Outcome five: Legislation, policy and funding models enable a responsive, high quality and accountable domestic, family and sexual violence service system

The system meets the needs of victims and perpetrators through intelligent and efficient design, robust and sustainable legislation, strong and consistent leadership, strong oversight mechanisms and an adequate and competent workforce.

No.ActionLead agencyStatus updateStatusTopic
5.1a)

Review and reform the Domestic and Family Violence Act so that it provides a sound, responsive and accountable foundation for the service system.

Department of the Attorney-General and Justice

The Justice Legislation Amendments (Domestic and Family Violence) Act 2020 commenced on 29 July 2020.

Work has now commenced on the review of the Domestic and Family Violence Act 2007 and related legislation to improve responses to domestic and family violence.

On track / ongoing

Governance and communication

Service system development

5.1b) Establish a Domestic and Family Violence Death Review process.Department of the Attorney-General and Justice

The NT domestic violence death review process was established in the NT Coroner’s Office in 2016. The position of Research Officer (Family Violence) (0.4 FTE) operates under the provisions of the Coroners Act (NT) to assist in the identification and investigation of deaths with a domestic violence context and coronial inquests relating to domestic violence (to date, this has been primarily intimate partner homicides).

Since its establishment, the NT domestic violence death review process has maintained a dataset of intimate partner domestic violence deaths and has recently commenced a pilot database purpose-built for the collection of data relating to intimate partner domestic violence related deaths within the NT.

At a national level, the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network is continuing to progress the next phase of data collection to build on the current national dataset (inclusive of NT data produced through the domestic violence death review process) with a view to having a further data report published in due course.

Completed

Service system development

Integrated service delivery and coordination

5.1c)Support the establishment of the Specialist Approach to Domestic and Family Violence in the Alice Springs Local Court.Department of the Attorney-General and JusticeThe Specialist Approach to Domestic and Family Violence at the Alice Springs Local Court had a staged commencement from July 2020 and was officially opened on 9 October 2020.CompletedIntegrated service delivery and coordination
5.1d)Include relevant domestic, family and sexual violence activities across impacted Northern Territory Health business plans.Department of HealthNT Health Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Steering Committee members seek to include domestic, family and sexual violence in annual branch business plans.On track / ongoingGovernance and communication
5.1e)

Develop the new Northern Territory Police Domestic and Family Violence Reduction Strategy.

Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services

NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services welcomed Commissioner Jamie Chalker in November 2019.

The agency’s new vision is A safe and resilient Northern Territory for which we are building a 10-year strategy towards a combined strategic framework.

The NT Police Force Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Strategy has the key priorities of:

  • effective prevention, reduction and response; and
  • local partnerships to promote positive change.
On track / ongoingPrevention

No.ActionLead agencyStatus updateStatusTopic
5.2a)Ensure the Northern Territory Public Sector leads the way for Territory employers on domestic and family violence leave policy, including paid leave.

Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

In 2017, Territory Families commissioned the Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre (NTWWC) to deliver a project aimed at building capacity for human resource practitioners and managers to support Northern Territory public servants who are victims of domestic and family violence. The agency provided funding of $100,000 for the project.

The NTWWC developed and delivered a training package aimed at increasing awareness, competency, comfort and responsiveness of managers and human resources personnel when implementing the Northern Territory Public Sector’s domestic and family violence staff entitlements.

The project delivered 14 three-hour workshops and six one-hour awareness raising sessions, with 328 workers participating.

The Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities is developing a response to the outcomes of the pilot program, including the NTWWC recommendations and feedback from participants.

On track / ongoing

Workforce and sector development

5.2b)

Through the Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre pilot, support and build the capacity of the Northern Territory Public Sector to better respond to staff impacted by domestic and family violence.

Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

In 2017, Territory Families commissioned the Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre (NTWWC) to deliver a project aimed at building capacity for human resource practitioners and managers to support Northern Territory public servants who are victims of domestic and family violence. The agency provided funding of $100,000 for the project.

