Practice principles, standards and guidance

The Queensland Government is introducing revised practice standards for the domestic and family violence sector. The revised practice standards will come into effect from 1 January 2021.

Who do they apply to?

These practice standards apply to people working in a broad range of domestic and family violence services including services for both victims and perpetrators as well as services targeting vulnerable population groups who are at a higher or a unique risk of domestic and family violence.

While the standards have been developed to guide practice for Queensland's domestic and family violence service sector, they can also be applied more broadly by other agencies whose core business is impacted by domestic and family violence. This includes prescribed entities such as those delivering police and justice services, health (including mental health and drug and alcohol services), education, and child safety services.

What's changed?

The revised practice standards bring together all domestic and family violence service types under one consolidated set of standards. This set of standards will be implemented across the entire funded sector, replacing the two existing sets of standards:

  • Practice Standards for Working with Women Affected by Domestic and Family Violence
  • Professional Practice Standards: Working with men who perpertrate domestic and family violence.

The practice standards have been updated to reflect:

  • improved practices and procedures that have been developed over decades by specialist domestic and family violence services, women's services and other agencies involved in working with people who use and experience violence
  • contemporary theoretical frameworks
  • national and state policies and strategies
  • legislation.

The revised practice standards have been developed to ensure clients receive the same quality of service regardless where they live in the state. The revised practice standards emphasise that the safety of the victim is paramount and perpetrators must be held to account for their actions. All services, regardless if they work with victims or perpetrators, have a role to play in achieving these objectives.

The revised practice standards have been consolidated and streamlined to ensure funded services have the flexibility and autonomy to innovate and use their expertise to deliver services. The revised practice standards capture the intent of most of the existing standards, however the wording or level or description may vary.

A comparison of the existing practice standards Practice Standards for Working with Women Affected by Domestic and Family Violence (PDF, 666 KB) Practice Standards for Working with Women Affected by Domestic and Family Violence (DOCX, 93 KB) and Professional Practice Standards: Working with men who perpetrate domestic and family violence (PDF, 1.5 MB) Professional Practice Standards: Working with men who perpetrate domestic and family violence (DOCX, 188 KB) and the revised practice standards has been developed to assist services to navigate the revised practice standards.

The department will be consulting with perpetrator services on a small number of existing practice standards that have not been captured in the revised practice standards. More information on this process will be provided over the coming months.

Why did they change?

The Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an end to domestic and family violence in Queensland report recommended (Recommendation 82) that government:

  • review and update the Professional Practice Standards: Working with men who perpetrate domestic and family violence and the accompanying principles to ensure they reflect the most recent developments and knowledge in the field and include models of practice and standards to ensure safe and appropriate practice for individual (as well as group) intervention sessions
  • establishes a clear and rigorous process for evaluating and approving initiatives and providing ongoing monitoring of compliance with the practice standards to ensure that issues of non-compliance and service system development requirements are identified.

In acting to review the current practice standards for working with men who perpetrate domestic and family violence, the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women also responded to the need to review and update the current practice standards for working with women and to consider contemporary, evidence-based practice standards across the full range of funded domestic and family violence services.

What are practice standards?

The domestic and family violence practice standards are intended to outline the everyday practice expectations for people working in Queensland's domestic and family violence system. This includes staff working with victims (and their children) and perpetrators. The practice standards reflect the quality of services the community can expect from organisations that provide Queensland Government funded domestic and family violence services.

It is important to understand the distinction between service standards and practice standards, although in reality there is often blurring between the two and the terms can be used interchangeably.

Service standards are standards that:

  • articulate expectations and intended outcomes across an organisation or across a whole service system
  • guide and measure the actions of the organisation and broader service system and the outcomes they are aiming to achieve.

Practice standards are standards that:

  • outline what is required for effective, professional and accountable practice on a day-to-day basis for workers operating in a particular field
  • generally provide more detail than service standards and outline how certain aspects of day-to-day practice are expected to be conducted
  • can encompass a broad range of matters such as professional conduct, roles and responsibilities, quality, meeting client needs, referrals and inter-agency collaboration.

How to navigate the revised practice principles, standards and guidance?

All principles, and their supporting standards and guidance, are designed to be read together. Each area is related to the other and all are equally important in delivering appropriate and effective domestic and family violence services. The principles, standards, and guidance are structured as follows:

Principles

  • The seven principles clearly outline what all clients - victims and perpetrators - should be able to expect from DFV services in Queensland, in terms of services delivered and outcomes achieved.

Standards

  • The standards outline a consistent approach to responding to DFV for all service sectors
  • These are the elements that must be in place in order to give effect to the principles.

Guidance

  • The guidance translates the standards into practice
  • It highlights activities and examples of practice that allow staff to meet each standard and bring the standards to life in their daily practice
  • The practice is not exhaustive and further examples of the practice expected of workers may be identified across the sector and with expansion of the evidence base for effective responses to domestic and family violence

Summary of principles and standards

  1. The rights, safety, and dignity of victims are paramount
    1.1 Respectful, developmentally appropriate, culturally appropriate and non-judgemental approach
    1.2 Ensuring victim safety
    1.3 Risk assessment, management and safety plans
  2. Staff understand domestic and family violence
    2.1 Understanding of domestic and family violence
    2.2 Understanding of gender, power, and control
  3. Services are evidence-informed
    3.1 Evidence-informed practice
  4. Perpetrators are held accountable for their actions
    4.1 Ensuring safety, responsibility and accountability
  5. Services are culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
    5.1 Ensuring cultural safety
  6. Services are client-centered and accessible for all
    6.1 Ensuring appropriate responses for all cohorts
    6.2 Client focussed approach
    6.3 Accessible and equitable support and assistance
  7. Services collaborate to provide an integrated response
    7.1 Working with other domestic and family violence service providers
    7.2 Working with organisations outside the service system.

How to get ready?

To assist service providers to implement the revised practice standards, the department is offering a range of resources and support during the six month transition period, including webinars, resources such as checklists and posters, and newsletter and website updates.

To ensure compliance with the new practice standards, services should:

What resources are available?

The department has developed a range of resources including:

Where to get more information?

For more information, please contact your regional contract manager or email the Domestic and Family Violence Service System Reform Team at DFVServiceSystemReform@csyw.qld.gov.au.