Follow this procedure when assessing family violence following a report received by intake or after hours child protection.

Document ID number 1041, version 1, 20 November 2021.

Introduction

All reports to child protection are screened for family violence concerns.

The Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) details responsibilities for authorised organisations to identify, assess and respond to family violence risk. Child protection is an authorised organisation under Part 11 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 for the MARAM framework and practitioners must align their practice when assessing family violence with the MARAM framework.

The SAFER children framework embeds the MARAM framework into day-to-day practice for child protection practitioners.

Family violence is the most commonly reported risk to child protection. Accordingly, one of the essential information categories is dedicated to family violence to support practitioners to seek, share, sort and store information and evidence for family violence; develop MARAM risk ratings and implement appropriate risk management strategies.

See Assessing and managing family violence in child protection – advice for further information.

Procedure

A MARAM risk rating is recorded at intake for all cases. In cases where no family violence is identified, the MARAM risk rating is recorded as ‘no family violence identified’.

Intake practitioner tasks

See Conducting the intake risk assessment procedure for tasks that are undertaken to complete the intake risk assessment.

  • When family violence concerns are reported:
    • use the evidence-based risk factors within the family violence essential information category to guide information seeking.
    • record family violence information and evidence against the evidence-based factors in the supporting information box using short, sharp, factual sentences.
    • undertake an L17 Family Violence portal search and record the information as part of your intake risk assessment.
    • seek and share information with other services and undertake secondary consultations, including MARAM assessments completed by other services. Use this information to inform your risk assessment
    • explore the adult or child victim survivor’s own self assessed level of risk and undertake safety planning to promote their safety if in contact with a victim survivor.
    • use the information and evidence obtained to determine the MARAM risk rating for the child victim survivor and adult victim survivor.  The risk ratings are:
      • At risk – serious-risk factors are not present; some other recognised family violence risk factors are present
      • Elevated risk - a number of risk factors are present, including some serious risk factors, risk is likely to continue if risk management is not initiated/increased. The likelihood of a serious outcome is not high
      • Serious risk - a number of serious risk factors are present, frequency or severity of risk factors may have changed/escalated, serious outcomes may have occurred from current violence and it is indicated further serious outcomes from the use of violence by the perpetrator is likely and may be imminent
      • Serious risk and requires immediate protection - escalation of severity of violence has occurred or is likely to occur, previous strategies for risk management have been unsuccessful.
  • When taking a report where family violence is not overtly reported as a concern:
    • use the family violence screening questions in the family violence prompt tool to screen for family violence concerns
    • follow the same steps as above where information gathered from asking the family violence screening questions indicates that family violence is a concern
    • where information received leads you to suspect or form a belief family violence is a protective concern, select the relevant evidence-based risk factors and note the reasons for the concerns in the supporting information box, you may form a belief family violence is occurring based on other reported concerns or using their professional judgement.
    • if there is no evidence of family violence, record the MARAM risk rating as ‘N/A No Evidence of Family Violence’ and complete your risk assessment.

Note – the adult victim survivor and child victim survivor may have different risk ratings.

  • Implement the appropriate risk management strategies for the assessed level of risk.

Risk management strategies for each MARAM risk rating include:

At risk – child and adult victim survivor are referred and connected to support services, protective factors in place reduce perpetrator risks.

Elevated risk - impact of risk from the perpetrator is impacting the child and affected parent’s day-to-day functioning, coordinated and collaborative risk management and action planning may be required.

Serious risk - immediate risk management is required to lessen the level of risk or prevent a serious outcome from the identified threat posed by the perpetrator, statutory and non-statutory coordinated and collaborative risk management and action planning is required, consideration given to protective intervention.

Serious risk and in need of protection - immediate action is required for the safety of the child and/or adult victim survivor, statutory and non-statutory crisis responses are required to lessen or remove serious risk likely to result in lethality or serious physical or sexual assault, formally structured coordination and collaboration of service and agency responses is required. Protective intervention required, unless the overall risk assessment and decision indicates that safety and protection may be provided without protective intervention.

For all cases where the risk rating is assessed as serious risk or serious risk and requires immediate protection, protective intervention is to be considered and risk management strategies may occur from the investigation phase.

Closing a case in intake where there are serious family violence factors

  • If you have assessed or received a current MARAM assessment with a risk rating of serious risk or serious risk and requires immediate protection but the decision from the intake risk assessment is for the case to close, consider the following:
    • convene a case conference which includes key services involved in managing the family violence risk (such as a police member, a family violence specialist worker and a cultural representative where appropriate)
    • discuss and document actions regarding the need for RAMP referral and other agreed risk management strategies.
    • record a clear rationale for closure at intake phase
    • where differing views remain between another service and child protection regarding child protections assessment to close:
      • escalate the matter for review by the Statewide Services Principal Practitioner
      • consider referring the matter to the Statewide Family Violence Principal Practitioner for consultation and further advice as facilitated by the Statewide Services Principal Practitioner Supervisor tasks
      • provide ongoing supervision and consultation
      • support and chair (as required) intake case conferences.

Team manager / practice leader tasks

  • Endorse key decisions including:
    • intake risk assessment
    • RAMP referral
    • case closure where MARAM risk rating is serious risk or serious risk and requires immediate protection.

Statewide Principal Practitioner

  • Review cases where there are differing views or MARAM risk ratings and determine the need to refer to Statewide Family Violence Principal Practitioner.

Statewide Family Violence Principal Practitioner

  • Review and provide further advice on cases referred for consultation by the Statewide Principal Practitioner. Consultation and advice must be recorded on CRIS.

 

Practice Dictionary Definition

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