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CEO and Chairperson Report 2021

CEO and Chairperson report

For the past 12 months the impact of the global pandemic has transformed the way we delivered our services and changed how we lived in our homes and participated in the community.  With numerous lockdowns in Victoria, this has had a profound impact on women and children living with family violence and people experiencing sexual assault who have increasingly trusted us in seeking support and assistance throughout the year.

For women and children living with family violence and people who have experienced sexual abuse, we know it’s been a very difficult time, one where access to support has been much harder to gain, often living in the house with an offender, or not having access to finances to support their next move. For adolescents and children, the impact of living in a household and experiencing violence and trauma can have immeasurable consequences and the many groups, counselling sessions and case management we provided proved to be a valuable avenue of support and connection.

We are grateful to our staff who have been so very adaptable and commendable in stepping up to the challenges of delivering services remotely, learning new technology, finding creative ways to engage with children and adults sensitively online and continuing to respond to the ever increasing number of high risk and complex cases. They have done this while working from their own homes, and we know that at times this work has been harder because they cannot leave it at the door anymore, by default inviting the difficult work they do into their own personal space.

The year brought about significant change, digital transformation, disruption and disconnection, yet through all this, our organisation still thrived. Our training delivery and group programs shifted to online delivery and achieved a high level of engagement with great outcomes and feedback received. We have a committed and capable group of people who kept our doors open across our three sites, our reception and administration team, our afterhours service, intake staff, our Orange Door and Wimmera staff together with finance and people and culture; we genuinely appreciate the effort you made, thank you.

Thanks also to the Executive and extended Leadership Team for their organisational support, guidance and leadership throughout the year. We achieved the delivery of many unique projects during the year that will continue to transform our organisation into the future; they are aligned to our strategy and more importantly, will provide even greater support for women and children experiencing family violence

It was a big year, with momentum and lots of changes in navigating all forms of business continuity during the pandemic, however it showed we have a great team of staff who can rise to any challenge, and we are confident we are in a solid standing for our future.

Thank you to our partner organisations, to government and non-government entities who supported our vision and worked with us during the year to bring the combined impact of our work to the fore.

Jointly, as Chair and CEO, we thank our Board members who have shown thoughtful attention and unwavering support in governing the organisation during the pandemic. We are fortunate to have a committed and dedicated group of Board members who are deeply passionate about addressing sexual assault and family violence and to increasing our efforts in gender equality and primary prevention.

Finally, much appreciation to everyone who assists us to achieve our vision for a community free from family violence and sexual assault and a commitment to human rights, social justice and gender equality.

Helen Bolton and Renee Fiolet

The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the land we stand on. We are committed to working toward creating a community where all people indigenous and non-indigenous are safe, connected and empowered to live well. The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre recognises the diverse needs of our community and we ensure our services are inclusive of all children, young people and their families including those who are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, those who identify as LGBTIQ and persons living with disability. We work collaboratively with people and partner organisations who also support our diverse client group. Interpreter and translator services are available to all our clients upon request.

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