Code of
Practice

The Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing and Stopping Family Violence have successfully advocated for the development and implementation of a Code of Practice (The Code) for specialist family and domestic violence services. 

If you wish to learn more, contact us at codeofpractice@cwsw.org.au

Watch this video

The Code of Practice is proudly supported by Department of Communities and Lotterywest

Why do we need a Code of Practice

Apart from Tasmania, Western Australia is the only State without a quality assurance and improvement process for specialist family and domestic violence services.

The lack of quality standards results in service standard inconsistencies, individual services utilising precious resources to create their own standards and practices, the potential for poor performance and the risk of causing further harm to victim-survivors and a lack of accountability and monitoring of perpetrator’s behaviour patterns.

cwsw-bubbles

The purpose of The Code of Practice

The Code will provide an overarching framework for specialist family and domestic violence service provision with principles to be determined during co-design with the specialist family and domestic violence sector. 

The purpose of The Code of Practice is to articulate principles and standards to guide consistent quality service provision for services that are working towards reducing risk and creating safety for women and children experiencing violence.

What we’ve learned so far!

To learn more about what happens at consultations and to check out key insights from each workshop, please click on the drop-down arrow to the right of each consultation location below:

Thanks team Narrogin at Rainbow Women’s Refuge for having us. Rainbow Women’s Refuge provided some deeply useful insights into the challenges faced by workers in regional areas, including no taxi or uber services!

A lack of these kinds of services adds to the many challenges regional workers face when trying to support people to safely leave  perpetrators of violence and abuse.

Your strength, agility, and flexibility to overcome the many hurdles you face was truly inspiring!

Women participating in workshop writing and looking at post-its at a table

Thanks to the team at Northam for having us! We had a few representatives at the Northam Consultation, including Safe at Home, Coordinated Response and Refuge Staff.

The Northam team provided some great insights into the challenges in their region including the lack of available space to meet people from the community, sometimes using local community spaces to meet with people for the first time.

The Northam team had some great reflections about best practice principles in the context in their region, and they provided us with some amazing snacks!

Thanks team Northam, we had a great time!

Women participating in workshop writing and looking at papers at a table

Thanks to the team at Newman! Newman Women’s Refuge staff share roles across supporting the Refuge, Outreach, Transitional Housing and Martu Night Patrol.

The Newman team provided some great insights into the challenges in their region between locals, miners and the traditional owners as well has how their service model has adapted due to the lack of housing for staff.

The Code of Practice team felt the team’s deep commitment to community and connection to the women, children and broader families they support in their services.  

Thank you, Newman Women’s Refuge, for your warm welcome and time showing us your services and local land. We truly valued our time with you all. 

Women participating in workshop writing and looking at papers at a table

Thanks to Rockingham/Kwinana specialist services. Anglicare WA hosted the consultation and were joined by the following services: Relationships Australia, The Lucy Saw Centre; Communicare and the City of Kwinana.

We had great discussions on the benefits of a Code of Practice to specialist family and domestic violence services as well as the identified challenges for this region including Information management and referrals, systemic responses and understanding of family and domestic violence and consistency in risk assessment and the impacts of risk.  

All attendees agreed The Code of Practice needed to translate well into day-to-day practice. 

Women participating in workshop writing and looking at papers at a table

The Code of Practice team enjoyed our day in Carnarvon. Hosted by Carnarvon Family Support Services, the consultation unpacked key themes and challenges for service delivery in the local Gascoyne region.  We were lucky to be able to visit the Refuge and meet the team supporting women and children requiring safe and supported accommodation.

The team enjoyed their visit to Mission Australia and talking to the Family and Domestic Violence Outreach and Housing teams.

All visits and teams generously took time out of their busy schedules to talk about what was important to their service and community.

Women participating in workshop writing and looking at papers at the floor

Geraldton turned it on for The Code of Practice team! Hosted by Desert Blue Connect – we had our own uber driver for the day courtesy of  CEO Russell Pratt, and a foreshore lunch. 

Consultation attendees included several service providers including WAPOL FDVRT, Mission Australia, Desert Blue Connect, Department of Communities, Aboriginal Family Law Services and Western Australian Centre for Rural Health (WACRH).

