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Safer Pathway

Find guidelines, tools and FAQs to support delivery of this service

About Safer Pathway

Safer Pathway proposes a fundamental change in how agencies and organisations support victim’s safety in NSW. Through Safer Pathway, the right services are provided to victims when they need them, in a coordinated way. The Safer Pathway factsheet explains what this reform means for victims, where it will be available and how the reforms are funded.

The key components of Safer Pathway are:

  • people who have experienced domestic violence are provided with coordinated support thus reducing their need to re-tell their story and relive the trauma of their experience
  • use of the Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool (DVSAT) to better and consistently identify the level of  threat a victim of domestic violence is facing
  • a state-wide Central Referral Point is in use to electronically manage and monitor referrals
  • Safety Action Meetings where members develop plans for victims at serious threat of death, disability or injury as a result of domestic and family violence. These meetings cover one or more NSW Police Local Area Commands and by September 2018 we expect 48 Safety Action Meetings to be in operation
  • legislation promoting information sharing by service providers about victims and perpetrators. Information sharing means victims don't need to retell their story multiple times, perpetrators are held accountable and an integrated response can be offered to victims at serious threat
  • a network of Local Coordination Points across NSW that facilitate local responses and provide victims with case coordination and support. By the end of March 2018, Safer Pathway was operational at 43 sites namely: Albury, Armidale, Ashfield-Burwood, Bankstown, Bathurst, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Bourke, Broken Hill, Campbelltown, Coffs Harbour, Deniliquin, Dubbo, Far South Coast, Goulburn, Gosford, Griffith, Hunter Valley, Illawarra, Lismore, Liverpool, Moree, Mt Druitt, Newcastle, Newtown, Northern Beaches, Nowra, Orange, Parramatta, Penrith, Port Macquarie, Queanbeyan, St George, Sutherland, Tamworth, Taree, Toronto, Tweed Heads, Wagga Wagga, Walgett, Waverley, Wollongong and Wyong.

Frequently asked questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the Safer Pathway for both service providers and the general public.

Safer Pathway reference documents

The safety and protection of victims and their children lies at the heart of It Stops Here: Standing Together to End Domestic and Family Violence, the NSW Government’s Domestic and Family Violence Framework for Reform.

Safer Pathway proposes a fundamental change in how agencies and organisations support victim’s safety in NSW. Through Safer Pathway, the right services are provided to victims when they need them, in a coordinated way.

There are 5 main reference documents to support implementation of Safer Pathway.

These resources will help service providers better understand how this approach works and also comply with their legal obligations as well as build a victim's confidence in the response they will receive.

  1. Safer Pathway Overview provides an overview of the NSW Government’s Domestic and Family Violence Framework for Reform, including Safer Pathway and a summary of its key components, including the Central Referral Point, Local Coordination Points, Safety Action Meetings and information sharing legislation.
  2. Domestic Violence Information Sharing Protocol explains information sharing under Part 13A of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. It sets out the procedures service providers must follow to share information, including consent and referral practices, and their information management obligations. It also outlines procedures for accessing and amending information, how to manage  complaints, and the compliance framework.
  3. Safety Action Meeting Manual is a guide for Safety Action Meeting members. It outlines the purpose and operations of Safety Action Meetings as a key element of Safer Pathway, the roles and responsibilities of members and the development of Safety Action Plans.
  4. Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool Guide assists service providers to apply the threat assessment tool and to use their professional judgement to identify the level of threat to victims of domestic violence.
  5. Domestic Violence and Child Protection Guidelines clarify the link between the domestic violence and the child protection systems in terms of information sharing. The Guidelines will help service providers navigate these systems when dealing with cases of domestic violence where children are present in the family home.

Safer Pathway Tools

Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool (DVSAT) for non-police agencies and services. DVSAT has been designed to be the standard assessment tool to accurately and effectively assess the level of threat to domestic and family violence victims.

Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool (DVSAT) Guide A guide on how to use the Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool.

The Domestic Violence Information Sharing Protocol (Protocol) was developed by the NSW Department of Justice in partnership with government agencies, including the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), Legal Aid NSW, the NSW Police Force and NSW Health.

Service Delivery Map brings together the key elements of Safer Pathway and illustrates how victims are supported in a seamless service system response.

Information sharing process flowchart outlines how and when service providers can share information.

Consent flowchart outlines when service providers must seek a victim's consent to share information.

Information sharing compliance checklist is a performance-monitoring tool to assist service providers assess their state of readiness to share information under Part 13A and to comply with the Protocol.

Consent form template is used by service providers when seeking a victim's consent to share information under the Protocol. Service providers may use this form as it is or adapt it to their circumstances or even use their own internal consent form.

Your information and your safety fact sheet for victims of domestic violence explains the key elements of information sharing under the Protocol. Service providers are encouraged to give victims a copy of this fact sheet.

Memorandum of understanding template is for service providers to adopt where they agree to share information under Part 13A and the Protocol.

Safer Pathway transition arrangements

Tackling domestic and family violence is a serious and complex issue that requires careful consideration of service design and a robust change management process.

Because Safer Pathway proposes a fundamental change to the response to domestic and family violence in NSW, implementation will be carefully monitored to ensure this model achieves intended objectives and positive outcomes for victims, before broader state-wide roll out to 48 locations.

Safer Pathway was initially implemented in Orange and Waverley in September 2014. This means that although information sharing under Part 13A of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 and the Information Sharing Protocol apply state-wide, other elements of Safer Pathway, such as the Central Referral Point, Local Coordination Points and Safety Action Meetings become available state-wide when new sites commence.

Where service providers outside of the Safer Pathway sites make referrals for victims and share information under the Protocol, they may use existing referral pathways to relevant services to support the victim.

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