Specialist family violence services: the heart of an effective family violence system

Family violence Victims of family violence Integrated family violence services Australia Victoria
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The Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence is an extraordinary opportunity to interrogate and strengthen the family system in this state. Unprecedented increase in family violence incidents has placed demands on the system - the specialist family violence services police, legal support, child protection and the courts - which they are struggling to meet. As community awareness about family violence increases, so do the pressures on the system to provide safety and future security for those experiencing it.
As the peak body for family violence services for women and children in Victoria, Domestic Violence Victoria is able to provide particular insight into the work of specialist family violence services and the role they play within the broader family violence system. This submission explains the specialist nature and work of family violence services within the system. It makes the case that to be fully effective, the skills, knowledge and practice framework of family violence specialists should inform every aspect of the family violence system. This is critical to service delivery and agency responses across the sector. It identifies the strengths and gaps within the system and makes recommendations to build stronger practice, better integration and more effective responses to women and children experiencing family violence.
DV Vic's submission argues that an effective response to family violence must be built on a strong, stable policy platform and, critically, appropriate, reliable and dedicated funding commensurate to need. Unless the historical legacy of inadequate, ad hoc and uncertain funding for family violence services is addressed through the introduction of a dedicated, guaranteed family violence funding stream, as opposed to the current funding arrangement through homelessness programs, the services and the system will continue to struggle to provide optimum, timely and effective responses to women and children experiencing family violence.

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