Possible outcomes of the investigation of a therapeutic treatment report are:
- no therapeutic treatment is required, due either to the reported sexually abusive behaviours not being confirmed or the child or young person and their family needing other supports, but not therapeutic treatment, or
- a therapeutic treatment order (TTO) is not appropriate as the family and child have indicated their willingness for the child to voluntarily attend and participate in treatment, or
- the family is ambivalent, but with some support and time they may be able to ensure their child receives any treatment required without the need for a TTO, and thus it is appropriate for child protection to work with the family for up to 90 days from the report without applying for a TTO, or
- an application for a TTO would be appropriate, with the child remaining in their parents’ care, or
- an application for a TTO is appropriate, along with an application for a therapeutic treatment placement order (TTPO), because placing the child will be necessary for the treatment of the child, or
- a protection application is required to ensure the child’s safety, or
- the child’s behaviours and criminal charges are so serious and it is child protection’s assessment that the child’s behaviours cannot be managed with a TTO, and that a mandated treatment service such as MAPPS overseen by youth justice is more appropriate.
There is no provision in the CYFA for an application for a TTPO by emergency care. If child protection assesses the child has sexually abusive behaviours and requires a placement away from the family home to ensure their immediate safety or the safety of the victimised children, a PA by emergency care should be issued and the normal procedures followed.
Referring to the Therapeutic Treatment Board (TTB)
The TTB includes senior representatives from the Office of Public Prosecutions, Victoria Police, health services and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The function of the board is:
- to evaluate and advise the Minister on services available for children in need of therapeutic treatment
- to advise to the Secretary on the appropriateness of applying for a TTO and/or a TTPO.
Case practitioner tasks
When a referral to the TTB is required
Reports from the police and the Criminal Division of the Children’s Court, or where a report is concerning a current child protection client, must be referred to the TTB for advice (whether child protection recommend a TTO or not).
If the report has come from the community, child protection is not required to refer the matter to the board for advice but may do so if that is assessed as appropriate.
When child protection has initiated a report to Victoria Police and Victoria Police has conducted (or is still conducting) a criminal investigation, child protection may wish to complete a referral to the TTB for advice regarding the suitability of a TTO.
- Follow Therapeutic treatment resources decision tree 5.
- If the referral came from the community, consult your supervisor about the appropriateness of a referral to the TTB and seek endorsement for the decision.
- A referral to the TTB is required where the child is subject to current child protection involvement.
- Complete a referral proforma. See Therapeutic treatment resources. Ensure the referral form is endorsed by your supervisor, team manager or a more senior person.
- Submit the report to the TTB three working days before the board meeting. Late referrals can be accepted with prior agreement from the board secretariat.
- Submit the referral to the board secretariat by email to email@example.com. The schedule for meeting dates for the TTB is available at Therapeutic treatment board schedule.
- Consider the victim’s privacy and only include identifying information in the referral to the board where relevant (for example, the first name, age, sex and family relationship of the child would usually be relevant to the board’s considerations, whereas the family name and date of birth of the child would usually not be). If there is more than one victim, ensure clarity in your writing by using first names.
- Ensure police documents are included in the referral if police are involved: unauthorised or authorised brief of evidence (if the referral is from the courts and/or police), or a summary of evidence, police witness statements or summary of charges. If this is problematic, contact the board secretariat by email.
- Attach information from the outcome of the investigation, child protection’s assessment of the behaviours, the recommended intervention and therapeutic treatment services the child is or has engaged with, and whether a TTO/TTPO is, or is not, appropriate.
If further information is sought by the TTB, the request will come initially to the author of the report. Respond to the request quickly to maximise the opportunity for the TTB to determine its advice during that meeting. If this is not possible, the board considers if it can formulate its advice without the additional information, or to defer the advice until a more appropriate time.
Responding to advice from the Therapeutic Treatment Board
- Consider the advice from the Therapeutic Treatment Board.
- If the board agrees with child protection’s recommendation, implement that recommendation.
- If the board disagrees with child protection’s recommendation, consult with your supervisor regarding whether to accept the board’s decision or to adopt a different course of action.
- Seek endorsement from the area operations manager or director, child protection to undertake a different course of action from that proposed by the board. Advise the board secretariat by email if adopting a different course of action.
If closing the case after investigation
- If the decision is made to close the case after investigation on the basis the family are willing and able to engage in and sustain treatment without a TTO, advise the SABTS provider of their obligation to provide a report to the criminal division of the children’s court, where the child’s criminal charges have been set aside for 12 months.
- Allegations of sexually abusive behaviour (TTR)
- Investigation of sexually abusive behaviour
- Reporting back following TTR from the Criminal Division of the Children’s Court
- Managing therapeutic treatment orders and therapeutic treatment placement orders
- Closing therapeutic treatment orders and therapeutic treatment placement orders