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The focus on urgency, rather than long-term planning, risks family violence reform success, Monitor finds

The Victorian Government needs to invest more time in planning and coordinating its family violence reform package, the first annual report of the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor has found.

The Victorian Government needs to invest more time in planning and coordinating its family violence reform package, the first annual report of the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor has found.

The report, tabled in State Parliament today, found that while ending family violence and improving outcomes for victim survivors were now clearly core objectives of the government, work was too focused on acquitting the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

The Monitor, former Victoria Police Acting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright, found the focus on acquittal risked “piecemeal implementation that reinforces fragmentation and siloes”. 

“The government needs to stop thinking about reform as implementing the 227 recommendations and instead return to the desired outcomes articulated in its’ own 10 Year Plan,” the Monitor found.

“The reform process is an enormous task and so much has already been achieved by countless dedicated people across government and the family violence sector. The commitment to deliver the ultimate outcome – a future where all Victorians are safe, thriving and living free from violence – is not in question,” Mr Cartwright said.

“But it is evident much more work needs to be done. I expected the foundational work to be much more advanced by now. Whole-of-reform planning has been insufficient for a reform of this size.”

The Monitor found the government had “commenced a lot of activity, without the aid of a live and up-to-date overarching schedule” which was “highly risky”.
The report found there was an “urgent need” for the establishment of a central office to manage the reform package at a whole-of-government level, coordinating agencies and activities.

“The government needs to be confident …that the right decisions are being made by the right people at the right time, based on targeted, reliable and useful information,” the Monitor said. “If urgent planning is not undertaken, implementation of the reform may fail to achieve the outcomes and ambitions of the Royal Commission and the government’s own 10 Year Plan.”

The Monitor was established to hold government to account for delivering the family violence reform package following the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

The report sets out key findings as at 1 November 2017, and what needs to happen to increase the likelihood of successful reform implementation.

It focuses on three broad areas of improvement:

  • further developing a systemic approach
  • managing the reform more actively
  • effective planning to build better foundations

“It is not possible to carry on delivering services, implementing reforms and planning all at the same time in a climate of increasing demand. To prioritise critical planning work, the government will probably have to pause or slow down some areas of the reform.

“There is still time to improve the process, to do what is best for current and future victim survivors … the world is watching to see what Victoria can achieve,” the Monitor said.

Find the full report of the Family and Violence Reform Implementation Monitor.

Media contact

Wendy Wade

Reviewed 21 March 2019