Integrated service responses

The Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women (CSYW) is leading work across government and the community to design, implement and test holistic and integrated approaches to improving the safety of domestic and family violence (DFV) victims and their children while holding perpetrators to account for their violence.

This approach forms part of the Queensland Government's response to recommendations 9, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 82 and 83 in the Not Now, Not Ever report.

An integrated service response is an innovative approach which ensures coordination of services and supports across government, non-government services and other community organisations.

An integrated service response trial

An integrated service response trial has been conducted in 3 locations:

  • Logan/Beenleigh (urban location)
  • Mount Isa/Gulf (regional city location)
  • Cherbourg (discrete Indigenous community location).

The integrated service response trial focuses on how service systems can work together in a timely, structured, collaborative way to ensure people affected by DFV receive quality and consistent support.

Each location has engaged in a co-design process. For example, the Cherbourg response was co-designed to provide a culturally specific integrated response to DFV that is tailored to the needs of that community.

Not Now, Not Ever recommendation 75 requires the evaluation of the integrated service response trial (and high risk teams), to inform and help guide the future direction of Queensland’s integrated responses to DFV.

High risk teams

High risk teams are a core component of Queensland’s integrated service response approach.

These teams consist of officers from all agencies with a role in keeping victims safe and holding perpetrators to account — including police, health, corrections, housing and domestic violence services — collaborating to provide integrated, culturally appropriate safety responses to victims and their children who are at high risk of serious harm or lethality.

High risk teams using Queensland’s first common risk assessment and safety management framework are currently operating in:

  • Cairns
  • Cherbourg
  • Ipswich
  • Logan/Beenleigh
  • Mackay
  • Moreton Bay (Brisbane)
  • Moreton Bay (Caboolture)
  • Mount Isa/Gulf.

The roll-out of integrated service responses to DFV in Queensland is a staged approach that started with the Logan/Beenleigh site in January 2017, followed by Mount Isa and Cherbourg in August 2017. The high risk teams in Moreton Bay (Brisbane), Ipswich, Cairns, Mackay and Moreton Bay (Caboolture) have been progressively rolled-out between February 2018 and April 2019. This brings the total number of high risk teams using this common framework in Queensland to 8.

Evaluation of the integrated service response trial

An independent evaluation of Queensland's trial of integrated responses to domestic violence, completed in July 2019 by the Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University, analysed integrated responses and high risk team practices and outcomes in the trial locations of Logan/Beenleigh, Mount Isa/Gulf and Cherbourg.

Evaluators highlighted many improvements including better information sharing (allowing for more informed decision making by agencies), enhanced accountability around service delivery across agencies, and there being more 'eyes' on perpetrators.

Most importantly, high risk teams were securing faster and more targeted help for victims at imminent risk of lethality or serious harm.

Find out more about the results of the evaluation by viewing the Summary document (PDF) outlining the evaluation findings.

Supporting resources

CSYW commissioned Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) to co-design a suite of tools to support integrated service responses to DFV. This includes a Common Risk and Safety Framework (the Framework), a model for high risk intervention and supporting professional resources. The Framework and resources are being used at the trial sites and new high-risk team locations.

They are also supported by amendments to the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act (2012), including new information sharing provisions, which came into effect in May 2017. The new provisions strengthen the ability for key government and non-government entities to share relevant information, to assess and manage serious DFV threats.