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 (FVIRs) where children
and unborn babies are identified.
It provides information about the role of the
SCPW-FDV, including their relationship to the Metropolitan Central Intake Team (CIT)
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.
 In country regions the SCPW-FDV may also be triaging Category 2 FVIRs.
The FDVRT is a partnership between the Department, WAPOL and CRS. CRS is a non-government domestic violence service provider. The role of the FDVRT is to provide a coordinated and collaborative response to FVIRs.
Exposure to FDV is a form of emotional abuse that places children and unborn babies at risk of emotional and physical abuse 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 FVIRs.
The role of the SCPW-FDV is to partner with WAPOL and CRS to assess and respond to Category 1 FVIRs where children or unborn 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/or FVIRs which require a Safety and Wellbeing Assessment (SWA); and the Metropolitan Central Intake Team for those that require intake for Initial Inquiry.
SCPW-FDV and MDVHL access FVIRs 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).
Families with an open case to the Department require a response when domestic violence has been identified. It is the case manager's responsibility to assess an FVIR and then co-ordinate a response to support the victim and hold the perpetrator accountable for their abuse. A coordinated response can include the SCPW-FDV and other agencies attached to the FDVRT, as well as any other services providing support to the family. If the adult and child victims are assessed as being at high risk of serious harm, then the case worker should convene a multi-agency case management meeting (MACM). To determine if an adult victim is at high risk of serious harm a risk assessment tool should be completed.
Where a FVIR relates to a family that has an open period of contact with the Department, and the family is being case-managed, the SCPW-FDV and MDVHL worker must publish the FVIR to an open interaction and add the case worker's name in the 'Assigned To' field. Followed by an email to the case worker informing them of the FVIR and open interaction. Once the appropriate next actions have been determined, the case worker must complete the initial assessment and close the interaction in Assist.
The Department has a responsibility to provide a response to parents of children who are in care, when they are experiencing FDV. This is particularly important in cases where reunification is part of the case plan and/or contact visits are occurring. Reunification attempts and contact visits will be negatively impacted whilst the adult victim is experiencing FDV. It is also important to recognise that parents with children in care may be reluctant to report FDV to Police due to a fear that by doing so will negatively impact reunification with their children.
Decisions about whether the Department has a role in cases where a child has been exposed to family and domestic violence (FDV) must be informed by the practice requirements outlined in the CPM entry Assessing Emotional Abuse – Family and Domestic Violence.
All SCPW-FDV are required to attend Threshold Interaction Toolkit training offered by Learning and Development. This tool requires staff to gather a range of current and historical risk factors in order to assist with determining if an intake is required. All SCPW-FDV are required to attend the Learning and Development Interaction Toolkit training.
When child protection concerns have been identified, including an incident report of abuse perpetrated against a child and/or pregnant mother, the SCPW-FDV or MDVHL worker must as a matter of priority:
See FVIR Pathways for Intake flowchart, in the related resources for additional information.
SCPW-FDV and MDVHL staff will:
Recording action taken, such as telephone calls or home visits, in an interaction must be consistent with CPM 2.2 Assessment and Investigation. Therefore SCPW-FDV staff must be clear on the type of information they can gather and record in an interaction. Typically a telephone call or home visit to a victim of FDV, will be for the purpose of:
Any action that is in response to identified child protection concerns, and for the purpose of determining whether the Department has a clear ongoing role, must be referred to CIT or CST in regional areas.
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 FVIRs:
FDVRT make joint/collaborative decisions about which FVIRs receive a response and the FDVRT agency responsible for providing follow-up with the family. If the family identified in the FVIR is Aboriginal, and unsuccessful attempts have been made to contact and support the family, the SCPW-FDV should consult with the district Aboriginal Practice Leader (or other relevant Aboriginal officer), as appropriate. An APL may be able to provide information and advice regarding a particular family, or general advice about engaging with families in a culturally safe way.
MDVHL will review and triage Category 2 FVIRs with children in metropolitan and Peel districts, and:
The MDVHL worker, in consultation with their line manager, is responsible for determining which cases are referred to the CIT or CST for intake.
For more information about engaging with and safety planning with perpetrators of FDV, see CPM entry - 2.3.4 Responding to perpetrators of emotional abuse - family and domestic violence.
FDVRT partner agencies 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 the Department.
Worker and adult/child victim safety must be the primary considerations when home 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).
FDVRT partner agencies share responsibility for convening multi-agency case management (MACM) for high risk of serious harm 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, SCPW-FDV will discuss this with the case manager. In these circumstances, it is the responsibility of the team leader to delegate the MACM to a staff member with the appropriate skills to convene a MACM meeting.
For families with children that are not an open case to the Department, the role of the SCPW-FDV in MACM is to contribute relevant information about prior contacts with the Department and information about services provided.
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).
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).
FVIRs provided to the Department by WA Police can be used at the Departments 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:
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:
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.