IT STOPS HERE
Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Contents
It Stops Here	 4
Understanding domestic and family violence	 7
At a glance: the NSW domestic and family violence ...
4 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
It Stops Here
Every year, too many people...
5 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
that are working to prevent and reduce vi...
6 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
The case for change
Two reviews of the do...
7 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Understanding domestic and family
violenc...
8 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
●● 	Women from culturally and linguistica...
9 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
At a glance: the NSW domestic and
family ...
10 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
What we have now What we want How we’ll ...
11 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
What we have now What we want How we’ll ...
12 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Domestic and family violence
is prevente...
13 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
An integrated approach to prevention
It ...
14 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
3 High-risk groups and communities are s...
15 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Domestic and family violence is
identifi...
16 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Minimum practice standards: screening an...
17 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
●● Sector workers will re-evaluate risk ...
18 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Better availability of services where th...
19 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Making it easier for victims to find hel...
20 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Victims are safe and supported to
recove...
21 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Of course, this process does not stop po...
22 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
●● Monitoring and review, because risk i...
23 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Better information sharing for improved ...
24 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Perpetrators stop using violence
The NSW...
25 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Changing perpetrators’ behaviour – the N...
26 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
●● Services will provide training and on...
27 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
A supported, professional and effective ...
28 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Domestic and Family Violence: Policy Def...
29 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Our reforms will be underpinned by these...
30 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
We will also establish a violence preven...
31 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Governance and implementation
These refo...
32 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Membership of these local committees inc...
33 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
We have already identified four funding ...
34 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
How will we know if we’ve been
successfu...
35 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
●● 	Measure progress over time: Monitori...
36 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Have your say
We have worked closely wit...
37 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
References
1 Vic Health. The Health Cost...
38 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
11 BOCSAR 2012 NSW Recorded Crime Statis...
39 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Appendices
Appendix 1 - Common Risk Iden...
40 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Part A - Identification of Risk Factors....
41 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Part A - Identification of Risk Factors....
42 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Part B – Other Risk Identification
How f...
43 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
What are the victim’s main priorities to...
44 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Do you believe there are grounds for ref...
45 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Appendix 2 - Links with other reforms
Th...
46 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
5 Abusive behaviour is stopped and perpe...
47 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Interface and relationship with Federal ...
48 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
Appendix 3 - Alignment with national and...
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NSW Domestic and Family Violence Reforms Overview

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  1. 1. IT STOPS HERE Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
  2. 2. Contents 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 Appendices 39 Appendix 1 - Common Risk Identification Tool (RIT) 39 Appendix 2 - Links with other reforms 45 Appendix 3 - Alignment with national and state plans 48
  3. 3. 4 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW 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 ruining lives. 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 emotional wellbeing. 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 of Criminology). 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 situations. Children who witness violence in the home experience emotional trauma and they are also more likely to experience or use violence in their own future relationships. 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
  4. 4. 5 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW 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”.
  5. 5. 6 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW 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.
  6. 6. 7 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW Understanding domestic and family violence 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 controlling behaviours. 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)
  7. 7. 8 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW ●● 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.
  8. 8. 9 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW 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 from violence. 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 core recommendations.
  9. 9. 10 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW What we have now What we want How we’ll get there An inconsistent approach to preventing domestic and family violence in NSW Domestic and family violence is prevented A new focus on effective and evidence-based prevention and a prevention- focused funding program Different service standards in different organisations Domestic and family violence is identified early Shared minimum practice standards across all services Inconsistent approaches to assessing risk An electronic, common risk identification tool A complex system that relies on the individual to identify and negotiate pathways to the support they need Victims are safe and supported to recover Central referral points to make the path easier for victims seeking support from the system Inconsistent availability of services for victims around the state Targeted provision of specific services to communities at high risk of domestic and family violence Targeted expansion of core programs to address supply gaps 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 experiencing violence Implementation of Safety Action Meetings to monitor and assess victims at serious threat
  10. 10. 11 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW What we have now What we want How we’ll get there An inconsistent approach to responding to perpetrators of violence Perpetrators stop using violence Implementation of the Domestic Violence Justice Strategy (DVJS) 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 achieve A supported, professional and effective sector A shared vision for all government and non- government agencies and services working in the domestic and family violence sector No common definition of domestic and family violence An agreed policy definition shared by all agencies working in the domestic and family violence sector Complex, historical 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
  11. 11. 12 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW Domestic and family violence is prevented 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.
