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Partnerships 2021


Working respectfully and collaboratively with our partners, we maintain an awareness of the prevalence of sexual assault and family violence within the community and the importance of gender equality, while highlighting the support services available.

Eyes on the whole family

Within The Orange Door Barwon, we work collaboratively with our partner organisations to create a safe space for women, children and young people to provide intake, triage, assessment and delivery of brief intervention including crisis support, emergency accommodation, brokerage funds, referral to specialist services and connection to justice and community support services.

This year, The Orange Door has introduced a cluster team model, which brings together team members from each partner agency – representing support for women, men and children – to coordinate a range of services for the whole family, keeping everyone in view and enhancing perpetrator accountability.

The cluster team model has involved a significant amount of commitment and collaboration from the partner agency teams to progress this model, working through the challenges and processes to create a model that provides a full picture of what is happening within the home and family, increases the safety of those impacted by the violence, and decreases the risk of further violence by holding the person using violence accountable and addressing their behaviour.

This model also promotes visibility of the children who are recognised and assessed in their own right, ensuring their experiences and needs are considered and supported.

The cluster team model has been a positive change within The Orange Door Barwon and has promoted greater collaboration among the partner agencies and a greater focus on those impacted by family violence.

With the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions, our Orange Door staff also moved to remote working while continuing to support clients. While COVID did mean a reduction in walk-in clients, the number of clients supported during the restrictions remained consistent, with our staff within The Orange Door Barwon, supporting 5,622 cases. A case is created for each individual person identified in a referral.

Staying connected while apart

We are proud to be a key partner in the Barwon Multidisciplinary Centre (MDC), a highly specialised and coordinated response model whereby partner agencies work together to respond to the needs of people impacted by sexual assault and family violence. Partner agencies include Victoria Police Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT), Victoria Police Family Violence Investigation Unit (FVIU), DFFH Child Protection Sexual Abusive Intervention Team (SAIT), Barwon Health Community Health Nurses and The SAFV Centre.

Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, our collaboration with the partner agencies within the MDC has continued to strengthen as we work together to provide a highly specialised response for people who are impacted by the trauma of sexual assault and family violence within an integrated and seamless environment. The Barwon MDC is a highly successful collaboration with the model to be proven to bring about better coordination and outcomes for those seeking support.

Multicultural Family Violence partnership with Diversitat

This year we commenced our engagement with Diversitat to work in partnership to deliver family violence awareness raising and early intervention activities with multicultural community members.

This project will see one of our Orange Door specialist family violence practitioners co-located at Diversitat to ensure multicultural community members at risk of, or experiencing, family violence, are supported to access specialist family violence services. This partnership allows for the building of stronger relationships between multicultural, faith-based and ethno-specific organisations and specialist family violence services, to enhance referral pathways and better support people experiencing family violence.

Diversitat also co-locate their two financial counsellors at the SAFV Centre in the Barwon MDC and we look forward to continuing the co-location in the recovery from the pandemic.

Everybody matters – building capacity and capability and strengthening inclusion

In April, we were successful in our submission for the Family Violence and Disability Practice Leader initiative. As one of three selected providers in Victoria, the initiative is in partnership with Family Safety Victoria, Women with Disabilities Victoria, DV Vic/DVRC and Sexual Assault Services (SAS) Victoria (formerly CASA Forum) who will lead, provide guidelines and coordinate a community of practice.

This initiative is focused on strengthening family violence and sexual assault services across the Barwon area to better respond to people with disabilities; and building capacity and workforce capability across the broader family violence system to achieve the vision of an inclusive, safe, responsive and accountable system for all Victorians.

This is fantastic opportunity to grow and apply our knowledge and experience to support adults, children and young people with disabilities through practice leadership and expert advice on best practice service provision at the intersection of family violence, sexual assault and disability. As a service provider, we will be involved in supporting the development of a statewide approach and contributing to the development of practice guidance for the family violence and sexual assault sector.

We all too often see the barriers people with disabilities face to be heard, to tell of their experience, to be validated, or given access to the criminal justice system. Through this initiative we have an opportunity to make a lasting difference and impact systems change for the better.

Maria’s story

The impact of family violence is devastating to the women and children experiencing the violence. For women with disabilities, and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women, this impact is exacerbated by intersecting social and institutional disadvantages, which create additional barriers to service access and disclosure.

