Better Information Sharing To Keep Women And Children Safe
Ground-breaking new laws introduced by the Andrews Labor Government to keep women and children safe and perpetrators accountable are now operating in Victoria.
The new Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme – a key plank of the Labor Government’s landmark family violence reforms – also enable other major reforms like the Support and Safety Hubs and Central Information Point to operate.
The Royal Commission into Family Violence and Coronial Inquest into the Death of Luke Geoffrey Batty identified barriers that prevent information about perpetrators from being shared effectively. It found the failure to share crucial information with family violence workers can have catastrophic consequences.
In response to these findings, the Labor Government introduced the Family Violence Protection Amendment (Information Sharing) Act 2017 in March last year.
The Act allows an authorised group of trusted government agencies and community service organisations to share information with each other for family violence risk assessment and risk management purposes.
The Act also removes the requirement in existing Victorian privacy legislation that a serious threat to an individual must also be imminent before information can be lawfully shared.
More than 500 practitioners and managers across priority workforces authorised under the Scheme have been trained, including women’s and men’s specialist family violence services, Child FIRST, community based Child Protection, Victoria Police, Courts Victoria and sexual assault support services.
Training will continue to be available in the coming months to ensure the new laws are implemented effectively.
Ministerial Guidelines, fact sheets and other tools relating to the new family violence legislation are available at vic.gov.au/familyviolence.
These reforms will align with the launch of the revised Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework later this year. Complimentary Child Information Sharing legislation recently passed the lower house.
Quotes attributable to Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings
“These new laws will help agencies and organisations get the information they need to keep women and children safe from family violence.”
“Hundreds of front line staff have received specialised training, to ensure they are ready to implement the new laws we have passed to protect victims and combat the most prevalent crime in our community – family violence.”
Quote attributable to Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Natalie Hutchins
“Family violence is Victoria’s number one crime issue. Ensuring our family violence workers and agencies have better access to crucial information will help keep all Victorians safe.”