Towards a family violence service system where everybody matters

Historically, family violence services have been under-resourced and poorly placed to respond to marginalised communities. Faced with extra barriers to getting help, people from diverse communities have often been placed at greater risk of family violence. One historically underserved group is older people experiencing family violence at the hands of adult children or non-family carers. Survivor victims of elder abuse don’t always recognise that what they are experiencing is a form of family violence, and this alone can be a barrier to getting help.

Gaps like this in the family violence system were highlighted by the Royal Commission into Family Violence, which acknowledged that current frameworks for addressing family violence don’t always reflect the experiences of groups whose experience of family violence is less visible, different and poorly understood. The Royal Commission called for a better understanding of how family violence is experienced in diverse communities and, crucially, for services that are more accessible, inclusive and non-discriminatory.

Everybody Matters – the Victorian Government response

The Victorian Government has responded to this call by developing the Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement, which sets out a long-term vision for the creation of a family violence system that is more inclusive, safe, responsive and accountable to all Victorians.

The product of a comprehensive consultation process that drew on the lived experiences of victim survivors, the Statement will guide the development of inclusive and responsive family violence policy and service design in Victoria. The Statement identifies three strategic priorities for improvement:

  • building knowledge about the experiences of people using the service system
  • building capacity and capability across the service system so that there is ‘no wrong door’ for anyone seeking support
  • strengthening targeted services to complement and build the capacity of the wider service system.

Next steps – a detailed blueprint

The Statement will guide work over the coming decade, with the next step the development of an Inclusion and Equity Blueprint that sets out the actions needed to achieve the Statement’s long-term vision of an inclusive family violence service system.