Changes to state family violence laws


2006 VLRC review

In 2006, the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) published a review of family violence laws. Many of the VLRC’s recommendations appear in the FVP Act and in subsequent amendments. Other recommendations have been taken up by Victoria Police and by various government departments.

The Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council has published reports about sentencing practices for the contravention of family violence intervention orders and safety notices, and about recidivism (reoffending) in contravention cases (see www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au).

2014 Royal Commission

In 2014, the Victorian Government established a Royal Commission into Family Violence (RCFV). The RCFV began in February 2015 and released its report in March 2016. There are 227 recommendations that address prevention, risk assessment, education, resources, coordination and evaluation. There are a few recommendations about the FVP Act.

The Victorian Government has announced initiatives and funding to implement many of the RCFV’s recommendations. Some of the recommendations have already been implemented (e.g. the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme), or started to be implemented (e.g. the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (seeFamily Violence Information Sharing Scheme”) and the Orange Doors (seeOrange Doors”)). Other proposed reforms (including implementing procedural changes under the FVP Act, rolling out a Family Violence Court Division (seeFamily violence courts”) to 14 major Magistrates’ Courts throughout Victoria are to be implemented within the next five years.

The Victorian Government has also created the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor. The monitor reports on the progress of the implementation of the RCFV’s recommendations, and on family violence reforms in general. The monitor started operating in 2017 and published its first report in May 2018.

For more information about the reforms and changes to state family violence laws, contact Family Safety Victoria (seeContacts”).

Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme

The Royal Commission into Family Violence found that effective and appropriate sharing of information by organisations that work with survivors and perpetrators of family violence (e.g. court staff, the police, support agencies) is crucial to keeping survivors safe and holding perpetrators to account.

In Victoria, the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme was introduced by the Family Violence Protection Amendment (Information Sharing) Act 2017 (Vic). Under the scheme, a select group of prescribed information sharing entities (ISEs) are authorised to share information about family violence survivors, perpetrators, and third parties (if relevant to assessing risk). For more information about the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme, including exactly what information can be shared, a list of ISEs, and the roll-out schedule for the scheme, see www.vic.gov.au/familyviolence/family-safety-victoria/information-sharing-and-risk-management/the-family-violence-information-sharing-scheme.html.

Orange Doors

The Royal Commission into Family Violence recommended the creation of 17 one-stop multi-disciplinary “support and safety hubs” (called “Orange Doors”) for women, children and young people experiencing family violence. It is free to access help and support at Orange Doors and no referral is needed.

Orange Doors are being rolled out by Family Safety Victoria from May 2018 to 2021.

At the time of writing (30 June 2018), three Orange Doors had opened in Victoria, in the Barwon, Bayside Peninsula, and Mallee areas (seeContacts”).

For more information about these Orange Doors, see https://orangedoor.vic.gov.au.