L17 Family Violence Portal Historical Search - advice

This advice provides additional information regarding the requirements for accessing historical L17 Family Violence reports when a family violence report or new allegation of harm has been received.

Document ID number 2418, version 1, 9 October 2018.

Introduction

See procedure L17 Family Violence Portal Historical Search for tasks that must be undertaken.

The Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (Royal Commission) recommended the Department of Health and Human Services (the department) revise and strengthen risk management practice guidelines and procedures when a report to Child Protection indicates the presence of family violence. The Royal Commission recommended that Child Protection practitioners obtain from Victoria Police and specialist family violence services all Victoria Police L17 family violence reports.

The department has worked closely with Victoria Police to seek agreement to enable Child Protection practitioners to search the L17 Family Violence portal (the Portal) for historical family violence forms from August 2004. Historical search functions can only be performed when there is a new report or new allegation of harm to child protection. The search function will relate to the child’s parents or other relevant family members.

Historical searches by Child Protection will provide practitioners with a perpetrator's pattern and history of violence and information on a victim/survivor's experiences of family violence.

L17 Family Violence Information Portal

The Portal is an electronic means for Victoria Police to make reports and referrals to Child Protection, specialist family violence services, Child FIRST, Men’s services and the Orange Door. The Portal is a web-based system that receives Victoria Police L17 family violence forms and then sends the L17 forms to prescribed agencies including Child Protection.

For intake, the Portal provides:

  • all L17’s referred to a service displayed in one list
  • visibility of other services that have the same L17
  • a consistent monitoring/management tool to:
    • assign L17s to individuals workers
    • triage L17s
    • keep track of actions
  • an ability to edit client contact information and share information with other services for client safety
  • an ability for services to copy information into their existing case management systems
  • generate PDF
  • refer L17 on to another service of the same type
  • captures outcomes to improve planning and responses to family violence incidents.

L17 Family Violence historical search

As of September 2018, in response to the Royal Commission, the Portal now contains historical L17 records dating back to 1 August 2004, when the L17 family violence reports (previously known as the Victoria Police Family Violence Risk Assessment and Management form) was introduced.

Privacy considerations when accessing the L17 Family Violence Information Portal

Access to the Portal is governed by relevant state and federal  government privacy legislation, including:

  • Children, Youth and Families Act 2005
  • Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005
  • Family Violence Protection Act 2008
  • Health Records Act 2001
  • Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014
  • Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

Routine auditing

The department may conduct routine auditing to identify security risks, including unauthorised access, accessing inappropriate material, misuse, viruses and prohibited or otherwise inappropriate activity.  It is not necessary for the department to seek a user’s permission or otherwise further notify the user before such monitoring, auditing or reporting may occur.

The search function is logged and audited and should only be used to assist in informing the family violence risk assessment in relation to the Child Protection report.

Case note recording

The historical search is just one part of an overall risk assessment. Information gathered from the search is at a certain point in time and must not be relied upon as a single source for risk assessment.

The outcome of the historical search (including where there was no match) must be recorded in a case note. The information obtained from the historical search, as well as any other information available to Child Protection is to formulate a risk assessment and recorded in the case practice area of CRIS, in the ‘assessment’ tab.

The historical search assists Child Protection to: keep child/ren in view, hold perpetrators to account and work collaboratively with the affected family member. The historical search is critical to planning for worker safety.

Risk assessment

Information gathering

  • Gather information about the perpetrator’s pattern of coercive control, including the use of violence with previous partners.Information must include the perpetrator’s pattern and history of family violence, frequency, the nature of the violence, i.e. significant physical or verbal abuse including threats to kill.
  • Gather information on the victim/survivor’s previous experiences of family violence, specifically in the context of cumulative harm for the child/ren.

Analysis and planning

  • Analyse how the risk changes with the information obtained from the search.

Action

  • Consider the information obtained from the search, and how this will inform your risk assessment.
  • Consider a consultation with specialist family violence services, including men’s services, to inform the overall risk assessment.
  • Consider whether a child protection application or family violence intervention order is necessary.

Reviewing outcomes

  • Information obtained from the historical search may change risk dynamics.Re-assess the current risk, review the current safety plan in light of the information obtained, consider how this information may increase or reduce safety, including worker safety.

Case note contents

Information in the case note must be titled clearly with the details and purpose of the search described in the document.

Case note recording example:

Case note title:                     L17 FV historical search outcome

Details:

Following the current report/new allegation relating to a FV incident, perpetrated by John Smith against Peggy Smith, worker undertook search on the L17 Portal to ascertain history of FV perpetrated by John Smith to form risk assessment.

OUTCOME OF SEARCH:

No match found OR

John Smith has been the respondent in 14 previous incidents in FV with (x number of) partner/s. Incidents include the use of:

Verbal abuse and threats to harm

A specific threat to kill in 2017

Physical assault in 11 of the 14 incidents, including facial fractures to the victim.

Children were present in (x number)

Previous intervention orders and or breaches

OTHER RISK FACTORS FOR PERPETRATOR IDENTIFIED ON L17S INCLUDE:

Drug and alcohol possible/likely on 6 of the 14 incidents

Multiple breaches of IVO

OTHER INFORMATION RELEVANT TO CHILD RISK ASSESSMENT:

Sam’s mother, Peggy, is the AFM in 8 of the 14 incidents where John Smith has been the perpetrator.

Peggy was noted to have had possible drug and alcohol in 4 of these incidents.

Peggy has been listed as the AFM in relation to 2 other partners (4 incidents), previously, involving physical and verbal violence.

 

Where Victoria Police request the results of any risk assessment completed by Child Protection.

Victoria Police may request from Child Protection any completed risk assessment where there is an indication of family violence. Child Protection must provide this information to Victoria Police as soon as it is practicable in order to support Victoria Police’s application for a family violence intervention order in the Magistrates’ Court. In these circumstances, Child Protection should request Victoria Police to advise of the outcome of their application.

Considerations for good practice

Where a family violence report is received, a historical search is to be conducted to understand the perpetrator’s pattern of violence. Do not minimise the information obtained from the search due to the ‘historical’ nature of the incident. Conducting the historical search will identify patterns of behaviour including serial incidents of family violence of the individual and will increase safety for victim/survivors.

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