This Good Practice Resource Manual is intended to sit alongside DVNSW’s Good Practice Guidelines for the Domestic and Family Violence Sector in NSW.

The Guidelines provide a framework of overarching principles. The Resource Manual supports the guidelines by providing practice-based resources and tools to support both frontline workers and service managers in good practice service delivery. These tools include policy and procedure templates, guidelines on working with different client cohorts, and clinical practice notes.

The Good Practice Resource Manual is a live document that DVNSW will continually update with any new and helpful resources that become available.  DFV services are welcome to submit suggestions about useful resources to include. You can do this by emailing admin@dvnsw.org.au.

Resources in this manual are grouped under topic areas.  Click on the links below to access resources in each of the topic areas.

Children and young people should be treated as DFV victim-survivors in their own right, not simply as dependents of a parent who is a victim-survivor.  This requires an approach that upholds the safety of children and young people, protects their human rights and incorporates their voices in decisions that affect them.  

The following resources may be helpful in implementing support for children and young people:

DVNSW, Presentation on impacts of DFV on children and young people

  • This presentation outlines the warning signs and impacts of DFV on children and young people by age group.

Save The Children, Presentation on how to support children impacted by DFV and trauma

  • This presentation explains how to apply a child-centred and trauma-informed approach to support children impacted by DFV.  It also covers how to foster reconnection and repair in the relationship between the child and their parent/caregiver.

Australian Childhood Foundation, Safe & Secure – A trauma informed practice guide for understanding and responding to children and young people affected by family violence 

  • This publication defines the basic goals that need to be met for children and young people to recover from the traumatic impacts of DFV and provides practice guidance for achieving these goals.

Child Family Community Australia, Evidence-based principles for supporting the recovery of children in care  

  • Although applied to children in care, the principles in this practitioner resource are transferable to the supports that can be considered and provided in a refuge environment.

Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, has produced some useful resources on trauma-informed care for children and young people (aged 12 to 25).  These include:

  • Both of these cover what trauma-informed care is and how to implement it in your organisation, including key issues to consider before, during, and after implementation.

NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian, Child Safe Standards 

  • These standards are based on the 10 child safe standards recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which aim to make organisations safer for children. The NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian is now responsible for the standards, in NSW, and provides advice on how to implement them.

The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Refuge for Babies in Crisis

  • This resource provides guidance on how crisis accommodation services can provide support to infants and their mothers affected by family violence.

Youth Action, NSW Youth Development Framework  

  • This covers principles (still under development) for evidence-based practice with young people.

Department of Communities and Justice, Mandatory Reporting Guide

  • Practitioners should always keep in mind their mandatory reporting obligations in the event that there is a risk of significant harm to a child or young person. Information on mandatory reporting requirements can be found on the NSW Department of Communities and Justice website at the above link.

Although there is limited research regarding rates of domestic and family violence against women with disability, the weight of evidence consistently points to women with disability being at greater risk of experiencing DFV than those without disability.  It’s therefore very important for DFV services to be able to effectively support people with disability and to address any barriers they may face in accessing supports. 

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and DVNSW have jointly produced a Disability Toolkit. It has three parts:

  • – Types of DFV experienced by women with disability that are not experienced by women without disability
  • – Barriers that women with disability encounter when accessing DFV services, and
  • – How to address these barriers
  • 2. 30 Ways to Make Your Service More Accessible: guidance on how to make your service as accessible to people with disability as possible, across the domains of physical, informational, attitudinal and procedural accessibility

WWILD has produced How to Hear Me, a resource kit for counsellors and other professionals working with people with intellectual disabilities.

  • This resource covers a range of issues affecting people with intellectual disabilities, including communication, social disadvantage, discrimination and cognitive issues.  Although some of the information provided is specifically tailored towards counsellors, the resource kit also contains information that would be helpful to anyone involved in frontline service delivery to clients with intellectual disabilities.

