The Royal Commission identified that organisations working with victim survivors and perpetrators were failing to share information and to identify, assess and manage risk effectively. This was compromising the safety of victim survivors and not keeping perpetrators accountable for their actions.
In response, we legislated the new Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework, known as MARAM, and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS).
Slot gameThe Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS) was also introduced following numerous independent reviews and inquiries. It promotes shared responsibility for children’s wellbeing and safety and increasing collaboration across the service system.
Slot gameMARAM and the two information schemes are being rolled out in two phases:
- Phase One: Commenced 2018 across 850 organisations, covering approximately 37,500 professionals.
- Phase Two: Commencing April 2021 across 5,800 government and non-government organisations, covering approximately 370,000 additional professionals.
What will this approach achieve?
The aim of MARAM is to ensure that people affected by, experiencing or using family violence are provided with an appropriate, consistent and capable response no matter where or how they engage with services.
MARAM aims to establish a system-wide shared understanding of what family violence is, and how to respond to it. By improving knowledge across all services of how family violence can impact people from different backgrounds and at different stages of life we can ensure that people get the help they need.
Slot gameThere is no one experience of family violence. MARAM recognises that each person's experience of family violence is shaped and influenced by multiple factors that may require specialised responses.
Slot gameMARAM provides guidance on how to work with different groups of people and communities such as Aboriginal and culturally, linguistically and faith diverse communities; children, young people and older people; people with disabilities and LGBTIQ+ people, so that we understand how family violence affects them and how services might need to be tailored.
Understanding MARAM and information sharing
- provides a comprehensive definition of family violence and supports workers to identify and assess family violence risk
- applies to a prescribed list of organisations and workforces across the services system including specialist family violence services, child protection, maternal child health nurses, courts and Victoria Police
- sets out the responsibilities of these workforces when they come into contact with individuals and families experiencing family violence
- enables risk relevant information about victim survivors, perpetrators, alleged perpetrators and other people involved in family violence to be collected, used and shared between authorised workforces
- allows for broadly the same set of prescribed services and organisations to share information to promote the wellbeing or safety of children
Slot gameThis video highlights the reasons for the three schemes and how together they will benefit the wider service system and the lives of Victorians.
Supporting organisations to implement the schemes
Slot gameRelevant organisations are required to change how they work and make sure their policies and procedures align with MARAM, and comply with the requirements of FVISS and CISS.
Tools, practice guides, training and grants are being provided to organisations and staff to support change management and help them implement the schemes.
MARAM promotes collaboration between workforces who deal with family violence, through a shared understanding of family violence and supported by effective sharing of information between government and non-government organisations and agencies that intersect with family violence.
MARAM and the information schemes have been developed to be adaptable, as we learn more through research and evaluation or as circumstances change. For example, additional material has been prepared for workers and organisations in response to changed conditions under coronavirus (COVID-19).
In recognition of the size of the workforces, implementation is being rolled out in a way which recognises it will take time for organisations to change and for sufficient workers to be trained and use MARAM.
Slot gameIt is a big task but each step counts. As each new health, community services, justice and education worker is trained and puts the training into practice, we are building a system or ‘web’ across the community with workers who can recognise family violence and offer help.
During consultation, a family violence sector worker shared what MARAM and information sharing is – and what it does:
MARAM gives us the tools to identify, assess and manage family violence risk. FVISS is the mechanism to share relevant family violence risk information. Training tells us what is relevant risk information. If the scheme is working well, there's little risk of important information not being shared.
Children and young people under MARAM
Slot gameMARAM recognises children and young people as victim survivors of family violence in their own right.
It is a core principle of MARAM that children and young people who are victim survivors of family violence have a voice and should be heard. This recognises that children are present in one third of family violence incidents in Victoria.
Slot gameMARAM recognises risk factors caused by perpetrator’s behaviour which are specific to children. For example, perpetrators often engage in behaviours that damage the relationship between a mother and her child or children.
Slot gameTactics that undermine confidence in parenting and undermine the child-parent relationship can have long-term effects on the psychological, developmental and emotional wellbeing of the children.
This video explains how the MARAM Framework has been developed to consider the needs of children and young people as victim survivors.