We had robust and thought-provoking discussions with some new themes for consideration. 

A great collaborative effort by all on the day.

Geraldton Consultation Group

Thanks to all services who attended the West Perth consultation.  Attendees represented Communicare, Ruah Community Services, Department of Communities and Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Services.

Once again, we had deep and robust discussions on how the Code of Practice will support specialist family and domestic violence services across WA and provide a foundational guide to service delivery and practice. 

The commitment from services to move towards principles and minimum standards across WA is high! 

West Perth Consultation attendees

Thank you OVIS for hosting the Mandurah consultation on May 29, 2023. 

Consultation attendees represented Anglicare WA, Communicare, OVIS, Department of Communities and Allambee Counselling.

Deep discussions focused on collaboration, information sharing and training of professionals across the specialist and non-specialist sectors.

Mandurah Consultation Group

Thanks to the Patricia Giles Centre for Non-Violence and the Salvation Army for their contribution during the Merriwa consultation workshop.

Although it was a small group, the conversations were big, and the laughs were loud.

There was pull in focus about what good case management means and how children should be seen as clients in their own right.

What fantastic conversation – thanks again team

Merriwa Consultation Group

On 7 June, consultation in Bentley WA hosted by Zonta Refuge was well represented by several organisations including Zonta, Starick, Stopping Family Violence, Centrecare, Nardine Womens Refuge, Rise Network, Communicare and Relationships Australia.

The diversity of service representation and levels across organisations offered a great opportunity for new conversations and points of difference for priority areas relating to the Code of Practice.

Bentley Consultation Group

Thanks to Anglicare, Derby for a fantastic workshop! The Code of Practice team felt so privileged and excited to hear all about the incredible work you do in your region. 

The challenges you face in an isolated area don’t slow this amazing team down! Your reflections about women’s strength and resilience touched our hearts.

Derby Consultation Group

Big shout out to the Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre for hosting the Code of Practice team at your offices. 

We felt so honoured to have a tour of your beautiful refuge and to hear about your commitment to reaching all corners of your community. 

One big take away comment when discussing the lack of service options in your region was “your response shouldn’t be dictated by your postcode!” 

We will be taking that one with us in all our advocacy! Your smiling and warm faces will be fondly remembered!

Fitzroy Consultation Group

Thank you to Anglicare Broome for hosting us at your local office to complete our consultation workshop! This group were down to business with big conversations and profoundly reflective conversations during our workshop. 

Broome may have the highest population in West Kimberley, but it certainly doesn’t mean the challenges of specialist family violence work are any easier. 

A big take-away from this consultation was the high volume of work the West Kimberley have, but the perseverance of this group is not to be reckoned with! 

Keep up the amazing work team Broome.

Broome Consultation Group

Thanks to the Men’s Behaviour Change Network for your time to unpack how the Code of Practice and Audit Tool will apply to Perpetrator intervention and how we can align principles and standards across WA’s family and domestic violence specialist services. 

We had many great discussions particularly towards perpetrator accountability, collaboration and advocacy, and a capable and sustainable workforce.

MBC Consultation Group

Bunbury consultation was hosted by Waratah and joined by Centrecare, Communicare, Department of Communities, Department of Health, Southern Aboriginal Corporation, South West Refuge and South West Aboriginal Medical Services. 

The consultation provided a deeper understanding of focus areas for our Southwest region.  

Take way discussions include the need for a whole of family framework, and an increase in wellbeing and recovery such as expansion therapeutic community models for accommodation.

Bunbury Consultation Group

Albany consultation was a whole day event starting with a quick early morning flight. 

The Team visited Albany Women’s Centre and got to appreciate the care that has gone into this centre for women and children.  

A big thank you to Anglicare WA for hosting the Great Southern consultation. 

This was joined by Albany Community Legal Services and Southern Aboriginal Corporation. The takeaway from this consultation is “anything we do, it must be for the safety and wellbeing of victim survivors”. 

A focus discussion on missing resources such as men’s behaviour change program for the Great Southern to support the service system towards increased safety for families also took place.

