Safer Families reforms
The Safer Families package is the largest action to address family violence across government and community organisations in Canberra’s history. The package is delivering more services in new ways, improving understanding, and ensuring those experiencing domestic and family violence get the help and support they need.
The Safer Families package began with a $21 million investment in the 2016–17 Budget. At the same time, the $30 Safer Families Levy was introduced as part of a community-wide contribution to tackle family and domestic violence and provide an ongoing revenue base to fund long-term system reform and service improvements.
This investment has built an important foundation to strengthen the capacity of frontline services, improve coordination across government and test promising new approaches.
Some of the early initiatives are transitioning out of the Safer Families package, with directorates working out the best approach for the future.
This creates funding capacity for new Safer Families initiatives that will prioritise:
- building whole-of-government and multi-agency domestic and family violence capability, coordination and supporting infrastructure
- improving the capacity of front-line domestic and family violence services to meet increased demand
- testing new approaches, particularly those generated through the Family Safety Hub, to demonstrate feasibility and value.
The additional Safer Families commitment in the 2019–20 Budget was $24 million over four years. This investment is funding a range of new or extended initiatives including the following projects.
Training 21,000 ACT Government workers to respond to family violence
This training aims to build capability across the public service to recognise and respond effectively to domestic and family violence, with a specific focus on lifting the capabilities of frontline staff. A total of $2.83 million has been allocated in 2019-20 over four years to develop and deliver training so all public servants have a shared language and understanding of domestic and family violence and a common approach to assessing and managing the risks associated with this violence. Managers are receiving additional training to equip them to promote a work culture of respect and safety and to understand how best to support workers experiencing domestic and family violence. This budget allocation is on top of the already allocated $770,000 provided in the 2016–17 Budget.
Family-centred responses for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families impacted by family violence
This initiative aims to support a partnership between government and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for the development of community-led, family-centred responses to domestic and family violence. $354,000 has been allocated over three years to address the complex issues identified in the reports: We Don’t Shoot our Wounded; and Change our Future—Share what you know.
Reducing the risk of deaths from family violence
A total of $831,000 has been allocated over four years to fund the establishment of the ACT Domestic and Family Violence Death Review function. Information relating to domestic and family violence deaths will be analysed to make recommendations for service and system-wide improvements that would prevent similar deaths occurring in the future. This initiative will allow the ACT to fully participate in the work of the national family violence death review network and share national data and learnings to reduce deaths through family violence.
Extending the Room4Change program to help prevent family violence
Room4Change is a therapeutic residential men’s behaviour change program focused on preventing domestic and family violence that includes group work, one-on-one case management and accommodation for participants. Room4change also supports the partners and children to stay safely in the home while men are engaged in the six-month program. A further $4.243 million has been allocated over four years for this initiative to continue, allowing for time for it to be fully evaluated.
More information can be found by visiting the ACT Budget website