Support and Safety Hubs: Statewide Concept (July 2017)

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Keeping perpetrators in view

The Hubs will be one of the main entry points to services for perpetrators of family violence, including receiving Victoria Police referrals (L17s), other professional referrals and self-referrals for these services. The Hubs will work with other parts of the service system (including police, courts, justice services, housing, homelessness services and community organisations) to plan interventions and responses that hold perpetrators to account, address the risks they pose and challenge their violence and abusive behaviour. Bringing expertise and service responses informed by a deep understanding of perpetrator patterns of behaviour into the Hubs is a key component to improve how the system assesses and manages the risk perpetrators pose. Further detail about how the Hubs will work with perpetrators is described on page 41. Police will make referrals to the Hubs and the Hubs will initiate contact with the perpetrator. This contact in response to police referrals is likely to be initially by phone. Perpetrators will be able to contact the Hubs online or via the telephone as well as being contacted by the Hubs in response to other professional referrals. The Hubs will also work directly with perpetrators through outreach or out-posted workers – for example, at a men’s behaviour change service or at a court. Part of the initial functions of the Hubs will be to assess risk posed by perpetrators and determining the best way for the system to engage with them – including identifying the location where face-to-face contact will be safest for workers, victims and other community members. Other men accessing the physical community-based Hubs Ensuring that the Hubs are safe and welcoming places for women, children and young people, and families in need of support is a critical service objective. However, some men – for example, fathers in need of support with the care, wellbeing and development of children – may access services from the Hubs through their physical access points. By providing access to these types of services, the Hubs can keep families in view, providing an ongoing risk assessment and management role. If family violence is identified through men’s engagement in these services, risk assessment and management plans can be updated, and appropriate responses for victims and perpetrators can be put in place. The Hubs provide opportunities to engage with men on their behaviour and attitudes, prioritising the safety and wellbeing of women and children in doing so. Keeping victim survivors safe The safety of women and children seeking help will be central to the design and operations of the Hubs, particularly the physical (community-based Hubs and ‘spokes’) and face-to-face access methods. Strong safety measures – in both the design and operations of the Hubs – and careful operational planning and scheduling will ensure the risks posed by working with perpetrators in this way are managed. Hubs will employ screening and assessment processes that will prevent the service being used vexatiously by perpetrators to influence their victims’ ability to disclose family violence and receive support. The design of the Hubs will also require effective safety measures that are carefully calibrated to avoid creating environments which are intimidating or unwelcoming to women and children. These measures will be developed further through the Hubs statewide practice framework and local design. The Hub practice will draw on the experience of many services who already work with both perpetrators and victims. The access network described in this Concept document for the Hubs includes multiple options which can be targeted and tailored to engaging victims and perpetrators safely and effectively. Telephone and online access, deliberate use of satellite access points (spokes), outposted and outreach workers will mean that victims and perpetrators do not need to access a physical location at the same time. The consideration of perpetrator access to Hubs will be progressed in the context of broader advice to Government from the Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions (see page 67 for more information on the Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions) (Support and Safety Hubs: Statewide Concept, July 2017, pg. 20)