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Support and Resources

Support and Resources

Our goal is to provide appropriate and contemporary support and resources in a timely manner to all people who connect with our organisation.

Expanding our therapeutic group programs

To further support the healing and recovery of those impacted by the trauma of family violence, this year we were pleased to receive ongoing funding for our Therapeutic Family Violence Programs across the Barwon area. This funding supports the delivery of our suite of therapeutic group programs, including Trauma-focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (TACT); Connect; Children and Mothers in Mind (CMiM); and our new youth program – TACT-Y. These programs are complemented by our Body and Mind and Trauma-informed Yoga group support programs.

The inclusion of group programs in our service offering has had a considerable positive outcome for women and children in their recovery. This funding allows us to strengthen and build on our service offering, providing even greater support for clients across the Barwon area.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some of our group programs were postponed as we moved to create an online platform to deliver these programs. The online development has been finalised and the programs will recommence in 2020-21.

In 2019-20, we delivered

  • One TACT group in Geelong, with 24 participants
  • One Connect group in Geelong, with 16 participants
  • One CMiM group in Geelong, with 17 participants
  • 264 participants registered for our Body and Mind program

Our TACT group for Young People (TACT-Y) program supports young people who have been impacted by family violence. TACT-Y is a gender inclusive program for young people aged 13-17 running for 8 weeks. Young people will also have the option of accessing up to 8 individual counselling sessions throughout their participation in the program.

Building on the strength and evidence base of the TACT program, TACT-Y has been adapted to ensure that it is accessible and developmentally appropriate for young people. TACT-Y aims to increase participant’s knowledge of the impacts of trauma, while increasing their levels of mindfulness, self-awareness and psychological flexibility. TACT-Y is both psycho-educational and experiential in nature, and includes body-based activities, music, art, writing and movement. The first program will be delivered in 2020-21.

“The SAFV Centre was the one place/resource that made such a dramatic difference in my experience of family violence. The TACT sessions that were offered by The SAFV Centre helped me, and continue to do so, in a way that was desperately needed. Funding programs like the TACT group, can lessen the effects of family violence in our community.

In giving the strength and power back to women to rebuild their lives and the lives of their children we are skilling women with the knowledge and resources to change how communities view domestic abuse against women. I would like to thank The SAFV Centre and the facilitators for their hard work, kindness and grace in giving the gift of knowledge and insight that will undoubtedly help so many women and generations of women and men to come.” TACT program participant.

Enhancing our therapeutic responses in rural Victoria

We continue to see an increase in demand for our therapeutic family violence counselling services in Wimmera, with an 18 per cent increase in the number of clients from 2018-19. In 2019-20, we received confirmation that our funding proposal to DHHS to deliver our therapeutic Body and Mind and Trauma-informed Yoga groups in the Wimmera region was successful. This is the first time we have been in a position to offer therapeutic group programs in the Wimmera, increasing our support services to those in the district.

Staff recruitment and training to deliver these programs has been completed, with 41 participants registered for the Body and Mind program.

Expanding our services to the Colac community, we have partnered with Colac Area Health to co-deliver our Connect and TACT group programs. In 2019-20, we delivered one Connect program with 12 participants. This service offering builds on our partnership with Colac Area Health where we offer therapeutic sexual assault counselling and family violence case management.

“The sense of safety and community that was established in the group was what kept me coming each week. It was a very difficult time after recently experiencing family violence and having a predictable set time to explore those issues in a safe and friendly place with likeminded women who supported each other was literally lifesaving. I came to the group very lost and hopeless, but I left being able to understand the dynamics of family violence, systems at place in this situation, tactics for dealing with feelings and emotions and a sense that indeed I could get through and out the other side of the incredible pain.” TACT program participant.

Growing the capacity of our Intake service

As the first point of contact for our organisation, our Intake team plays a critical role in providing a professional and welcoming response to the diverse, complex and individual needs of those seeking support for sexual assault and family violence.

To further support clients, this year, we have implemented a number of improvements to our Intake operations.

We have created an integrated response within our Intake team to provide clients with a more comprehensive and seamless response. Our Intake team comprises both Counsellor Advocates and Case Managers and through training, we have built the capability and capacity of our Intake team to effectively respond to people impacted by either sexual assault or family violence, ensuring clients receive an immediate and effective response at the first point of contact.

We have modified our processes to allow intake appointments to occur at first contact with the client. This provides the client with an immediate therapeutic response, with no delay in speaking with a practitioner leading to a more positive experience for the client.

To reduce the waiting time for clients wanting to access our therapeutic counselling services, we have introduced single session work (1-3 sessions) for eligible clients. These sessions can be completed over several weeks and ensures eligible clients receive the support they need in a timely manner.

“The person that walked into your centre all that time ago would not recognise the person that stands before you now. Please accept my heartfelt thanks for all the work you’ve done for me.” Case management client

Two years of vital family violence support from The Orange Door in Barwon

This year recognised two years of operations of The Orange Door in Barwon in which we are a key partner. The Orange Door in Barwon brings together specialist services to create a safe space for women, children and young people to deliver 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.

Since opening, and throughout the past year, we have seen positive impacts for women and children impacted by family violence from the support provided through The Orange Door, including women choosing, and being supported, to remain safely in their home; safe separation from an ex-partner/s who perpetrated serious criminal assault; re-location to secure accommodation; re-engagement with supportive family members; and increased understanding and knowledge about the impact of family violence on the wellbeing, safety and development of their children.

In May 2020, a performance audit by the Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) into the implementation of the Orange Doors was tabled at Parliament, and while it highlighted the challenges experienced by the first five hubs and outlined opportunities for improvement, it also highlighted the strengths of the Barwon hub. The VAGO report noted that the Orange Door in Barwon is meeting demand, with an average of 274 new cases per week, with no backlog of clients or cases waiting to be assignedBarwon has the highest requests for Central Information Point (CIP) reports that provides information about the history and pattern of the perpetrator’s violence. This vital information renders the perpetrator’s behaviour visible and assists with assessing the risk for family members¹.

As a partner organisation, we are working collaboratively with all Orange Door Barwon partners to implement the improvements outlined in the report while continuing to provide holistic and timely specialist response for women, children and young people impacted by family violence.

With the introduction of COVID 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.

In the 2019-2020 financial year, our staff within The Orange Door Barwon, supported 5,648 cases. A case is created for each individual person identified in a referral.

¹Victorian Auditor-General’s Report – Managing Support and Safety Hubs

Holistic trauma informed centre

We are committed to a holistic approach to trauma and supporting people in their recovery from sexual assault and family violence.

Over the past 18 months, we have been refurbishing our Halstead Place building to create a space to expand on our trauma-informed service offering, with the final stages of construction now complete. While the space remains unoccupied due to COVID, our fit out of the space in preparation for office return continues.

As part of our infrastructure investment, the centre will increase the opportunity for women, children, young people and the community to benefit from our specialist knowledge. Working collaboratively with other service providers to support clients in their journey of independence and physical and emotional safety, the centre will also host our therapeutic group programs and training programs.

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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