ACT Government Response to the Domestic Violence Prevention Council Report from the Extraordinary Meeting 2018 on addressing the needs of children and young people impacted by family violence
- Australian Capital Territory
Fourth Action Plan actions
- Improve support and service system responses
- 16 Enable workforces to provide trauma-informed support with a focus on safety and recovery to victims and survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence.
- 17 Collaborate across services, sectors and workforces to ensure responses to women affected by domestic, family and sexual violence are coordinated, meet women’s needs, avoid women having to retell their story and promote their recovery.
What are we doing?
The ACT Domestic Violence Prevention Council (DVPC) convened an Extraordinary Meeting in April 2018 to better understand key issues for children and young people who have been affected by domestic and family violence in the ACT. The Final report from the Domestic Violence Prevention Council Extraordinary Meeting addressing the needs of children and young people impacted by family violence, 2018 made five key recommendations, with detailed specific actions to ensure children and young people’s experiences and needs are given consideration when responding to domestic and family violence.
The ACT Government accepted all recommendations and released an ACT Government Response. This detailed how Government would action the recommendations and improve capacity to understand and respond effectively to the needs of children and young people affected by domestic, family and sexual violence.
What have we achieved so far?
Completion or significant progress has been made for 4 out of the 5 recommendations, alongside the delivery of a range of additional actions that align with the original intent of the DVPC’s recommendations but were not included in the original ACT Government Response.
Significant work is underway to implement the remaining recommendation (to increase the number, availability, and accessibility of therapeutic services for children and young people) and on additional actions that align with the recommendation’s intent, including:
- embedding and strengthening trauma-informed practice in ACT Public Schools through the Safe and Supportive Schools Policy, Positive Behaviour for Learning, and trauma-informed professional learning;
- building a greater understanding of children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing in the ACT, including a co-design and review process published in March 2020;
- supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing through rollout of the Youth Aware mental health program in schools, and design of an online youth navigation portal;
- more support for children protection and youth justice practitioners to provide therapeutic and trauma-informed support to children, young people, families and carers; and
- piloting the Got Your Back group therapy program with Relationships Australia for young people living with domestic and family violence.
Key highlights from 2020 and 2021 include:
- completion of the consultation with children and young people, and development of the Now You Have Heard Us, What Will You Do? resources (see Supporting Children and Young People Affected by Domestic and Family Violence for further details)
- completion of the community consultation for and development of the ACT Child Safe Standards Scheme. The ACT Government has been implementing the scheme through developing and implementing policies, resources, tools and business processes that build capacity to keep children and young people safe
- completion of a Supporting Review of Current Evidence paper to inform an outcomes framework and program of evaluations for family violence
- completion of a review of evidence on trauma and therapeutic services and development of a policy paper on therapeutic care for children and young people in the ACT. This will assist with developing and strengthening the therapeutic responses and supports for children and young people across the ACT
- creation of Family Court Liaison Officer to support the provision of child protection information to the family court.
What is next?
Next phase of implementation will continue to focus on improving the range of therapeutic responses and supports for children and young people.
What difference will we make?
Actions against the five key recommendations aim to build capacity of mainstream and speciality family violence sectors to respond to the needs of children and young people impacted by family violence.