DVNSW collaborates with peak bodies, members, the Department and state/federal government to provide advice and key changes across legislation, policy and practices.

You can find out about our key collaborations below.

 

The DVNSW Good Practice Guidelines were developed following extensive research and consultation with the NSW DFV sector. The Guidelines reinforce practices and procedures that have been developed over decades of expertise by experienced specialist domestic and family violence services, women’s services, peak bodies (including NSW Women’s Refuge Movement’s Access and Equity Manual), community-controlled organisations and agencies that have experience working with women, children, families and communities impacted by violence.

The key purpose of the DFV Practice Guidelines is to:

  • Provide a framework to support the delivery of high quality, consistent responses to victim-survivors across the DFV sector in NSW
  • Provide services with a tool to assist them to provide high quality services and guidelines for service development, planning and quality assurance
  • Recognise the specific needs of victim-survivors from a diverse range of backgrounds and the importance of flexible service responses that respond to individuals’ specific needs

While the domestic and family violence service system will inevitably continue to be impacted and shaped by ongoing reform and development, the principles and values in this guide are designed to assist workers to understand the needs of victim-survivors of violence and to embed a gendered analysis of violence and cultural  safety throughout their practice.

You can download the Good Practice Guidelines below.

DVNSW GOOD PRACTICES GUIDELINES REVIEW

During 2020, DVNSW engaged UNSW’s Gendered Violence Research Network (GVRN) to conduct a review of the Good Practice Guidelines. This is to ensure that the Guidelines reflect current best practice and changes to regulatory requirements by 2021. 

If you’d like further information on the review or would like to take part , please contact us here.

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.

Working together to support victim-survivors of domestic and family violence

Best practice in integrated service delivery is when multiple organisations work together to help victim-survivors access holistic support and services in a more effective and comprehensive manner. 

Working in this way delivers significantly better outcomes for victim-survivors, efficiencies for service delivery organisations, and benefits and savings throughout the entire system. 

Many organisations work, or aspire to work, in an integrated way, but it can be difficult to implement and sustain this approach in practice and there are system level barriers given the siloed and highly fragmented nature of services and funding sources. It is an established way of working that the specialist family violence sector wants to see grow and develop.

In 2020 and 2021, Social Ventures Australia, funded by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, led a collaborative project to capture and illustrate best practice integrated service delivery. 

This work was a collaboration between Social Ventures Australia, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia as part of its Next Chapter program, and social sector organisations working to improve outcomes for victim-survivors including McAuley Community Services for Women, WEstjustice, EDVOS, Muslim Women Australia’s Linking Hearts program, Domestic Violence Victoria, Homelessness NSW and InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence. 

The aim of the project was to build knowledge, resources and practical tools for organisations working at the intersection of domestic and family violence and other key specialist services required by victim-survivors (e.g. legal assistance, housing, counselling and primary care) to help organisations increase the level of integration of their services.

The project involved case studies, interviews, and reviewing selected literature to outline the benefits of integrated service delivery and provide practical insights and learnings from organisations that are working together to improve outcomes for victim-survivors of domestic and family violence. 

The learnings and recommendations from the collaboration include:

  • An overview for social sector organisations on integrated service delivery 

This document summarises the benefits of integrated service delivery and provides practical insights and learnings from organisations that are working together in this way. It is intended for use by leaders in service delivery organisations who are considering integrated practice.

DOWNLOAD THE OVERVIEW

  • A model describing how organisations can work together to support victim-survivors of family violence
    This document synthesises the experience of three organisations working in an integrated way, other input from sector stakeholders, and the recent literature to provide practical insights on how to implement and operate integrated service delivery models, and the outcomes and benefits that they provide.

DOWNLOAD THE MODEL

  • Information for Government and funding partners on how to support integrated service delivery
    This document provides an overview of the key features of integrated service delivery for use when meeting with government representatives, and potentially other funding partners. It also identifies four key areas for action where changes to government funding and system management can better enable integrated practice. Content in this document can be used for the purposes of advocacy and funding requests.

