No. 10, 2021 | 2 July 2021
From FRSA's Executive Director
National Office is on the move! We have had a busy few weeks here at National Office keeping up with ‘business as usual’ while clearing filing cabinets, packing boxes and organising removalists.
We look forward to moving into new premises in Deakin in a few weeks. In the meantime, the FRSA team will be working from home — a way of working that has become all too familiar for many over the past year.
Sitting here in my makeshift home office with my husband in lockdown in Darwin and my children very noisily enjoying their school holidays in our open plan living space, this recent COVID resurgence reminds me of the challenges faced by FRSA members and the families they serve since the pandemic took hold early last year. It can be tough working from home during a lockdown – all those distractions! For those working with vulnerable clients, the challenge of keeping clients safe and engaged, and maintaining some kind of work-life balance and boundary can be a truly difficult endeavour.
FRSA members will once again be adjusting the way they deliver services, or preparing to, as we wait to see what happens over the next week or two. As always, I am only a phone call away if there is anything the National Office can do to support you. Thanks to the wonders of technology, our regular office line is still operational – 02 6162 1811.
As I noted in our last eBulletin, we have commissioned the Australian Institute of Family Studies to undertake a survey on telepractice with FRSA members. This survey is now open. This past week has reinforced how important technological supports are for the work our sector does, and how important it is that we ensure our telepractice offerings are safe and suitable for both practitioners and clients. We have extended the survey closing date by a week until 12 July and will send a reminder, including the survey link, to members early next week.
FRSA Executive Director
What you need to be doing to be ‘child safe’
Over recent weeks I have been fielding calls from members regarding the DSS renewed grants and the new requirement that organisations funded by the Department need to be ‘child safe’. Importantly for funded organisations – what is the Department expecting from organisations to demonstrate they comply?
I have approached the Family Policy team in the Department and have been provided with the following advice. I trust this provides some guidance to organisations in meeting this obligation. Your local FAMs have also been briefed so if you do have any questions at all, I recommend you reach out and speak to them directly.
National Principles for Child Safe Organisations – Guidance
The child safe clauses in funding agreements set out the Department of Social Services’ expectations in relation to complying with child safe requirements in line with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.
Creating a child safe culture in an organisation is a protective factor—without a child safe culture, organisations are at greater risk of child safety incidents occurring and being underreported, as children and adults may not feel confident identifying or raising child safety concerns. The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (the National Principles) are 10 high level principles that set out a nationally consistent approach to creating child safe cultures and practices in organisations to promote the safety and wellbeing of children. The National Principles give effect to the child safe standards recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The National Principles also include guidance on how each principle can be implemented in practice, including key actions and performance measures, and are designed to be flexibly for implementation in organisations of all sizes and sectors that engage with children.
A range of free resources designed to help organisations implement the National Principles are available through the National Office for Child Safety’s website. These include, but are not limited to:
- An Introductory Self-Assessment Tool for Organisations, designed to help organisations reflect on their child safe practices and identify priority areas for improvement
- A Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy template that can be used by organisations to develop their own child safety and wellbeing policy
- An example Code of Conduct
- 11 free professional learning units on the National Principles, including one unit which gives an overview of the development and content of the National Principles, and separate modules on each of the ten Principles
- The Complaint Handling Guide: Upholding the rights of children and young people which provides advice about how to put in place a complaint-handling system that puts child safety first
- The Keeping Our Kids Safe: Cultural Safety and the National Principles resources, including an animated video and written guide, designed to help organisations understand how to apply a cultural lens and implement the National Principles in a culturally safe way.
State and territory governments are responsible for implementing the National Principles in their jurisdiction and may have their own requirements for organisations that engage with children and young people. All organisations that engage with children and young people should check the relevant state or territory government website for information.
2021 Intergenerational report released
The Treasurer released the 2021 Intergenerational Report on 28 June. The report projects an outlook for the economy and the Australian Government’s budget over the next 40 years to help inform policy and spending decisions.
According to the Treasurer, the report has three key insights:
- Our population is growing slower and ageing faster than expected.
- The Australian economy will continue to grow, but slower than previously thought. Growth will continue to be highly dependent on productivity gains.
- While Australia’s debt is sustainable and low by international standards, the ageing of our population will put significant pressures on both revenue and expenditure.
The report is available on the Treasury website.
