Safe haven for family violence victims a step closer

By Ed McLeish

The Orange Door in Shepparton is one step closer to becoming a reality — helping women, children and families in the Goulburn area to escape family violence and get the help and support they need.

Prevention of Family Violence Minister Gabrielle Williams visited Mooroopna and met with Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative, FamilyCare, Nexus Primary Health and Primary Care Connect, who will join forces with the State Government to develop the new facility.

“The partnerships and networks that underpin the Orange Door facility itself are critical to its success,” Ms Williams said.

“Often the focus is on the Orange Door entry point, but the most significant part of the model is the services that exist around it.

“We’re hoping to have some news about the location very imminently — it shouldn’t take too long for us to announce where the site will be.

“We’re hoping once that’s under way, we can have it up and operating within 12 months.”

Ms Williams said factors considered for Shepparton’s Orange Door site were the condition of the building and size, accessibility, capacity to have dual entrances, access to transport, and central location.

The recording of Shepparton’s domestic violence rates skyrocketed from the 2017-18 to 2018-19 financial year by 16.5 per cent.

Ms Williams said it was important to note when people talked about family violence rates that they were often talking only about the reporting of family violence.

“When we see more spikes in reporting, we see more people being prepared to ask for help, which is a sign of confidence in the system,” she said.

“Increasing reporting is not necessarily a bad thing — it allows us to help more people.

“It’s an issue in every corner of our state, and Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley is no exception.

“We need to ensure we’re meeting the needs of the women and children who depend on these services.”

Primary Care Connect chief executive Rebecca Lorains said when the Royal Commission into Family Violence came out 18 months ago, her organisation knew the community would get an Orange Door.

“It gives us a platform to share information, work together in a more collaborative way, hold men accountable for their violence, and truly support women and children who are victims of family violence,” she said.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for Shepparton to keep family violence in the front of our minds and (remember) that we all have a role to play in the prevention of violence against women and children.”

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed said family violence had been a “hidden issue” in our community for a “very long time”.

“Having seen what happened in Queensland last week — the needs are very great, and it’s challenging to know where the target is in terms of being able to protect people and the wrap-around services they need to avoid being in danger,” Ms Sheed said.

“We have between four to six full-time police officers engaged in the family violence sector here in Shepparton covering the region — it makes people feel like they can come forward.

“My take is there’s been a lot of challenges in finding the right location and the minister will announce the location in the near future.”

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