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Worker FAQs

Worker FAQs

Worker FAQs

These FAQs have been developed for The Lookout in consultation with specialist practitioners. These will be regularly reviewed and updated.

Questions List

What is family violence?

Family violence describes a broad range of violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviours most commonly used by men against women. The term reflects the diversity of women and children, their experiences and the impact of family violence on the community.1

There are a number of terms that are interchangeable or used instead of family violence used nationally, internationally and by specialist family violence services in Victoria.

These terms include domestic violence, intimate partner abuse, gendered violence and spousal abuse to name a few. Historically domestic violence has been used by the women’s movement to describe the abuse perpetrated by men against women in their domestic setting.

Family violence happens more often to women, from all cultures and walks of life. Most often it involves men abusing their current or former female partners.

Family violence can include behaviours such as regularly putting someone down using verbal abuse, making threats, using physical and sexual violence, damaging property, and controlling or keeping tabs on who someone sees, what they do and where they go. 

The definition of family violence outside of intimate, heterosexual relationships

Family violence can be perpetrated by a family member outside the context of an intimate, heterosexual relationship, for example:

  • by an adult in the context of an intimate same-sex relationship
  • by an adult towards an older person in a family, or family-like, relationship
  • by a carer to a person living with a disability or with complex needs
  • by an adolescent son or daughter towards a family member

In these contexts, family violence can manifest in other ways, with perpetrators using acts of violence that are specific to the relationship context.2

The definition of family violence across all communities

Because family violence can occur in any culture, it also important that its definition recognises and reflects the perspectives and realities of all communities, including culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities and Indigenous communities.

The Victorian Indigenous Family Violence Taskforce has defined family violence as: ‘An issue focused around a wide range of physical, emotional, sexual, social, spiritual, cultural, psychological and economic abuses that occur within families, intimate relationships, extended families, kinship networks and communities. It extends to one-on-one fighting, abuse of Indigenous community workers, as well as self-harm, injury and suicide.’3

The effects of family violence experienced by people from CALD communities, including recent arrivals, are compounded by a range of factors associated with the experience of migration and resettlement, as well as systemic barriers to seeking and obtaining help. The impact of family violence on CALD victims who do not have permanent residency is particularly severe because they have very limited or no access to support and can be at greater risk of coercion and control by sponsoring spouses and other family members.

In addition to forms of family violence experienced in all communities, there are some specific forms of family violence experienced by women in some CALD communities—for example, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and dowry-related violence. These forms of abuse are not readily recognised as constituting family violence.4

The Victorian Commission has recommended the definition of family violence include forced marriage and dowry-related abuse as statutory examples of family violence in the Family Violence Protection Act.

The effects of family violence are broad, impacting on the individual experiencing abuse, children who are exposed to the violence and the wider community.

To begin to gain an understanding of what family violence is, you can register for Recognising and Responding to Family Violence below.

Course Recognising and Responding to Family Violence
Description Provides basic skills, knowledge and understanding to work effectively with women and their children affected by family violence.
You should do this training if you are New to working in family violence services or you work in community, health or legal services and have limited experience responding to family violence.
Accreditation National Unit Attainment of CHCDFV001 – Recognise and Respond to Family Violence
Duration Four full days
Cost $580 SHS funded workers  / $1460 non-SHS funded workers

Click here to find more information, dates, locations and registration

For more information about what family violence looks like and who it impacts, download the family violence fact sheet.

Sources
  1. From DV Vic Code of Practice (2006)
  2. From the Family Violence Common Risk Assessment Framework Practice Guides, Version 2 (2012)
  3. From the Department of Victorian Communities (2003)
  4. From the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence Summary and Recommendations (2016)

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault includes rape, incest, child abuse, and unwanted sexual behaviour, for example, unwanted kissing and touching. It also includes behaviour that does not involve actual touching. For example, forcing someone to watch pornography or masturbation is also sexual assault.1

Sexual offences committed within a current or ex-intimate partner relationship or family/family-like relationship is defined as ‘family violence’ under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (FVPA). The sexual offence within this setting is most likely to have occurred within a broader context of power, intimidation and control within the relationship, which is the nature of family violence.2

Sexual assault is generally defined as a sexual activity that a person has not consented to, and it can refer to a broad range of sexual behaviours that make the victim feel uncomfortable, frightened or threatened.