Maria* is deaf and culturally and linguistically diverse. She relies on Auslan and lip reading and has difficulty reading in English.

She had experienced coercive control, financial abuse and physical violence by her ex-partner over a number of years.

“The control and the violence got to a point where I wasn’t going to carry it myself, it wasn’t my issue, it was his and I needed to get it out of my head that I was at fault and protect myself.”

But leaving her ex-partner and seeking support wasn’t an easy option for Maria.

“We went through court and the judge found him to be at fault and we now live separate lives and I feel much safer now, but it was a difficult situation to go through.”

“At court, I was asked a lot of questions and there wasn’t an interpreter available in court to support me. Our case was delayed for several months before an interpreter was made available.”

“I relied on my ex-partner to manage our money and we were in a difficult financial position, with large amounts of money disappearing. My ex-partner had said the money would be coming back but it never did. This wasn’t the first time I have had financial trouble, with my dad and sister also managing my finances and things not adding up.”

Since seeking support from The SAFV Centre, Maria is now linked with Expression Australia and is receiving help with NDIS negotiations, along with housing support.

“The SAFV Centre has helped me with some many issues, and my Case Manager is so supportive, patient and understanding.”

“Now I have peace. I don’t have to worry. I know I was right to leave. I’m much stronger now and the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders.”

“It was hard to get support, with so many things stopping me. But for anyone going through family violence, you don’t have to put up with it. Support is available and they are patient and kind, and help link you to other support services to help you.”

*Not her real name

Building our future workforce

Earlier this year, through the Barwon Area Integrated Family Violence Committee, we were successful in becoming one of the participating organisations in Family Safety Victoria’s new Rural and Regional Family Violence Social Work Graduate program.

Our two new graduates are now working with clients, across case management and with our team based at The Orange Door in Barwon.

The program aims to provide a pathway for new and recent graduates into the family violence sector; contribute to growing the family violence workforce in rural and regional areas; provide graduates with an opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge; and improve retention of new entrants into the sector by providing a positive experience in their first job out of university. Through the program, graduates also have access to monthly facilitated Communities of Practice sessions, an extensive induction, a tailored training and development program and additional supervision and mentoring opportunities.

With an increasing number of women and children seeking support for family violence, the Rural and Regional Family Violence Social Work Graduate program will create an important pathway into continuing to build a future workforce in family violence support.

Pivoting our training service offering

As a traditional face to face training provider, the impact of COVID-19 has seen our training program pivot to an online service, with outstanding engagement and feedback.

Our training brings together the connection between theory and evidence-based practice. This supports building capacity and people to recognise and respond appropriately to people affected by sexual assault and family violence; to support the primary prevention of violence against women and family violence; strengthen workforce capability in working with people impacted by trauma, and build an understanding of vicarious trauma to vicarious resilience.

Since launching in October, our training programs have engaged more than 630 participants across our five training modules, expanding our geographical reach and diversity of participating organisations. Over the past 12 months, we have trained representatives from a broad range of organisations and businesses, including InTouch Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, Respect Victoria, Chisholm TAFE, and Transport Accident Commission.

  • “In a strange way the online training has its own intimacy, it holds my attention, is more structured, boundaries and less interruption….”
  • “The ability to access training online breaks down barriers to transportation and allows the training to be more accessible and time efficient.”
  • “Excellent presentation. Respectful engagement. Very well thought out and presented to group. Calm. Measured and spacious space. Very confidently communicated and affirming space.”

Collaboration in practice

We are proud to have led and co-ordinated the delivery of the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) Collaborative Practice training in the Barwon area, in collaboration with Bethany Community Support and Victoria Police.

Facilitators from Bethany Community Support, Victoria Police and The SAFV Centre have co-facilitated delivery of this module, a unique delivery approach in the Barwon area.

The MARAM Collaborative Practice training, funded by Family Safety Victoria, builds practitioner capabilities to engage in collaborative practice and foundational elements of the MARAM Framework, to promote collaborative practice for practitioners within the Barwon area. The training enables practitioners to contribute to risk assessment and collaborate for ongoing risk management, through respectful and sensitive engagement with victim survivors, information sharing, referral and secondary consultation.

The MARAM Collaborative Practice training has been delivered to 312 participants during 2020-2021 financial year across the Barwon area. This collaborative training module continues to be available throughout 2021-2022 to those working in family services, housing services, mental health and alcohol and other drug services in the Barwon area.

