Early Childhood The work of keeping students safe

  • By Seir Holley
  • This article was published more than 10 months ago.
  • 20 Jul 2023

The Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management framework, referred to as MARAM, which arose from the Royal Commission into Family Violence, is a system-wide, consistent approach to identify, assess and manage the risk of family violence. The framework is based on a shared understanding of family violence and a shared responsibility across the service system to increase collaboration and early intervention.

MARAM applies to framework organisations under Part 11 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic). It must be adopted by schools, and implementation will be phased in.

Existing child safety obligations, such as Child Safe Standards and mandatory reporting, have not changed. The responsibility that school staff currently hold to identify family violence remains.

The AEU acknowledges the commitment school staff have to supporting student victim survivors. However, we are concerned about the work required by schools as they transition their policies, procedures and practices to align with MARAM.

Under MARAM, an added layer will exist. Schools nominate staff with wellbeing responsibilities, who will then carry out screening, referral and basic safety planning when risk factors or signs of trauma indicating possible family violence have been identified.

Screening involves asking questions of victim survivors, which may lead to a disclosure. Basic safety planning is the process by which the school consults with the victim survivor to identify appropriate measures to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing at school. Depending on the circumstances, it may also involve basic safety planning for when the victim survivor is at home. The screening and basic safety planning must only take place if it is safe, reasonable and appropriate.

The department is developing tools, and has committed to providing contextualised guidance and MARAM-targeted training to nominated staff.

The AEU acknowledges the commitment school staff have to supporting student victim survivors. However, we are concerned about the work required by schools as they transition their policies, procedures and practices to align with MARAM. Minimising the risk to the health and safety of school staff must also be prioritised as part of the MARAM requirements.

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