Progress since 2016
The key MARAM and information sharing activities which have been delivered since the Royal Commission are grouped here into four areas.
Delivery to 2023
This overview of our planned MARAM and information sharing activities to 2023 is grouped into five areas:
Connecting MARAM and information sharing across the reform
Slot gameThe ongoing delivery of connected reform activity is contributing to growing the reach and strength of our risk assessment and management and information sharing. For example:
- workforce capability and capacity-building is aligned to the implementation of MARAM
- competency in applying MARAM and information sharing policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools is a key deliverable in the industry plan for workforce development
- when fully implemented our risk assessment and management frameworks will support collaboration and consistency across the specialist family violence workforce and the workforces that intersect - in community services, health, justice and education
- the reforms improve shared understanding of the structural inequalities and barriers experienced by Aboriginal and diverse communities and at-risk age groups
This connected delivery will continue to contribute to better outcomes for victim survivors.
Slot gameActivities to delivered MARAM and information sharing are informed by our reform-wide priorities of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience.
Slot gameIntersectionality is embedded as a core principle of MARAM. It recognises that social categorisations – such as gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, language, religion, class, socioeconomic status, gender identity, ability or age – can intersect in a way which compounds discrimination or disadvantage for either an individual or group.
Slot gameUnder MARAM:
- Family violence practitioners consider intersectionality as one of four key components of their structured professional judgement.
- Guidance on reflective practice and unconscious bias are included in the MARAM Foundation Knowledge Guide.
- The Intersectionality Capacity Building Project is developing specific tools to apply an intersectional lens in all family violence practice, building on MARAM Practice Guides.
Slot gameWe acknowledge the ongoing leadership role of Aboriginal communities in addressing and preventing family violence, and will continue to work in collaboration with Aboriginal Victorians to eliminate family violence from all communities.
- broader Aboriginal definitions of family violence, including community violence
- the need to reduce the disproportionate impact of family violence on Aboriginal people, particularly women and children
- the need to continue to develop our evidence base to ensure effective and targeted responses for priority communities
Aboriginal engagement in developing and implementing the MARAM Framework
A range of Aboriginal stakeholders were consulted during the development of the MARAM Framework, including the risk assessment tools, practice guidance and training.
Slot gameIn addition to attendance at the Aboriginal Co-Design Forum and Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum, representatives of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations were engaged directly on specific products.
The MARAMIS Expert Advisory Group includes Aboriginal community sector membership.
A range of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations have been funded to lead implementation of MARAM and information sharing schemes within Aboriginal-specific services; a working group composed of these organisations provides ongoing input and advice on reform implementation and design.
Delivery of MARAM with Victoria's Aboriginal communities
Slot gameSome examples within MARAM of improvements to service delivery for Aboriginal peoples and communities include:
- MARAM assessment tools
- include specific questions for people who identify as Aboriginal, which aims to improve the quality of risk assessment and safety planning for Aboriginal people
- Cultural safety as a MARAM principle
- Principle 7 of MARAM emphasises that services and responses provided to people from Aboriginal communities should be culturally responsive and safe
- the principle recognises Aboriginal understanding of family violence and rights to self-determination and self-management
- it takes account of their experiences of colonisation, systemic violence and discrimination and recognises the ongoing and present day impacts of historical events, policies and practices
- the principle applies to improving the cultural capability of mainstream services as well as supporting Aboriginal people to access Aboriginal community controlled services where they choose to
- MARAM Practice Guides
- include specific guidance on risk management for Aboriginal people, including asking whether people wish to be referred to an Aboriginal-specific service
- The Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS)
- FVISS Ministerial Guidelines include specific guidance on sharing information about Aboriginal people
- MARAM/FVISS implementation for Aboriginal services and communities is driven by the Dhelk Dja Aboriginal Family Violence Agreement
Slot gameThe Victim Survivors' Advisory Council was consulted during development of the MARAM Practice Guides.
Slot gameVictim survivor self-assessment of risk is the first consideration in the MARAM structured professional judgement model.
Family Violence Outcomes Framework
Slot gameDelivering the activities for this priority area will likely have the greatest impact in achieving outcomes against the following domains:
Domains 2, 3 and 4
Summary of activities to 2023
Reviewed 09 December 2020