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Victoria's response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence



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Victoria’s response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence

Posted 18/04/2016 by Helen Portillo-Castro

The Victorian Government last week announced a significant funding package of $572 million in

response to recommendations made in the report by the state’s Royal Commission into Family

Violence tabled on 29 March 2016.

The package, to be implemented over two years, provides funding for implementation of 65 of

the Royal Commission’s 227 recommendations. The Victorian Premier has indicated the package

is a ‘down payment’ and that ‘a 10-year plan for action on the royal commission’s

recommendations and indeed beyond’ will be released before the end of this year.

The largest segments of the initial funding will be directed towards:

 family violence refuges, crisis accommodation, social housing and housing support services

to prevent victims becoming homeless as a result of fleeing violence in the family home

($152.5 million)

 expanding support programs for children and pursuing reform of the child protection system

($122 million)

 crisis support and counselling to meet demand for specialist family violence services

($103.9 million)

 influencing community attitudes about preventing violence through rolling out the Respectful

Relationships program in primary and secondary schools and developing a gender equality

strategy ($61.6 million)

 working with Indigenous communities and expanding special programs for Indigenous

women ($25.7 million)

 reform of the legal system through, for example, expanding legal services for victims and

men’s behaviour change programs ($23.9 million).

$82.3 million out of the package will set in place systemic improvements recommended by the

Royal Commission, namely to:

 create an information sharing regime among specialist service providers, law enforcement

and the justice system ($32.5 million)

 fund domestic violence advocate positions to assist victims in navigating the system

($19 million)

 establish an independent monitor and a coordinating agency to see the Royal Commission’s

recommendations are implemented with appropriate stakeholder engagement ($15.4 million)

 enhance development of the family violence workforce through capacity building and

development of the Family Violence Index ($10.4 million)

 establish 17 state-wide support and safety hubs by July 2018 ($5 million).

Early responses from stakeholder groups welcomed the announcement. Family violence and

homelessness campaigners, along with specialist service providers, applauded the speed of the

Government’s response in implementing the recommendations. Domestic Violence Victoria

stated that the Victorian Government had set ‘a benchmark for the level of investment that is

needed across Australia to end violence against women and children’.

National significance

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) recognises that a whole-of-government and

community response is required to achieve a reduction in violence against women in Australia

and has endorsed the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-

2022. The National Plan is to be implemented through a series of four three‐year Action Plans

over 12 years.

The Victorian Royal Commission’s findings comprise one of several inputs that will inform the

Third Action Plan which is expected to be released in mid-2016. This Third Plan ‘will set out

Australia’s policy priorities, actions and direction to help reduce violence against women and

their children for the next three years.’ It will also incorporate recommendations from the

Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children final report to COAG,

presented on 1 April 2016.

The Advisory Panel examined several factors across jurisdictions that need to be considered in

funding an integrated approach to reducing the national incidence of domestic violence. It

recommended that:

All Commonwealth, state and territory governments should examine current funding

arrangements aimed at reducing violence against women and their children.

Governments should:

 ensure funding for supporting women and their children, and for perpetrator

programmes, is adequate and responsive to changes in demand for services

 support the delivery of sustainable and effective services through the introduction of

long-term contracts

 increase current funding for trialling, sharing and expanding new and innovative

responses to violence against women and their children

 ensure funding for services that address violence against women and their children

can be clearly differentiated from other areas of expenditure

 introduce contracting approaches that encourage collaboration and integration across

the sector.

The Australian Government adopted all recommendations in the Advisory Panel’s preliminary

advice in July 2015. A $100 million package launched in September 2015 increased funding to

frontline services, technological innovation and education initiatives around promoting safety in

the family home and access to services. A further $30 million campaign to influence young

peoples’ attitudes to domestic violence and gender inequality, jointly funded with states and

territories, is to be released in coming months according to a submission by the Department of

Social Services to the current federal Senate inquiry into domestic violence and gender inequality.

For further background on the topic of violence against women and children and its place on the

national policy agenda, see the following Parliamentary Library publications:

 Domestic violence : issues and policy challenges

 Domestic violence in Australia: a quick guide to the issues

 Domestic, family and sexual violence in Australia: an overview of the issues.

If you or someone you know is affected by sexual assault or family violence, visit ANROWS Get

Support website or call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), the 24 hour, National Sexual Assault,

Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line.

Tags: domestic violence