Outcome three: People experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence are protected and helped to recover and thrive

Victims of domestic, family and sexual violence receive services that provide timely, accessible, person-centred, flexible and appropriate help to meet their immediate safety and recovery needs. A coordinated and integrated system with skilled workers wraps around the victim wherever they live and at any stage of experiencing violence to help them feel supported, connected and free from violence. We want to strengthen the service system, within government and with our partner non-government organisations, to ensure that the services and responses provided meet the needs of clients and support people to recover and thrive.

No.ActionLead agencyStatus updateStatusTopic
3.1a) Implement the Family Safety Framework Review recommendations and broaden the reach and participation in the Family Safety Framework.NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

The Family Safety Framework (FSF) is a multi-agency, integrated service response aimed at increasing safety of victim survivors at high risk of serious harm because of domestic and family violence.

The FSF operates in Darwin, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine, Nhulunbuy and Yuendumu. Adapted from a model that operates in South Australia, the FSF has been operating in the Northern Territory since 2012.

Northern Territory Police are the operational lead for the FSF, with policy and funding support provided by the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities.

In 2017, an internal review of the operation of the FSF was conducted by the then Territory Families in conjunction with NT Police. The findings and recommendations of the 2017 FSF review helped inform the development of the Northern Territory’s Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Reduction Framework 2018-2028 Safe, respected and free from violence, and the Risk Assessment and Management Framework.

The review made 31 recommendations to improve the operation of the FSF throughout the Northern Territory, including the development of the Risk Assessment and Management Framework (RAMF) which provides a consistent and evidence-based practice guidance to identify, assess, respond to and manage domestic and family violence risk.

The RAMF’s Common Risk Assessment Tool was introduced to Family Safety Framework networks across the Northern Territory in late 2020 and replaced the Family Safety Framework Risk Assessment Tool in February 2021.

On track / ongoingIntegrated service delivery and coordination
3.1b) Police responses to high risk domestic, family and sexual violence cases on the Family Safety Framework are further strengthened through increased proactive compliance checks.NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services

From 14 December 2020 to 3 January 2021, NT Police conducted Operation Sherman, a domestic violence compliance operation, in Darwin. The objectives of Operation Sherman were to:

  • Protect vulnerable members of the community through support provided by NT Police or other local stakeholders;
  • Reduce the rate and frequency of domestic, family and sexual violence within the Greater Darwin region through education, victim support and offender prosecution; and
  • Increase collaborative working arrangements with external agencies through lawful sharing of information.

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

Integrated service delivery and coordination

No.ActionLead agencyStatus updateStatusTopic
3.2a)Undertake a system review in order to reform the service model for women experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence in remote communities.

Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

In 2018-19, the then Territory Families commissioned a review of domestic and family violence services in Katherine and Tennant Creek; and a domestic and family violence service system review in the Barkly and Big Rivers regions.

The service review examined the service delivery models of the Katherine Women’s Crisis Centre and Tennant Creek Women’s Refuge and made a number of recommendations, including options to improve integration and collaboration, meet gaps in the provision of services to local and regional women, enhance practice and professional development, examine staff structure and management and improve governance, financial management and accountability. Both services are working with the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities (the Department) to implement the agreed recommendations.

The service system review assessed the service system across both regions, including all services directly or indirectly involved with individuals or families experiencing domestic, family and/or sexual violence. This included early intervention services in the health and social sectors which intersect with domestic and family violence or address common risk factors that occur across a range of health and wellbeing outcomes, including domestic and family violence.

The Department established an Advisory Committee comprising representatives from a range of government and non-government organisations across the Barkly and Big Rivers regions to guide the service system review. The Advisory Committee is working with the Department to implement the findings and recommendations of the service system review.

One of the key actions arising from the reviews is the establishment of Regional Coordinator roles in Katherine and Tennant Creek. The Regional Coordinator in Tennant Creek is driving the establishment of an integrated and specialist domestic, family and sexual violence services hub in the Barkly region.

In 2020-21, the Department commissioned a review of the four domestic and family violence services in the Greater Darwin region that it funds. The recommendations of this review are currently being considered.

Completed

Service system development

3.2b)

Support victims of domestic, family and sexual violence whose first language is not English, to access support services through the provision of interpreting and translating services.

All

Northern Territory Government agencies utilise interpreting and translating services as required.

Between 1 July 2018 to 31 March 2021, there was a total of 2,572 interpreting jobs completed by the Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet’s Aboriginal Interpreting Services (AIS) relating to domestic, family and sexual violence in the NT. Of these, 1,113 jobs were for the NT Government and 1,569 were non-government clients. An additional 110 jobs were completed for interstate clients also relating to domestic, family and sexual violence.