Albany Consultation Group

By popular demand, The Code of Practice Team pivoted to create an online version of the consultation workshop.

On the 5th of July, the very first online consultation workshop commenced with a second due for the 31st July 2023. We had lots of people registered for this session, but unfortunately the nature of work meant that a number of people couldn’t attend due to competing priorities!

The online session was a massive success, with minimal tech issues and a deeply engaged and insightful group of attendees. Thank you to everyone who attended our first online session

The Code of Practice team were hosted by Marna Pirni Healing Centre, Kalgoorlie’s very own FDV Hub for this consultation workshop.

The workshop was attended by a wide range of service providers and many of the team from the FDVRT!

The energy was super high for this workshop, with some profound insights and considerations for the Code of Practice team to take away.

Thank you so much Kalgoorlie, we had such a great time.

The Code of Practice Team headed to the East Kimberly to meet with services in Kununurra.

The workshop was held at Mirima Dawang Woorlab-Gerring, the language centre in Kununurra. Although it was a small group, the rich conversation and deeply unique and interesting perspectives and experiences of working in such remoteness was an eye-opening experience for the Code of Practice team.

Thank you to Anglicare and Ngnowar-Aerwah Aboriginal Corporation for your participation and warmth throughout the consultation and a special thanks to Community Focus who travelled all the way from Kalumburu to attend the workshop!

The Code of Practice Team jumped on a tiny plane and flew to Halls Creek to meet with Ngaringga Ngurra Safe House.

The planned consultation workshop quickly went out the window when the team realised the value of spending time with the refuge manager, who was kind enough to take us around town and teach us about the history, the surrounding communities, and the deep connection to culture this area has.

It is difficult to articulate the remoteness of this special place, or how services in the region are flexing beyond belief to meet the needs of its community.

What an enormous privilege it was for the Code of Practice team! The insights that were offered to us during our visit will fundamentally shape some of the development of the Code. Thank you, Sandra and Ngaringga Ngurra Safe House.

The Code of Practice team were generously hosted by Pilbara Community Legal to run the final regional Consultation Workshop.

Local representatives from specialist family and domestic violence services, as well as community services that interact with FDV, showcased their dedication to collaboration and their unwavering support for people in their community who are impacted by family and domestic violence. This consultation stood out due to the distinctive challenges posed by the intersection of a mining town and poverty, creating unique challenges in their responses and a multifaceted approach to their efforts.

Thank you, Karratha, – you were brilliant!

This was the second online consultation for the Code of Practice, and it was a fantastic turn out.

This workshop hosted 11 online participants and generated a great deal of robust conversations and new learnings for the Code team.

Although online workshops can be particularly challenging, this workshop held great flow and participants were highly interactive.

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend this workshop.

The Code of Practice team understood how vital it was to meet with multicultural service providers as we knew there would be valuable insights into the diverse needs and experiences of individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

And wow, are we so grateful we were granted this time with the brilliant staff from Ishar and Multicultural Women’s Advocacy Services.

The perspectives and distinct hurdles encountered by service providers who are supporting people from CALD backgrounds are in some ways unparalleled, and this workshop really shed light into the necessity to ensure this code is written with deep inclusivity to ensure it is culturally responsive.

Thanks again to the amazing staff who were able to attend!

The Code of Practice team facilitated an online consultation with Aboriginal people from Aboriginal Controlled Organisations (ACCO’s), who provide services both regionally and in the metro.

This workshop was particularly special as the Code of Practice team were let in on beautiful and inspiring insights and reflections about what is seen to be important for this Code.

Your feedback and input will fundamentally shape the Code.

Thank you to the participants from this workshop, we look forward to future discussions relating to the Code.

Another truly inspiring consultation that the Code team felt particularly privileged to have held and been a part of.

The time allocated to this workshop was nowhere near enough, as the deep and profound insights and reflections were provided about how service provision currently looks for Western Australia and how it should look moving forward.

The lived experience advocates were bold and unapologetic in what needs to change for service provision in the specialist family and domestic violence sector, and indeed this feedback will be fed directly into the development of the Code.

