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2.3.2 Family and domestic violence response team

Last Modified: 11-Dec-2018 Review Date: 04-Jan-2021

Purpose

To guide the practice of senior child protection workers – Family and Domestic Violence (SCPW-FDV) in the Family and Domestic Violence Response Teams (FDVRTs) and Men's Domestic Violence Helpline (MDVHL) who are responsible for triage of Category two, Family Violence Incident Reports where children are identified. It provides information about the role of the SCPW-FDV in the FDVRT and the role of the MDVHL, including their relationship to the Metropolitan Central Intake Team and the district office.

The entry does not include practice information about identifying and responding to family and domestic violence (FDV) as this is covered in other entries within this chapter.

Practice Requirements
  • Senior child protection workers – family and domestic violence (SCPW-FDV) must work in collaboration with Western Australia Police (WA Police) and domestic violence services in the FDVRT to:
    • conduct joint assessment of category 1 Family Violence Incident Reports (FVIRs) that involve children[1]
    • make joint decisions about which families receive a response and who is best placed to provide the follow-up
    • coordinate responses between FDVRT partner agencies, and
    • share responsibility for convening multi-agency case management on a needs basis for high risk cases of FDV.
  • MDVHL will collaborate with the FDVRT and contracted services to provide holistic and coordinated responses to category 2 FVIRs where children have been identified[2]. MDVHL will:
    • Identify any children protection concerns, including open cases
    • Identify perpetrators that may be suitable to contact and attempt to make contact to offer support, safety planning, and/or referral to behaviour change interventions
    • Coordinate responses with contracted family and domestic violence services
    • Provide feedback to FDVRTs as appropriate
  • Operation of the FDVRT, including the roles and responsibilities of the SCPW-FDV and MDVHL, must be guided by the FDVRT operating Procedures.
  • The SCPW-FDV and MDVHL worker must maintain a reporting relationship with their team leader/line manager at all times for administrative and operational guidance, line management and supervision.
  • The SCPW-FDV and MDVHL worker must access and use the Triage Application in line with the FDVRT Triage User Guide (also in related resources).

[1] In the regions the SCPW-FDV may also be triaging category 2 FVIRs with children until alternative arrangements can be negotiated.

[2] Metropolitan districts and Peel only, although alternative arrangements may be negotiated in the future.

Procedures

  • Overview
  • Receiving Family Violence Incident Reports from WA Police
  • Open cases to the Department
  • Child abuse reports
  • Joint assessment and triage
  • Triage of category 2 FVIRs, with children by MDVHL
  • Joint responses with WA police or domestic violence services
  • Multi-agency case management
  • Collaboration and exchange of information regarding serious offenders
  • Family Violence Incident Reports and Affidavits
  • Overview

    The FDVRT is a partnership between the Department of Communities (the Departement), WA Police and non-government domestic violence services. The role of the FDVRT is to provide a coordinated and collaborative response to FDV.

    Exposure to FDV is a form of child abuse that places children at high risk of emotional and physical harm and neglect. The FDVRT focuses on early intervention through improved information sharing and processes for joint assessment, triage and coordinated case management of families identified in DVIRs. 

    The role of the SCPW-FDV is to partner with WA Police and domestic violence services to assess and respond to category 1 FVIRs where children were identified as present or known to reside. The role of the MDVHL is to assess and respond to category 2, FVIRs where children have been identified (metropolitan and Peel districts). Both the SCPW-FDV and MDVHL will provide a conduit to the district office for FVIRs pertaining to open cases; and the Metropolitan Central Intake Team for those that require intake for further child protection assessment and action or family support.

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    Receiving Family Violence Incident Reports from WA Police

    SCPW-FDV and MDVHL access FDVIRs from the Triage Application. Refer to the FDVRT Triage User Guide (in related resources) for guidance about accessing and using the system. For information about how WA Police define FDV refer to Police Definitions for Reporting FDV - WA Police (in related resources).

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    Open cases to the Department

    Where a FDVIR relates to a family that is a current open case to us, the SCPW-FDV and MDVHL worker should publish the FVIR to an open interaction and add the case worker's name in the 'Assigned To' field. Refer to the FDVRT Triage User Guide (in related resources) for further guidance. It is the case worker's responsibility to conduct the initial assessment, determine appropriate next actions and close the interaction in Assist.

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    Child abuse reports

    Where a FVIR relates to a child abuse matter, including a crime perpetrated against a child, the SCPW-FDV or MDVHL worker must as a matter of priority:

    • Check whether the referral has already been received and actioned by the Crisis Care Unit, Central Intake Team or the district office (if already an open case), and if not,
    • Provide the Central Intake team leader with the FVIR number and the Triage Application reference number. The team leader and/or duty officer is responsible for generating the duty interaction from the Triage Application, conducting the initial assessment and determining next actions.
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    Joint assessment and triage

    The FDVRT conducts joint assessment and triage of all category 1 FVIRS. In some regional locations the FDVRT will also triage category 2 FVIRs that include children. The SCPW-FDV is involved in joint assessment and triage of category 1 (and where relevant, category 2) FVIRs,  that include children. MDVHL is involved in the triage of category 2 FVIRs that include children across the metropolitan and Peel districts. The joint assessment process is underpinned by the Common Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework (in related resources).

    The SCPW-FDV should contribute the following information to the FDVRT for joint assessment of DVIRs:

    • whether or not the family is a current open case to us
    • family history with us
    • information relevant to risk and safety, and
    • professional judgments about risk and safety of the child and adult victim.

    If the family identified in the FVIR is Aboriginal, the SCPW-FDV should consult with the Aboriginal Practice Leader (or other relevant Aboriginal officer), as appropriate.

