Emily, our Project Officer, provides an update of her recent work in the field.
Women with No Income
DVNSW met with the Marise Payne, Minister for Centrelink and have committed to working with her department to improve responses to women impacted by DFV in a range of ways.
The Minister wants to hear “good, bad and indifferent” feedback from DVNSW member services about Centrelink so please let us know about your/client experiences. She is prioritising DFV as a key issue for her department and is keen to hear suggestions for improvement from the NSW sector.
The meeting came about in response to some advocacy that we have been doing with some member representatives and FaCS in relation to women on spousal visas/no income working group. We are currently preparing a paper to take to the Minister and will keep you posted on developments.
Facilitating the first of a number of Regional Domestic and Family Violence Forums to bring the sector together for two days of information sharing, networking and the starting point for the creation of a draft of best practice for the domestic and family violence sector. The first Forum was held on the 4th and 5th of June and saw about 70 wonderful participants from the Mid North Coast and Northern NSW region attend.
We had useful presentations from FaCs around the Going Home Staying Home reforms, as well as the other reforms and policy changes in the domestic and family violence space such as It Stops Here and Safer Pathways. We had a great afternoon discussing regional issues, and local government are working towards creating a local domestic and family violence committee to ensure the voices of those working in the region are heard. The second day was all about examining what ‘best practice’ looks like in the sector. We had inspiring presentations from a number of wonderful women who are doing excellent work in the field. Kylie House spoke about the ground breaking work Port Macquarie Hastings Domestic and Family Violence Service are doing in the Men’s Behaviour Change space, Natalie Smee inspired us by sharing how the Kempsey Family Support Service successfully engages women with children, and Shelley Baker gave us all goose bumps by sharing the work she is doing with the Staying Home, Leaving Violence program.
Similar forums are anticipated throughout NSW in the coming months and once complete, will see the creation of Best Practice Guidelines for the domestic and family violence sector. The next Forum is planned for Tuesday 25 August, to be held in Nowra. We encourage everyone from the Illawarra Shoalhaven and Southern NSW region to attend. Information will be sound out in the coming weeks!
I’ve been busy visiting women's services throughout NSW to uncover any issues or concerns in implementing GHSH, and provide fortnightly feedback to the CEO of DVNSW and FaCs regarding the issues gathered from visiting services to influence change (and follow up of issues). Some of these issues include:
- No Wrong Door – mis-information around what this means. Services still find clients are being passed around. We are currently working with FACS to implement some webinars on No Wrong Door. Details to be sent out in the next month.
- Brokerage guidelines need to be more flexible – DVNSW is currently working with FaCs to create an addendum to policy for women and children impacted by DFV.
- Housing continues to be one of the biggest issues for services – there are limited appropriate and affordable housing options available for women.
- Workers spend all of their energy trying to find appropriate and affordable dwellings for clients that they don’t feel like they are able to address other issues such as the domestic violence impacts/trauma
Tracking and Resolving Issues
I recently worked with Homelessness NSW and Y Foundations to send out a survey that sought to uncover how services were going in implementing the reforms. This survey was sent out to all SHS in NSW. The response rate was 71.8% which means these findings are a valuable indicator of what the landscape of the sector looks like post GHSH and also what supports are still required in order to meet more positive outcomes.
Some of the key findings of the survey are:
- The vast majority of services ( 84% ) are at capacity either all of the time, or most of the time.
- Many services indicated a high rate of ‘turn aways’ as they did not have adequate resources or the capacity to be able to assist the client. This was mainly due to a lack of accommodation.
- 37% of services surveyed indicated they need more support in delivering rapid rehousing. 32% of services indicated they needed additional support in providing an effective crisis and transition response.
- Better service linkages and additional resources were listed by services as what would be most beneficial in helping them deliver the four core services responses.
- 40% of services surveyed indicated that the definition of ‘effort’ when measuring if clients are ‘low, medium or high’ is unclear, 60% of services would like clarification on the definitions of effort.
- Over half of services surveyed cited lack of appropriate referral options as the most challenging element in implementing ‘no wrong door’.
- 81% of services said that lack of appropriate housing was the biggest challenge they face exiting clients to rapid rehousing. Services would like additional assistance in setting up housing networks and local planning to access housing networks in their area
- 53% of services surveyed have issues with Link2Home inappropriately referring clients to their service. Services indicated that they believe Link2Home would benefit from visiting their service and that the assessment process used by Link2Home staff should be reviewed.
- Creating meaningful and productive collaborations and partnerships is a challenge for nearly half of the services surveyed. To combat this, services have indicated that they would like more capacity building within communities for working in partnership and formal agreements for specialist client groups.
- Additional support is required for some services to work more effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people with alcohol and other drug addictions.
- 33% of services surveyed would like training to increase specialist skills.
- More information on brokerage would be helpful for services
- 61% of youth services surveyed believe that there should be both guidelines and standards for SHS services for the placement of under 16’s in SHS services.
- 40% of youth services surveyed don’t believe their services has adequate support to meet the needs of young people, this is mainly due to there not being enough appropriate crisis and transitional housing options and affordable long term housing.
Clients impacted by domestic and family violence
- 22% of services would like additional training and support to improve their responses to women and children impacted by domestic and family violence. Court support training and trauma specialised training was most commonly mentioned as being useful for services.
- The vast majority of services are working differently with women impacted by domestic and family violence compared with other clients.
I also meet regularly with DVLine, Link2Home and FACS staff to pass on issues relating to Link2Home/CIMS/GHSH reforms
Please continue to get in touch when you have an issue relating to GHSH – the more detail the better! Then we can make sure it doesn’t happen again. I'm available at firstname.lastname@example.org