Go to top of page

8.3 Vulnerable people

Help for individuals affected by family and domestic violence

The department supports customers and staff affected by family and domestic violence by assisting with payments, providing information and referrals to third‑party support services and providing access to short‑term social work counselling.

For customers affected by family and domestic violence, the department uses a risk identification and referral model. The model ensures that the department takes a consistent approach to proactively identifying and supporting customers based on their individual circumstances.

For staff affected by family and domestic violence, the department has a dedicated phone support service. The department also conducts training to raise awareness and help staff and managers to support affected colleagues.

In 2018–19, the department’s dedicated Family and Domestic Violence web pages were viewed approximately 265,300 times.

In 2018–19, employees completed approximately 15,480 training sessions to help to assist customers and/or departmental staff affected by family and domestic violence.

In 2018–19, the department granted 19,151 Crisis Payments to support customers affected by family and domestic violence.

Community Engagement Officers helping customers with complex circumstances

Some of the department’s customers find it difficult to access its mainstream services—for example, because they have complex issues or a vulnerability. The Community Engagement Officer (CEO) program is responsible for delivering services outside the Service Centre environment to those people.


  • work collaboratively with community and third‑party organisations to identify people who are experiencing vulnerability and complex issues to make them aware of the range of departmental services available
  • deliver our services from these organisations
  • support customers to increase their capacity for greater self‑sufficiency by promoting and demonstrating the department’s self‑managed and digital services.

CEOs deliver services in locations such as:

  • mental health facilities
  • general crisis/support services
  • specialist accommodation services
  • youth services
  • drug and alcohol services
  • family and domestic violence services
  • organised meeting places.

In 2018–19, the department had over 90 CEOs who had relationships with over 1,900 community and third‑party organisations.

Youth Protective Assessments for at-risk children and young people

The department is committed to keeping children and young people safe from harm. It has agreed to implement all elements of the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework, and is required to complete the implementation of the framework by February 2020.

Social workers make referrals to the state and territory child welfare authorities for Youth Protective Assessments where there are concerns about the safety and wellbeing of a child or young person.

The purpose of these assessments is to protect young people affected by homelessness, abuse and violence from experiencing further harm. They ensure that the Australian Government and state/territory welfare agencies share responsibility for providing young people at risk of harm with the support they need.

The principles underpinning the Commonwealth and state/territory Youth Protocol continue to apply. They inform Youth Protective Assessment arrangements between the Australian Government and state and territory child welfare agencies.