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.

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.

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.