    The FDVRT should make joint/collaborative decisions about which FVIRs receive a response and the FDVRT agency responsible for providing follow-up with the family.

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    Triage of category 2 FVIRs, with children by MDVHL

    Men’s Domestic Violence Helpline will review and triage category 2 FVIRs with children metropolitan and Peel districts, and:

    • Identify open cases, create an interaction and forward the open cases to the case manager
    • Identify child protection concerns and initiate referral to Metropolitan Central Intake Team[1]
    • Identify perpetrators that may be suitable to contact and attempt to make contact to offer support, safety planning, and/or referral to behavior change interventions
    • Provide referrals to contracted family and domestic violence services for support to adult victims when a decision is made to attempt contact with a perpetrator, and
    • Provide feedback to FDVRTs as appropriate.

    The SCPW-FDV and MDVHL worker are responsible for determining which cases are referred to the Metropolitan Central Intake Team for intake.

    Decisions about which cases we have a further role in must be informed by Chapter 2: Assessment and Investigation Processes. For cases where the recommended next action is intake, SCPW-FDV and MDVHL worker must publish the FVIR to Assist, create the interaction and re-allocate it to the correct Central Intake Team Leader. An email should then be sent to CPDuty@cpfs.wa.gov.au with the FVIR and interaction number.

    Decisions about sourcing accommodation for women with or without children who are homeless as a result of FDV may need to be made in consultation with Entrypoint Perth (Centrecare). For more information about this accommodation support service refer to Chapter 1.3: Homelessness.  

    Recording:

    • Triage decisions must be recorded in the 'decisions page' of the Triage Application.
    • For the FDVRT, recording on the 'decisions page' is a shared responsibility of the SCPW-FDV and the domestic violence service (CRS).
    • MDVHL are responsible for recording all decisions related to  category 2 FVIRs with children they have reviewed.
    • A duty interaction must be recorded in Assist for FVIRs that include children when:
      • they relate to an open case
      • we are involved in providing a response, or
      • the case is recommended for intake.
    • When the SCPW-FDV or MDVHL is involved in providing a response, including recommending intake, 'concern for child' should be recorded in the interaction with an issue of 'emotional abuse – family and domestic violence'.

    [1] For metropolitan districts only.

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    Joint responses with WA police or domestic violence services

    FDVRT partner agencies may provide joint responses to families identified in FVIRs. This includes joint visits and/or meetings with the adult victim or perpetrator.

    The SCPW-FDV should only be involved in joint responses where there is a clear role or purpose for us. For example, when more information is required from the adult victim to inform the initial child protection assessment.

    Worker and child/adult victim safety must be the primary considerations when home or client visits are planned. Refer to Chapter 2.3: Assessing Emotional Abuse - Family and Domestic Violence and Managing Safe Client Contact with the Department (also in related resources).

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    Multi-agency case management

    FDVRT partner agencies share responsibility for convening multi-agency case management (MACM) for high risk cases of FDV. Refer to FDVRT Operational Guidelines (also in related resources) for more information.

    Where the FDVRT consider that MACM is necessary for a family that is an open case to the Department this should be discussed with the case manager. In these circumstances, it may be more appropriate for the case manager to attend the MACM.

    For families with children that are not an open case to us, the role of the SCPW-FDV in MACM is to contribute relevant information about prior contacts with the Department and information about available services provided by us, including: crisis care, financial assistance to leave, men’s and women’s domestic violence helplines, and Parent Support programs.

    MACM is supported by the Memorandum of Understanding MOU - Information Sharing between Agencies with Responsibilities for Preventing and Responding to Family and Domestic Violence in Western Australia (also in related resources).

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    Collaboration and exchange of information regarding serious offenders

    In August 2013, the Department, WA Police and Department of Corrective Services signed the Tripartite Schedule: Collaboration and Exchange of Information Regarding Serious Domestic Violence Offenders to support information exchange and collaborative case management of serious domestic violence offenders (in related resources).

    Practice guidance to support the tripartite schedule, including instructions about how the Department and WA Police can register a victim on the Victim Notification Register is available in Guidelines for Collaboration and Exchange of Information Regarding Serious Domestic Violence Offenders (also in related resources).

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    Family Violence Incident Reports and Affidavits

    FVIRs provided to us by WA Police can be used at our discretion for a range of purposes, including attaching to an affidavit to support care and protection order proceedings. Although this discretion is available to us, child protection workers should exercise caution when using FVIRs for this purpose, remembering that respondent parties receive copies of the affidavit and attachments during court proceedings. Child protection workers should consider the following when deciding whether to attach a FVIR to an affidavit:

    • FVIRs are not ‘factual accounts’ - the information provided in a FVIR reflects a point in time account of what a responding police officer has seen and been told
    • safety of the parties identified - FVIRs often contain disclosures made by the adult victim. Should the perpetrator obtain this information it may escalate the risk to the adult victim and child, and
    • identity and safety of the notifier - FVIRs identify the name, phone number and residential address of the person who reported the domestic violence incident.

    Where the child protection worker considers that the information contained in the FVIR should not be provided to respondent parties, the following options are available:

    • FVIRs can be redacted by the child protection worker so that any information which may compromise the safety of the adult victim and/or other parties is eliminated prior to swearing of the affidavit.
    • Rather than attaching a FVIR to an affidavit, the relevant information can be summarised by the child protection worker in the body of the affidavit.

    Where sensitive information in a FVIR is highly relevant to an application and the above options do not address concerns adequately, contact the Legal Query Duty at Child Protection Legal Unit to discuss the appropriate legal approach.

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