DOWNLOAD THE OVERVIEW

  • Resources to support integrated service delivery
    The documents listed in the table below are provided by the three case study organisations (McAuley Community Services for Women, EDVOS and Linking Hearts) as examples of templates and resources to support integrated service delivery. Service delivery providers may wish to adopt and adapt these resources to support integrated service delivery in their organisation. These resources have been generously shared by organisations to assist other service delivery providers in their implementation of integrated service delivery. Please adopt and adapt them as you see fit. 
Authoring organisationResource nameDescriptionRelated section of the integrated model
EDVOSAn example case management procedureEDVOS’ case management procedure outlining how holistic support is provided to victim-survivors.3.1 Elements of holistic support
VicHealthPartnerships Analysis Tool ChecklistA resource for organisations entering into or working in a partnership to assess, monitor and maximise its ongoing effectiveness (recommended and used by McAuley).3.2 Partnership infrastructure (organisational readiness)
EDVOSCost categories for integrated service deliveryPotential cost categories associated with integrated service delivery – based on examples provided by EDVOS.3.2 Partnership infrastructure (costs)
McAuley Example Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between McAuley and WEstjusticeThe Memorandum of Understanding between McAuley and WEstjustice which describes their integrated service delivery partnership.3.2 Partnership infrastructure (partnership goals and commitments)
EDVOSTemplate Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)A template used by EDVOS to create a Memorandum of Understanding with their partner organisations.3.2 Partnership infrastructure (partnership goals and commitments)
McAuleyExample position description for a manager of integrated service deliveryPosition description for the Manager Community Services (Skills, Employment and Health) role — a manager role responsible for front-line service provision of McAuley’s integrated and connected services for women and children.3.2 Partnership infrastructure (partnership governance and management)
Victorian GovernmentExample of a common protocol from Victoria: Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management FrameworkThe Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework ensures Victorian services are effectively identifying, assessing and managing family violence risk (recommended and used by EDVOS).3.2 Partnership infrastructure (operational elements of the partnership)
EDVOSExample client outcomes surveyEDVOS’ Client Service Outcome Feedback Survey, designed following the Victorian Family Violence Outcome Framework (VFVOF).3.2 Partnership infrastructure (operational elements of the partnership)
Social Ventures Australia & WEstjusticeExample monitoring and evaluation framework for McAuley and WEstjusticeA monitoring and evaluation framework for WEstjustice’s Transforming Financial Security partnership with McAuley including program logic, evaluation questions, data collection plan, data collection tools and data analysis approach.3.2 Partnership infrastructure (operational elements of the partnership)
Social Ventures Australia ConsultingInformation on outcomes managementSummary information on developing an outcomes management process3.2 Partnership infrastructure (operational elements of the partnership)
McAuleyMcAuley’s service offeringA diagram that provides an overview of McAuley’s service offering.4.1 Case study on McAuley

NOTE: Here is an example of roughly what it should look like: https://www.thelookout.org.au/family-violence-workers/orientation-family-violence-practice/working-together

Please include the links that are already in there – I will upload the remaining links later.

This webpage supports DFV services to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing a range of up-to-date resources to help.  Resources are set out under topics that include links to useful documents developed by NSW Government departments and non-government organisations.

As the peak body representing specialist DFV services across NSW, we are also available to help with specific, COVID-related queries.  You can contact us at admin@dvnsw.org.au.

COVID MANAGEMENT PLANS

For services that receive funding from the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), the following resources have been collated to help meet Covid Management Plan contract requirements. These resources may also be useful for services that do not receive DCJ funding but are looking to develop their own Covid Management Plan.

DCJ commissioned the consultancy, Rebbeck, to develop guidance on COVID risk assessments and COVID Management Plans for all DCJ-funded service providers. The Model COVID19 Management Plan Templates and resources for services is a simple one stop shop:

Additional COVID-related resources can be found below.