It should be noted that many victim-survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence prefer the anonymity of telephone interpreters rather than one sourced from their cultural group.

The Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities covers the costs of telephone interpreting services for government and non-government organisations utilising this service.

Completed

Integrated service delivery and coordination

3.2c)

Continue to drive place-based operations which focus on multi-agency participation and coordination to identify actionable tasks.

All

Department of Health

NT Health staff participate in multi-agency place-based operations focussed on domestic, family and sexual violence and remain committed to participation in Family Safety Framework meetings.

NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services

See update for action 1.4(a).

Department of the Attorney-General and Justice

The major place-based multi-agency initiative to address domestic and family violence in the justice portfolio is the Specialist Approach to Domestic Violence at the Alice Springs Local Court.

Department of Education

The Department of Education will continue to support engagement and collaboration between schools and community partners.

Child and Family Centres, Connected Beginnings projects and the Family as First Teachers Program facilitate an integrated place-based, family‑centred approach.

The Department of Education convenes the Early Childhood Integrated Service Strategic Forum which is progressing Action 4.2 from Starting Early for a Better Future – Develop a Systemic Support Framework for Early Childhood Integrated Services.

The Department of Education is also represented on the Multi Agency Community and Child Safety Taskforce.

Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

The Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities (the Department) reconvened the Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Cross Agency Working Group and expanded membership to include nominated representatives of non-government partner organisations, to drive multi-agency participation in implementing the action plans supporting the 10-year Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Reduction Framework.

The Department also provides ongoing support for domestic and family violence sector networks and local reference groups.

In May 2020, the Department established the Multi-Agency Community and Child Safety Framework which forms a key part of the Northern Territory Government’s commitment to strengthen governance and accountability of the collaborative work undertaken within and across communities.

The Multi-Agency Community and Child Safety Framework brings together community members with cultural authority, locally based heads of government agencies and non-government organisations to identify community issues, create action plans and carry out actions together.

On track / ongoing

Integrated service delivery and coordination

3.2d)Psychological and specialised support is provided to schools through the Response to Intervention model. Three tiers of support (including therapeutic support) can be provided to school staff, classes of students, small groups of students and individuals.Department of EducationThe Department of Education’s school psychology team and other teams providing specialist support to schools routinely utilise the Response to Intervention Model to deliver services. Support can be provided to the whole school, small cohorts or to individual students. Teachers can seek advice for appropriate referrals as required.CompletedPrevention

No.ActionLead agencyStatus updateStatusTopic
3.3a)

Improve supports for victims of domestic, family and sexual violence, including the provision of culturally appropriate and trauma informed support when appearing in court proceedings.

NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services

Supports for victims will increase as part of the Specialist Approach to Domestic Violence at the Alice Springs Local Court.

On track / ongoing

Integrated service delivery and coordination

No.ActionLead agencyStatus updateStatusTopic
3.4a)Review the centralised electronic referral management system and ensure that it is cost effective and well targeted.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

The Northern Territory Government is undertaking a review of Supportlink.

On track / ongoingIntegrated service delivery and coordination
3.4b)Establish and maintain a website which supports practice improvements across the sector and within government. The website should include all relevant information and services for victims of domestic, family and sexual violence.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

The aim of the new website is to bring together information from a variety of online platforms into one user-friendly portal.

This will also meet a key goal of the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Framework Priority Action plan to develop an online portal linking available resources for service providers and the community.

The development of the new website is expected to commence in mid-2021.

Under developmentWorkforce and sector development
3.4c)Consider and develop a program which will focus on upskilling Aboriginal staff including assistant teachers to support students in the area of wellbeing.Department of Education

The Department of Education offers free online training courses to all educators inclusive of Aboriginal staff and assistant teachers. The courses include topics such as Attachment and Trauma, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Speech, Language and Communication Needs and Understanding and Supporting Behaviour.

On track / ongoingWorkforce and sector development
3.4d)Deliver training to frontline services who work with and support people who have experienced trauma, including victims of domestic, family and sexual violence.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

Supporting sustainable, culturally secure, trauma-informed services

The Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities (the Department) has committed $1 million per year to support the development of the domestic, family and sexual violence (DFSV) workforce and sector.

Development of the Northern Territory’s Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Workforce and Sector Development Plan, which was released in March 2021, was informed by the results of an audit of available training across the Northern Territory; and desktop research. The audit and research highlighted that while a number of training opportunities are offered in the Northern Territory, less than half were locally developed and locally relevant; and only 40% were delivered by local training providers.

Under the Workforce and Sector Development Plan, consultation will commence in mid-2021 on establishing a centralised structure for developing, brokering, delivering and coordinating culturally relevant and safe domestic, family and sexual violence training that will be accessible across the Northern Territory.