Family and domestic violence sexual assault up 13%
The number of police recorded victims of family and domestic violence related sexual assault increased by 13 per cent in 2020, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
ABS Director of Crime and Justice Statistics, William Milne, said the number of victim-survivors of family and domestic violence (FDV) related sexual assault recorded by police rose to 10,162 from the previous year.
“This was considerably more than the 2 per cent increase reported between 2018 and 2019.
“Close to two in five victims of sexual assault recorded by police throughout 2020 were FDV-related.
“Almost three quarters of FDV-related sexual assault victim-survivors were aged under 19 years at the time the incident occurred (71 per cent) and the majority were female (86 per cent)” Mr Milne said.
Further information can be found in the Recorded Crime – Victims, 2020 publication.
Community Sector Survey report
ACOSS has released their latest Community Sector Survey report, Valuing Australia’s community sector: Better contracting for capacity, sustainability and impact.
The report pulls together the experience of a range of community sector service providers and peak organisations to reveal that most community organisations providing government funded services struggle with severely inadequate funding and insecure contracts that result in lack of employment security for their staff and uncertainty of service provision for people experiencing hardship.
One of the key findings was the call for 5 year contracts to become standard. Sector leaders reported that short contracts and uncertain renewal processes continue to undermine the sustainability of their organisations. Uncertainty about funding prevents planning for the long term, making it difficult to attract and retain qualified and experienced staff.
FRSA submission - Improving the visibility of superannuation assets
FRSA has made a short submission to the Treasury consultation on improving the visibility of superannuation assets in family law proceedings.
FRSA supports the Treasury Laws Amendment (Measures for Consultation) Bill 2021: Superannuation Information for Family Law Proceedings, which will enable the ATO to disclose superannuation information to court registry staff for the purpose of relevant family law proceedings.
We note, however, that non-disclosure or under-disclosure of finances, including superannuation, remains a considerable issue within the FDR/mediation context. This can result in pushing parties to litigation or vulnerable parties reaching an agreement that is neither just nor equitable. FRSA would like to see improved visibility of superannuation assets extended to the FDR/mediation context.
You can read our submission here.
Parliamentary Inquiry recommends NSW criminalise coercive control
The NSW Parliament Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control has recommended that NSW introduces a stand-alone coercive control offence alongside existing domestic violence laws.
The Committee, which was established on 21 October 2020 to inquire into and report on coercive control in domestic relationships, released its report on 30 June.
The Committee agreed on a number of recommendations including that: ‘NSW should criminalise coercive control, with commencement to occur after a ‘considerable prior program’ of education, training and consultation with police, stakeholders and the frontline sector.’
The Committee further recommended ‘That the NSW Government should advocate through the National Federation Reform Council for a nationally consistent definition of domestic abuse that includes coercive and controlling behaviour’.
NSW will be the second state to criminalise coercive control if the recommendation is adopted. Tasmania has introduced specific criminal offences for some elements of coercive control.
Consultation on a New Decision-Making Framework for Family Law Property Matters
The Attorney-General’s Department consultation on a new decision-making framework for property matters in family law is underway.
Submissions close on 9 July 2021. For more information visit the Attorney-General’s Department website.
Implementing the successor plan to the National Framework – Discussion paper
The Department of Social Services has opened consultation on implementing the successor plan to the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020.
A discussion paper has been released, which is informed by findings from the 2019-2020 national consultations led by Families Australia. Submissions are due by 5.00pm, 26 July 2021.
Developing the next National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children
The public consultation on the next National Plan to reduce family, domestic and sexual violence is open. You can have your say here. The consultation closes 11:59pm, Saturday 31 July 2021.
Refugee Week 2021
It was Refugee Week last week from 20-26 June. This year’s theme is Unity – The way forward. Refugee Week is Australia’s peak annual activity to inform the public about refugees and celebrate positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society.
It provides a platform to create better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration enabling refugees to live in safety and to continue making a valuable contribution to Australia.
Here is a snapshot of what FRSA members did to commemorate the week:
- Focus Connect did a series of interviews on their Youth Settlement Program called My Journey to Australia. Watch Yves Irakoze’s story and his journey to Australia on the right.
- CatholicCare Hunter-Manning’s Refugee Hub staff and volunteers visited St Columban’s Primary School to help students’ understand refugee related issues and the importance of being kind and welcoming.