The NTWWC developed and delivered a training package aimed at increasing awareness, competency, comfort and responsiveness of managers and human resources personnel when implementing the Northern Territory Public Sector’s domestic and family violence staff entitlements.

The project delivered 14 three-hour workshops and six one-hour awareness raising sessions, with 328 workers participating.

The Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities is developing a response to the outcomes of the pilot program, including the NTWWC recommendations and feedback from participants.

On track / ongoing

Workforce and sector development

No.ActionLead agencyStatus updateStatusTopic
5.3a)

Child protection and youth justice systems’ practice is strengthened through the development and embedding of domestic and family violence advanced practitioners across the Territory Families regional offices.

Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

The Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities (the Department) established the Clinical and Professional Practice Leadership Directorate (the Directorate) in 2018 to strengthen the relationship between the child protection, family support, domestic, family and sexual violence and youth justice areas of the Department; and to build and maintain strong relationships with key stakeholders across the Northern Territory.

The Department has established seven Senior Practice Leader and 10 Practice Leader positions in the Directorate, located in every region of the Northern Territory.

The Directorate is responsible for implementing the Signs of Safety Framework; Signs of Success Practice Framework; and Safe and Together Model.

Signs of Safety is an integrated framework that returns child intervention to being the catalyst for behaviour change by families. It provides a range of tools for assessment and planning, decision making and engaging children and families; and processes through which the work is undertaken with children, families and partner organisations.

The Department hosts the internationally respected four-day Safe and Together Model CORE Training Program, which focuses on supporting child safety and family functioning where domestic violence is present. The training is offered to the Department’s child protection practitioners, specialist non-government organisation domestic violence sector partners and the Northern Territory Police.

Safe and Together training supports a shared practice for child protection and specialist domestic, family and sexual violence services. In 2020-21, the Department invested $89,000 to deliver the Safe and Together Training Program free of charge to staff and sector partners.

Further Safe and Together training opportunities will be offered over the next 12 months to internal and external sector partners. In addition, several Practice Leaders are completing the Trainer Certificate program with the Safe and Together Institute to enable them to deliver the training in the future.

Completed

Domestic violence / child protection interface

5.3b)Develop and establish a collaborative framework to support a shared practice for child protection and specialist domestic, family and sexual violence services.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

The Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities (the Department) established the Clinical and Professional Practice Leadership Directorate (the Directorate) in 2018 to strengthen the relationship between the child protection, family support, domestic, family and sexual violence and youth justice areas of the Department; and to build and maintain strong relationships with key stakeholders across the Northern Territory.

The Department has established seven Senior Practice Leader and 10 Practice Leader positions in the Directorate, located in every region of the Northern Territory.

The Directorate is responsible for implementing the Signs of Safety Framework; Signs of Success Practice Framework; and Safe and Together Framework.

Signs of Safety is an integrated framework that returns child intervention to being the catalyst that initiatives behaviour change by families. It provides a range of tools for assessment and planning, decision making and engaging children and families; and processes through which the work is undertaken with children, families and partner organisations.

The Department hosts the internationally respected four-day Safe and Together Model CORE Training Program, which focuses on supporting child safety and family functioning where domestic violence is present. The training is offered to the Department’s child protection practitioners, specialist non-government organisation domestic violence sector partners and the Northern Territory Police.

Safe and Together training supports a shared practice for child protection and specialist domestic, family and sexual violence services. In 2020-21, Department invested $89,000 to deliver the Safe and Together Training Program free of charge to staff and sector partners.

On track / ongoingDomestic violence / child protection interface
5.3c)Through the domestic and family violence advanced practitioners, improve the connection and collaboration of client work between the specialist domestic, family and sexual violence sector and Territory Families.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

The Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities (the Department) hosts the internationally respected four-day Safe and Together Model CORE Training Program, which focuses on supporting child safety and family functioning where domestic violence is present. The training is offered to the Department’s child protection practitioners, specialist non-government organisation domestic violence sector partners and the Northern Territory Police.

In 2020-21, Department invested $89,000 to deliver the Safe and Together Training Program free of charge to staff and sector partners.

