Practice principles, standards and guidance

We introduced revised practice standards for the domestic and family violence (DFV) sector on 1 January 2021.

Who do they apply to?

These practice standards apply to people working in a broad range of DFV 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 DFV.

While the standards were developed to guide practice for Queensland's DFV service sector, they can also be applied more broadly by other agencies whose core business is impacted by DFV. 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 DFV service types under a consolidated set of standards. This set of standards will be implemented across the entire funded sector, replacing the 2 previously separate sets of standards:

The practice standards have been updated to reflect:

  • improved practices and procedures that have been developed over decades by specialist DFV 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 of 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 and the revised practice standards has been developed to assist services to navigate the revised practice standards.

Why did they change?

The Not now, not ever: Putting an end to domestic and family violence in Queensland report recommended (recommendation 82) that we:

  • review and update the professional practice standards 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
  • establish 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 DFV, we 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 DFV services.

What are practice standards?

The DFV practice standards are intended to outline the everyday practice expectations for people working in Queensland's DFV 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 DFV services.

It is important to understand the distinction between service standards and practice standards.

Service standards:

  • 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:

  • outline what is required for effective, professional and accountable practice on a daily basis for workers operating in a particular field
  • generally provide more detail than service standards and outline how certain aspects of daily 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 DFV services. The principles, standards, and guidance are structured as follows.

Principles

  • The 7 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 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 DFV.

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 DFV
    2.1 Understanding of DFV
    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-centred 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 DFV service providers
    7.2 Working with organisations outside the service system.

Resources

We have developed a range of resources including:

More information

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