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Geelong: 03 5222 4318 Wimmera: 03 5381 1211 Sexual Assault Crisis Line (24 Hours): 1800 806 292 Safe Steps (24 Hours): 1800 015 188

Statement from The SAFV Centre

The health, wellbeing and safety of our clients and our staff is of the utmost importance to our organisation.

We express deep sadness and apologise for the impact and trauma that a former client has experienced by a former employee of our organisation.

Our organisation understands the trauma that this experience caused, and then can arise from making a report. We are grateful that our former client has had the courage to report this matter and we support their strength and advocacy in speaking out.

We find the behaviour, and the choice made of the former employee to cause harm; absolutely reprehensible. Our organisation does not tolerate any unprofessional or unethical behaviour by our staff, we have a strict Code of Conduct and our organisation was found to not have contributed nor caused the actions of this individual in the choice they made. Our organisation took swift and immediate action to stand down the employee, to investigate, and to support the former client.

We acknowledge our responsibility to ensure those accessing our services are provided with safe and high quality services at all times, in all we do.

We have a large group of staff who work to the highest standards to provide secure, safe and respectful support for all people impacted by sexual assault and women and children who are impacted by family violence. We are saddened and regret the impact that this matter will have on our broader staffing team and express our thanks for their absolute dedication to our clients, and to each other, everyday and for the incredible work they provide for hundreds of people who access our service and receive exceptional support.

We acknowledge the impact that this will likely have on people who receive support from us now, in the past and those that will come forward in the future. We strongly encourage any person who has been, or is a victim, of abuse to come forward, to seek support and safety. Victoria has a strong and professional specialist sector with staff available to support those impacted by sexual and family violence.

We are available to respond with compassion, confidentiality and respect to anyone who needs support.

We also encourage anyone needing support to call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

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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