Free risk assessment and management training

To support the use of the evidence-based Domestic and Family Violence Risk Assessment and Management Framework and tools, the Department offers free risk assessment and management training in Darwin, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine and Nhulunbuy. The training is tailored to the skills and expertise of participants, with two one-day workshops available. Workshop one is designed for universal workers with a foundational knowledge of domestic and family violence. Workshop two provides comprehensive skills development for specialist and statutory workers.

The first round of risk assessment and management training was delivered in February and March 2021, with over 250 participants attending the workshops. Additional workshops are being scheduled for later in 2021 (dates to be confirmed and will be published on the Department’s website).

The training includes a train the trainer component where suitably experienced workers are trained to build the skills and confidence to be able to deliver the training on behalf of the Department in their home community, helping to build the sustainability and accessibility of the training.

Free domestic, family and sexual violence fundamentals training

The Department funds Dawn House in Darwin and Women’s Safety Service of Central Australia in Alice Springs to deliver free Domestic Family Violence (DFV) Fundamentals training in Darwin, Nhulunbuy, Katherine, Alice Springs and Yuendumu. The Department delivers DFV Fundamentals training in Tennant Creek.

Free Safe and Together training

In 2020-21, the Department invested $89,000 to deliver 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.

Sexual Assault Awareness training

In 2020-21, the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities provided $300,000 to the Department of Health to deliver training for frontline workers responding to disclosures of sexual violence from children, young people and adults, and responding to children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours.

The training is delivered through the Department of Health Sexual Assault Referral Centres and is available to government and non-government frontline workers in Darwin, Katherine, Nhulunbuy and Alice Springs.

On track / ongoingWorkforce and sector development
3.4e)Ensure that Corrections treatment staff have training in domestic, family and sexual violence risk assessment and interventions.

Department of the Attorney-General and Justice

All staff have general and specific training in domestic and family violence risk assessment tools.

The free risk assessment and management training offered by the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities is available for government and non-government workers across the Northern Territory. The Department is currently finalising the next round of training, with dates expected to be confirmed and published online in the coming months.

CompletedWorkforce and sector development

No.ActionLead agencyStatus updateStatusTopic
3.5a)Ensure support services are in place to address the impact of domestic, family and sexual violence on young children within their first 1000 days of life.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

This commitment is aligned to the Starting Early for a Better Future - Northern Territory Early Childhood Development Plan. The Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities (the Department) continues to participate in the high-level cross agency steering committee to champion, implement, monitor and evaluate progress of the Northern Territory Early Years Strategic Plan.

Aligned to this is developing the 10-Year Generational Strategy for Children and Families in the NT being led by the Tripartite Forum, due for consideration by the NT and Commonwealth in late 2021.

The Department is 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.

The Department also takes a lead role in the development of the National Strategy for Protecting Australia’s Children.

On track / ongoing

Domestic violence / child protection interface
3.5b)Develop and implement a policy for responding to incidents and student disclosures in schools.Department of EducationUnder the Department of Education’s Mandatory Reporting on Harm and Exploitation of Children Guidelines, school staff (including voluntary staff) and corporate staff (whose core business involves contact with students) must undertake mandatory reporting training twice a year. The training covers mandatory reporting of domestic violence in line with legislation.On track / ongoingDomestic violence / child protection interface
3.5c)Deliver NT government services and support to victims of domestic, family and sexual violence in alignment with the Care and Protection of Children Act, including policies, guidelines and procedures.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

The Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities (the Department) is incorporating domestic violence-informed principles into practice guidelines for Practice Leaders within the Clinical and Professional Practice Leadership Directorate (the Directorate).

The Department is working with service providers to strengthen working partnerships and providing free training to ensure a shared understanding of domestic and family violence and shared language used in policies, guidelines and procedures.

The Directorate has entered into two Memoranda of Understanding ‑ one with Dawn House and one with Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia – to formally promote the best interests of mutual clients by defining agreed roles and responsibilities of each organisation when working in partnership to support women and their children.

Directorate staff are currently reviewing resources to identify how domestic violence-informed practice using the Safe and Together Model integrates with the Signs of Safety Framework. The review includes how these will integrate with the Risk Assessment and Management Framework and Common Risk Assessment Tool.

On track / ongoingDomestic violence / child protection interface
3.5d)Provide ongoing training to police trainees, promotional courses and at Command training days to equip officers with the necessary skills to prioritise the wellbeing of children present at instances of domestic, family and sexual violence.NT Police, Fire and Emergency ServicesTraining is embedded in Recruit training and promotional exams.On track / ongoing

Workforce and Sector development

Domestic violence / child protection interface

No.ActionLead agencyStatus updateStatusTopic
3.6a)Undertake a service review of the Tennant Creek Women’s Refuge and Katherine Women’s Crisis Centre to assist with future capacity and operations.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

In 2018-19, Territory Families commissioned a domestic and family violence service review of Tennant Creek Women’s Refuge and Katherine Women’s Crisis Centre.