COVID Safety Plans

This COVID-19 Safety Plan guidance was produced for general practices and primary health service providers but may also provide useful guidance for services in other sectors: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/business/safety-plans/general-practice-template

COVID Management Plans

DCJ comprehensive written guidance for DCJ service providers preparing COVID-19 Management
Plans (this is part of the Rebbeck consultancy guidance noted above):  https://www.coronavirus.dcj.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/822187/covid-19-sector-support-guidance-for-dcj-providers.pdf

DCJ training webinars and accompanying slide packs to support DCJ service providers in preparing COVID-19 Management Plans: https://www.coronavirus.dcj.nsw.gov.au/service-providers/guide-to-recovery-and-sector-support-for-covid-19-management#sector-support

DCJ COVID-19 Guidelines for SHS and Residential Out-of-Home Care Settings: Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) and Residential Out-of-home Care (OOHC) COVID-19 guidelines

Australian Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) factsheets and training materials that support the COVID-19 Guidelines for Residential Out-of-Home Care Settings: https://www.acwa.asn.au/guidelines-residential-care-settings-for-young-people-in-oohc-and-covid-19/

Risk Assessment

DCJ COVID-19 risk assessment template for all DCJ service providers: https://www.coronavirus.dcj.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/excel_doc/0009/822186/covid-19-risk-assessment-dcj-service-providers.xlsx

DCJ COVID-19 risk assessment template developed at the District-level for housing and child protection services: https://www.coronavirus.dcj.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/excel_doc/0019/821080/covid-19-risk-assessment-district.xlsx

NSW Council Of Social Services (NCOSS) risk assessment resources: https://www.ncoss.org.au/ncoss-covid-19-vax-risk-assessment-toolkit/

Vaccination Policies

DCJ COVID-19 management and vaccination policy for DCJ service providers: https://www.coronavirus.dcj.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/820238/covid-19-management-and-vaccination-policy.pdf

DCJ COVID-19 management and vaccination policy for its own locations and worksites:

https://www.coronavirus.dcj.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/820507/covid-19-vaccination-policy.pdf
 
Local Community Services Association (LCSA) Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy template: https://www.lcsansw.org.au/Common/Uploaded%20files/Documents/Policies/LCSA_PP_Mandatory_COVID-19_Vaccination_Policy.docx

Local Community Services Association (LCSA) COVID-19 Safety Policy template: https://www.ncoss.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/LCSA-PP-COVID-19-Safety-Policy.docx

Additional resources to support and manage vaccination policy implementation

NCOSS COVID-19 Vax Risk Assessment Toolkit: https://www.ncoss.org.au/ncoss-covid-19-vax-risk-assessment-toolkit/

NCOSS Guide to Vax Risk Assessment: https://www.ncoss.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Guide-Vax-Risk-Assessment-3Nov2021-.pdf

NCOSS attachment to the Vax Risk Assessment Guide: https://www.ncoss.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/VAX-Resources-_3Nov21.pdf

NCOSS Vax Risk Assessment Worksheet: https://www.ncoss.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Vax-Risk-assessment-worksheet_3Nov21.xlsx

Justice Connect, legal information about managing vaccinations in the workplace: https://www.nfplaw.org.au/managing-vaccines-workplace

Business Continuity plans

Institute of Community Directors Australia guidance: https://communitydirectors.com.au/help-sheets/covid-19-restart-what-not-for-profits-should-consider-when-going-back-to-the-workplace

NSW Health factsheet: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/aod/Pages/ngo-business-continuity-considerations.aspx

GENERAL COVID SAFETY INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) resources

DCJ PPE Matrix describing which equipment to use in which situations: https://www.coronavirus.dcj.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/821395/dcj-personal-protective-equipment-ppe-matrix.pdf

DCJ, Personal Protective Equipment Quick Reference Guide: https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/download?file=821019

NSW Government list of PPE suppliers for organisations during the pandemic. https://buy.nsw.gov.au/news/2020/ppe-supplies-portal-for-industry-and-the-community

General office / service use

COVID-19 posters and signage for the workplace: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/business/covid-safe-business/toolkit

