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21 July 2021
The entire July 21, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
BY DYLAN DE JONG
Leaders behind a project to establish a family-violence safety hub in Horsham have confirmed a site and opening date for June next year.
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State Government agency Family Safety Victoria confirmed it would establish a new building at a Madden Street site for support and safety hub service The Orange Door. Leaders are hopeful the hub will be built by the end of this year.
The agency has started searching for a hub manager, who will be a conduit between services and people who present to the hub.
Wimmera service providers Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Co-operative, Uniting Wimmera and Grampians Community Health will be partnering with The Orange Door to provide family-violence services from the hub.
Grampians Community Health chair Greg Little said after the appointment of a hub manager, the three organisations and Family Safety Victoria would seek to fill a range of positions.
“After the manager is employed, which we expect will happen in the next three months, there will be about five people in leadership roles from the three agencies who will work with The Orange Door,” he said.
“Then we will have to recruit practitioners who will work under the five practice leads – that’s a huge growth opportunity for the Wimmera in terms of staffing.
“We expect there will be about 25 additional jobs created because of this hub to what’s already in the sector at the moment.”
Mr Little highlighted finding a workforce for the Wimmera hub would present a major challenge.
He said at least 80 percent of the total workforce would be required for the hub to operate.
“We need highly qualified professional people with the right skills to fill those roles, and we don’t want to take short cuts in the quality of staff we recruit,” he said.
“That’s going to be a challenge, and that’s why we’re working 12 months out to get everything in place.
“All workers are going to have social work or equivalent qualification. Ideally there will be local people to fill roles, as they’re easy to recruit.”
Mr Little said a housing shortage in the Wimmera would likely add to the recruitment challenge.
“It’s no secret that when you look at the real estate market at the moment there’s not too many places for rent or to buy,” he said.
“If we’re going to attract people to our region, we’ve got to have accommodation for them, accommodation that is suitable for professionals and their families.
“That is something as a region we will need to get on top of.”
The Wimmera hub is one of 17 the government announced it would establish in Victorian Department of Health and Human Services areas by the end of 2022.
Family Safety Victoria plans to open another The Orange Door at Warrambool in September to service south-west Victoria.
The hubs are a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence and bring immediate and ongoing support services under one roof.
The network brings together workers from specialist family-violence, child and family, Aboriginal and men’s services to deliver risk assessment, safety planning and crisis assistance, as well as vital connections to services for ongoing support.
Existing frontline crisis services will offer intake and assessment services within the support and safety hub.
Mr Little said construction of the Horsham hub, which was located near Grampians Community Health’s Hamilton Street headquarters, represented a major step forward in addressing a growing family- violence issue in the region.
“This is a huge commitment from the State Government,” he said.
“It’s really highlighting there is under- reporting and over demand for these services.”
Mr Little said The Orange Door would also provide weekly outreach services to rural and remote parts of the Wimmera.
He confirmed Nhill, Stawell, Warracknabeal and St Arnaud would be among locations.
When the $448-million The Orange Door concept was announced in 2016, Wimmera South West Family Violence Partnership undertook comprehensive consultation and research to document the issues affecting family-violence service delivery, access and experience in the region.
Chair Bernadette Northeast said the partnership’s research found rural and remote communities often had a lack of access to services.
“Through that research we identified location was one of the key determinants in people’s ability to seek services and to escape from violence,” she said.
“It’s an issue for agencies trying to support victim survivors who are leaving violence, but it’s also an issue for agencies trying to help perpetrators in rehabilitation.”
She said the establishment of Horsham’s The Orange Door hub would be crucial for Wimmera people, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic while lockdowns were amplifying family-violence issues.
• For all hours family-violence help and support, people can call Safe Steps on 1800 015 188 or webchat safesteps.org.au/chat from Monday to Friday between 9am and 9pm. For more information about The Orange Door Network, people can visit orangedoor.vic.gov.au. In an emergency, call triple zero.