Thank you endlessly for your input.

What’s coming up

Our dedicated Code of Practice team have conducted 24 consultation workshops across the state, spanning all regions of Western Australia. The next steps for the Code development are as follows:

  • Draft Refinement: Further refinement of the draft principles based on stakeholder feedback.
  • Audit Tool: Development of the self-assessment audit tool.
  • Working Groups: Sector representatives to review developed drafts for content expertise.
  • Pilot Programs: Initiating pilot programs to test and evaluate the practical implementation of the Code.

If you would like to register your expression of interest to participate in either the working group for the development of practice principles, or to participate in the self-assessment audit tool pilot, please follow the link below:

https://survey.sparkchart.com.au/start/Y5fNDZtzTYK9LvZtVKCvx4lWznAgCH6Q611U8Mwks/

The Code of Practice team will be in touch shortly to discuss your participation.

Derby Consultation

13 June 2023

1:00 - 3:00pm

Fitzroy Crossing Consultation

14 June 2023

10:30 - 12:30pm

Broome Consultation

16 June 2023

10:00 - 1:00pm

MBCP Network Consultation

22 June 2023

11:00am to 1:00pm

Bunbury Consultation

26 June 2023

1:00 - 4:00pm 

Albany Consultation

29 June 2023

1:00 - 4:00pm

Kalgoorlie Consultation

14 July 2023

10:00am - 1:00pm 

Kununurra Consultation

19 July 2023

9:00 – 11:00am

Halls Creek Consultation

20 July 2023

9:30 -11:30am

Karratha Consultation

27 July 2023 

10:00am - 1:00pm

Online Consultation 1

5 July 2023

9:30 -11:30am

Online Consultation 2

31 July 2023 

9:30 -11:45am

CaLD Focus Group Consultation

ATSI Focus Group Consultation

1 Aug 2023 

10:00am -12:00pm

Resources

Literature review

Within a Western Australian context, quality standard systems exist for health, alcohol and other drug, mental health, disability, aged care, early childhood and community housing sectors. However, apart from national perpetrator intervention Men’s Behaviour Change Program standards, the WA family and domestic violence sector has no equivalent quality standards system to guide its practice – despite it being an area of work with demonstrated high risk.

Introducing and implementing existing practice standards (e.g., Victoria and NSW codes) in Western Australia is not a viable option. Western Australia requires a code that reflects its unique context and is co-designed with specialist family and domestic violence services. Developing a code of practice with specialist family and domestic violence services will ensure The Code reflects the diversity of service models, provides considerations for the implication of responses to perpetrators and how they intersect with The Code, and increase sector ownership and buy-in for The Code through a continuous quality improvement process. 

Download the full report using the button below:

Executive Summary - Key Insights and Development

A key phase in the development of the Code of Practice was to facilitate consultation workshops with a variety of specialist family and domestic violence services across the state. In total, 24 consultations were conducted, covering all regions within the state.

The attached document, ‘Executive Summary, Key Insights, and Development,’ provides a snapshot of the initial insights and findings gathered from these consultations, marking a significant milestone in the Code of Practice development process.

Download the Executive Summary using the button below.

Code of Practice: Key Insights and Development Webinar

The Code of Practice: Key insights and development webinar held on 26 September 2023, provided participants with information on the development phase of the Code of Practice. This included discussions on:

  • key findings from the consultation period
  • priorities identified by each region in the development of the Code of Practice
  • a summary of the established principles
  • a sneak peek at one of the draft principles
  • next steps in the Code’s development.

Important notes: 

  • An Acknowledgement to Country and a Recognition of Victim Survivors were delivered during the Webinar prior to the commencement of the recording.
  • Audio difficulties occurred during the playing of the Code of Practice video. The video with audio can be viewed in the Code of Practice landing page.

You can view the webinar here.

Code of Practice Communiquè

The Code Communiqué provides quarterly updates on all areas of the development and implementation of the Code over the course of the project 2023-2025.

Fill the below form to sign up to the Code Communiqué.

The Code of Practice Communiqué is due out late September 2023.