Will you be ready for September’s info sharing deadline?

Housing and homelessness services will be included in the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and will need to be compliant by September.

The scheme enables organisations working in domestic violence to share information effectively to facilitate early prevention of violence, protection of individuals and prosecution of perpetrators.

The initial tranche of organisations participating in the Scheme were primarily family violence services and relevant courts. However, the second tranche of organisations is much broader. It will include organisations providing services in relation to:

  • Department of Health and Human Services Housing;
  • integrated family services;
  • Justice Health and funded programs;
  • out-of-home care services;
  • state-funded alcohol and other drugs services;
  • state-funded financial counselling programs;
  • state-funded homelessness services;
  • state-funded mental health services;
  • Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Program;
  • youth justice and funded programs.

The second tranche will be phased in, allowing organisations to build knowledge and capacity. It will also align with the commencement of the Child Information Sharing Scheme, which is still being finalised, and the application of the redeveloped Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework.

Organisations in the first tranche and second tranche of the Scheme will need to be ready for September 2018. Given the sensitive nature of the information, there could be significant implications for organisations that under-share, over-share or fail to protect the information. We recommend that organisations:

  1. Assess if the Scheme will apply to your organisation and if so, which branches or programs of your organisation will fall under the Scheme (e.g. an organisation that works in community engagement generally but runs a domestic violence shelter may only be able to participate in the Scheme through the shelter);
  2. Update your privacy policy, collection policy, email retention policy and other relevant policies and procedures in accordance with the requirements of the Scheme;
  3. Implement the best practice documents provided by the Victorian Government such as consent forms, responding to requests for information and requesting information;
  4. Train your staff on the Scheme such as what information can be shared, when information can be released, when to request information, how to obtain consent and information storage procedures; and
  5. Seek legal advice on the application of the Scheme to your organisation, as well as the potential overlap between the redeveloped Framework and the Child Information Sharing Scheme.

Moores has worked closely with organisations in the first tranche to implement the Scheme and ensure compliance with the complex legal requirements.

Click here for more information, questions or concerns about what your organisation is required to do to ensure compliance.

content courtesy of Moores