  • “Excellent, highly skilled practitioners able to bring to life the theory. Understanding the continuous improvement underway and needed to get a fully integrated service with the client at the centre.”
  • “Intersectionality was very useful in furthering my assessment skills. Brought new way of thinking about clients with complex issues.”

Educating the community

How you respond to someone who discloses family violence or sexual assault can make a big difference.

This year, we designed and delivered a new training module – Family Violence and Sexual Assault – Understanding and Responding – focused on providing the skills and confidence to effectively identify and appropriately respond to disclosures, along with building awareness and understanding of the causes and issues surrounding family violence and sexual assault.

This training was generously funded by the Barwon Area Integrated Family Violence Committee, is a free three-hour training module for everyone in the community. The content is threaded with case studies of lived experience and insights from our specialist practitioners regarding consent, understanding of what sexual assault and family violence is and what healthy, safe, and respectful relationships look like.

In 2020-2021, this new training program was delivered to 205 participants across a broad range of community members, corporates, and practitioners. We are fortunate to receive funding again in 2021-2022 from the Barwon Area Integrated Family Violence Committee to continue to offer this training module across the Barwon area.

  • “Excellent presentation. Respectful engagement. Very well thought out and presented to group. Calm. Measured and spacious space. Very confidently communicated and affirming space.”
  • “The training was excellent. The presenters were so knowledgeable. They were sensitive to the attendee’s experiences.”

Generosity shines through

Senator for Victoria, Senator Sarah Henderson and Helen Bolton at the 2021 International Women’s Day event at Clyde Park.

Despite extensive and prolonged restrictions and the personal and financial impact on individuals, organisations and businesses, the generosity of our community has been incredible in raising awareness of our organisation along with donating funds to further support our clients.

Through this generosity, over the past 12 months, we have provided additional support to more than 380 clients in our region, distributing essential financial support and practical assistance valued at more than $55,000.

We have been able to do this because of our community of supporters, donors, businesses and grant providers who have seen the impact sexual assault and family violence has on those experiencing violence, on their family and on the community.

These additional funds donated to our organisation allow us to provide further support to clients as part of their journey to recovery.

Our heartfelt thanks to our friends and supporters who have continued to provide valuable contributions and in-kind support to our organisation this year.

Artist Kelly Fry presenting her artwork to Carmel Thomas, Manager, Case Management and Housing, The SAFV Centre.
  • Arizona Living
  • Bakers Delight, Geelong West
  • Commonwealth Bank, Horsham
  • Corio Bay Lions Club
  • Dawn Wade Foundation
  • Flowers Across Melbourne
  • Geelong Bank
  • Geelong Connected Communities
  • Grill’d, Pakington Street
  • Kelly Fry
  • Le Reve, Kristine Kelly
  • Myer Geelong, Myer Community Fund
  • Ramsey Property Group
  • Restoring Hope
  • Rotary Club of Ocean Grove
  • Sally Denahy, La Monique Perfumery and Candlery
  • Sarah Henderson, MP
  • Share the Dignity
  • St Joseph’s College, Geelong
  • The Jungle Body with Megan
  • Three Little Figs

We are also fortunate to receive funding from the Victorian Government, via the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) and Family Safety Victoria to deliver our services.

Geelong Giving Tree

We were proud to join Bethany Community Support and Barwon Child Youth Family (BCYF) in the Geelong Giving Tree campaign this year. The Giving Tree was an opportunity, in the lead up to Christmas, for the Geelong community to show those in need that we are here to support them and that they are not alone. The campaign raised more than $67,000 to help those in the community celebrate Christmas.

Special thanks to our Giving Day Partners – The Anthony Costa Foundation, APCO Foundation, Bisinella Developments, Geelong Connected Communities, Harvey Norman Geelong – Corio and BayFM 93.9 as well as our partners Bethany Community Support and Kindergarten Services and BCYF.

“It is through tears of gratitude I am writing to say, thank you so much for this incredible gift. I am truly blessed to have the support of such a wonderful team on such a challenging journey and wow, what a surprise to be the recipient of such generosity – thank you!!

From my family and I, thank you for your kindness and the ongoing work to support people living with, and healing from, family violence and sexual assault, including us!”

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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