In this section:

Faster access to payments and supports

Responsible government

  • Commonwealth

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Improve support and service system responses
    • 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?

Services Australia (the agency) explored options to provide faster access to payment and support for people affected by family and domestic violence. This includes identifying improvements to help those affected by family and domestic violence to have their Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support needs addressed in one interaction with staff.

  • The Commonwealth Government will fund this initiative within existing resources.

What have we achieved so far?

This initiative ended on 30 June 2021. The consultation process commenced in January 2019 and involved research and an environmental scan, to better understand issues facing people affected by family and domestic violence, and how they interact, with the agency. To support this research, two exploratory sessions were convened with staff and external service providers and key policy agencies. These sessions identified options and opportunities to enhance the customer experience for people affected by family and domestic violence and have helped the agency understand where it fits, from a community organisation perspective, into the wider family and domestic violence support network.

Some enhancements implemented as a result include:

  • development of abridged family and domestic violence training for new staff as well as specific training on the abuse of older Australians
  • increased messaging, across a variety of channels, for customers affected by family and domestic violence to direct them to the support available
  • implementation of new telephony options to streamline customer engagement and access to family and domestic violence support, including messaging in 15 different languages on the Multilingual Phone Service
  • release of an online claiming channel for Crisis Payments, a payment for people who have experienced an extreme circumstance and are in severe financial hardship
  • development of an ongoing program to monitor and review the effectiveness of the agency’s family and domestic violence referral model, to ensure people are connected to the appropriate support for their circumstances
  • development of succinct information on the agency’s website to assist customers affected by family and domestic violence to navigate the payments and services offered by Services Australia. This includes a checklist for customers that provides information on things to consider when contacting Child Support, Centrelink and Medicare. The checklist has been translated into 30 languages
  • finalisation of the agency’s Family and Domestic Violence Strategy 2020 – 2023
  • the review of all of our family and domestic violence training packages to ensure these resources are contemporary and accessible for all staff, managers and Senior Executive staff. The development of new online training (including refined content) has improved accessibility, ensuring all staff have access and flexibility to undertake the training, increasing staff awareness about family and domestic violence.
  • a Services Australia Family and Domestic Violence Pilot that commenced in February 2021. Initially, the pilot will focus on Child Support customers, with any learnings from the pilot to inform the future Services Australia approach to managing customers who are at risk of, or experiencing family and domestic Violence. The pilot will ensure an integrated whole of agency service response providing an intensive and collaborative whole case management response where cases are identified that present significant, immediate risk
  • implementation of medium term professional support and intervention to customers experiencing family and domestic violence. Social workers help customers build stronger connections to additional supports within their communities, and
  • enhancements to our interactive voice response system to identify customers impacted by family and domestic violence in order to refer them to appropriate support services.

What is next?

  • The agency will continue to pursue service delivery enhancements for customers affected by family and domestic violence as part of its normal operations.
  • The pilot that commenced in February 2021 will be expanded under a new 2021-22 Budget Measure to develop a more customer focussed, holistic approach to customers at risk of, or experiencing, family and domestic violence.
  • Identify opportunities to better target support to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and Indigenous communities.
  • Identify opportunities to improve information sharing across programmes directly related to customer safety to ensure staff are able to make informed and timely decisions.

What difference will we make?

The intended outcomes of this initiative were:

  • people affected by family and domestic violence are provided with faster access to support and payments
  • there is reduced need for people affected by family and domestic violence to repeat their story and re-live the trauma of the event
  • people are able to access to income support payments and connections with external providers faster, with improvements to their personal and financial safety.

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