COVID Road Map

DCJ NGO Guide to Recovery detailing staged approach to reopening after lockdown: https://www.coronavirus.dcj.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/821078/ngo-guide-to-recovery.pdf

NSW Government, information on restrictions easing at 95% vaccination or on 15 December: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/easing-covid-19-restrictions/opening-in-dec

STAFF HEALTH & WELLBEING

DVNSW Wellbeing Webinar


NSW Health, COVID-19 mental health at work resource kit: https://www.nsw.gov.au/mental-health-at-work/mental-health-at-work-resources/resource-kits/covid-19-mental-health-at-work-resource-kit

NSW Government, Workplace Pulse Check: https://www.nsw.gov.au/mental-health-at-work/workplace-pulse-check

Homelessness NSW, workforce safety and wellbeing resources: https://rise.articulate.com/share/XA4LlyA4rmabBoO3h__7EKzGf5RsGE4X#/lessons/Wvf6kA2T5DZdBvQlDI8QOpawnhlIVE

Homelessness NSW, workforce safety and wellbeing for managers resources: https://rise.articulate.com/share/XA4LlyA4rmabBoO3h__7EKzGf5RsGE4X#/lessons/-NFUiRHfvhhDDybneWaQXl1s9dCzL6XN

Homelessness NSW, supporting client wellbeing during COVID-19 resources: https://rise.articulate.com/share/XA4LlyA4rmabBoO3h__7EKzGf5RsGE4X#/lessons/JGi56DSqPDFsCRUO80eZ3RmGzZOu7JHq

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) information

Access to DCJ Employee Assistance Program for staff of DCJ service providers:
https://www.coronavirus.dcj.nsw.gov.au/service-providers/mental-health-and-wellbeing-support#eap

Registration for access to DCJ EAP: https://www.coronavirus.dcj.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/word_doc/0003/814557/NGO-registration-form-for-access-to-EAP-services.docx

STAFF HEALTH & WELLBEING

DVNSW Wellbeing Webinar


NSW Health, COVID-19 mental health at work resource kit: https://www.nsw.gov.au/mental-health-at-work/mental-health-at-work-resources/resource-kits/covid-19-mental-health-at-work-resource-kit

NSW Government, Workplace Pulse Check: https://www.nsw.gov.au/mental-health-at-work/workplace-pulse-check

Homelessness NSW, workforce safety and wellbeing resources: https://rise.articulate.com/share/XA4LlyA4rmabBoO3h__7EKzGf5RsGE4X#/lessons/Wvf6kA2T5DZdBvQlDI8QOpawnhlIVE

Homelessness NSW, workforce safety and wellbeing for managers resources: https://rise.articulate.com/share/XA4LlyA4rmabBoO3h__7EKzGf5RsGE4X#/lessons/-NFUiRHfvhhDDybneWaQXl1s9dCzL6XN

Homelessness NSW, supporting client wellbeing during COVID-19 resources: https://rise.articulate.com/share/XA4LlyA4rmabBoO3h__7EKzGf5RsGE4X#/lessons/JGi56DSqPDFsCRUO80eZ3RmGzZOu7JHq

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) information

Access to DCJ Employee Assistance Program for staff of DCJ service providers:
https://www.coronavirus.dcj.nsw.gov.au/service-providers/mental-health-and-wellbeing-support#eap

Registration for access to DCJ EAP: https://www.coronavirus.dcj.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/word_doc/0003/814557/NGO-registration-form-for-access-to-EAP-services.docx

The NSW Government has a range of policies and programs designed to respond to domestic and family violence (DFV) in NSW.  The Commonwealth Government also has an overarching, DFV policy framework that applies nationally. 

The main NSW Government departments responsible for responses to DFV are the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) and NSW Health.  DCJ funds specialist DFV services, throughout NSW, which support DFV victim-survivors to find safety and rebuild their lives, through funding a range of programs delivered through these services.  NSW Health oversees and funds the responses to DFV delivered through the health system.

This Resource Manual page collates information about DFV policies and programs, relevant to NSW, in one place, for easy reference.  Note that some policies are scheduled to end in 2021 and DVNSW will publish the new policies that replace these as they become publicly available.

