AOD Family Violence Newsletter #4 November 2019

Welcome to VAADA’s fourth family violence newsletter bringing you the latest updates on the family violence reform activity in the AOD sector. We are in the middle of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a global initiative running from 25 November through to 10 December annually.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign dedicated to raising awareness about the impact of violence, particularly on women. The campaign starts 25th November, alongside the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and concludes 10th December on  Human Rights Day. These dates were chosen in order to symbolically link violence against women with human rights issues. In particular, this campaign emphasises the fact that violence, in any form, is a violation of human rights.

Respect Victoria’s ‘Respect Women: Call it Out’ campaign encourages people to call out sexism, sexual harassment and disrespect towards women when it is safe to do so and a wide range of free community awareness events are hosted throughout the 16 Days of Activism. You will find an overview of activities here.

As part of the campaign, VAADA is excited to share the latest developments with you, including the launch of a range of resources supporting our sector with the new information sharing legislation and our online resource The Navigator and a new set of prompt cards.

In this edition find updates on:

Information sharing: The Navigator

The aim of the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) and the Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS) is to promote the wellbeing and safety of children and keep people who experience family violence safe, and to keep people who use violence in view. VAADA developed an online tool, The Navigator, an interactive flowchart to support AOD services navigate the information sharing scheme requirements. The Navigator provides an overview of how the different components fit together and is a guide to information sharing. Each step in the process has downloadable factsheets with an in-depth explanation of the topic to help build your background knowledge. The Navigator is designed to complement information sharing training and is in line with the responsibilities of your role, alongside the policies and procedures of your organisation. You can access The Navigator here.

Information sharing: The Must/May Model

VAADA worked with Our Curious Minds to deliver training on the new information sharing schemes for the AOD sector. In the context of this training VAADA asked Our Curious Minds to create a flowchart of the legal pathways of information sharing and differentiates between when you MUST NOT and MUST share information or when you MAY share information. This flowchart is available for download on our website here.

VAADA has printed A1 posters of the resource, which are available free of charge for AOD services. Over 700 posters have already been distributed across Victoria. While the prompt cards are free, postage and handling will be charged. Please contact Marije on for more information.

Information sharing: new prompt cards

In light of the new information sharing legislation, VAADA has created a new set of prompt cards to add to your collection.

One card guides you through the process of information sharing, including the final step: ‘documentation of the event’.

The other card highlights when consent is required if you are sharing information under the new legislation and provides you with a number of considerations when discussing consent.

The card will be available to order through VAADA’s website here

Reflections on VAADA’s forum: Responding to Family Violence in the AOD sector, building a map for the integration of family violence reforms

In response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, the AOD sector is tasked with bringing a family violence lens to current practice.

Family Safety Victoria (FSV) developed the Responding to Family Violence Capability Framework (the Framework), which describes the foundational skill set required to respond to all forms of family violence.

VAADA is commissioned by FSV to develop a plan for the integration of the framework in the AOD sector. VAADA held a forum on November 13 to get feedback on early concepts of the roadmap from the AOD sector and other sectors.

The forum was attended by 40 people and three people watched the live streaming of the event. In total 33 different agencies were present. A number of participants from outside the AOD sector attended, including the specialist family violence sector, mental health sector, family services sector and mental health sector.

The day started with an update from Rachel Green, Director Risk Management and Information Sharing, Family Safety Victoria. Rachel provided an overview of the family violence reforms and particular current activities in the AOD sector and discussed updates on the MARAM.

VAADA provided FSV with a report on the current state of the AOD sector in relation to the current response to family violence. Marije Roos, Family Violence Project Lead at VAADA, discussed the report’s findings on the implementation of the family violence reforms in the AOD sector, including identified enablers and current barriers. Table discussions confirmed the findings are still valid and participants provided additional examples that illustrated current practice.

Scott Drummond provided forum participants with an overview of the roadmap. Four key priority areas were identified, being:

  1. Governance:

It was identified that the governance structure is required to provide leadership, authority and accountability and needs to be truly collaborative and cross sectoral.

  1. What will success look like and how will we get there:

A number of activities were suggested that would mark successful integration of the Responding to Family Violence Capability Framework.

  • VAADA argues that including relevant content on the intersection of substance use and family violence in reform frameworks, practice guides and tools would enhance reform outcomes, and would increase the safety of people experiencing family violence and hold people who use violence accountable;
  • The Framework should be the document driving the reforms;
  • There should be a monitoring and evaluation framework to help monitor and measure progress.
  1. Tools and resources:

A number of tools were identified that would assist the implementation of the Framework, including but not limited to: a state-wide organisational readiness assessment tool and procedure; a modular approach to support improved capability; review of the Victorian Comprehensive AOD Assessment Tool; online resources to navigate reform processes.

