WA News Letters Hope on the horizon for FDV
Hope on the horizon for FDV
Written by Ms Kedy Kristal
Wednesday, 07 June 2017

 

The Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services represents over 60 domestic and family violence services in WA and this year celebrates its 40th anniversary. WA was one of the first states to recognise and provide funding to resource a peak DFV organisation to ensure there was a victim-focused voice to inform government policy, legislation and program responses.

Over the past two years there have been several new collaborations between the Women’s Council and the Department of Child Protection and Family Support to develop an emergency accommodation and response framework.

This innovation was developed following the Ombudsmen’s report into the death of Ms Andrea Pickett which found there was a lack of safe accommodation for Ms Pickett and her children when she was in imminent danger of harm.

The new Refuge Service System Model Emergency Response (RSSMER) has funded three lead refuges to quarantine 4-8 beds in each refuge for emergency accommodation for up to 48 hours for single women and women with children assessed as being at high risk of harm and in need of safe accommodation.

The refuge then transfers the client to alternate and ongoing refuge accommodation for up to three months. The model was evaluated after 12 months by Prof Donna Chung and others from Curtin University with recommendations which are being progressed.

The long awaited changes to the Restraining Orders Act finally received Royal Assent on 29 November 2016. Most of the DFV changes will start on July 1, 2017. The changes are in response to a number of recent reviews and reports intended to provide better information to Magistrates and Justices of Peace when making restraining orders and to provide better protection for victims of family violence.

There will be a new type of restraining order called a Family Violence Restraining Order and Courts will be empowered to order a person who is subject to an FVRO to participate in a mandatory ‘behaviour change’ program and various existing provisions of the RO Act have been amended to strengthen victim protection and perpetrator accountability.

A key area in a coordinated response to the pervasive issue of DFV is to provide a credible and evidence-based response to perpetrators to enable them to change their behaviour. Stopping Family Violence is the new not-for-profit peak body in WA to grow the evidence base to support this essential work. Stopping Family Violence will focus on developing skills knowledge in the DV sector through research and pilot activities. It was launched in May.

Ms Kedy Kristal, Policy Officer, Women's Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services