NSW Government policies

Domestic and Family Violence Blueprint for Reform 2016-2021

This policy includes strategies to prevent DFV, intervene early with individuals and communities at risk, support victims, hold perpetrators to account, and improve the quality of the DFV service system.

NSW Domestic and Family Violence Prevention and Early Intervention Strategy 2017-2021

This policy establishes a framework for government and community action related to primary prevention (preventing DFV before it occurs) and early intervention (intervening early with at-risk individuals or populations to stop DFV escalating and becoming entrenched).

NSW Health Strategy for Preventing and Responding to Domestic and Family Violence, 2021-2026

This NSW Health policy aims to strengthen the public health system’s role in preventing and responding to DFV.  It identifies actions to ensure NSW Health staff obtain the support they need from the public health system to prevent, respond to, and ameliorate the harmful effects of, DFV.   It also describes the state-wide and local policies and procedures, resources and training necessary to support health services and staff in this work.

Integrated Prevention and Response to Violence, Abuse and Neglect Framework

This policy framework applies to NSW Health services and its aim is for these services to deliver a more integrated prevention and service response to violence, abuse and neglect.  The framework is being implemented in two phases. 

The focus of the first phase is on strengthening integrated responses by NSW Health’s specialist Violence, Abuse and Neglect (VAN) services.  VAN services are the services within the health sector that respond to DFV and also to other, often co-occurring, forms of violence, abuse and neglect, including:

  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Sexual assault
  • Young people with problematic or harmful sexual behaviours (these are sexual behaviours that harm another child or young person).

An integrated service response by these VAN services recognises the need to consider, and respond appropriately, to all forms of violence being experienced.  This is necessary because people experience multiple forms of violence, abuse and neglect.  These forms of violence often overlap within families and may co-occur or may be experienced at different stages throughout a person’s life. 

The focus of the second phase of implementing this policy framework is on broadening integration of violence, abuse and neglect responses beyond specialist VAN services.  This phase recognises the importance of integrated responses across the whole of the NSW Health system.

This policy framework is supported by the paper, The Case for Change: Integrated Prevention and Response to Violence, Abuse and Neglect in NSW Health.  It provides a summary of key findings from the research and clinical literature that support an integrated response by NSW Health violence, abuse and neglect services.

Premier’s Priority – Reducing Domestic Violence Reoffending

A current NSW Premier’s Priority is reducing DFV reoffending by 25% by 2023.

Premier’s Priority – Protecting our most vulnerable children

A current NSW Premier’s Priority is to reduce the proportion of children and young people re-reported at risk of significant harm by 20% by 2023.  Many children are reported to the child protection system are at risk of significant harm because they are experiencing DFV.

Commonwealth Government policies

The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022

The National Plan is the Commonwealth Government’s key policy related to reducing DFV and sexual assault.  It aims to provide a coordinated framework for action by the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments.  The National Plan specifies six outcomes for these governments to work towards:

  1. Communities are safe and free from violence
  2. Relationships are respectful
  3. Indigenous communities are strengthened
  4. Services meet the needs of women and their children experiencing violence
  5. Justice responses are effective
  6. Perpetrators stop their violence and are held to account.

 There have been successive Action Plans developed to implement the National Plan.

NSW Government Programs

Safer Pathway Program

The Safer Pathway program provides a coordinated service delivery model for DFV victim-survivors across NSW.  It aims to ensure that victim-survivors access all the DFV-related services and supports they need, even though these are delivered across a range of government and non-government agencies.  Elements of the Safer Pathway program include:

  • a streamlined referral pathway for victim-survivors through an online platform, the Central Referral Point, managed by Victims Services
  • a common risk assessment tool (the Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool, or DVSAT), which the NSW Police Force must use, and which other service providers are encouraged to use
  • consistent access to specialist DFV support victim-survivors through a network of Local Coordination Points
  • Safety Action Meetings, attended by government and non-government service providers, to provide a priority, case-coordination response for victim-survivors at serious risk of injury or death.

