic and family violence is a violation of human rights.
●● The safety of the victim and any children or young people involved
●● Support for victims is strengths-based, empowering and focused on
●● Victims are able to choose to remain safely at home, free of violence.
●● Perpetrators of domestic and family violence are held to account.
●● An integrated, multi-agency response is adopted.
●● Information sharing is consent-based wherever possible.
●● Strong leadership and good governance supports government and
non-government organisations to work together.
●● Services, programs and practice models are evidence-based and
continuously improved through evaluation.
Gathering the evidence
The decisions we make about funding prevention programs and response
services are important ones. We need to make sure that we are investing in
the activities that will make our communities safer and that will help us deliver
better outcomes for all those affected by domestic and family violence.
We can only be confident about our investment choices if we have solid
evidence about the effectiveness of various approaches. At this stage, we
don’t have that evidence base in NSW. There is international and national
evidence about strategies, activities and programs that are promising and
we also know about some programs with proven effectiveness. But we
need to determine whether those programs will work here.
The Domestic and Family Violence Funding Program has an emphasis on
building the NSW and national evidence base for effective practice in violence
prevention and services for victims, children and perpetrators. This includes
providing funding to the National Centre of Excellence to Reduce Violence
Against Women. Located in Sydney, the Centre will develop a national research
agenda to improve policy and service delivery in the prevention of violence
30 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
We will also establish a violence prevention research program through the
Women NSW Domestic and Family Violence Funding program and to further
develop our understanding and capacity in important aspects of violence
prevention. We have already identified four priority areas of study:
1 Men and boys violence prevention
2 Respectful relationships education
3 Targeting high-risk groups and communities
4 Child-centred early intervention
Supporting workforce development
These reforms represent our commitment to improving outcomes for victims of
domestic and family violence and to building safer communities. The success
of the reforms will depend on how well we equip those that work within the
sector with the skills and knowledge they need to implement the reforms.
We will deliver training and education to support the implementation of key reform
projects – for example, in using the common risk identification tool and in risk
assessment and management. Further, we are working towards implementing
a state-based professional development program to strengthen the capabilities
of individuals, agencies and the sector overall to implement prevention and
31 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Governance and implementation
These reforms represent a significant change to how we currently deliver services
to victims of domestic and family violence. The ways in which we plan, fund
and collaborate for better outcomes for victims of violence will also change.
Implementing these changes consistently and sustainably will require changes
to regional and local governance arrangements.
At the state level, a new Ministerial Group provides high-level leadership and
political drive for innovation and increased integration in the NSW response to
domestic and family violence. The Group comprises the Ministers for Women
and Family and Community Services, Police and Emergency Services, Health,
Aboriginal Affairs and the Attorney General.
The NSW Domestic and Family Violence Council
A new NSW Domestic and Family Violence Council, an expert alliance between
government and non-government service providers that respond to domestic
and family violence in NSW, provides advice on current and emerging issues to
the Ministerial Group, as well as influences and directs reforms proposed under
the NSW Domestic and Family Violence Reform program. The Council is
responsible for confirming and prioritising the future reform agenda.
Domestic and Family Violence Regional Committees
New Domestic and Family Violence Regional Committees supported by
Regional Coordinators will provide the basis for collaboration at the regional
level. The role of these committees is to coordinate the implementation of both
the NSW Domestic and Family Violence reforms and the Domestic Violence
Justice Strategy at the regional and local level. Once regional implementation
plans are developed, the Regional Committees will undertake regular monitoring
and reporting on implementation.
Local Domestic and Family Violence Committees
The existing network of Local Domestic Violence Committees across NSW
provides a strong basis for local coordination and collaboration. Under the
reforms, these committees will continue with new governance model.
32 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Membership of these local committees includes key government agencies
and non-government organisations in the local area.
Local Domestic Violence Committees (to be known as Local Domestic and
Family Violence Committees) will need to consider expanded roles and
●● developing and maintaining local partnerships and networks
●● reporting to the Regional Domestic and Family Violence Committees on
local service responses and priorities
●● coordinating local prevention activities and local services responses
●● implementing the new approach to prevention.
Implementing the reforms
Reforming the way we prevent and respond to domestic and family violence
will be neither quick nor easy. Implementation will occur in a staged approach
allowing time to review, evaluate and refine our approach.
Other areas which may be considered during implementation include:
●● Development of an Aboriginal specific domestic and family violence strategy
●● Development of an integrated response between domestic and family
violence and child protection – to include the exploration of increasing
rates of young people at Children’s Courts being either offenders or
victims of domestic and family violence
●● Development of a sexual assault strategy (this would be broader than
domestic and family violence).
