New report card on Victoria’s progress towards family violence system reform

As part of its reform package following the watershed 2016 report of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, the Victorian Government established the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor. This role is responsible for holding the government and its agencies to account for implementation of statewide family violence reform.

The Monitor, Tim Cartwright APM, reports to parliament and the community each year on the progress and effectiveness of Victoria’s family violence system reforms. The Monitor’s second report, tabled in parliament in March, looks at the work completed in the year to November 2018, focusing on three key areas: support and safety hubs, primary prevention and the voices of survivors.

Support and Safety Hubs

A flagship element of Victoria’s family violence system reforms is the establishment of 17 Support and Safety Hubs designed to make it easy for victim survivors to get help safely and quickly. Looking at the first five Hubs (now known as Orange Doors), opened in 2018, the Monitor found that rushed implementation had led to extra complexity, barriers and costs. While acknowledging the need for some urgency, the report recommended a more paced approach to implementation of the remaining Hubs.

Primary prevention

The Monitor found that Victoria has made reasonable progress on primary prevention. A major development in 2018 was the opening of Respect Victoria, a new statutory agency working to change the culture, attitudes and social norms that lead to family violence. For the best chance of success in stopping family violence before it starts, the Monitor highlighted the need to better coordinate future primary prevention efforts.

Voices of survivors

The perspectives of victim survivors should directly inform the design and management of the family violence system. The Monitor reported that while the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council is providing invaluable feedback, more needs to be done to ensure diverse voices inform policy and service delivery.