Family violence info sharing
The Victorian Government is introducing a new family violence information sharing and risk management scheme in response to a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
The new scheme creates a ‘trusted circle’ of prescribed Information Sharing Entities (ISEs). People working in ISEs have enhanced authority to share with people working in other ISEs personal information of perpetrators, victims, children and third parties to assess and manage risks associated with family violence. In many circumstances the consent of the individual is not required. More information about the scheme can be found here.
At this stage the ISEs are limited to those government agencies and funded organisations that play a key role in assessing and managing family violence risks, including the police, child protection services and specialist family violence services.
Government has stated that, from mid-2018, further ISEs will be prescribed, which may include housing and homelessness workers. CHIA Vic has argued in a previous submission that:
• it should be clear whether community housing organisations are included in the scheme or not; and,
• if community housing organisations are to be included, then government needs to invest in appropriate workforce and sector development.
Encouragingly, government has indicated that a requirement to be an ISE must be set out in a state government funding contract and that training will be available for staff of ISEs.
In addition to the family violence information sharing and risk management scheme, new legislation will also amend Victoria's privacy laws (the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and the Health Records Act 2001). This will remove the requirement that a serious threat to an individual must be imminent before personal information can be lawfully shared. This will apply generally, not just in the context of family violence. The changes have not yet commenced, however once they do, members may wish to review their privacy policies.
CHIA Vic will continue to monitor developments in this area and keep members informed.