Sexual assault3 can take various forms, some of which are criminal offences:

  • Touching, fondling, kissing
  • Being made to look at, or pose for, pornographic photos
  • Voyeurism
  • Exhibitionism
  • Sexual harassment
  • Verbal harassment/innuendo
  • Rape
  • Incest/interfamilial child sexual assault
  • Stalking

To gain an understanding of how to work with victims/survivors of sexual assault, you can register for Responding to Sexual Assault below.

Course Responding to sexual assault
Description An interactive workshop that encourages participants to examine the nature and consequences of sexual assault and understand the key issues relevant to providing effective support.
You should do this training if you are A student of community, health or social services, or you are new to working in family violence services or you work in community, health or legal services and have limited experience responding to sexual assault / family violence.
Accreditation Not accredited
Duration One full day
Cost $140/$80 for student concession

Click here to find more information, dates, locations and registration

For more information about sexual assault, including support services, download the sexual assault fact sheet.

Sources
  1. From Victoria Legal Aid (2017)
  2. From Victoria Police (2017)
  3. From the Centre Against Sexual Assault (2017)

What are the signs that may indicate someone is experiencing violence?

Someone who is being abused may not openly disclose that they’re experiencing violence but they may show signs that indicate something isn’t right in the relationship.                                                                                                   

Signs that family violence might be occurring within an intimate partner relationship3:

  • She seems afraid of her partner or is always very anxious to please him or her.
  • Her partner often orders her about or makes all the decisions e.g. tells her who she can see and what she can do.
  • She doesn’t have her own ATM card or if she does, she doesn’t have the PIN for it.
  • She is on a financial allowance. In many instances this will look like an allowance for household items such as groceries but will not include items for her or the children.
  • She is being asked to or has already taken on the debt of her partner or is being asked to sign documents taking on responsibility for debts that aren’t hers.  
  • She often talks about her partner’s ‘jealousy’, ‘bad temper’ or ‘possessiveness’.
  • She has become anxious or depressed, has lost her confidence, avoids eye contact or has low self esteem.
  • She has physical injuries (bruises, broken bones, sprains, cuts etc). She may give unlikely explanations for these injuries.
  • Repeated cancellation of appointments.
  • Her children seem afraid of her partner, have behaviour problems, or are very withdrawn or anxious.
  • The children don’t want to be left alone with her partner.
  • After she has left the relationship, her partner constantly calls her, threatens/harasses her, follows her, and comes to her house/workplace.
  • After she has left the relationship, her partner speaks badly about her or manipulates the children to see her in a bad light. Her partner makes threats to falsely report her to Child Protection/Child First.

Some signs that elder abuse may be occurring:4

  • The older person seems fearful, worried or withdrawn.
  • They seem nervous or anxious with certain people.
  • Family and or friends are denied access to the person.
  • They no longer go out socially or get involved in activities.
  • Unexplained injuries such as bruises, broken bones, sprains, cuts etc.
  • Unpaid bills, unusual activity in bank accounts or credit cards.
  • Changes to a Will, title or other documents.
  • Disappearance of possessions.
  • Poor hygiene or personal care.
  • Absence of needed health items:
  • hearing aids, dentures, medications etc

Some signs that a child is experiencing or being exposed to family violence:5

  • Regression (toddlers)
  • Complaints about illness (stomach ache or headache)
  • Trouble concentrating on tasks 
  • High levels of general distress or inability to self sooth/regulate
  • Difficulty with friendships
  • Acting out (the ‘naughty’ child)
  • Withdrawing (the ‘quiet’ child)
  • ‘Mean’ or violent behaviour towards peers or family members
  • Doesn’t want to go home
  • Inability to nap/sleep disturbances
  • Watchful, seems on ‘alert’

Some signs that a child or young person may be experiencing or exposed to family violence: 5

  • stop seeing friends
  • change the way they dress
  • skip school
  • don't communicate, become secretive
  • have unexplainable bruising
  • get angry and aggressive at friends and family
  • put on weight or lose weight
  • don't care about their appearance
  • put themselves down
  • have difficulty concentrating and start getting lower school grades.
  • feel unwell with stomach cramps or
  • headaches
  • have difficulty with friendships
  • ’act out’ … or withdraw
  • learn that violence can give them control over others

Warning signs that family violence is occurring for children can be hard to recognise because they’re similar to the warning signs of other things that aren’t related to family violence. Children may show all of these signs, or only a few of them and the common signs will depend on their age.

For older children, warning signs are more often demonstrated through negative or self-harming behaviours, whereas for young children warning signs are more likely to be a bit more generalised.

Of course, as a general rule, if a child’s behaviour changes you know something is up – whether it’s family violence or not, and a sudden change to habits of behaviour that don’t seem developmentally appropriate can be a prompt to ask some questions.

When it comes to warning signs in children, they really need to be considered in the context of any warning signs the mother might be presenting.

It’s important to remember that one or two of these warning signs alone might not be a sign that someone is experiencing violence. But on the other hand, family violence is so hidden that it can be hard to feel 100% sure without asking the person directly.

 Sources
  1. Adapted from Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (2017)
  2. Adapted from Senior Rights Victoria (2017)
  3. Adapted from DVRCV Family Violence Hurts Kids Too (2015)

I suspect my client is experiencing violence – should I say something?

Sometimes professionals refrain from asking about family violence because they’re not sure what to say or how to say it. A supportive, non-judgemental approach is more important than saying things perfectly. It might be helpful to prepare some example questions or phrases, for example:

  • “I can understand this might be difficult for you to talk about. I am concerned about you and would like to help.”
  • “You seem to be a bit anxious about responding back to your partner’s texts straight away [or whatever the behaviour is that you’ve observed]. Is everything ok at home?”
  •  “When you said earlier that your partner lashes out at you [or whatever the behaviour she’s described], I’m wondering if you can tell me what that means?”

Sometimes workers don’t feel equipped or qualified to provide support if the person does disclose that they’re experiencing violence. You don’t have to be a family violence expert to provide a helpful response. The four most important things you can do are:

  1. Listen, without interruption or judgement
  2. Reflect back that it’s not their fault and it’s never justifiable
  3. Believe and validate their experiences
  4. Provide information that will support the victim/survivor to make their own choices (as much as possible) in what happens next.

To learn and practice how to have this conversation, ask direct questions, build trust and have effective communication with someone experiencing violence, read more about the Three Levels of Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) training.  

Course Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) Training – Practice Guides 1, 2 and 3
Description Read below and make sure you identify which of the three different CRAF Practice Guides is best suited to your level of understanding, experience and role.
Which CRAF training should I do? CRAF Practice Guide 1:
  • Provides a basic understanding of family violence and helps you identify whether someone may be experiencing it.
  • Suited to those who have not undertaken any training on or who are new to the issue of family violence.

CRAF Practice Guide 2:

  • Helps you recognise and respond to family violence and provides a basic understanding of how to undertake an initial risk assessment with a client.
  • Suited to those with limited training in/or direct experience with victim/survivors eg: new family violence workers, nurses, teachers or other universal and allied professionals.

CRAF Practice Guide 3:

  • This training requires a proficient understanding of the dynamics of family violence and deepens the skills and practice of the CRAF Practice Guides 1 and 2.
  • Suited to experienced family violence workers who wish to build on their existing knowledge and skills, eg: women’s family violence services, men’s behaviour change programs, family violence counselling, family violence police units.

It is strongly recommended that you only register in CRAF Practice Guide 3 if you have completed CRAF Practice Guide 2, or you have a strong understanding of the dynamics of family violence and the gendered nature of this form of violence. 

Accreditation Not accredited
Duration CRAF Practice Guide 1: Online learning module, go at own paceCRAF Practice Guide 2: One half dayCRAF Practice Guide 3: One full day
Cost FREE

Click here to find more information, dates, locations and registration

How do I talk to my client about family violence?

Talking to someone who may be experiencing family violence about their situation is one of the most crucial skills for professionals to master; having this conversation could literally save their life.

However it’s also a very difficult skill to master. Even experienced family violence specialists can find this conversation challenging and require ongoing training in order to navigate these discussions with clients effectively.

For these reasons, it’s vital that anyone who is talking to a family violence victim/survivor should invest in the right training.

To be taught by experienced, skilled professionals and practice how to ask direct questions, build trust and have effective communication with someone experiencing violence, find out more about the three levels of Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) training. 

Course Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) Training – Practice Guides 1, 2 and 3
Description Read below and make sure you identify which of the three different CRAF Practice Guides is best suited to your level of understanding, experience and role.
Which CRAF training should I do? CRAF Practice Guide 1:
  • Provides a basic understanding of family violence and helps you identify whether someone may be experiencing it.
  • Suited to those who have not undertaken any training on or who are new to the issue of family violence.

CRAF Practice Guide 2:

  • Helps you recognise and respond to family violence and provides a basic understanding of how to undertake an initial risk assessment with a client.
  • Suited to those with limited training in/or direct experience with victim/survivors eg: new family violence workers, nurses, teachers or other universal and allied professionals.

CRAF Practice Guide 3:

  • This training requires a proficient understanding of the dynamics of family violence and deepens the skills and practice of the CRAF Practice Guides 1 and 2.
  • Suited to experienced family violence workers who wish to build on their existing knowledge and skills, eg: women’s family violence services, men’s behaviour change programs, family violence counselling, family violence police units.

It is strongly recommended that you only register in CRAF Practice Guide 3 if you have completed CRAF Practice Guide 2, or you have a strong understanding of the dynamics of family violence and the gendered nature of this form of violence. 

Click here to find more information, dates, locations and registration

The Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) training is currently undergoing revisions, which will include details on which organisations will be mandated to use the revised CRAF, as part of the recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence and is expected to be operational from 2018. To find out more, go the Victorian Government website on family violence.

What if I ask about family violence and my client gets upset or angry? I don’t want to make things worse.

Many workers worry that asking their client whether they’re experiencing family violence may upset them or cause a backlash.

Anger, shock and high emotions are common when we talk about family violence. It’s important to remember that this is not a response to you as a person but to the problem itself. Just remain client-centred and are supportive and non-judgmental in your approach.

Unless you are a therapist, it is not your role to work in a therapeutic model. The most important consideration when working effectively with people experiencing family violence is to hear them and believe them. Many people experiencing family violence are too afraid to say something, but by asking a question in a direct but supportive way, you can open a door for them to disclose. Then they can choose to talk or not.

It is unlikely you will make things worse by expressing concern.

However, if you don’t ask, you may miss an opportunity for that person to find support and safety. You don’t have to be an expert, just prepared to ask supportive questions and then seek assistance from family violence specialists and services for further support.4

Source 
  1. Adapted from Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (2017)

What if I get emotional when someone talks to me about violence they’re experiencing?

It’s understandable to worry about getting emotional – family violence is upsetting. If you do get upset, it’s ok. It’s a normal human reaction to knowing that someone is being hurt. It’s important to make sure you look after yourself and debrief or get any other support you need it after someone discloses violence. See our section on managing your wellbeing for further information. 

What do I do if my client doesn’t want any support or wants to stay in the relationship?

It can be hard to understand why someone would stay in a relationship if they are being abused and feeling afraid.  Leaving may appear to be a simple solution but there are many valid reasons why they choose to stay. For example, leaving a relationship can be the most dangerous time for someone experiencing violence and they may have very real concerns for what the abuser may do to them, their children, their pets or themselves. 

It’s important that you respect your client’s own agency and do not make her feel there is something wrong with her because she hasn’t left. However, it is also vital that you communicate your concerns about her safety and the risk she may be experiencing. This can be guided by understanding the red flags from the Common Risk Assessment Framework.

It may take time and many conversations and plans for support to reach this point of being able to leave the relationship safely. Recognise that you’ve done your job by asking about the abuse and offering support. Keep the door open, and offer your ongoing support without judgement. If there are children involved you may be required to respond under legislative responsibilities.

How do I find out if my client is safe and what do I do if they’re aren’t?

The Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) is a tool that is used to identify the factors that put family violence victims at increased risk of being killed or seriously injured. The CRAF provides a framework for how to respond appropriately while maintaining the safety of both you and the client. CRAF training is available free-of-charge across Victoria and online.

You can also ask direct questions like “do you feel safe to go home after this appointment?”

If you have concerns about your client’s safety and have communicated that to her, including explaining why you are concerned, you can discuss an immediate plan for her safety. This may include contacting safe steps Family Violence Response Centre – they are family violence specialist practitioners who can conduct a risk assessment and work out a safety plan.

The best way to feel safe and confident in a crisis is to know how you will respond ahead of time. If there is an immediate threat to you or your client, for instance if the perpetrator is waiting at your service, best practice is to call 000. You also need to know your organisation’s safety policies and procedures – make sure to speak with your supervisor ahead of time about how to enact them.  

To learn and practice how to find out if your client is safe and what to do if they are not, read more about the three levels of CRAF training.

Course Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) Training – Practice Guides 1, 2 and 3
Description Read below and make sure you identify which of the three different CRAF Practice Guides is best suited to your level of understanding, experience and role.
Which CRAF training should I do?

CRAF Practice Guide 1:

  • Provides a basic understanding of family violence and helps you identify whether someone may be experiencing it.
  • Suited to those who have not undertaken any training on or who are new to the issue of family violence.

CRAF Practice Guide 2:

  • Helps you recognise and respond to family violence and provides a basic understanding of how to undertake an initial risk assessment with a client.
  • Suited to those with limited training in/or direct experience with victim/survivors eg: new family violence workers, nurses, teachers or other universal and allied professionals.

CRAF Practice Guide 3:

  • This training requires a proficient understanding of the dynamics of family violence and deepens the skills and practice of the CRAF Practice Guides 1 and 2.
  • Suited to experienced family violence workers who wish to build on their existing knowledge and skills, eg: women’s family violence services, men’s behaviour change programs, family violence counselling, family violence police units.

It is strongly recommended that you only register in CRAF Practice Guide 3 if you have completed CRAF Practice Guide 2, or you have a strong understanding of the dynamics of family violence and the gendered nature of this form of violence. 

Accreditation Not accredited
Duration

CRAF Practice Guide 1: Online learning module, go at own pace

CRAF Practice Guide 2: One half day

CRAF Practice Guide 3: One full day

Cost FREE

Click here to find more information, dates, locations and registration

I’m working with a client who uses violence – what do I do?

Referral to the Men’s Referral Service operated by No to Violence is recommended. They provide telephone counselling, information and referrals for men in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. They also offer consultation to workers on how to provide family violence support to your clients.

Phone: 1300 766 491
Victoria: 9am-9pm Monday-Friday

Please see our section on working with perpetrators for further information. 

What are my responsibilities in responding to family violence?

You have a duty of care to all clients and their children. There is an obligation that you adhere to a reasonable standard of care and take action if you have concerns that a client or their child is at significant risk of harm.

In the case of a child, the appropriate action may be to make a report to Child Protection. If you are unsure about whether the action is warranted, you can consult with a Child FIRST agency. It is good practice to work with the child’s mother if she is not a source of risk to the child, helping her to understand the risk and the reasons for the notification. Ideally she will be actively involved in the notification and fully informed of the role of Child Protection. For more information and guidelines on reporting to Child Protection, see the Victorian Government's website.

In the case of an adult, your first obligation is to help them understand their level of risk and the options available to make them safer. You could involve a women’s domestic violence service in this process. Very few women do not take steps to improve their safety once they appreciate their level of risk and have a chance to consider their options. A report may be made to the Police if the risk is imminent and significant and a woman is unable to make herself safer. 

An important ethical obligation in domestic and family violence work is to always put the safety of your client and her children first and, wherever possible, she is encouraged and supported to make her own decisions and her articulation of level of safety is listened to and believed.

The Victorian Government has published a fact sheet to guide all types of agencies working together as part of the integrated family violence system in making decisions about information sharing in the context of responding to family violence.

Who responds to family violence in Victoria?

The integrated family violence system (IFVS) is a network of specialist domestic and family violence services and community and statutory service providers who work together to improve the safety of people who experience violence.

With regards to family violence, the primary role of Victoria Police is to investigate offences and apprehend offenders.

There is a Victoria Police Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence which all members must follow to guide their assessment of the risk of further harm and to inform the victim/s about which actions can be taken in which circumstances. Police follow an established process that is not governed by the opinion or discretion of the officers that happen to investigate a family violence report.6

For an overview of all the organisations and authorities that make up the IFVS and the role they play, see the Domestic Violence Victoria website.

Source  
  1. Adapted from Victorian Police (2017)

What does a specialist family violence service do?

Specialist family violence services (sometimes called outreach services) provide front line support for women and children experiencing family violence.

The people who work in specialist family violence services are highly skilled in understanding what women and children experiencing family violence are going through and how to help them keep safe. They know the wider family violence system and how to navigate the different services and support that women and children need.

Whether it is responding to referrals from Victoria Police (L17s), referrals from another organisation (e.g. GP, health service etc.), or a call from a woman themselves, a specialist family violence worker will:

  • Talk to the woman about her experience
  • Assess the level of risk of harm to her and children
  • Undertake safety planning
  • Offer information and options for support
  • Help support her navigation through the other support services she may need to access (such as housing, child protection and legal)7
Source
  1. Adapted from Domestic Violence Victoria (2017)

How do I refer a client to a specialist family violence service?

If you are providing a service to a client who is experiencing family violence (or who you believe to be at risk of family violence), you may need to refer them to another service who can provide specialist assistance. Before making a referral, or providing any information to another individual or agency, it’s important to get the client’s consent to share the information and explain why the information is required.