Through Safer Pathways, victim-survivors may be referred into any of the other programs outlined below.  They may also self-refer into the below programs.

Integrated Domestic and Family Violence Services (IDFVS) program

This program provides a multi-agency response to prevent DFV escalating in high-risk target groups and in targeted communities. It is a collaboration between DCJ, NSW Police and non-government support agencies focused on delivering integrated, case management responses to DFV.  Services available include:

  • emotional and practical support for both adult and children victim-survivors
  • risk assessment
  • safety planning
  • therapeutic support, where the service providers involved have this specialisation
  • supporting prosecution of perpetrators through the courts
  • work with perpetrators, where this does not compromise the safety of victim-survivors, with the aim of referring them into a DFV behaviour change program.

Staying Home Leaving Violence (SHLV) program

Administered by DCJ, this program works, in cooperation with NSW Police, to remove the perpetrator from the family home so that victim-survivors (both adults and any children) can stay safely in that home.  It aims to prevent victim-survivors becoming homeless or having to move away from their support systems. Services provided include help with:

  • safety planning
  • home security
  • managing finances
  • legal processes.

Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (WDVCAP)

Administered by Legal Aid, this program funds a network of Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services (WDVCASs) across the state.  WDVCASs are non-government service providers that assist women to obtain effective legal protection from DFV.  They assist women to obtain Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) and also provide support and information to access the criminal justice system.  Besides help with legal processes, they provide support for social and welfare needs, through information and referral to services such as housing, counselling, financial assistance and health services. 

WDVCASs were chosen to be the Local Coordination Points for women victim-survivors under the Safer Pathway Program.  This means they are responsible for providing risk assessment, case coordination and safety planning services, as well as victim liaison and Secretariat for Safety Action meetings.

Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) program

As DFV is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children, government programs addressing homelessness are essential for victim-survivors.  Administered by DCJ, the SHS program is the NSW Government’s primary response to homelessness.  It funds non-government organisations, known as SHSs, to support people who are experiencing, or are at risk of homelessness. 

Many SHSs across the state include a specialist response for women, including women escaping DFV, women with children and women with complex needs.  The SHS system also includes a network of women’s refuges across NSW that support women, with or without children, who are escaping DFV.

Some service providers, in the SHS program, receive a specific funding stream to provide Domestic Violence Response Enhancement (DVRE) services.  DVRE services provide after-hours accommodation and support for women who are experiencing homelessness, or at risk of it, due to DFV.  After-hours supports provided include risk assessment, safety planning and referral to the most appropriate accommodation and other supports.

Homeless Youth Assistance Program (HYAP)

Administered by DCJ, HYAP funds non-government organisations to support unaccompanied children and young people, aged 12 to 15 years, who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of it.  These are children who are not in the Out of Home Care system (although they may later enter it).  DFV is one of the main reasons for children and young people needing support through HYAP.  HYAP provides both accommodation and other supports.  It aims to reunify children and young people with their families and broader support networks, where appropriate, or, otherwise, to transition them to longer-term, supported accommodation.

Rent Choice Start Safely

The Rent Choice Start Safely provides short- to medium-term financial support for DFV victim-survivors.  This financial support is in the form of a ‘private rental subsidy’ that helps DFV victim-survivors to be able to afford, and to secure, private rental accommodation.  The aim of the program is to ensure that DFV victim-survivors do not have to return to the violent situation because they lack any other housing option.

Map of NSW DFV Programs and Services

Developed by DCJ, this is a map of many of the DFV programs and services provided in NSW.

In NSW there are approximately 2,500 reports of domestic violence to the police every month – but this likely represents only 40% of actual incidents due to underreporting (NCOSS, 2020). 