Homelessness NSW has published Practice Guidelines for Specialist Homelessness Services Regarding Their Interface with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

  • These guidelines provide guidance for homelessness sector workers regarding how to support clients with disability, who are escaping DFV, to gain access to, and participate in, the NDIS.

The Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS) maintains a Disability Gateway website.

  • This website aims to assist people with disability, their families, and their carers to access disability-related information and services relevant to them. Besides the website, DSS has established a dedicated phone line (1800 643 787) and social media channels that also form part of the Disability Gateway.

Safety planning is an essential step in working with DFV victim-survivors.  It is a process where the practitioner guides the DFV victim-survivor to consider their situation and to assess what practical measures they could implement to feel and be safer.  These measures are often written down in a safety plan document and kept somewhere safe.  

Most DFV victim-survivors will already have developed a number of strategic ways to keep themselves and any children safe, which should be incorporated into the safety plan.  The practitioner should treat each DFV victim-survivor as the expert on their own situation and the best judge of what is safe and realistic in that situation, rather than assuming they know what will work best.  

Each DFV victim-survivor’s circumstances are different.  A safety plan needs to be tailored to their personal circumstances and the particular dynamics of their DFV relationship.  Safety plans are relevant when a victim-survivor is living in a DFV relationship but also when they are preparing to leave or have left the relationship, as the most dangerous time in a DFV relationship is often when the DFV victim-survivor leaves.  However, the nature of the safety plan will be different, depending on whether or not a DFV victim-survivor is still living in the abusive relationship.  Any safety plan developed while a DFV victim-survivor was living in the abusive relationship should therefore be reviewed and adapted to their new circumstances once they leave that relationship.

There is no standard safety plan tool or template used across NSW and services tend to develop their own safety planning tools.  The following are some good quality safety planning resources to consider:

  • DV West has developed two separate safety planning handbooks, one for when the DFV victim-survivor is living in a DFV relationship and one for after they have left the relationship.  Both are available here.
  • Insight Exchange has produced My Safety Kit, which is designed to help people reflect on and understand the DFV they are experiencing as well as to start developing safety strategies.
  • SEWACS has developed a free app, called Safe Around Me, that includes safety planning ideas and a location-aware list of local services.  (Note that practitioners should be careful about encouraging a DFV victim-survivor to use an app if they are subject to technology-facilitated abuse.  The victim-survivor should consider whether installing an app will increase risks to their safety).
  • Tangentyere Family Violence Prevention Program has developed safety planning cards that are culturally appropriate for Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse clients experiencing DFV.  These cards can also be used for risk assessment.  You can order them here.

‘Primary prevention’ refers to initiatives targeted at the whole population.  These are aimed at addressing the underlying drivers of DFV to prevent it from ever starting in the first place.

The following resources may help DFV services to implement primary prevention initiatives.

Our Watch, Change The Story

  • Change The Story is Australia’s national framework for the primary prevention of DFV against women and their children.  Every state and territory, as well as the Commonwealth Government, is a member of Our Watch and has signed on to this framework.  Change The Story was recently updated, with the second edition published in November 2021.
  • The aim of the framework is to provide a consistent understanding of the principles that should guide DFV primary prevention initiatives.  This enables organisations to develop effective primary prevention policies, strategies and programs built on these principles.
  • The evidence base that underpins the Change the Story framework indicates that DFV is driven by gender inequality. The framework, therefore, specifies that to be effective, primary prevention initiatives must combat gender inequality.
  • Change The Story identifies 12 actions that contribute to effective primary prevention initiatives – eight essential actions and four supporting actions. It is important for any organisations designing primary prevention activities to consider, and incorporate, some of these actions into their design.
  • Change The Story acknowledges that gender insects with other factors – such as, class, race, disability, sexuality, and gender diversity – in shaping both the drivers of DFV and how DFV is experienced. However, since it presents a whole-of-population framework for primary prevention, it is not designed to focus in-depth on how to design and implement prevention activities appropriately tailored to the needs and experiences of specific community groups. For this reason, other, complementary frameworks and resources are needed to design prevention activities for specific communities. Included below are complementary resources that can be used to design primary prevention initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; culturally, linguistically, and spiritually diverse communities; people with disability; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) communities.