  12. 12. 13 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW 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.
  13. 13. 14 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW 3 High-risk groups and communities are safe and free from violence 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 generational change. learning more 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
  14. 14. 15 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW 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.
  15. 15. 16 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW 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.
  16. 16. 17 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW ●● 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 the perpetrator. ●● 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 that threat.
  17. 17. 18 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW 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.
  18. 18. 19 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW Making it easier for victims to find help – Central Referral Points 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 further harm.
  19. 19. 20 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW Victims are safe and supported to recover - A system that focuses on safety and wellbeing 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 individual. 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 the assessment 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 providers. 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.
  20. 20. 21 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW 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 become safe. 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.
  21. 21. 22 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW ●● 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.
  22. 22. 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 management approach. 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.
  23. 23. 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 being developed. 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.
  24. 24. 25 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW Changing perpetrators’ behaviour – the NSW Men’s Referral Service 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 services. 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 violence. ●● 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.
  25. 25. 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 perpetrators. learning more 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
  26. 26. 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 programs.
  27. 27. 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 ●● stalking ●● 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 his liberty ●● intentionally shaming a person in their community ●● harassment, intimidation or coercion of the other person’s family in order to cause fear ●● ongoing harassment, including through the use of electronic communication or social media.
  28. 28. 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 is paramount. ●● Support for victims is strengths-based, empowering and focused on long-term recovery. ●● 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 against women.
  29. 29. 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 response services.
  30. 30. 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. Ministerial Group 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.
  31. 31. 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 responsibilities including: ●● 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.
  32. 32. 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 and models). 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.
  33. 33. 34 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW How will we know if we’ve been successful? 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 program. ●● 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 violence. ●● 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 state level.
  34. 34. 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.
  35. 35. 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 engage.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/it-stops-here
  36. 36. 37 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW References 1 Vic Health. The Health Costs of Violence. 2004. Accessed 21 March 2012 at www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/Publications/Freedom-from-violence-/The-Health- Ciosts-of-Violence.aspx 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/ Performance-Audit-Reports/2011-Reports/Responding-to-domestic-and- family-violence 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 www.pwd.org.au/documents/pubs/RightsDenied 2010.pdf 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.
  37. 37. 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
  38. 38. 39 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW Appendices 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 completion. Y N U Refused to answer Source of info if not victim eg police Previous violence towards the victim Has the offender ever threatened to harm or kill you? Has the offender ever used physical violence against you? 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 sexual assault? Has the offender ever choked, strangled or suffocated you, or attempted to do any of these things? 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?
  39. 39. 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 completion. Y N U Refused to answer Source of info if not victim eg police Relationship 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 money? Has there been a recent separation (in last 12 months) or is one imminent? Children 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 were pregnant? 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 Court proceedings? Are there children from a previous relationship present in the household?
  40. 40. 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 completion. Y N U Refused to answer Source of info if not victim eg police Background of offender Does the offender or the relationship have financial difficulties? Is the offender unemployed? Does the offender have mental health problems (including undiagnosed conditions) and/or depression? Does the offender have a problem with substance abuse such as alcohol or other drugs? Has the offender ever threatened or attempted suicide? 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 prohibited weapons? 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) Yes No
  41. 41. 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) Not afraid Afraid Terrified Unable /Unwilling to answer. Professional Judgement 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)? Yes No Describe:
  42. 42. 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?
  43. 43. 44 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW 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 grounds: Have you made a referral? Yes/No Date of referral: _____________ Signed: _____________ Referral Made Date of referral: _________________ Signed __________________ Signed _________________________________ Name of person completing assessment: ______________________________________ Name of victim: ___________________________ Address of victim: _________________________ Date
  44. 44. 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 account; and ●● 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 is reduced. 2 Victims have confidence in the justice system and are empowered to participate. 3 Victims have the support they need. 4 The court process for domestic violence matters is efficient, fair and accessible.
  45. 45. 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 eliminated. A link to the full DVJS can be found at www.domesticviolence.lawlink.nsw.gov. au/domesticviolence/dvjustice_strategy.html 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 centred approach ●● 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
  46. 46. 47 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW 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.
  47. 47. 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:
  48. 48. 3068WNSW0613CoreBooklet

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