Intimate partner violence 

  • 1 in 4 Australian women (23.0%) has experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former intimate partner since age 15 (ABS, 2017). 
  • On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner (Australian Domestic and Family Violence Review Network, 2018) 
  • Intimate partner violence contributes more to the burden than any other risk factor in women aged 18-44 years (5.1%), more than well known risk factors like tobacco use, high cholesterol or use of illicit drugs (Webster, 2016). 
  • Australian women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner (ABS, 2017). 
  • Almost 10 women a day are hospitalised for assault injuries perpetrated by a spouse or domestic partner (AIHW, 2019). 
  • 1 in 4 Australian women (23.0%) has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former cohabiting partner (ABS, 2017). 
  • Women are more than twice as likely as men to have experienced fear or anxiety due to violence from a former partner (ABS, 2017). 
  • Intimate partner violence has serious impacts for women’s health–contributing to a range of negative health outcomes, including poor mental health, problems during pregnancy and birth, alcohol and illicit drug use, suicide, injuries and homicide (Webster, 2016). 
  • The NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team (2020) recorded that in two-thirds of all intimate partner homicides where a female was killed by a former partner, the victim and perpetrator had separated within three months of the killing and where a female was killed by a current partner in 36 per cent of cases one or both parties had indicated an intent to end the relationship within three months of the killing, concluding that the period directly after separation may be high-risk for women in relationships involving domestic and family violence. 

General Violence 

  • 1 in 3 Australian women (30.5%) has experienced physical violence since the age of 15 (ABS, 2017). 
  • 1 in 5 Australian women (18.4%) has experienced sexual violence since the age of 15 (ABS, 2017). 
  • 1 in 3 Australian women (34.2%) has experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by a man since the age of 15 (ABS, 2017). 
  • Almost one in 10 women (9.4%) have experienced violence by a stranger since the age of 15 (ABS, 2017). 

Young women 

  • Young women (18–24 years) experience significantly higher rates of physical and sexual violence than women in older age groups (ABS, 2017). 

Disability 

  • Women with disability are more likely to experience violence (ABS, 2018).  

Aboriginal  

  • 1 in 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged 15 and over has experienced physical violence in a 12-month period (ABS, 2016).  
  • Over one-third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have experienced physical violence in the year preceding 2014-15 identified an intimate partner as the perpetrator of their most recent experience of physical violence (ABS, 2016). 

LGBTQIA+ 

Although there are many similarities to experiences of domestic and family violence amongst heterosexual and cisgendered people, there are also important differences for LGBTIQA+ people; LGBTIQA+ people experience higher rates of discrimination, there are less specialised services to attend for support, and “outing” or threatening to “out” someone because of their gender or sexuality is a form of abuse which is common.  

  • One study has found that lesbian, bisexual and heteroflexible women are at least twice as likely to experience physical violence by a partner as heterosexual, cisgender women (AIHW, 2019). 

Culturally and linguistically diverse 

  • There is a lack of comprehensive, population-wide data on prevalence and impacts of violence against women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Specific studies suggest high prevalence rates and specific issues of complexity, such as partner using a woman’s temporary migrant status as a means of violence (AIHW, 2018). 

Pregnancy 

  • Women who experience partner violence during pregnancy are 3 times as likely to experience depression (Brown et al., 2015).  
  • Pregnant women assaulted by a partner are more likely to experience injury to their trunk than other women (Brown et al., 2015). 
  • Violence during pregnancy can have health consequences for babies (Brown et al., 2015). 

The impact of COVID19 on Domestic and Family Violence  

  • There is no evidence of an increase in domestic violence related assault coinciding with the introduction of strict social isolation requirements coming into effect in the last week of March 2020 and throughout April; or even beyond this as restrictions eased up to December 2020. However, there is evidence for an increase in non-criminal domestic conflict from the commencement of COVID-19 restrictions continuing into the middle of 2020 (BOCSAR, 2021).  
  • Executive Director of BOCSAR, Jackie Fitzgerald said that despite there being no clear evidence of an overall increase in domestic violence related assaults associated with the COVID restriction, the prevalence of domestic violence within the community remains high and has lasting effects on victims and their families. “The increase in police attendance to domestic arguments and disturbances following the introduction social isolation restrictions reflects the additional pressures placed on families during this period.  This is a concern given the strong association between emotional abuse and physical violence” (BOCSAR, 2021). 