Our Watch, Changing The Picture

  • Changing the Picture is a framework for the prevention of DFV against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children.   It presents a set of principles for organisations to undertake this prevention work in a way that is culturally safe and appropriate.  The framework identifies those actions that are most appropriately undertaken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations and those that should be the responsibility of non-Indigenous people and organisations, and of government.

Multicultural Women’s Health,Intersectionality Matters: A guide to engaging immigrant and refugee communities to prevent violence against women

  • This guide aims to help organisations to develop DFV prevention initiatives that are effective in including and engaging immigrant and refugee communities.  It outlines key elements for DFV prevention work with these communities, such as avoiding simplistic definitions of ‘culture’ and ensuring that the communities concerned have leadership and ownership at all stages of the work.

Women with Disabilities Victoria, Inclusive Planning Guidelines for the Prevention of Violence Against Women With Disabilities

  • These guidelines aim to resource violence prevention workers to work in partnership with disability and other community organisations to prevent DFV against women with disability.  They include six principles, based on a literature review and extensive consultation, which were formulated to be inclusive, practical and evidence-based.

Rainbow Health Victoria, Pride in Prevention: A guide to primary prevention of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ communities

  • This guide was developed to inform primary prevention work aimed at preventing DFV in LGBTIQ+ communities.  It proposes a model for understanding the drivers of DFV in these communities.  It also makes recommendations for the design and delivery of prevention activities for LGBTIQ+ communities.

NSW Health, NSW Domestic and Family Violence Prevention and Early Intervention Strategy 2017 – 2021

  • This is the NSW Government’s current DFV primary prevention and early intervention strategy.  It aims to inform the way not only government agencies but also non-government organisations and communities design and deliver primary prevention and early intervention activities.  It is useful in showing NSW Government focus areas.

VICTORIAN RESOURCES

The Victorian Government funds DFV primary prevention and early intervention activities to a far greater level than the level of funding available in NSW (in NSW, funding is largely concentrated on responding to DFV after it occurs, rather than on primary prevention and early intervention initiatives).  For this reason, there are many, useful prevention resources coming out of Victoria.  Useful Victorian web resources include:

Gender Equity Victoria

  • Gender Equity Victoria is Victoria’s peak body for gender equity, women’s health and the prevention of violence against women.  Its webpage features many useful practice resources for gender equity and DFV prevention work.

Action to Prevent Violence Against Women  

  • This is a resource hub established by Gender Equity Victoria to house resources specifically related to DFV prevention activities.

Respect Victoria

  • Respect Victoria is an independent, statutory authority in Victoria dedicated to the primary prevention of DFV.  Its webpage includes the latest research and data on DFV primary prevention to promote evidence-informed primary prevention activities.

Women’s Health Victoria

  • Women’s Health Victoria has a number of areas of focus, one of which is the prevention of violence against women.  This webpage outlines its work in DFV prevention and includes links to relevant publications and resources.

Partners in Prevention

  • Partners in Prevention supports prevention practitioners to hone their practice skills and strengthen their knowledge of the evidence base.  Its webpage hosts a useful suite of resources related to respectful relationships education.  It also features recordings of webinars related to DFV primary prevention.

Free From Violence: Victoria’s Strategy to Prevent Family Violence

  • Free From Violence is the Victorian Government’s strategy to prevent DFV and all forms of violence against women.  It is a comprehensive strategy that was put into place following the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, which concluded in 2015.

Preventing Family Violence and Violence Against Women Capability Framework

  • This capability framework outlines the foundational skill sets the Victorian Government considers that practitioners require to deliver prevention of violence against women initiatives.