  1. Enabling environment:

A number of factors were identified to be enabling factors that would assist implementation, including:

  • That Government needs to continue to focus on coordination and sequencing the reform roll-out;
  • Development of agreed training tools, including change management;
  • Relevant and adequate funding;
  • Maintain and enrich the AOD Family Violence network and online community
  • Continued roll out of the MARAM
  • An early revision of the Capability Framework
  • Sustainable implementation

After lunch, café style table discussions provided an opportunity for participants to further reflect on the four key area’s and provide feedback on the proposed components of the roadmap.

During the last activity of the day participants were asked to prioritise the interventions.

  1. Confirm a cross sector governance model inclusive of diversity
  2. Review of the Capability Framework
  3. Change management resources
  4. Develop guidelines for all of the capabilities of the framework
  5. Development of training modules
  6. Organisational Readiness Tool
  7. Expansion of Specialist Family Violence services to manage increased identification and referrals
  8. Ensure the scope of the AOD Specialist Family Advisor project to support the implementation
  9. Collaborative identification of success
  10. Resourcing, for example through small grants, to support implementation at agency level

Next steps:

After a full day of activity, VAADA will process the feedback provided and continue to develop the roadmap.

Come into contact with people affected by family violence? Census of Workforces that Intersect with Family Violence 2019

A range of workforces play important and different roles in preventing and responding to family violence and violence against women. This was recognised by the Royal Commission into Family Violence and is reflected in the Victorian Government’s long-term plan to equip and support workers to prevent and respond to family violence.

The Royal Commission into Family Violence highlighted the lack of detailed knowledge and essential workforce data about family violence in Victoria. The Victorian Government has committed to addressing this gap, which includes undertaking a workforce census, every two years, to deliver continuous workforce planning and development improvements for people who come into contact with family violence, in the course of their work.

The census is an important opportunity for workers who sometimes come into direct contact with victims or perpetrators to highlight the issues that you face in the course of your work that are related to family violence.

The findings aim to build a deeper understanding about the different workforces that intersect with family violence to ensure that you are supported to respond to women and children experiencing family violence and that there is a no wrong door for victims who need help or advice.

The census will take no more than 15-20 minutes to complete and is anonymous.  To complete the survey go to: .

There is a separate census for family violence and primary prevention workers and you will be asked some initial questions to make sure you are led to the most relevant survey for you. In the survey, your role will be referred to as ‘your role in the broader workforce that intersects with family violence’.


Substance Use Coercion

VAADA collaborated with Turning Point and Odyssey House and had a closer look at how substance use can play a role in family violence situations. Through an exploration of substance use coercion we reflected on how the presence of substances may co-exist with behaviours associated with a broader pattern of power and control. A webinar on this subject can be accessed here. VAADA, Turning Point and Odyssey House are continuing to develop this work and will be presenting at the Safe & Together Conference in Melbourne in February 2020.

A full day workshop is also in development on substance use coercion and will explore:

  • Reflection on case scenarios,
  • How this has the potential to impact the power dynamics in a relationship,
  • How to assess for substance use coercion,
  • How to manage the risk and create safety plans,
  • How does substance use coercion impact our clinical work in the AOD sector.

The workshop is scheduled for February 24 2019 in Melbourne. You can register here.

Training opportunities

Upcoming events

  • Accountable for Harm: Criminalised Women and Family Violence
    November 28 2019, 9.00 – 4.30pm
    Flat Out
    Location: Siteworks, 33 Saxon Street Brunswick
    Register here
  • MARAM Collaborative Practice Training
    This training is funded by Department of Health and Human Services provided throughout Victoria in different locations.
    The training will focus on both collaborative practice and foundational aspects of Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) that enable collaboration for professionals responding to family violence across the western region, and is available to all professionals who respond to family violence, including the AOD sector. The training session will explore how to contribute to risk assessment and collaborate for ongoing risk management through respectful and sensitive engagement with victim survivors, information sharing, referral and secondary consultation.The MARAM Collaborative Practice Module forms an integral component of the MARAM suite of training for professionals responding to family violence.
    Contact your local Specialist Family Violence Advisor for more details.

Online training

  • DHHS
    Free ‘Information Sharing Training’
    Access online training here
  • DV-alert
    Free online training designed for frontline workers who are not able to attend a two-day face-to-face workshop. The training enables workers to recognise the signs of domestic violence, respond appropriately and refer if necessary. The course will take approximately 18 hours to complete and is provided over a set term of 10 weeks. Enroll here

Additional family violence training opportunities

    The Lookout provides an up to date calendar list is for short courses provided for and by agencies within the family violence sector in Victoria. Access the LOOKOUT calendar list here
  • No to Violence NtV offers a range of training packages, including:
    Introduction to Working Safely With Men Who Use Family Violence – 2 day training
    Active Bystander Training – 3-hour workshop.
    Various dates are available. Find more information here
    VACCA offers a range of training programs to community services organisations, government agencies and individuals working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and people. Their training programs aim to ensure that your work is culturally appropriate. Book here