Responding to Child and Family Violence Information Sharing Schemes requests: a guide for general practice

  11 May 2021  NWMPHN

The Victorian Government is reforming the way information about family violence is shared.

These reforms aim to make it easier for professionals to collaborate with each other, and better support the children and families they work with.

About the reforms

On 19 April 2021, general practitioners and general practice nurses were prescribed under the schemes.

  • The Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS) enables the sharing of information to promote the wellbeing or safety of a child or a group of children.
  • The Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) enables the sharing of information for family violence risk assessment or risk management in relation to both children and adults.

Information Sharing Entities (ISEs), including general practices, hospitals and other services, are now prescribed under the schemes. This means that practices, if requested, must share information with another ISE in relation to both children and adults if there are concerns about their safety. You can check which organisations are ISEs using the Victorian Government’s online tool. Information can be shared verbally or in writing.

The schemes expand legal permissions to support professionals who work with children, families, victim survivors and perpetrators of family violence and help to create a more collaborative, integrated system to improve safety and wellbeing outcomes for all Victorians. View the Victorian Department of Health fact sheet for more information about the Information Sharing Scheme.

Resources for general practice

Check lists and guides

Practices are encouraged to review the following documents on the Victorian Government website:

Online training

Online training modules are available at elearn.childlink.com.au – we highly recommend completing these modules to have your questions about the schemes answered. Although the training is not mandatory, practices are encouraged to have at least one key person complete the training.

Tip: when registering for the online training you will be asked to select your Department, Workforce and Organisation. These are the options you should select:

  • Department = Department of Health
  • Workforce = General Practice
  • Organisation = not every organisation is listed, so please select the most suitable organisation if yours isn’t available. For example: you could select General Practice Managers, General Practice Nurses or General Practitioners.

Frequently asked questions

How do I respond to a request for information?

You can respond to a request either verbally or in writing. Please note that you should ensure relevant thresholds and purposes for sharing are met, and that you comply with record keeping requirements and the relevant privacy requirements, including data security standards.

You should respond to requests in a timely manner, in particular you should respond without delay where there is a risk to the safety of a person.

Resources to help you respond to a request are on the information sharing website.

How do I request information?

You can make a request under the schemes verbally or in writing. Some services may have additional operational requirements for making a request, such as receiving the request via a form.

Resources to help you respond to a request are on the information sharing website.

Can everyone in my organisation request and share information?

No. Information Sharing Entities (ISEs) determine how the reforms are implemented in their organisation. ISEs must identify those roles that are part of a service in the organisation authorised to request or share information under the schemes, on behalf of the organisation (for example: a state-funded sexual assault service). ISEs should identify staff to undertake information sharing training.

ISEs must be satisfied that any roles authorised to use the schemes on their behalf are:

  • employed by the ISE in a professional capacity that includes the exercise of skills reasonably transferable to the assessment or management of family violence, or child wellbeing or safety, and the appropriate and sensitive management of confidential information
  • sufficiently competent in the use of the schemes.

Wherever possible, ISEs that provide services to clients should ensure that the authorised roles have regular direct engagement with the clients whose information may be shared or requested. If this is not feasible, their information sharing processes and procedures should ensure that the authorised roles have access to the information gathered by other members of the ISE through direct engagement.

More information

Visit the Victorian Government website for more FAQs about information sharing.

If you have questions, please email childinfosharing@education.vic.gov.au or call 1800 549 646.