Victorian Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme Extended

This article applies to organisations that have been prescribed as information sharing entities.

Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing and Risk Management) Amendment Regulations 2020 (Vic)

On 19 April 2021, the Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing and Risk Management) Amendment Regulations 2020 (Vic) (the Amending Regulations) will amend the Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing and Risk Management) Regulations 2018 (Vic) (the Regulations).

Overview

The purpose of the Amending Regulations is to implement phase 2 of the Victorian Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS), and to extend its application to a number of additional types of organisations.

By way of background, the FVISS allows information to be shared between prescribed organisations to assess or manage the risk of family violence.  The organisations that participate in the scheme (known as information sharing entities), can request confidential information from, or provide confidential information to, another information sharing entity in certain circumstances. Information sharing entities must comply with various obligations relating to the collection, use and disclosure of information as contained in the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) (the Act) and the Regulations.

Additional organisations now deemed to be ‘information sharing entities’

On 19 April 2021, the Amending Regulations will amend the Regulations to prescribe additional persons and bodies as information sharing entities under the FVISS. More specifically at that date, the Amending Regulations will prescribe the following listed persons and bodies as new information sharing entities:

  • Health services, including: 
    • a registered funded agency within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1988 (Vic) (i.e. public health services, public hospitals, denominational hospitals);
    • a multi-purpose service within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1988 (Vic);
    • a registered community health centre within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1988 (Vic);
    • Ambulance Victoria;
    • registered medical practitioners who practice as a general practitioner in Victoria;
    • general practice nurses who work at a general practice in Victoria;
    • an incorporated association that is engaged or funded under a State contract to provide a Bush Nursing Centre, to the extent that the incorporated association performs functions relating to the provision of a Bush Nursing Centre;
  • Education and care providers, including:   
    • schools and persons or bodies that provide support services to schools;
    • an approved provider of a relevant education and care service located in Victoria;
    • a body that operates under the auspices of the Catholic Church and that provides support or services to Catholic schools;
  • Community services, including:   
    • state funded mental health support services;
    • migrant, refugee and asylum seeker services;
    • forensic disability services funded under state contracts to provide specialist forensic disability accommodation services;
  • an approved provider of a residential care service within the meaning of the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) that provides State funded residential aged care services, including State funded residential aged care homes (but not including supported residential services within the meaning of the Supported Residential Services (Private Proprietors) Act 2010 (Vic)).

We note that all organisations and services prescribed as information sharing entities can access the online ISE list (which is an online database that can be used to identify other organisations and services prescribed under the FVISS). Organisations can access the ISE list here (please note that at the time of publication this list had not yet been updated to include the newly prescribed information sharing entities as at 19 April 2021).

It is important to note that newly prescribed information sharing entities will need to comply with various obligations that relate to the collection, use and disclosure of information under the FVISS. This includes complying with lawful requests for confidential information from other information-sharing entities, as well as the ‘Family Violence Information Sharing Guidelines’ which are available for download here.

Additional organisations now deemed to be ‘framework organisations’

Finally, organisations should be aware that all of the above listed new information sharing entities (excluding general practitioners and general practice nurses) will also be prescribed as framework organisations on 19 April 2021. Framework organisations that provide services relevant to family violence risk assessment and family violence risk management must ensure that their relevant policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools align with the ‘Family Violence Multi-agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework’ (which can be accessed here).

Conclusion

Organisations that will become newly prescribed information sharing entities and framework organisations should ensure that relevant staff familiarise themselves with the obligations imposed on information sharing entities and framework organisations.  Moreover, such organisations should implement relevant policies and procedures to ensure compliance with those obligations, as well as the Family Violence Information Sharing Guidelines and the Family Violence Multi-agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (as discussed above).


Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au

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