We are, however, already initiating reforms in some key areas: the Domestic
Violence Justice Strategy was launched in December 2012 and implementation
of the new state level governance arrangements has commenced. The Ministerial
Group met for the first time in April 2013.
33 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
We have already identified four funding streams for the Domestic and Family
Violence Funding Program (the current program runs from the 2012/13 financial
year through to the end of the 2014/15 financial year). Funding will be directed to
projects which focus on:
●● improving sector capacity
●● building the evidence base
●● establishing the Men’s Referral Service (including telephone counselling support)
●● prevention partnerships (design and implementation of prevention strategies
Once the state-level architecture is in place, we anticipate that implementation
will be driven at a regional level through the regional governance and support
processes. We want to ensure that existing systems, relationships and processes
that are working well within communities are built on, rather than replaced for
the sake of change. We also want to make sure that the measures that are
implemented are tailored to the needs of the local area and community.
Once the public consultation period has ended and feedback considered, the
reforms will be finalised and developed into an implementation plan.
34 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
How will we know if we’ve been
Our intention is to carefully monitor the progress of reform implementation and
to learn lessons as we progress. We will establish a regular monitoring and
reporting process for the reform program that will run concurrently with specific
evaluation processes for individual elements of the reform. In this way, we will
be able to collect evidence about the effectiveness of both the reforms and the
implementation processes. We will be able to adjust our activities, plans and
approaches to adapt to the findings of our evaluation activities.
A comprehensive evaluation framework will be developed when the reform
program is finalised and the implementation plan developed. However, we have
already determined a set of core principles that will guide the design approach
for our evaluation framework.
●● A focus on victims: The safety and recovery of adults and children who
experience domestic violence is central to the evaluation of the reform
●● An emphasis on outcomes: The reform program is person-centred - it
focuses on the perspectives of adults and children who experience domestic
and family violence. The system will be assessed on the outcomes for those
who have experienced domestic and family violence and those who use
●● Leverage existing data: The evaluation framework will draw on existing data
and will also identify datasets for future development.
●● Accountability: Accountability for outcomes will rest at different levels within
the system. Responsibility for the implementation and monitoring of service
standards and responsibility for program evaluation will rest with agencies,
while the entire reform program will be monitored and evaluated at the
35 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
●● Measure progress over time: Monitoring and evaluation will take into
account the different timeframes needed for implementation and the
achievement of outcomes. Organisational and cultural change requires
a long-term approach. It is important to recognise these timeframes in
order to set realistic expectations about the reporting of outcomes.
●● Build the evidence base: Monitoring, research and evaluation is intended to
be part of a “business as usual” policy and program development cycle, so
that effectiveness is evaluated, interventions are evidence-based and properly
targeted, and evaluation and monitoring are used to improve programs.
When undertaking a comprehensive reform program like this, it can be challenging
to identify the timeframes in which we might expect to see change occurring.
Particularly in the area of prevention and early intervention, it can be difficult to
evaluate the impact of our activities in the short to medium term. It is also very
possible that, if our reforms are successful in building a more person-centred
responsive and effective service system, we will see the number of recorded
domestic and family violence offences increase because members of the
community feel more confident in reporting violence.
36 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Have your say
We have worked closely with a range of agencies, services and individuals to
develop this reform package. Now, we want to hear feedback from the
community. You can provide your views on the proposed reforms through the
NSW Government’s public consultation website, Have Your Say.
We value your responses to the reforms we have proposed. The “It Stops Here”
public consultation period will run for four weeks. When submissions and
responses close, we will review the feedback carefully and adjust the reform
package if feedback indicates it’s necessary. We anticipate releasing the final
reform package and implementation plan in the second half of 2013.
To provide feedback on the reforms contained in this document, please visit
37 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
1 Vic Health. The Health Costs of Violence. 2004. Accessed 21 March 2012 at
2 2012 NSW Parliament Standing Committee on Social Issues Domestic
violence trends and issues in NSW NSW Parliament
4 NSW Auditor General’s Report. Responding to Domestic and Family Violence.
2011. Accessed March 2012 at www.audit.nsw.gov.au/Publications/
5 Department of Families, housing, Community Services and Indigenous
Affairs. Time for Action: The National Council’s Plan for Australia to Reduce
Violence Against Women and their Children 2009-2021 March 2009
Accessed March 2012
6 The Australian component of the International Violence Against Women
Survey indicates that he family violence victimisation rate may be 40 times
the rate for non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women accounted for
15% of homicide victims in 2002-2003.