The review examined the service delivery models of the Katherine Women’s Crisis Centre and Tennant Creek Women’s Refuge and made a number of recommendations, including options to improve integration and collaboration, meet gaps in the provision of services to local and regional women, enhance practice and professional development, examine staff structure and management and improve governance, financial management and accountability.

Both services are working with the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities to implement the agreed recommendations.

On track / ongoingService system development
3.6b)Review the nature and extent of domestic, family and sexual violence in Tennant Creek and the Barkly region to inform the development of the hub.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

In 2018-19, Territory Families commissioned a domestic and family violence service system review of the Barkly and Big Rivers regions.

The review assessed the service system across both regions, including all services directly or indirectly involved with individuals or families experiencing domestic, family and/or sexual violence. This included early intervention services in the health and social sectors which intersect with domestic and family violence or address common risk factors that occur across a range of health and wellbeing outcomes, including domestic and family violence.

Territory Families established an Advisory Committee comprising representatives from a range of government and non-government organisations across the Barkly and Big Rivers regions. The Advisory Committee is working with the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities to implement the findings and recommendations of the service system review.

One of the key actions arising from the review is the establishment of Regional Coordinator roles in Katherine and Tennant Creek. The Regional Coordinator in Tennant Creek is driving the establishment of an integrated domestic, family and sexual violence services hub in the Barkly region.

Following a number of meetings and consultations in Tennant Creek and remote communities of the Barkly, along with two focus workshops to examine issues and potential strategies, the Barkly Regional Coordinator hosted a public forum in Tennant Creek in March 2021 to discuss and gain community consensus for an appropriate model for a Barkly Region Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence (DFSV) Hub.

Approximately 50 people attended the forum, including community members, specialist and universal service providers, Northern Territory Government representatives and people with lived DFSV experience.

At the forum, there was consensus about the need for a regional DFSV hub to drive change and connect services, people and the community to respond to domestic, family and sexual violence.

Participants at the forum agreed that using the term ‘Hub’ would likely be confusing for the community as there is an existing Paterson Street Hub which is a community and co-working space in Tennant Creek. Participants requested the Hub be renamed to avoid confusion. This request is currently under consideration.

Guiding principles and values to underpin the Hub agreed at the forum included:

  • The safety of women and children is paramount and the lived experiences and voices of women and children needs to be at the centre of the Hub.
  • Services need to meet the needs of the people they are designed for, and there needs to be accountability mechanisms in place to ensure this.
  • Responses and approaches to DFSV need to include community owned and driven responses in addition to statutory services like police and child protection.
  • Connections and collaboration between specialist DFSV services, universal services, statutory services and the community they serve need to be strengthened.
  • A whole of family approach and a focus on prevention, long term safety, healing and behaviour change needs to be incorporated.
  • An understanding of the intersectionality of DFSV with other socio-economic factors needs to underpin the design and delivery of DFSV services and systems.

The following five issues/themes were endorsed by forum attendees as key areas to address in the design, development and establishment of a Barkly DFSV Hub:

  • Disconnected services - fostering improved connections.
  • Responding better to DFSV in remote communities.
  • Improving training, capability and workforce development.
  • Improving prevention education to foster a shared understanding of DFSV across the region.
  • Understanding what works and quality improvement and control.

Work is now underway to progress the development of a Barkly DFSV Hub, including to explore a name for this.

On track / ongoingService system development
3.6c)Undertake a domestic, family and sexual violence service system wide review to strengthen the community based service response for women, children and young people impacted by domestic, family and sexual violence.Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

In 2018-19, Territory Families commissioned a domestic and family violence service system review of the Barkly and Big Rivers regions.

The review assessed the service system across both regions, including all services directly or indirectly involved with individuals or families experiencing domestic, family and/or sexual violence. This included early intervention services in the health and social sectors which intersect with domestic and family violence or address common risk factors that occur across a range of health and wellbeing outcomes, including domestic and family violence.

Territory Families established an Advisory Committee comprising representatives from a range of government and non-government organisations across the Barkly and Big Rivers regions to guide the review. The Advisory Committee is working with the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities (the Department) to implement the findings and recommendations of the service system review.

One of the key actions arising from the review is the establishment of Regional Coordinator roles in Katherine and Tennant Creek. The Regional Coordinator in Tennant Creek is driving the establishment of an integrated and specialist domestic, family and sexual violence services hub in the Barkly region.

In 2020-21, the Department commissioned a review of the four DFV services it funds in the Greater Darwin region. The recommendations of this review are currently being considered.

On track / ongoingService system development

Last updated: 12 July 2021

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