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The development of an Integrated Family Violence Service System

The development of an Integrated Family Violence Service System

The development of an Integrated Family Violence Service System

The prevalence of family violence and other forms of violence against women is not a recent phenomenon. Since the 1960s, men’s violence against women has emerged as a public policy concern both in Australia and on a global scale.

In the 1980s, government recognition came in the form of public funding for women’s refuges and the introduction of phone assistance lines. The first National Strategy on Violence Against Women was released in 1992, which consolidated much of what was known about family violence, particularly recognising its multi-dimensional nature, and suggesting action across a wide range of sectors. Since 2000, the emphasis has been on measuring community attitudes towards violence against women, reform to legislation, and the development of a more integrated response to address the issues for those subjected to, or perpetrating, family violence.

The most significant Victorian commitment to reform has come through the recommendations arising from the 2015 Royal Commission into Family Violence, which has led to a state-based planning process for improving the identification of, and response to, family violence. The vision for the new system is that those subjected to or perpetrating family violence can expect to receive an effective and integrated response from a broad range of workforces spanning specialist family violence agencies, community, health and education services, police and the justice system. (Building from Strength: Victorian Government 2017).

The Family Violence Rolling Action Plan 2017-2020 is the next step of the Victorian Government’s 10-year agenda to build a Victoria free from family violence. This Plan outlines the government’s significant investment in family violence services and reform that will change the way services are delivered and better respond to the needs of victim survivors and holding perpetrators to account.

As a consequence of this new approach, more Victorian agencies with less experience in the violence against women arena are now expected to play a role in responding to family violence based on best practice protocols, frameworks and guidelines. Table 1 (published on the following page of this document) provides an overview of the sectors and organisations that constitute the integrated family violence system currently being implemented.

To ensure that both the existing workforce and the emerging workforce are equipped to deliver services, the Responding to Family Violence Capability Framework 2017 was developed. The Framework identifies the four workforce tiers that have responsibility for responding to family violence and articulates the knowledge and skills required by practitioners working across those tiers according to their level of responsibility.

Table 1: The sectors and organisations that constitute the integrated family violence system

Tier 1: specialist family violence and sexual assault services and practitioners

Approx. 80% plus of core work focused on family violence (FV) and sexual assault (SA)

  • State wide family violence crisis and specialist services
  • Support & Safety hubs
  • Family violence outreach services
  • Women’s refuges
  • Centres Against Sexual Assault
  • Perpetrator intervention services
  • Men’s FV telephone/online services
  • Crisis FV and SA telephone/online services
  • Specialist FV or SA practitioners operating in tier 2 or 3 services
  • Specialist FV or SA services for Aboriginal or CALD women & children or women & children with a disability

Tier 2: core support services and practitioners

Approx. 40–80% plus of core work focused on family violence

  • Courts and court services
  • Legal and paralegal agencies and services
  • Corrections
  • Police
  • Family dispute resolution services
  • Medical staff providing sexual assault crisis care
  • Child Protection
  • Child and Family Services
  • Family and relationship services
  • Homelessness services

Tier 3: mainstream or social support services and practitioners

Approx. 15–40% of core work focused on family violence

  • Health care services
  • Drug and alcohol services
  • Housing services
  • Mental health services
  • Centrelink
  • Individuals providing therapeutic services
  • Emergency services
  • Maternal and Child Health Services
  • Youth services
  • Disability services
  • CALD services
  • Aboriginal services
  • LGBTI services
  • Aged care services

Tier 4: universal services and organisations

Approx. 1%–15% of core work focused on family violence

Includes workplaces, education services, early childhood services, sport and recreation organisations, faith based institutions etc.


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