7 S Murray A Powell, ‘Sexual Assault and adults with a disability: enabling
recognition, disclosure and a just response’ ACSSA Issues 9, Australian
Institute of Family Studies, Canberra 2008; that 25% of Victorian women
who reported sexual assault to the police had a disability. 15% had an
intellectual disability, and 5.9% had a physical disability.
8 Brownridge, D. ‘Partner violence against women with a disability’ Violence
Against Women vol. 12, no 9 2006,pp 895-822.
9 French,P., Dardel,J., Price-Kelly, S. (2010) Rights denied: towards a national
policy about abuse, neglect and exploitation of persons of with Cognitive
Impairment, People with Disability Australia, accessed November 2012 at
10 Chan, C. Domestic Violence in Gay and Lesbian Relationships: An Overview.
Australian Domestic Family Violence Clearinghouse. 2005 Accessed 20
March at www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au/PDF%20files/Gay Lesbian.pdf.
38 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
11 BOCSAR 2012 NSW Recorded Crime Statistics 2012 Bureau of Crime
Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) Note that this figure relates to Police
recorded domestic assaults, and does not include other types of domestic
offences that Police may be called out to attend, such as harassment,
threatening behaviour, private nuisance, sexual assault, malicious damage
to property, indecent assault, acts of indecency or other sexual offences.
Domestic assaults are the most common form o f domestic violence offences.
12 2005 The Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey Australian
Bureau of Statistics
39 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Appendix 1 - Common Risk Identification Tool (RIT)
Risk Identification Tool
Part A - Identification of Risk Factors.
Completed either with the victim at the
scene, or used as an aide memoir for
gathering information to support later
Y N U
info if not
Previous violence towards the victim
Has the offender ever threatened to harm
or kill you?
Has the offender ever used physical violence
Has the offender ever done things to you, of
a sexual nature, that made you feel bad or
physically hurt you?
Has the offender ever been arrested for
Has the offender ever choked, strangled or
suffocated you, or attempted to do any of
Has the offender ever threatened or
assaulted you with any weapon (including
knives and/or objects)?
Has the offender ever harmed or killed a
family pet or threatened to do so?
Has the offender ever breached, or been
charged within breaching, an apprehended
domestic violence order?
40 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Part A - Identification of Risk Factors.
Completed either with the victim at the
scene, or used as an aide memoir for
gathering information to support later
Y N U
info if not
Is the offender jealous or bitter towards or
controlling of you?
Has the violence or controlling behaviour
become worse or more frequent?
Has the offender stalked or constantly
harassed or texted/e-mailed you?
Does the offender control your access to
Has there been a recent separation (in last
12 months) or is one imminent?
Are you pregnant and/or do you have a
child under the age of 12 months?
Has the offender ever threatened or used
physical violence towards you while you
Has the offender ever harmed or threatened
to harm your children?
Is there any conflict between you and
the offender regarding child contact or
residency issues and/or current Family
Are there children from a previous
relationship present in the household?
41 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Part A - Identification of Risk Factors.
Completed either with the victim at the
scene, or used as an aide memoir for
gathering information to support later
Y N U
info if not
Background of offender
Does the offender or the relationship have
Is the offender unemployed?
Does the offender have mental health problems
(including undiagnosed conditions) and/or
Does the offender have a problem with
substance abuse such as alcohol or other
Has the offender ever threatened or
Is/has the offender currently on bail, parole,
served a time of imprisonment or has
recently been released from custody in
relation to offences of violence?
Does the offender have access to firearms or
Total number of ‘yes’ responses
(13 or more yes responses = the
victim is at serious threat, and is to
be automatically referred to the SAM
Previous Attendances by Police: Has victim been recorded on COPS as a
victim in any 3 or more occasions within a 6 month period in any DV related
matter? (Yes = automatic referral to SAM)
42 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Part B – Other Risk Identification
How fearful is the victim of the offender? (Select one)
Unable /Unwilling to answer.
Is there any other information, which, in your professional judgement, may
increase the level of risk? Consider issues such as the victim’s situation in
relation to disability, substance misuse, mental health issues, cultural/language
barriers; whether they are willing to engage with a support service; whether
the perpetrator’s occupation or interests given them unique access to weapons,
or if there is an involvement with Community Services (FACS)?
43 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
What are the victim’s main priorities to address their safety?
