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Collaborative practice

Collaborative practice involves working across agencies and service providers to improve the quality of support provided to individuals and families seeking support.

Why is collaborative practice important?

For people who are experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence, there may be a range of services and organisations they are in contact with for support. Depending on the needs and consent provided by the individual, organisations can improve their response and avoid duplication of information gathering if they collaborate. Working together in this way means consistent advice can be given to an individual across different services. Collaborative practice also reduces the risk of re-traumatising people by minimising the need for them to tell their story.

Counselling and support services can work together to address issues impacting on the individual or family. Through collaborative practice they can more effectively support clients with their safety, wellbeing and healing needs. These services might include:

  • Health and mental health service providers
  • Domestic and family violence services
  • Sexual violence support services
  • CALD specific support services
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander specific support services
  • LGBTQIA+ specific support services
  • Child protection services
  • Disability advocacy services
  • Counselling services
  • Housing and accommodation services
  • Financial support services
  • Legal services
  • Other community-based support services

Legal and justice system services can more effectively respond to a person's safety and protection needs when they work in collaboration with specialist agencies (provided client consent is gained to do this). Some states and territories also have specific Information Sharing Guidelines that apply in situations where a person has disclosed high risk of domestic, family and sexual violence. Please refer to your relevant State or Territory Departmental Guidelines for this information.

Ultimately, the aim of working collaboratively with other agencies is to reduce avoidable stress for the person seeking support, avoid duplication of services, and more holistically support the individual based on their identified needs.

Research into inter-agency collaboration may assist your organisation in setting up collaborative practices.