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Our goal is that we are visible and seen positively by partners, funders and investors and our relationships with them improve outcomes for individuals and communities, and influence systems change.

Ongoing support at outpost locations

We understand the importance of providing holistic support to people impacted by sexual assault and women, children and young people impacted by family violence and the strength in providing support to those people at services that they are already familiar with.

We are proud to continue our partnerships with our 14 outpost locations, with dedicated staff providing specialist support at these locations, making our services more accessible to people at these locations.

They are beyond amazing in how they can provide support and know exactly what my situation is doing to me and my children.” Case management client

Collaborative practice in the MDC

We are a proud partner in the Barwon Multidisciplinary Centre (MDC) and our collaboration with these teams has continued to strengthen as we work from home, away from the MDC due to restrictions. This year, we have been invited to participate in the evaluation of integration of family violence responses into MDCs. This evaluation is focused on the effectiveness of implementation, the alignment with other relevant reforms, and barriers, learnings and opportunities for improvement and whether the model is achieving the intended results for victim-survivors of family violence and for partner agencies.

Building connection between theory and evidence-based practice

Our training sessions designed and delivered in 2019-20 focused on assisting people to recognise and respond to disclosures of family violence; strengthen workforce capability in working with people impacted by trauma, build an understanding of vicarious trauma to vicarious resilience; and support the primary prevention of violence against women and family violence.

Drawing on the specialist knowledge and experience of our organisation, working across the continuum of primary prevention through to response of sexual assault and family violence, we have developed a number of new training modules this year, including:

This year, we delivered:

  • 27 training sessions to 321 participants
  • Our training sessions included – Identifying Family Violence; Trauma: The Body and The Brain; Trauma: The Body and The Brain Module Two; Vicarious Trauma to Vicarious Resilience; and Wellbeing and Sustainability for Primary Prevention of Violence Against Women Practitioners

Prior to restrictions, we were well positioned to meet and exceed the number of training sessions and registered participants against our 2018-19 data of 45 training sessions to 692 participants, highlighting the interest and demand for our professional training services.

In the Barwon area, we were successful in our bid to deliver the MARAM Collaborative Practice training module, in partnership with Bethany Community Support and Victoria Police, and design and deliver the Family Violence and Sexual Assault – Understanding and Responding training module. Due to restrictions, these training modules were postponed as we developed an online training portal. The training modules will be delivered in 2020-21 via an online format.

“A really useful training with very clear links back to practice, thank you for putting so much time into making these ‘big topics’ and rich content very accessible and reliable” – Participant, Trauma: The Body and The Brain Module One

“Useful to reflect on the challenges in this type of work. Content was well paced and opportunity for participation was useful. The concept will be transferable to my workplace setting. Thank you” – ParticipantWellbeing and Sustainability for Primary Prevention Practitioners

The power of community support

We are fortunate to receive funding from the Victorian Government, via DHHS and Family Safety Victoria to deliver our services. However, the support from our community, in raising awareness of our organisation along with additional funds, allows us to provide further support to clients as part of their recovery.

Throughout the year, we received a number of donations, raised through community group initiatives, events, presentations, ticket sales and individual donations. During a year of social isolation and uncertainty, these donations have helped us provide additional support to clients as part of their recovery that we otherwise may not have been able to offer.

We sincerely thank the many people who have supported our fundraising efforts and made donations to our organisation. Our Donor Thank You Board highlights those that have, and continue, to support our organisation and we thank them for their generosity.

We continue to promote our organisation and services to the community and we were fortunate this year to be invited to speak at a number of events, including Ocean Grove Rotary, at the Hannah Clarke Vigil in Torquay and the Leading the Change Wimmera CORE event. Our organisation was also highlighted at International Women’s Day events hosted by Sarah Henderson MP and Ramsey Property Group, with partners Geelong Advertiser, GMHBA, Community for Geelong, Roxie Bennett and BayFM 93.9, and the Geelong Gender Equality Forum hosted by Christine Couzens MP.

Support provided through media, including the Geelong Advertiser, Geelong Independent, BayFM 93.9, Krock and Pulse, along with The Wimmera Mail Times, the Weekly Advertiser and Ace radio Wimmera, has provided a strong awareness within the community of sexual assault and family violence, and the services and support we offer.

Olivia* had suffered from poor eyesight for a few years and was unable to afford prescription glasses. This became very triggering for her because her ex-partner’s face and body frame were similar to other men and, in public, she would often mistake other people as being her ex-partner. This heightened her post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

When Olivia started counselling sessions at The SAFV Centre, she talked about the anxiety she suffered because of not being able to see properly. Olivia’s Counsellor Advocate suggested that prescription glasses may assist in reducing Olivia’s anxiety. These glasses were able to be purchased by using donations received from the Dawn Wade Foundation.

Olivia is now able to see more clearly and having glasses has supported Olivia in managing her anxiety, which has decreased dramatically. This has been made possible through the generous funding provided by our supporters and donors.

Enhanced Pathways

In 2019-20, our Enhanced Pathways to Family Violence Work Project (EPFVWP) supported 10 student placements across four disciplines (social work; professional psychology; public health and health promotions; and community services), and developed strong relationships with Deakin and Monash Universities and The Gordon TAFE.

From the placements, we proudly welcomed three students as employees following the completion of their student placement. Our staff highlighted the opportunity this project provided in their capability to lead and supervise the students as part of their own professional development.

“I was fortunate to complete a three-month placement at The SAFV Centre in 2019 in the Case Management Team as part of my Masters of Social Work. The enhanced pathways program was a great opportunity to develop my skills and realise my passion for working in the sexual assault and family violence field. I had opportunities to attend training, to meet with practitioners across different roles in the Centre and to visit outreach locations, such as Colac, the Geelong Court and the Wathaurong co-op. I was also able to carry a small case load of clients and I developed a resource manual for the Case Management team. This placement gave me the experience and confidence to apply for a position at the conclusion of my placement and I have thoroughly enjoyed my role working as a Counsellor Advocate at The SAFV Centre since.” Enhanced Pathways Project participant and Counsellor Advocate

Sharing knowledge to aid international efforts

In November, we hosted a group of delegates from the Asia Pacific region who visiting Australia to further their knowledge of violence against women and children. The group was very engaged and interested in the way our organisation, as a key partner in the MDC and Orange Door models, operates for better client outcomes.

This was the fourth time we have hosted an international delegation from the Pacific region, with the group of 48 delegates representing their countries – Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Myanmar, Vietnam and Tuvalu. As part of the UN Women and Melbourne University funded two-week tour of Australia, the delegation included government representatives, service providers, community leaders, ministry of women representatives, researchers and elders.

The visit was an opportunity to highlight the suite of specialist sexual assault and family violence services we offer, the way we work with clients, and our collaborative partnerships through the MDC and Orange Door models.

We thank the UN Women and Melbourne University, along with all the delegates for allowing us to share our experience and learn more about what other services are doing internationally.

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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