Risk assessment and management
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?
The Family Violence Multi Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) aims to ensure professionals and services across the system have a shared understanding of family violence, and provide consistent and collaborative practice by:
- increasing the safety of victim survivors through strengthened risk identification, assessment and management, informed by collaborative practice, information sharing and secondary consultation;
- increasing recognition of risk to children and young people with guidance on identifying, assessing and managing their risk and needs (directly and indirectly, when working with a non-violent parent/carer); and recognising the diverse experiences and needs of victim survivors, including people from Aboriginal and diverse communities and at-risk age cohorts (older people).
- A key aspect of MARAM is information sharing. Information sharing in Victoria, including access to information by victim survivors, is being improved through the Family Violence Information Sharing (FVIS) Scheme, created at Part 5A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic), enabling prescribed organisations to share risk-relevant information to assess and manage family violence risk to support victim survivor safety and perpetrator accountability.
- The Victorian Government provided $89.5 million in 2017-18 for information sharing, which includes implementation of the FVIS, the Child Information Sharing Scheme (CIS), and the Central Information Point (CIP). For further information on the CIP, refer to the CIP implementation update.
- The Victorian Government provided $30 million for developing and implementing MARAM.
- The 2020-21 state budget allocated a further $97 million over four years to further expand and support the ongoing implementation of the information sharing and the MARAM reforms for broader workforces, including General Practitioners, schools, hospitals and health services.
What have we achieved so far?
- The MARAM is established at law under Part 11 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic), and associated regulations, enabling the relevant Minister to prescribe organisations and services that must align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools to the MARAM Framework.
- The MARAM Framework was released in 2018, followed by supporting resources to assist organisations and professionals to understand their responsibilities when working with victim survivors and perpetrators. A Foundation Knowledge Guide and Victim survivor-focused MARAM Practice Guides and tools were released in July 2019. In July 2021 the Identification and Intermediate perpetrator-focused MARAM Practice Guides and tools were released for non-specialist workforces, including an updated Foundation Knowledge Guide.
- In September 2018, the first phase (Phase One) of services and organisations were prescribed, requiring them to align their policies, practices, procedures and tools to MARAM and to share information under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVIS Scheme). This included approximately 850 organisations across Victoria, following an initial tranche of organisations prescribed under the FVIS Scheme in February 2018. Phase 2 commenced in April 2021 and MARAM and the FVISS now cover over 370,000 workers. Implementation of the MARAM Framework and FVISS has been aligned with the commencement and rollout of the Child Information Sharing Scheme, which also commenced in September 2018.
- The second annual report to Victorian Parliament with information on MARAM alignment, implementation and operation during 2019–20 was tabled on 18 February 2021, as required under the FVPA. The report outlines an increased focus on training, workforce capability and development of tailored products to support workforces to undertake their family violence practice responsibilities.
- Evidence gathered to date indicates an increase in information sharing across the family violence service system and completions of MARAM risk assessments continuing to increase with implementation of MARAM tools in online client record management systems.
- As of June 2021, over 38,000 workers had received training in FVISS, CISS and in MARAM, including renewing practice, leading alignment and comprehensive training for specialist practitioners and leaders, and collaborative practice and brief and intermediate training for practitioners more generally.
- A new online system to host the Tools for Risk Assessment and Management (TRAM) has been rolled out to The Orange Door services and key partner services. Over 45,000 MARAM risk assessments and safety plans have been undertaken by the Orange Door since April 2018.
- In 2020, implementation of the MARAM tools into the Specialist Homelessness Information Platform (SHIP) was completed to further support use across the specialist family violence and homelessness sectors, with over 33,000 risk assessments and safety plans undertaken in the first 10 months of operation.
- In 2020, a MARAM Organisational Embedding Guide was released, supporting prescribed organisations to align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools to MARAM.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, a set of MARAM Practice Notes were released to provide professionals in specialist and non-specialist roles with targeted advice and guidance on responding to increased risk of family violence in a changed work delivery environment. All government portfolios prescribed to MARAM ensured a family violence focus was included in business continuity.
What is next?
- The Comprehensive perpetrator-focused MARAM Practice Guides and tools for specialist workforces are being finalised for release in late 2021 and Adolescent Family Violence MARAM Practice Guides and tools will be developed for release in 2022.
- Further work is being planned to develop MARAM Practice Guides for family violence screening and assessing for serious risk and wellbeing concerns for children and young people.
- FSV will continue to develop resources including organisational guidance to support leaders to implement practice changes for their workforces and organisations.
- TRAM will continue to be progressively rolled out to a broader group of organisations and services.
- Planning is underway for implementation of the perpetrator-focused identification and assessment tools on TRAM and other relevant client record management systems
What difference will we make?
This initiative will contribute to the National Outcomes that services meet the needs of women and their children experiencing violence and that perpetrators stop their violence and are held to account.
The Victorian Family Violence Outcomes Framework was published in Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change, which outlined Victoria’s priorities in preventing and responding to family violence, why they matter, and what constitutes success. The Victorian Family Violence Outcomes Framework is a whole of Government framework and is intended to ensure Victorian family violence reform efforts are focused on the actions that make a difference. The Victorian Government is progressing development of the framework, including through indicators and measures. In time, measurement and monitoring of Victorian family violence outcomes may also support reporting for the National Plan.
- MARAM will support the broader system to build a shared understanding of family violence, perform their roles in risk assessment and management, and shift the burden from victim survivors to the service system. As the service system matures in aligning to MARAM, earlier intervention and collaborative practice will help to reduce family violence harm and hold perpetrators to account.
- As MARAM becomes increasingly embedded into practice and utilised as best practice, capabilities and confidence in responding to family violence will increase across the workforce. A consistent and collaborative response will be supported.
- The MARAM legislation requires review of the implementation of the Framework within five years, and ongoing review of the evidence base every five years to ensure MARAM maintains currency with evidence-based best practice over time.
- FSV has engaged consultants to develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the MARAM reforms and a process evaluation of early implementation efforts.
- The FVIS Scheme legislation requires an independent review two years post implementation. This review has been completed and was tabled in the Victorian Parliament in August 2020. The review considered the process of implementation of the FVIS Scheme, as well as the scheme’s impact on levels of information sharing and the safety of victim survivors. The review made 22 recommendations and found that the implementation of the FVIS Scheme had been broadly successful in meeting its objectives to share perpetrator information to support multi agency collaborative practice and more effective risk assessment and management. The review, undertaken by Monash University, is on Family Safety Victoria’s website, alongside the government response.
- A further review five years post implementation is also required by the FVIS legislation (i.e. by 2023).