On track / ongoingDomestic violence / child protection interface

No.ActionLead agencyStatus updateStatusTopic
5.4a)Develop an accountable and robust outcomes reporting of the framework.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

A draft Framework Evaluation Plan provided by Menzies School of Health Research and Charles Darwin University is being refined by the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities and is expected to be completed in 2021.

Under developmentGovernance and communication
5.4b)

Review information sharing practices and legislation in consultation with non-government organisations and relevant stakeholders.

Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

In late 2018, amendments were made to the Domestic and Family Violence Act 2007to allow for information about people experiencing or committing domestic and family violence to be shared without consent in certain circumstances.

The Northern Territory Domestic and Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme aims to remove barriers between services so they can work together to:

  • improve safety for victim-survivors of domestic and family violence;
  • facilitate timely action from services and referrals and collaboration between services; and
  • prevent victim-survivors having to tell their stories over and over.

The Information Sharing Scheme does not replace Mandatory Reporting obligations, Information Privacy Principles or reporting requirements under the Care and Protection of Children Act 2007.

With the release in March 2021 of the Risk Assessment and Management Framework, organisations providing a domestic and family violence service may now apply to become prescribed by legislation as Information Sharing Entities and participate in the Northern Territory Domestic and Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme.

Applicants must satisfy the Minister for Territory Families and Urban Housing that they will align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools with the Risk Assessment and Management Framework.

The first round of Information Sharing Entity applications is now closed, with eight non-government organisations due to be prescribed by legislation in mid-2021. The second round will open in mid-2021.

More information is available on the Territory Families, Housing and Communities website.

Completed

Integrated service delivery and coordination

5.4c)Share the findings and strategic analysis of place-based operations which focus on multi-agency participation and coordination with all partner agencies.Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services

This is an ongoing body of work. A number of multi-agency place-based operations such as Operation Haven, Operation Shulton and Operation Sherman have been conducted which have seen a significant improvement in the sharing of findings and strategic analysis.

In addition, the Territory Intelligence Coordination Centre shares and disseminates its strategic products to partner agencies where appropriate to do so.

Through 2021, Days of Action are planned which will involve members of the NT Police Domestic and Family Violence Section working collaboratively with stakeholders, involving a similar strategy to Operation Sherman.

On track / ongoing

Governance and communication

5.4d)Amend the Cross Agency Working Group terms of reference to include representation from the specialist domestic, family and sexual violence sector.Department of Territory Families, Housing and CommunitiesThe Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Cross Agency Working Group terms of reference were amended in 2018 and membership expanded to include nominated representatives of non-government partner organisations, peak bodies and Aboriginal community controlled organisations, to drive multi-agency participation in implementing the action plans supporting the 10-year Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Reduction Framework. The membership was again expanded in 2020 to include additional representation from the non-government sector.CompletedGovernance and communication

No.ActionLead agencyStatus updateStatusTopic
5.5a)Invest in the sector to improve practice through the establishment of the inaugural biennial domestic, family and sexual violence conference for frontline workers and practitioners.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

The inaugural Sharing and Strengthening our Practice Conference brought together more than 170 practitioners and frontline workers in the domestic, family and sexual violence services sector from across the Northern Territory for two days of networking and learning opportunities facilitated by a line-up of inspirational speakers.

A key initiative arising from Action Plan 1: Changing Attitudes, Intervening Earlier and Responding Better (2018-2021), the conference was the first in a series of biennial conferences aimed at investing in and building the capacity and responsiveness of the domestic, family and sexual violence service system and workforce.

Planning is underway for the second conference in the series, which will be scheduled for 2022 (delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

On track / ongoing

Workforce and sector development
5.5b)Reduce the red tape and complexity of performance and financial reporting across the specialist domestic, family and sexual violence sector.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

Red tape has been reduced through the introduction of five-year funding contracts.

Reporting requirements of services funded by the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities (the Department) will be reviewed as part of action under the Workforce and Sector Development Plan, to develop specialist domestic and family violence service and practice standards, and align these with the Department’s key performance indicators for funded services.