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Do you believe there are grounds for referring this
matter to a Safety Action Meeting if the checklist
threshold has not been met? Yes No
Do you believe there are any risks facing the
children in the household that are at Risk of
Significant harm and require referral under
Mandatory Reporting Guidelines? Yes No
If yes, please describe action taken and confirm
you have made a referral to safeguard the children
under Mandatory Reporting Obligations:
If Yes, explain these
Have you made a
Date of referral:
Date of referral:
Name of person completing assessment:
Name of victim: ___________________________
Address of victim: _________________________
45 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Appendix 2 - Links with other reforms
The successful introduction of reforms to support a consistent response
to identifying and managing safety risks for victims of domestic and family
violence depends on a range of factors including:
●● the ability of government and non-government agencies to work
collaboratively and to share information that is relevant to safety action
planning for victims at serious threat;
●● the effectiveness and efficiency of the justice response to provide appropriate
and timely legal intervention to protect victims and hold perpetrators to
●● capacity in the service system to provide access to services and
interventions that meet the identified needs of victims and perpetrators.
There are key supporting reform measures underway or under consideration
which will assist in addressing these issues.
The Domestic Violence Justice Strategy 2013-17 (DVJS)
The DVJS strengthens the criminal justice system’s response to domestic and
family violence. These reforms are linked to broader, whole-of-Government action
to domestic and family violence. The DVJS was launched in December 2012 and
seeks to achieve safety outcomes for victims, ensure the accountability of
perpetrators, and reduce re-offending.
It sets out an integrated approach for justice agencies (including the NSW Police
Force, the Department of Attorney General and Justice, Corrective Services,
and the Judicial Commission of NSW, and Legal Aid NSW) and sets outcomes,
expectations and standards of service to be provided to victims and
perpetrators in NSW. It seeks to achieve six outcomes:
1 Victims’ safety is secured immediately and the risk of further violence
2 Victims have confidence in the justice system and are empowered
3 Victims have the support they need.
4 The court process for domestic violence matters is efficient, fair
46 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
5 Abusive behaviour is stopped and perpetrators are held to account.
6 Perpetrators change their behaviour and re-offending is reduced or
A link to the full DVJS can be found at www.domesticviolence.lawlink.nsw.gov.
Going Home Staying Home (GHSH)
Domestic and family violence is a major cause of homelessness. Many victims
escaping domestic and family violence seek the assistance of homelessness
services to resolve their immediate safety and housing crisis and to be
supported to find and maintain stable housing.
The NSW Government has commenced a process of reforming its funded
homelessness services. The Going Home Staying Home Reform Program
builds on good practice and innovation in the specialist homelessness
service sector and the NSW Homelessness Action Plan.
The reform program aims to:
●● support a person’s choice to stay or leave home in escaping violence
●● re-orient delivery arrangements to support a greater focus on a client
●● streamline access and improve intake, assessment and referral
arrangements so clients get the right services at the right time
●● improve service planning and resource allocation arrangements
●● promote and support quality improvement in service provision using
contemporary evidence-based approaches to address homelessness
●● improve the structure, quality and contracting of services and ensure that
the sector has access to a skilled and stable workforce to deliver the types
of services required under the reform.
Some of the key reform directions which aim to improve the response to victims
of domestic and family violence include simpler access to support; making
funding arrangements more flexible so that contracts align with the new service
delivery framework; accommodation and support can be provided separately
or together as needed; increase the focus on prevention and early intervention;
service responses to be better tailored to individual needs; and building the
capacity of the homelessness sector to provide effective interventions.
A link to the latest GHSH update can be found at www.housing.nsw.gov.au
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Interface and relationship with Federal Law
In November 2011, the Australian Law Reform Commission and the NSW
Law Reform Commission released a report called Family Violence and
Commonwealth Laws – Improving Legal Frameworks. The report considered
the impact of Commonwealth Laws (other than the Family Law Act 1975) on
people experiencing domestic and family violence (for example, laws relating
to child support, immigration, employment, social security, superannuation
and privacy). The report recognises that people experiencing domestic and
family violence may be affected by a range of other issues such as immigration
status, child support and financial dependence. The report considers and
makes recommendations about possible improvements to legal frameworks
to protect the safety of those experiencing domestic and family violence. The
key recommendations and implications for NSW arrangements will be
considered in developing the reform options for NSW.
48 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Appendix 3 - Alignment with national and state plans
The National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children 2010-2022
was adopted by the Council of Australian Governments as a framework for
governments to reduce violence against women. The proposed NSW reforms
align with the intended outcomes of the National Plan.
The NSW 2021 State Plan is a 10 year plan which outlines the State’s priorities.
The proposed reforms align with the NSW 2021 State Plan goals:
●● Goal 11 Keep people healthy and out of hospital
●● Goal 13 Better protect the most vulnerable members of our community
and break the cycle of disadvantage
●● Goal 16 Prevent and reduce the level of crime
●● Goal 17 Prevent and reduce the level of re-offending
●● Goal 18 Improve community confidence in the justice system
NSW Reforms align to National Plan: