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Identifying & responding to risk

Identifying & responding to risk

Identifying & responding to risk

Family violence has serious impacts of the health and wellbeing of victim/survivors. It may result in a range of physical injuries and other impacts on physical health, effects on mental and emotional health (e.g. anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder) and even death. On average, one woman is killed almost every week in Australia by a partner or ex.

As a professional who may have clients experiencing violence, it’s important that you understand the indicators of family violence, the nature of risk, the processes for assessing risk and how to take appropriate action to help victim/survivors stay safe. 

Common Risk Assessment Framework

In Victoria services use the Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) for a consistent and evidence-based approach to identifying risk factors associated with family violence. The CRAF provides a framework for how to respond appropriately while maintaining the safety of both the client and the worker.

Note: The CRAF is being redeveloped in 2017 as part of a broader set of reform recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

There are currently three different levels of CRAF, called practice guides, which represent different types of assessment. Practice Guides 1 and 2 are relevant to workers who are not in specialist family violence roles.

The following section outlines which practice guide is most appropriate to your role and where you can receive training in how to use it. 

Practice Guide 1: Identifying Family Violence

This guide helps professionals who meet people through their work whom they believe may be experiencing family violence.

It provides clear advice on how to identify family violence, including a set of ‘indicators’ of family violence and questions that should be asked. This guide is used when it is unclear whether someone is experiencing family violence.

Professionals who use this guide include:

  • maternal and child health nurses
  • general practitioners
  • teachers
  • health care providers, for example, in a primary health, emergency or hospital setting
  • professionals working for a telephone helpline
  • Home and Community Care (HACC) workers
  • disability service workers
  • professionals working in mediation centres
  • professionals working in Centrelink.

Training in Practice Guide 1 is available as an e-learning module that you can complete online at any time. Face-to-face training is also provided regionally in some areas of Victoria. Contact your local Regional Integration Coordinator for further information.

Practice Guide 2:  Preliminary Risk Assessment

This guide assists professionals who work with victim/survivors of family violence and who play a role in initial risk assessment but for whom responses to family violence are not their only core business. This guide should be used when it has been established that someone is experiencing or has experienced family violence.

Professionals who should use this guide include those working in:

  • Victoria Police
  • court settings
  • community legal centres
  • child protection contexts
  • housing services
  • disability services
  • housing and homelessness services.

Training in Practice Guide 2 is being rolled out free-of-charge across Victoria. Training dates and registration details are on the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria website.