Family violence policy

4.137 It is recognised that ‘[g]ood individual practice cannot be sustained unless it is supported by organisational cultures and legitimated formally … by being enshrined in policy’.[167]

Submissions and consultations

4.138 The ADFVC recommended the development of a family violence policy—including procedures for screening and dealing with disclosures information provided to customers, training for staff, appointment of a case worker to those who disclose and restricting access to their personal information. The ADFVC considered that such a policy may provide greater clarity to staff and greater consistency in practice.[168]

4.139 In a joint submission, the Domestic Violence Victoria and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria submitted that ‘building common understandings about the nature and dynamics of family violence across all organisations dealing with child support and family assistance is an essential first step. The development of consistent definitions, policies, screening tools, risk management guidelines and practice directions will enhance the safety of women and children experiencing family violence’.[169]

ALRC’s views

4.140 The ALRC’s view is that a family violence policy across agencies would help to ensure a consistent response to family violence from service agencies such as Centrelink, CSA and the FAO. In addition, a family violence policy would perform an educative function across the three agencies.

Proposal 4–15 The Department of Human Services and other relevant departments and agencies should develop policies and statements relating to family violence and child protection, to ensure consistency in service responses. These policies should be published on the departments’ and agencies’ websites and be included in the information provided to customers in Proposal 4–8.

[167] Australian Institute of Social Relations, Screening, Risk Assessment and Safety Planning (2010).

[168] ADFVC, Submission CFV 53, 27 April 2011.

[169] Joint submission from Domestic Violence Victoria and others, Submission CFV 59, 27 April 2011.