17 July 2020
In April 2020, Family Safety Victoria (FSV) developed and released coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines for the family violence and sexual assault sector. This update is to be used in conjunction with those prescribed in April.
This guidance should be read in conjunction with DHHS’s Guidance for coronavirus (COVID-19) planning in the community services sector.
FSV also published Q&As that are available at the Funded Agency Channel website https://fac.dhhs.vic.gov.au/news/family-safety-victoria-qas-service-delivery-during-covid-19.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) planning is outlined in the community services sector planning guidance.
The key considerations for organisations outlined in the community services sector guidance includes:
Group-based perpetrator intervention programs, including Men’s Behaviour Change Programs may resume in some areas where restrictions have eased (noting that restrictions may tighten or ease over time in different areas of Victoria).
Where group-based programs are allowed, they must not exceed the maximum number of people as directed by the Chief Health Officer. Information about current restrictions can be found at: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19.
Face-to-face group work – a combination of ‘remote work’ and face-to-face group work is anticipated. This includes in situations where organisations are unable to resume group work. Organisations will need to tailor responses to individual perpetrators, address complex needs, continue aspects of behaviour and attitude change work and monitor risk during the period of physical distancing.
Services should continue to be proactive in their continued engagement with the victim survivors and other services linked with the family, which includes:
- Specialist family violence services
- Sexual assault services
- Corrections, and
- Child protection.
It’s critical to collaborate with other services during this period to ensure the development of comprehensive risk management and safety planning.
Perpetrator interventions – FSV has developed service guidelines on delivering a multi-intervention service to perpetrators based on their risk level. These guidelines inform perpetrator interventions funded by FSV, Magistrates Court Victoria (MCV) and Corrections Victoria (CV) during coronavirus (COVID-19).
These guidelines will inform Aboriginal service delivery, but a separate process will be run con-currently with Aboriginal service providers to develop Aboriginal guidance, including Aboriginal MARAM Practice Note guidance for victims and people using violence.
Family violence accommodation services
Family violence supported accommodation facilities include:
- Communal refuges should continue to consider limiting accommodation to single households only.
- Service providers should consider the capacity, physical layout, physical distancing requirements, hygiene and infection control as well as staffing arrangements of each facility as part of their coronavirus (COVID-19) planning.