CompletedService system development
5.5c)Review and establish terms of reference and membership of governance structures to oversee the delivery of actions under the framework.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

In 2018, membership of the Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Cross Agency Working Group (CAWG) was expanded to include nominated representatives of non-government partner organisations, peak bodies and Aboriginal community controlled organisations.

An internal review of the operation of the CAWG, including the Terms of Reference, was undertaken in 2019-20. The Terms of Reference have been amended to ensure alignment with requirements of the Northern Territory Government’s Boards and Committees protocol.

The CAWG reports to the Children and Families Standing Committee, comprising Chief Executive Officers of relevant Northern Territory Government agencies. The amended Terms of Reference will be reviewed and approved by the Children and Families Standing Committee.

The Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities establishes advisory committees comprising representatives of government and non-government organisation partners to assist in the development and delivery of major policies and initiatives including the Information Sharing Advisory Committee; 2019 Conference Organising Committee; Barkly and Big Rivers Service System Review Advisory Committee; Greater Darwin Service System Review Advisory Committee; and the Workforce and Sector Development Plan Advisory Committee.

CompletedGovernance and communication
5.5d)Improve the sustainability of the non-government organisation investment through the introduction of long-term and flexible funding agreements.Department of Territory Families, Housing and CommunitiesThe majority of domestic, family and sexual violence service delivery contracts funded by the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities have been transitioned to five-year contracts.On track / ongoing

Service system development

5.5e)Territory Families to review future funding options to include flexible support packages for victim survivors.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

The specialist domestic and family violence services funded by the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities (the Department) were offered additional grant funding of $1.7 million in total in 2019-20 and 2021-22. The grant program included up to $40,000 per service for flexible support packages. Seven services applied for the flexible support packages.

A total of $332,000 was allocated to seven services in 2019-20 to 2020 – 21 for flexible support packages.

Flexible support packages enable services to offer a personalised response to victim survivors by assisting them with individual needs including but not limited to:

  • basic material needs such as food, clothing, care packages, assistance with paying bills;
  • technological safety such as a secure mobile telephone, personal alarm, security doors or lighting;
  • medical or pharmaceutical costs not covered by Medicare;
  • safe, stable housing including rental bonds, reallocation costs, furniture or whitegoods;
  • schooling and education costs, workforce readiness; or
  • clothing, care and placement of pets, wellbeing courses.

Flexible support packages can also be used to supplement supports identified in a safety plan.

On track / ongoing

Service system development
5.5f)Invest in domestic, family and sexual violence specialist sector connections and capability building through the NT Council of Social Service project and biennial practice conference.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

The Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities (the Department) has commissioned NT Council of Social Service (NTCOSS) to support the delivery of initiatives under the Northern Territory’s Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Reduction Framework 2018-2028 Safe, respected and free from violence.

Under this contract, NTCOSS is:

  • working with specialist and universal domestic, family and sexual violence service providers across the NT to develop principles for consulting with services and workers;
  • coordinating sector feedback on a number of key government priorities including development of Action Plan 2; the preferred model for the Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Centralised Structure; and development of sector-wide practice standards;
  • providing logistical support to the risk assessment and management training in Darwin, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Nhulunbuy and Katherine;
  • developing and promoting a training calendar throughout 2021 in consultation with Dawn House, Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia and NT Police, while the Resource Centre is developed; and
  • developing a scholarship program with the Australian Institute of Company Directors for specialist domestic, family and sexual violence services managers and boards.

The Department funds two community education and development positions; one in Dawn House in Darwin and one in Women’s Safety Service of Central Australia in Alice Springs. The community educators deliver free Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) Fundamentals training in Darwin, Nhulunbuy, Katherine, Alice Springs and Yuendumu.

The community educator in Darwin convenes the Domestic and Family Violence Network and the community educator in Alice Springs convenes the Central Australian Family Violence and Sexual Assault Network.

The Department’s Barkly Regional Coordinator convenes the Tennant Creek Local Reference Group and the Big Rivers Regional Coordinator convenes the Katherine Local Reference Group.

On track / ongoingWorkforce and sector development

Last updated: 17 June 2021

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