The changes to law that we are proposing will clarify when, why and how agencies should communicate with each other for the safety of people at risk of domestic and family violence, and to hold people using violence to account.

This proposal is aimed at promoting cultural change with the people working with domestic and family violence matters in the ACT.

We want frontline workers to be able to proactively communicate with another agency under a clear legislative framework where safety is the main concern.

We will support agencies and their workers by producing guidelines to the legislation that will clearly explain what needs to happen.

When can agencies communicate?

Under the proposed legislation, agencies must take reasonable steps to only communicate on a matter for a protection purpose. This means an agency would only communicate when:

  • assessing whether a person at risk is being subjected to, or is likely to be subjected to, domestic or family violence
  • assessing whether a person using violence is committing, or is likely to commit, domestic or family violence
  • taking action to prevent or reduce the risk of domestic and family violence occurring, including by providing assistance or service to a person at risk or a person using violence, or
  • responding to domestic and family violence, threatened domestic or family violence or suspected domestic or family violence, including by providing assistance or service to a person at risk or a person using violence.

When agencies communicate for a protection purpose, they must only provide information relevant to the protection of the person at risk and respect the person’s:

  • cultural, sexual and gender identity
  • religious or spiritual beliefs (if any)
  • if the person identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person:
    • promotes the person’s right to self-determination and cultural sensitivities, and
    • considers the person's family and community connections
  • if the person is a child or young person—takes into account the age, maturity and developmental capacity of the child or young person.

Who does the legislation apply to?

The proposed changes will only include government agencies at first, with other agencies being added by declaration by the Minister.

How will agencies communicate with one another?

The proposed changes to the legislation include the appointment of an Information Sharing Coordinator.

The Information Sharing Coordinator will be able to facilitate the disclosure and use of information in a confidential manner to ensure the safety and autonomy of the person at risk.

This will include holding service coordination meetings with the relevant agencies that are included under the legislation.

These co-ordinated case management meetings will involve multiple agencies discussing cases, assessing risk and identifying appropriate actions.

To manage safety risks for the person at risk, the person using violence will not be able to access information provided to the Information Sharing Coordinator.

Mandatory requests for information

There may be times where an agency refuses to share information about a client with another agency for various reasons.

In circumstances where an agency refuses to provide information, we are proposing in the legislation that the Information Sharing Coordinator can make a mandatory request for information if it is necessary for safety.

The legislation will be subject to a comprehensive human rights examination, analysing the human rights issues. This issue is a specific focus of stakeholder consultation.

Find out more

You can find out more details about this issue by reading the discussion paper or contacting us at