BOCSAR Statistics 

  • In NSW domestic violence related assaults increased 1.1% over a 24 month period to March 2021, from 31,607 to 31,947 (BOCSAR, 2021). 
  • In NSW sexual assault increased 14.4% over a 24 month period to March 2021, from 6,444 to 7,373 (BOCSAR, 2021). 

Cost to the Australian economy 

  • The cost of violence against women is high and increasing in Australia. A report by PwC, partnering with Our Watch and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, estimates that violence against women costs $21.7 billion a year, with victims bearing the primary burden of this cost. Governments (national and State and Territory) bear the second biggest cost burden, estimated at $7.8 billion a year, comprising health, administration and social welfare costs (PwC, 2015). 
  • If no further action is taken to prevent violence against women, PwC estimate that costs will accumulate to $323.4 billion over a thirty year period from 2014-15 to 2044-45 (PwC, 2015). 
  • There is opportunity for governments to invest in preventing violence before it occurs. Evidence from other countries shows that there are significant benefits from investing in prevention. PwC estimate that if similar reductions in violence were achieved as in prevention programs overseas, the benefits would range from $37.8 billion to $74.7 billion over a lifetime (PwC, 2015). 

References 

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018), Experiences of violence and personal safety of people with disability, ABS cat. no. 4431.0.55.003, Canberra: ABS. https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4431.0.55.003  

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017), Personal Safety, Australia: Statistics for family, domestic, sexual violence, physical assault, partner emotional abuse, child abuse, sexual harassment, stalking and safety, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-and-justice/personal-safety-australia/latest-release                                                                

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2016), National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey 2014-15, Cat. No. 4714.0. Canberra: ABS. https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4714.0                       

Australian Domestic and Family Violence Review Network (2018), Data report 2018, https://coroners.nsw.gov.au/documents/reports/ADFVDRN_Data_Report_2018%20(2).pdf  

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2019). Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia: continuing the national story 2019, Cat. no FDV 3. Canberra: AIHW. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-and-justice/personal-safety-australia/latest-release  

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2018). Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia 2018. Cat. no FDV 2. Canberra: AIHW. https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/d1a8d479-a39a-48c1-bbe2-4b27c7a321e0/aihw-fdv-02.pdf.aspx?inline=true  

Brown S, Gartland D, Woolhouse H & Giallo R (2015). Maternal Health Study policy brief 2: health consequences of family violence: translating evidence from the Maternal Health Study to inform policy and practice. Melbourne: Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. https://www.mcri.edu.au/sites/default/files/media/documents/research_themes_and_groups/mhs_policy_brief_no_2.pdf  

NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (2021), Media release: Domestic violence in NSW in the wake of COVID-19: Update to December 2020, https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Pages/bocsar_media_releases/2021/mr-Domestic-Violence-COVID-update-Dec2020-BB154.aspx  

NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (2021), p.19, NSW Recorded Crime Statistics: Quarterly update March 2021. https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Publications/RCS-Quarterly/NSW_Recorded_Crime_March_2021.pdf  

NSW Council of Social Service (2020), NSW Budget 2020-21 Analysis: Domestic Violence, https://www.ncoss.org.au/nsw-budget-2020-21-analysis-domestic-violence/ 

NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team (2020), Report 2017-2019, NSW Government. https://coroners.nsw.gov.au/documents/reports/2017-2019_DVDRT_Report.pdf  

PwC (2015), A high price to pay: The economic case for preventing violence against women, https://www.pwc.com.au/pdf/a-high-price-to-pay.pdf  

Webster, K. (2016). A preventable burden: Measuring and addressing the prevalence and health impacts of intimate partner violence in Australian women (ANROWS Compass, 07/2016). Sydney, NSW: ANROWS. https://www.anrows.org.au/publication/a-preventable-burden-measuring-and-addressing-the-prevalence-and-health-impacts-of-intimate-partner-violence-in-australian-women-key-findings-and-future-directions/