It is generally more effective, and useful to the client, to provide an assisted referral (sometimes called a ‘warm’ referral) rather than simply give them a contact number. This involves you phoning the service on the client’s behalf to establish if the referral is appropriate and to provide the client’s information so that she is spared re-telling her story. Most services have a policy of speaking to the client directly after receiving the referral to undertake their own assessment; however this should not require her to provide the same information over again. Go to our page on referring clients to specialist support for further guidance.

You can find contact details for family violence services by visiting The Lookout service directory to filter by region or service type or by downloading the DVRCV Referral Options Booklet

How do I support clients with diverse needs?

It’s important to remember that although the prevalence and severity of family violence is greater for women from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background, culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) women and for women living with a disability, this is not due to any characteristic of those communities or individual people, but rather is a result of external factors that create inequity for them, such as:

  • Barriers to accessing support services
  • Racism, homophobia, ableism or other prejudices towards those communities
  • Language and cultural barriers
  • Issues around visa categories
  • Limited access to safety due to language/communication barriers or because of using a translation service or communication aide

When supporting women from diverse community groups, it’s very important to consider these factors and realise that their experience of family violence is unique.

The Lookout service directory provides information about Victorian agencies that provide services to clients with diverse needs. You can also visit out courses page to find training about working with specific community groups or clients.

You can also find further information in our Community of Practice topics:

Where can I get a second opinion or advice about a client experiencing violence?

1800 RESPECT provides secondary consultation to professionals working with clients experiencing family violence and/or sexual abuse.

Your local Domestic Violence Outreach Service will be able to assist with advice about referrals, providing support, case planning and options that are available to women and their children.

Contact safe steps Family Violence Response Centre for queries about emergency accommodation and immediate safety, but remember that calls from women in crisis are their priority and there may be a delay in their response if the service is busy.

InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence can provide secondary consultation including advice about immigration issues and, in some cases, co-case management. 

Why do you focus on women and children – what about men?

All violence is wrong, regardless of the sex of the victim or perpetrator. But there are distinct patterns in the perpetration and impact of some of the most common forms of violence in Australia that point to gender being a key factor.

The overwhelming majority of acts of domestic violence and sexual assault are perpetrated by men against women, and where men experience violence in their relationship, it is still most likely to be at the hands of a male. This doesn’t negate the experiences of men who are victims of violence in their relationships. But it does point to the need for an approach that looks honestly at what the research is telling us, and addresses the gendered dynamics of family violence.  

For men experiencing family violence, they can access advice, guidance and support from 1800RESPECT, the Men’s Counselling Service or read men’s survivor stories on the DVRCV website.

Do I need specific training on family violence?

Anyone who has contact with victims/survivors of family violence must have professional training.

Family violence specialist workers obviously require ongoing training across multiple different areas; however, many other kinds of professionals require family violence training as well.

Those working services such as education, health, police, legal, housing, drug and alcohol, welfare, social services or disability need professional training in order to know how to identify and respond to family violence as appropriate for their role.

While our site provides useful introductory information and resources, you will need a more in-depth understanding of family violence in practice by participating in specialised training.

The Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria is Victoria’s only Registered Training Organisation that specialises in family violence and violence against women, and delivers expert, evidence-based training across a wide number of topics, tailored to individual audiences.

The Victorian Government is currently rolling out a ten year industry plan which in part will outline the core capabilities required for any professional who comes into contact with a family violence victim/survivor, due to be launched in December 2017. For more information go the Victorian Government website.

Other family violence training around the state can be found on The Lookout training and events page

Where can I find resources specific to my region?

Family Violence Regional Integration Committees operate in all DHHS regions, bringing together a broad range of agencies that work with family violence. These Committees drive an integrated family violence service system and identify and addresses local issues within a state-wide framework.  

You can get information about these Committees and about the services available in your local area from your local Family Violence Regional Integration Coordinator (RIC). It is their role to develop and support partnerships between regional family violence services (women, children and men’s services) and other key sectors and services, such as Child FIRST/Family Services, child protection, mental health services, homelessness services, housing services, Courts, Police and Indigenous Family Violence Regional Action Groups.

How I can I keep up-to-date with family violence news?

The Lookout has a news and announcements section that is regularly updated.

Useful e-newsletters you can subscribe to:

Many Family Violence Regional Integration Committees and women’s health organisations also send out regular e-newsletters with family violence information – check the ones in your area.