Victoria Royal Commission into Family Violence tables report with 227 recommendations

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The Royal Commission into Family Violence in Victoria, Australia has tabled its report to the Victorian Government.

The Commission's report and recommendations discusses the significant progress made in the last 15 years to address family violence but also states "... there are serious limitations in the existing approach. We are not responding adequately to the scale and impact of the harm caused by family violence."

The 2000 page report outlines 227 recommendations for the Victorian government, organisations and the wider community. The summary is 40 pages, under topic headings making it easy to read the parts relating to your areas of family violence work.

The recommendations are intended to transform the response to family violence. The recommendations include the following:

  • "Support and Safety Hubs in local communities throughout Victoria, to make it easier for victims to find help and gain access to a greater range of services
  • new laws to ensure that privacy considerations do not trump victims’ safety—with a Central Information Point to funnel information about perpetrators to the Hubs
  • an immediate funding boost to services that support victims and families, additional resources for Aboriginal community initiatives and a dedicated funding stream for preventing family violence
  • a ‘blitz’ to rehouse women and children forced to leave their homes, supported by expanded individual funding packages
  • an expanded investigative capacity for police and mobile technology for front-line police, including a trial of body-worn cameras
  • more specialist family violence courts that can deal with criminal, civil and family law matters at the same time
  • stronger perpetrator programs and increased monitoring and oversight by agencies
  • family violence training for all key workforces—including in hospitals and schools
  • investment in future generations through expanded respectful relationships education in schools
  • an independent Family Violence Agency to hold government to account."

Some recommendations recommend specific timelines while others offer general guidelines. However, the Commission emphasises that the recommendations should be implemented with a coordinated approach.

Responses to the report

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said his Government will implement all of the recommendations.

Emily Maguire, Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria CEO said "This report marks a historic milestone in the way we address and prioritise family violence in Victoria. We’re pleased to see a commitment from the government to invest in long-term, innovative and sustainable reforms to improve prevention and response to family violence."

Domestic Violence Victoria CEO Fiona McCormack said "But it’s a first step, not the last, and it now needs to be backed up by whole of government action and dedicated funding. Our fear is that there will be some immediate funding, but that next year the momentum will have moved on. Tackling family violence is a long term commitment."

WIRE CEO Rachael Bausor said "The Commission’s findings are exemplary – in their scope, their empathy and understanding, and the active solutions proposed. However, these recommendations are worthless if they are not accompanied by appropriate funding, and if the focus on the symptom of men’s violence against women obscures the root causes: gender inequality and sexism. Family Violence is a gendered crime. Addressing Family Violence without addressing gender inequality will not work."

Rosie Batty, domestic violence advocate and 2015 Australian of the Year, will chair a new victim-survivor advisory council to oversee the implementation of the recommendations.

Ms Batty commented on the future implementation of the report "I'm quite positive ... but you know what? We have a federal election coming along, it takes all of us to make sure this is up on the political agenda."

Background information

The Royal Commission's task was to identify the most effective ways to:

  • "prevent family violence
  • improve early intervention so as to identify and protect those at risk
  • support victims—particularly women and children—and address the impacts of violence on them
  • make perpetrators accountable
  • develop and refine systemic responses to family violence—including in the legal system and by police, corrections, child protection, legal and family violence support services
  • better coordinate community and government responses to family violence
  • evaluate and measure the success of strategies, frameworks, policies, programs and services introduced to put a stop family violence."
The 13-month inquiry was led by Justice Marcia Neave. During the inquiry, the Commission consulted with communities, individuals and organisations including receiving written submissions and holding oral hearings.
 
Victorian Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Fiona Richardson visited New Zealand in 2015. In March 2016, she spoke to Australian media about her own family's experiences of violence.

Update

The Victorian Government has allocated $570 million to start implementing the recommendations:

Urgent Family Violence Investment Will Help Keep Women And Children Safe, Press Release: Premier of Victoria, 13.04.2016

Victoria allocates $572m to fund family violence inquiry recommendation, The Guardian, 13.04.2016

Victoria pledges half a billion dollars to family violence services, The Age, 13.04.2016

Media

A sample of media articles are below:

The extraordinary power of politically validating the scourge of domestic violence, Opinion:

Royal Commission into Family Violence: what you need to know, The Age, Victoria, 30.03.2016

Family violence report: Rosie Batty calls for federal support for Victoria's royal commission recommendations, ABC News, 30.03.2016

Victorian family violence royal commission report to 'change everything', ABC News, 30.03.2016

Victoria's family violence royal commission delivers its proposals, The Guardian, 29.03.2016