This document provides information on the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme for child protection practitioners.

Introduction

The Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (the scheme) is designed to enable safe information sharing between professionals in a timely and effective manner to assist with preventing or reducing family violence.

From 26 February 2018, community based child protection practitioners located within Support and Safety Hubs (Hubs), and workers delegated to represent the child protection program on Risk Assessment and Management Panels (RAMPs) will be prescribed under the Family Violence Information Sharing Act 2017.

Others prescribed under this scheme from 26 February 2018 include Child FIRST, sexual assault support services, and specialist men’s and women’s family violence services. Selected Victoria Police, court, victim support service and Corrections officers will also be prescribed from this date.

Other child protection practitioners will not be prescribed under the scheme until September 2018. Further information and training will be provided in preparation for this expansion.

How the scheme relates to child protection practitioners

For child protection, the intention at this early stage is to enable information exchange to support the new Hub sites and comprehensive child protection engagement in RAMPs.

The scheme is additional to the existing legislative arrangements and processes for information sharing and privacy in relation to child protection clients (as provided for under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, and Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014). It does not replace them.

Where information can already be shared, child protection practitioners should share as appropriate, and record this in CRIS as usual, irrespective of whether they are prescribed under this scheme or not.

Community based child protection practitioners in Hubs and delegated child protection participants in RAMPs will be able to share relevant information with other prescribed professionals to assess and manage the risk of family violence to children and adults, in addition to their existing information sharing capacities. They will be able to request, and respond to requests for, relevant information.

The scheme includes an obligation to respond to requests for information under the scheme from prescribed professional, and establishes certain information as ‘excluded information’.

All prescribed child protection staff are receiving training about the scheme. This will go through the scheme, and their obligations under it, in detail. The materials received during training will provide guidance and support when making or responding to a request for relevant information under the scheme.

It is not expected that child protection practitioners, other than those prescribed, will receive requests under the scheme at this stage, as all communications are clear about who is being prescribed within the child protection program in the February 2018 phase.

If this does happen, it is likely the requested information will be able to be shared under pre-existing information sharing arrangements.

Child protection practitioners should consult with their supervisor or manager to identify the appropriate response.

If the requested information cannot be shared without relying on the scheme, and the request relates to an open case, consult with your team manager, and approach the community based child protection team in your local Hub (if you are in a Hub area), or your area RAMP delegate (if appropriate).

If the request relates to a closed case, the non-prescribed child protection practitioner should advise the requester they may make the request in writing by emailing the Family Violence Information Sharing Officer at fvinfosharing@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Determining how to share family violence information

Refer to the following decision trees to step through the process of responding to a request for information under the Family Violence Information Sharing (FVIS) scheme.

FVIS decision tree 1

  • you are asked to share information under the FVIS scheme

FVIS decision tree 2

  • you are prescribed under the FVIS scheme

FVIS decision tree 3

  • you are prescribed and the request does not relate to assessing or managing FV risk to a child

Further information

For existing child protection information sharing arrangements please refer to the privacy section of the manual.

Further information on the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme is located on the department’s intranet site.

For assistance with how to handle specific requests for family violence information, child protection practitioners may contact Family Safety Victoria’s information Sharing Enquiry Line on 03 9194 3330 or by email at infosharing@familysafety.vic.gov.au.

Practice Dictionary Definition

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