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CEO Report

CEO report

The last few months of the financial year were unexpected; but there is much to recognise and celebrate throughout the year.

We are now considered one of the largest stand-alone, specialist sexual assault and family violence services in Victoria, with 110 employees providing support across our community. It has been through the conscientious effort and support of all our staff, our partners, clients, funders and the Board that we are a strong and proud organisation.

We are proud of the services we offer to those who have experienced sexual assault; and women, children and young people experiencing family violence. Violence against women and children is a gendered crime and importantly our organisation brings an intersectional feminist approach to all we do.

While our method of supporting clients has changed during the pandemic, our annual data shows that we increased our delivery:

  • More than 4,200 people received support across our services during the 12 months, a 9 per cent increase to the previous year; including more than 630 people from the Wimmera district.
  • Our staff in The Orange Door in Barwon supported more than 5,600 cases.
  • More than 320 people participated in a range of training sessions designed to assist professionals to respond to sexual assault and family violence, to better understand trauma and for the primary prevention of violence against women and children.

You can read more about our impact throughout the year here.

Central to our vision, is our commitment to the prevention of family violence and sexual assault; and our work toward gender equality. This year saw the completion of the Breaking the Binary Code project by our primary prevention team, an important LGBTIQA+ partnership project aimed at celebrating gender and sexuality diversity and challenging stereotypes.

It is now two years of our participation in The Orange Door in Barwon. This service has demonstrated the benefits of a collaborative approach and the importance of having a highly visible entry point for our community. Our partnerships have been central to the success of the model; together with the expertise of our staff in working collaboratively to achieving outcomes.

Our commitment to delivering services in regional and rural Victoria remains steadfast and we are pleased to see our partnerships and collaborations across Wimmera and Colac expand by offering therapeutic groups and more people accessing support each year.

Throughout the year we also continued to build on our partnership in the Barwon Multidisciplinary Centre and strengthened our shared approach to the governance of a victim centred model.

Internally we focused on building our systems and processes to increase our capability into the future. We now have a robust infrastructure to continue to grow the organisation for many years.

We are grateful to all of our donors and supporters who continue to advocate for the work of our organisation and assist us to provide additional support for people who have experienced sexual assault or family violence. Our grateful thanks to the many individuals who have a passionate commitment to raising awareness and addressing the cause of sexual assault and family violence.

Our sincere appreciation to the many clients for trusting us with your experience and journey. To our ‘advisory participants’ with a lived experience for sharing your experience with media, advocating for clients and better service systems, and for providing a voice to others in the community – thank you.

I’d also like to thank our amazing staff. It has been an extraordinary year, but one in which you have excelled. You have embraced and succeeded throughout the challenges we have faced. Our Leadership Team and the Executive have worked tirelessly to lead the organisation, provide certainty and innovation during this time. Thank you to each and every one of you.

We are a people centred organisation first and foremost and together we remain steadfast in achieving our vision of a community free from family violence and sexual assault. As we look forward to 2021, our strategic plan will guide and shape our future direction. We are excited to further develop our new trauma centre and all that the year will bring.

I would also like to acknowledge all members of the Board. Individually and collectively your contribution to our organisation and your leadership has been invaluable. To Jenny McMahon, as Chairperson, I have very much valued your guidance and wisdom over the past four years. Our organisation is in a much stronger position due to your dedication and commitment to addressing sexual assault and family violence.


Helen Bolton, Chief Executive Officer

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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