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Domestic Violence

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For service providers > Safer Pathway

Safer Pathway

The safety and protection of victims and their children lies at the heart of It Stops Here: Standing Together to End Domestic and Family Violence, the NSW Government’s Domestic and Family Violence Framework for Reform.

Safer Pathway proposes a fundamental change in how agencies and organisations support victim’s safety in NSW. Through Safer Pathway, the right services are provided to victims when they need them, in a coordinated way.

The key components of Safer Pathway build on the existing service response. These are:

  • a Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool (DVSAT) to better and consistently identify the level of domestic violence threat to victims
  • a Central Referral Point to electronically manage and monitor referrals
  • a  state-wide network of Local Coordination Points that facilitate local responses and provide victims with case coordination and support. By the end of March 2018, Safer Pathway will be operational at the following 43 sites: Albury, Armidale, Ashfield/Burwood, Bankstown, Bathurst, Blacktown, Blue Mounatins, Bourke, Broken Hill, Campbelltown, Coffs Harbour, Deniliquin, Dubbo, Far South Coast, Goulburn, Gosford, Griffith, Hunter Valley, Illawarra, Lismore, Liverpool, Moree, Mt Druitt, Newcastle, Newtown, Northern Beaches, Nowra, Orange, Parramatta, Penrith, Port Macquarie, Queanbeyan, St George, Sutherland, Tamworth, Taree, Toronto, Tweed Heads, Wagga Wagga, Walgett, Waverley, Wollongong and Wyong.
  • Safety Action Meetings in which members develop plans for victims at serious threat of death, disability or injury as a result of domestic and family violence
  • information sharing legislation that allows service providers to share information about victims and perpetrators so that victims do not have to retell their story multiple times, to hold perpetrators accountable and promote an integrated response for victims at serious threat.

Safer Pathway fact sheet (PDF)

Resources to support service providers

There are five main reference documents to support implementation of Safer Pathway. These resources will help service providers better understand how the new approach will work, help them comply with their legal obligations, and build victims’ confidence in the response they will receive.

  • Safer Pathway Overview provides an overview of the NSW Government’s Domestic and Family Violence Framework for Reform, including Safer Pathway and a summary of its key components, including the Central Referral Point, Local Coordination Points, Safety Action Meetings and information sharing legislation.
  • Domestic Violence Information Sharing Protocol explains information sharing under Part 13A of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. It sets out the procedures for service providers to share information, including consent and referral practices, and outlines their information management obligations. It also outlines procedures for accessing and amending information, the management of complaints, and the compliance framework.
  • Safety Action Meeting Manual is a guide for Safety Action Meeting members. It outlines the purpose and operations of Safety Action Meetings as a key element of Safer Pathway, the roles and responsibilities of members and the development of Safety Action Plans.
  • Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool Guide assists service providers to apply the threat assessment tool and to use their professional judgement to identify the level of threat to victims of domestic violence.
  • Domestic Violence and Child Protection Intersection Guidelines clarify the link between the domestic violence and the child protection systems in terms of information sharing. The Guidelines will help service providers to navigate those systems when dealing with cases of domestic violence where children are present in the family home.

Useful tools

Transition arrangements until full implementation of Safer Pathway

Tackling domestic and family violence is a serious and complex issue that requires careful consideration of service design and a robust change management process.

Because Safer Pathway proposes a fundamental change to the response to domestic and family violence in NSW, implementation will be carefully monitored to ensure the new model achieves intended objectives and positive outcomes for victims, before broader state-wide rollout to 48 locations.

Safer Pathway was initially implemented in Orange and Waverley in September 2014. This means that although information sharing under Part 13A of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 and the Information Sharing Protocol apply state-wide, other elements of Safer Pathway, such as the Central Referral Point, Local Coordination Points and Safety Action Meetings will not be available state-wide until new sites commence.

Where service providers outside of the Safer Pathway sites make referrals for victims and share information under the Protocol, they may use existing referral pathways to relevant services that will support the victim.