COLLABORATION AND SUPPORT

If your organisation would like support in developing and implementing primary prevention activities, you may like to join the NSW Collaboration for the Primary Prevention of Gender-Based Violence.  This brings together DFV services, peak bodies, local councils, academics and the NSW Government to promote collaboration in primary prevention.  To join the group, email projects@dvnsw.org.au.

Trauma-informed practice is one of the ten key principles outlined in the DVNSW Good Practice Guidelines.  The following resources may help DFV services to implement trauma-informed practice.

The Blue Knot Foundation has produced some leading guidelines, including:

  • Organisational Guidelines for Trauma-Informed Service Delivery (2020). Authors: Kezelman C.A. & Stavropoulos P.A.
  • Practice Guidelines for Clinical Treatment of Complex Trauma (2019). Authors: Kezelman C.A. & Stavropoulos P.A.
  • You can register to download these and other Blue Knot Foundation guidelines here

The US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) manual provides a widely-cited definition and guidance on trauma-informed care:

Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, has produced some useful resources on trauma-informed care for children and young people (aged 12 to 25). These include:

  • Both of these explain trauma-informed care and how to implement it in your organisation, including key issues to consider before, during and after implementation.

Research highlights the importance of people with lived experience and expertise of domestic and family violence being involved in the design and evaluation of DFV services, policies and programs. 

One reason for this is that people with lived expertise can better predict and plan for the needs of service users. Another reason is that the experience of co-design or co-production has been shown to have significant, positive impacts for the individuals with lived expertise. In the context of this collaborative work, these individuals are often known as ‘survivor-advocates’. The experience may support individuals with lived expertise of DFV to feel empowered after the very disempowering experience of being subject to violence and abuse, and to feel that the knowledge they have gained in this experience is being used to give back and support others.

It is essential that organisations working collaboratively with DFV survivor-advocates implement a framework to ensure their work with victim-survivors is conducted ethically and safely.

The following resources are intended to support organisations to work ethically with people with lived expertise of DFV:

Domestic Violence Victoria, the University of Melbourne and the WEAVERS lived expertise group developed the The Family Violence Experts by Experience Framework, aimed to enhance the capacity of specialist DFV services to provide opportunities for DFV survivor-advocates to influence policy development, service planning and practice.  Importantly, it provides best practice guidelines for engaging survivor-advocates of DFV in collaborative work. Key elements of best practice identified are:

  • Safety: Issues relating to legal, physical, emotional and cultural safety of survivor advocates are carefully considered but not used as a mechanism for exclusion.
  • Value: In addition to being recognised for their expertise, survivor-advocates are financially remunerated for their time, contributions and expenses.
  • Transparency: Clear information is provided to survivor-advocates about the degree of influence they can expect the nature of their engagement and time commitment involved.  Feedback is also given about how their contribution influenced change.
  • Support: Options for trauma-informed support and appropriate supervision are made available to survivor-advocates to support them in the collaborative work

This framework also includes some helpful, practical resources for organisations wanting to involve DFV survivor-advocates in co-production. These include:

  • – An organisational readiness checklist
  • – Self-reflection questions for people with lived expertise (to enable them to decide whether they would like to be formally engaged as a survivor-advocate), and
  • – A template for determining remuneration rates for survivor-advocates.

Domestic Violence NSW, Voices for Change Project Report

  • This report outlines 12 recommendations to guide survivor advocacy projects.  It also contains a further six recommendations for promoting sustainable survivor advocacy in Australia.

DVNSW AND CO-PRODUCTION WITH DFV SURVIVOR-ADVOCATES

  • DVNSW believes strongly in the importance of DFV victim-survivor input to its policy and advocacy work.  For this reason, DVNSW established a Survivor Advocate Policy Advisory Group made up of between 7 and 13 people with lived experience of DFV.  For more information about this group, please contact DVNSW’s Policy and Research Manager, Renata Field, at renata@dvnsw.org.au.