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  • Jane Holford

Event Report: Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme & MARAM Framework

Updated: May 26, 2022

Date: 28 August 2019 Time: 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM Venue: Melbourne Family Relationship Centre – 379 Collins Street Speakers: Linda Gyorki (Manager, Support and Safety Hubs, Family Safety Victoria), Sophie Robinson (Manager, Legal Policy and Strategy in the Risk Management Information Sharing Team, Family Safety Victoria), and Julie Jenkin (Manager, Strategic Projects, Family Safety Victoria).
On Wednesday 28 of August 2019, the Greater Melbourne Family Law Pathways Network ran an event discussing the ‘Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme & MARAM Framework’.

The event featured presentations from Sophie Robinson, Linda Gyorki and Julie Jenkin from Family Safety Victoria. Together, they presented an overview of The Orange Door, The MARAM risk assessment framework, the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) and the future of family violence program reforms.

The event concluded with an opportunity for the audience to ask questions. The speakers were joined by their colleague Megan Taylor for the Q & A panel portion of the event.

The Orange Door

The Orange Door (previously branded as the support and safety hubs) were founded in response to the recommendations of the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence. The Orange Door is a new way for women, children and young people experiencing family violence, and families in need of support regarding the care, wellbeing and development of children and adolescents, to access the services they need to feel safe and supported.

Clients can access The Orange Door via multiple access points – either by attending a physical hub, outreach locations, or by calling/emailing/filling out online contact forms. Alternatively, clients can be linked into The Orange Door through police referral. Victoria Police members who attend a family violence incident can make formal referrals to The Orange Door by completing an L17 Referral – which is the term for the Victoria Police Risk Assessment and Risk Management Report. Clients may also be referred to The Orange Door through various state-wide after hour’s services and professionals (e.g. legal service or child protection).

From here, clients will undergo a service model beginning with screening, identification and triage. At this stage, The Orange Door will determine whether the enquiry falls within their scope (initial screening), and whether there are any immediate safety issues, child wellbeing issues or risks that need to be addressed (identification) and the priority or urgency of the action required (triage). Clients will then participate in assessment and planning. The initial planning stage for clients identifies:

  • The presenting issue, risk or need to be addressed,

  • The proposed type of service/support/action to be implemented,

  • The anticipated intensity of service response, and

  • The priority of provision of service response and identification of any critical risks should this response be unable to be provided within an identified timeframe.

The Orange Door is not designed to be a case management service. They will deliver service responses to clients in crisis situations, through targeted interventions and brokerage, provide the entry point for family violence services and perpetrator services through allocation into core services, and/or link clients into broader services and supports through referrals to other organisations.

In order to access The Orange Door, clients must have a ‘connection’ (home, work, etc.) with the catchment area. The Orange Door will be rolled out across all 17 Department of Health and Human Services areas by the end of 2021-2022. It is currently operational in Bayside Peninsula, Barwon, Mallee, North Eastern Melbourne and Gippsland. The schedule for the remaining rollout of the remaining areas is yet to be determined.

The MARAM Framework

The MARAM (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework) is a suite of tools for risk assessment and management. The suite of MARAM assessment tools includes screening, brief, intermediate and comprehensive assessment tools for adult victim survivors, and a comprehensive assessment tool kit for children.

The MARAM Framework has superseded the previous Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF). The MARAM Framework has been established in law under a new Part 11 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic). This means that the entire workforce (being organisations that are authorised through the regulations, as well as organisations providing funded services relevant to family violence risk assessment and management) must align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools to the MARAM Framework.

The benefits of adopting the MARAM Framework are that all parts of the service system will have a shared understanding of risk assessment and management. Professionals in the sector will be able to employ their skills within a framework which guides appropriate risk management action; fostering a much clearer understanding of the responsibilities of other parts of the system when coordinating and implementing safety and accountability planning.

The MARAM Framework is used under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme. The information ascertained under this framework can be shared between information sharing entities.

The Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme

Under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS), information sharing entities (ISE’s) are authorised to share information. These ISE’s are prescribed by regulation. The list of prescribed ISE’s is attached to this event report as appendix 1.

ISE’s are permitted to share relevant information about a person (adult or child) who is a victim survivor, perpetrator or a third party for the purposes of establishing and assessing risk and/or managing risk. They can share this information voluntarily with other ISE’s, or in response to a request from another ISE.

There is some information that is excluded from the FVISS, and cannot be shared. This includes (but is not limited to) where the information may endanger a person’s life or result in physical injury, prejudice legal proceedings or a police investigation, contravene a court order, or is subject to legal professional privilege. Additionally, ISE’s cannot share information that would contravene another law that has not been specifically overridden by the scheme.

Consent is required for ISE’s to share relevant information about adult victim survivors and third parties. This is true unless there is a serious threat, or the information relates to assessing or managing a risk to a child victim survivor.

Consent is not required for ISE’s to share information about child victim survivors if their information is relevant to assessing or managing risk of family violence to a child victim survivor. Further, consent is not required in relation to sharing information about perpetrators or alleged perpetrators for the purpose of establishing, assessing or managing the risk of family violence. However, information about an alleged perpetrator can only be shared in the risk assessment phase.

All ISE’s must respond to information requests, unless an exemption applies. Notably, a good faith defence protects individuals who share information in good faith and with reasonable care.

Complaints about privacy breaches can be made to the Victorian Information Commissioner or the Health Complaints Commissioner.

The FVISS is accessible by frontline workers through the ‘Central Information Point’ (CIP). The CIP is a new service operated by Family Safety Victoria that consolidates critical information about a perpetrator (or alleged perpetrator) of family violence into a single report for frontline workers to assist with family violence risk assessment and management. This allows for more timely, consolidated and up to date information to make more informed assessments of family violence risk and identify safety needs. The consolidated information available in a CIP report is provided by a co-located team of data custodians from Victoria Police, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, Corrections Victoria, and the Department of Health and Human Services (Child Protection). Currently, after a request is made, the report will be sent either the same day, or within 2-3 days. However, this estimated response time is expected to increase as more locations of The Orange Door are opened and more requests are made.

The FVISS will be reviewed after 2 years, and then again after 5 years.

Family Violence Program Reforms and Pilot Programs

Family Safety Victoria is currently running a series of pilot programs to respond to the recommendations made from the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence. These include programs surrounding:

  • men’s behaviour change,

  • migrant refuges,

  • therapeutic family violence services,

  • women who use family violence

  • programs targeted towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and

  • sexually abusive treatment services.

These pilot programs target groups which have been identified as high-risk, or areas in particular need of increased service provision.

This event provided audience members with a comprehensive overview of the changing landscape of family violence identification and response, risk assessment and information sharing. The presenters introduced The Orange Door, its aims, processes, and abilities to share information, and explained the operational practicalities of the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme. Finally, audience members were afforded the opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification at the conclusion of the main presentations.

Overall, the event provided a valuable opportunity for professionals and stakeholders in the room to become more familiar with the new schemes operating in the family violence sector, and consider how these developments will impact their service delivery going forward, with the aim of ensuring individuals at risk and in need, particularly children, are more comprehensively identified and supported.

Appendix 1 – List of ISE’s under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme:


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