- Save the Children shared an article on 10 ways you can help refugees.
- CatholicCare Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains shared Agnes’ story, she fled war-torn South Sudan many years ago to start a ‘better life’ for her family.
- The City of Greater Geelong and the Bluebird Foundation supported local refugee women aged 12 to 22 years from Karenni and Karen backgrounds to tell their stories through art and film. The short film ‘Pipi Thay Too’ (The Grandmother Tree) has been written by these young women and created from their paintings. Watch the film and read stories from their local refugee communities on their website.
- EACH highlighted their refugee Health Service supports people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds living in the Eastern Region of Victoria. The Team includes a Refugee Health Nurse Practitioner, Refugee Health Nurses, Specialist General Practitioners.
- AnglicareSA shared Adnan’s story of arriving in Australia at the tender age of 12 from Afghanistan with his mother.
Lin Hatfield Dodds is The Benevolent Society’s new CEO
The Benevolent Society has announced Lin Hatfield Dodds as its new CEO beginning on on 19 July 2021.
Currently Associate Dean at The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), Hatfield Dodds brings to The Benevolent Society extensive experience in social policy, systems leadership, and cross sector social innovation, as well as a wealth of operational experience.
Parenting Orders research project
The Australian Institute of Family Studies is researching compliance and enforcement of family law parenting orders and invites parents and carers with parenting orders from the family law courts to participate in a survey. If you live in WA click here. If you live in other parts of Australia click here.
The NAIDOC 2021 theme – Heal Country! – calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.
NAIDOC Week 2021 will be held from Sunday 4 July to Sunday 11 July. The week is an opportunity for all Australians to come together to celebrate the rich history, diverse cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the oldest continuing cultures on the planet.
For more information on how to get involved and resources available, visit the NAIDOC website.
Team Leader Family Relationship Services | Upper Murray Family Care
Senior Financial Protection Service Coordinator | Relationships Australia QLD
Counsellor Couple, Family and Child – Traralgon | Relationships Australia Victoria
Families For Life Social Worker (Clayton based) | Key Assests
Manager – South East Region | Relationship Matters
Workplace Services Manager | Relationship Matters
Income support receipt for young people transitioning from out-of-home care | Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Reliable national data on outcomes and broader service use of young people who have been in out-of-home care as they transition out of care and into independence is currently lacking. This national report aims to build the evidence-base on transition outcomes by bringing together Australian government and state and territory (OOHC) administrative data to examine receipt of income support and other payments by these young people.
Second year review of the National Redress Scheme: final report | National Redress Scheme
This review concludes that a significant and urgent reset of the National Redress Scheme is required to deliver on the commitments of governments, provide survivors with an acknowledgment that the abuse should not have occurred, and confirm that the scheme is a survivor-centred, humane and less onerous option than civil action.
Supporting children’s mental health during a pandemic toolkit | Emerging Minds
This toolkit contains resources that will assist practitioners, parents and carers to support children’s mental health during pandemic events such as COVID-19, including a fact sheet about using play to support children.
Evaluation design | Australian Institute of Family Studies
This resource gives a quick overview of some of the main evaluation designs used for outcomes evaluations or impact evaluations. These are evaluations that aim to answer questions about whether a program, service or treatment (often called the ‘intervention’) is working as intended, or if it is having a positive or negative effect on its intended audience.
Supporting women and children experiencing family and domestic violence: the Zonta House impact report | Centre for Social Impact
This report presents an analysis of client outcomes with a view to understanding the impact of Zonta House and provides a statistical analysis of the validity and reliability of the Life Matrix tool developed and used by Zonta House to measure clients’ wellbeing at intake and exit.
Child sexual abuse: therapy rates and factors affecting use | CFCA
These companion resources summarise key findings of a rapid review of evidence for professionals engaging with children who have experienced sexual abuse, from the point of disclosure through to treatment. Rates of therapy use following a disclosure of child sexual abuse looks at the utilisation of therapy for child sexual abuse, and Factors influencing therapy use following a disclosure of child sexual abuse summarises the key factors influencing therapy use for child sexual abuse.
Interventions for perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence in Australia | Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety
This paper synthesises the findings of 20 ANROWS research studies, published between October 2018 and June 2020, on the topic of domestic, family and sexual violence perpetrator interventions.
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