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Support and Safety Hubs

The Support and Safety Hub Statewide Concept outlines the role the hubs will have in our long-term plan to end family violence in Victoria.

The establishment of the Support and Safety Hubs was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

As well as giving families the help they need to stay safe, they will also serve as a centralised point for coordination with police, courts, health practitioners and other services.

The Hubs will offer women, children and young people a new way to access coordinated support from justice, health and social services.

Concept paper

The concept has been developed in collaboration with victim survivors, industry experts and members of the wider community, with Aboriginal self-determination being a guiding principle in the design process.

Support and Safety Hub Statewide Concept.pdf Support and Safety Hub Statewide ConceptPDF (2.2 MB)

The initial roll-out of the hubs will commence later this year across five launch sites in Barwon, Bayside Peninsula, Inner Gippsland, Mallee and North-East Melbourne areas.

The Government’s investment will provide an immediate boost to the service system, building to full statewide coverage of hubs by 2021.

The newly established Family Safety Victoria will lead the establishment of the hubs and integrate them into the existing family support network.

What will hubs do

Our vision for the hubs network is that they are safe, inclusive and welcoming for all Victorians.

The hubs will:

  • simplify access to services
  • significantly improve their responsiveness to the needs of women and children who experience family violence, as well as other families who need support
  • offer immediate support and will function as a focal point for information sharing across courts, police and the broader family services sector.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the Hubs for?

The hubs are designed to provide assistance to women, children, young people and families.

By being connected to the broader social services and tailored to meet the various needs of diverse communities, the Hubs will make it simpler for families to get specialist support, whatever their situation or background.  

Will the hubs only help people experiencing or at risk of experiencing domestic violence?

No. The Hubs will also be able to determine appropriate assistance for vulnerable families who need assistance with the care, wellbeing and development of children and young people. When needed, Hubs will also link people to support in other areas, such as mental health, drug and alcohol problems, housing and homelessness and legal issues.

How will the hubs be different?

The Hubs will make it simpler for people to get support. They will also make it much easier to get support earlier, meaning women and families at risk of experiencing family violence will have the opportunity to receive help before their situation escalates.

The Hubs will also be staffed and resourced so that they can take a holistic and whole-of-family view of risk and need.

The Hubs also represent a shift in our approach, and are a critical part of our whole-of-system reform. This includes initiatives to place perpetrators in view and engage them so that they take responsibility for changing their behaviour. This will begin to fix a situation where the burden of managing the risk associated with perpetrators too often falls on women.

I’m concerned about the initiatives involving perpetrators. Will they give perpetrators the same level of access as victim-survivors?

No. The safety of women and children is absolutely central to the design and operation of the Hubs, particularly the physical and face-to-face access methods. Strong safety measures in design and operation, along with careful operational planning and scheduling, will ensure the risks posed by working with perpetrators are thoroughly managed.

The hubs will work with other parts of the service system when planning interventions that hold perpetrators to account, address the risk they pose and challenge their violence and abusive behaviour.

Keeping perpetrators in view will help the justice and service system manage the risk they pose to women and children.

Telephone and online access, deliberate use of satellite access points (spokes) and the deployment of outposted or outreach workers will mean that victims and perpetrators will never need to be in a physical location at the same time.

Why aren’t the Hubs also designed for male victims?

While not all victims of family violence are women, and not all perpetrators men, most victims of family violence in Australia are women and most perpetrators are men.

Family violence services must be designed to reflect this fact. For this reason, it is necessary to offer a different service that is tailored to meet the unique needs of male victims.

What services are available to men?

Currently, male victims are able to access tailored support through Victims Support Agency. The agency can provide practical support and access to things such as case management support, accommodation and counselling.

The Royal Commission recognised the different experience men may have of family violence and of the need to harness existing specialist skills in working with male victims. It acknowledged the support provided by the VSA and recommended further support and promotion of the agency.

Does that mean men will have no access to the hubs at all?

The hubs will be the primary point of contact for women, with the VSA being the specialist point of contact for male victims. This means that police referrals (L17 forms) for male victims experiencing family violence will continue to go to the Victims Support Agency.

However, this does not mean that men have no access to the hubs whatsoever.  

Male victims may choose to self-refer to the Hubs as a visible contact point the community. They may also be referred by someone else to the Hubs (such as by a GP). The Hubs will help to get male victims to a place that can support them - primarily through the Victims Support Agency.

What is the Statewide Concept?

The Statewide Concept is the next step in the design process, after our Vision statement. It outlines our medium-term vision for the hubs and describes what the Hubs will do across the state. It outlines a model that allows for consistency across the state and flexibility at the local level.

So, no practical details then?

The Concept sets out practical details like how people will be able to access the Hubs, what the Hubs will do to assist people, and the skills we need for people working in the Hubs to deliver this.

Practical details about how the hubs will put this into action - such as the practice framework, operational specification and planning, detailing the relationship with the broader service sector and local implementation – will be developed in the next stage of the design process.

Who is involved in the design process?

Family Safety Victoria has been established to lead the detailed design work and implementation of key family violence initiatives, including the Support and Safety Hubs. 

The Victorian Government is committed to a co-design process. This means we receive input from victim survivors, service users, workers across the service system and members of the community.

What’s the next step?

The next phase of work will involve setting out the more detailed operating procedures for the Hubs and setting up the physical Hubs in five launch areas around the state.

This work will involve more detailed work with stakeholders within the family violence sector, family services sectors, men’s services and Victorian community members who have experience of family violence or of requiring assistance with the care of children.

How are the hubs being funded?

Out of the $1.9 billion allocated in the 2017–18 Budget to ending family violence, $448.1 million over four years will go towards establishing the Hub network.

When will the first hubs become operational?

The first Hubs will be established later this year at five locations Barwon, Bayside Peninsula, Inner Gippsland, Mallee and North-East Melbourne areas.

Where will the Hubs be established next?

Locations for the next Hubs round of Hubs have yet to be decided.

When will the hubs network be completed?

We aim to achieve full statewide coverage of Hubs by 2021.

How has the co-design process worked? How do you ensure the voices of all Victorians will be heard?

Our co-design process has included consultation with victim-survivors, a series of regional forums, workshops attended by experts and leaders across the social, community and justice systems, and consultation with working groups representing different parts of Victoria’s diverse community, including Aboriginal and LGBTI working groups

How will you ensure the hubs are culturally safe and respectful?

The Hubs will be designed through partnerships across ACCOs and the Aboriginal Community. Aboriginal self-determination will be a guiding principle throughout the design and implementation process.

We will ensure that Aboriginal people will be able to easily access culturally safe support through the hub system.

What does the establishment of the Hubs mean for workers in existing services?

The establishment of the hubs means a change in the system to better meet community needs.

The hubs will involve bringing together different workforces and practices. We recognise that this is a significant undertaking, and we are committed to supporting workers with this important change.

This change is not about anyone losing jobs. We need all the workers currently in services – and more.

A broader workforce development strategy will be established through the creation of an Industry Plan.

The funding for the Hubs announced in the Budget is new funding in the system; it means better resource intake and assessment for family violence services, family services, and men’s services.

The establishment of the Hubs is an exciting time for community workers. The new capacity of the Hubs will help workers get access to better information and more easily identify wrap-around supports. This will help workers do what we know they care about most - assisting their clients.

I’m already receiving support from family violence/family services?  Will this stop or will I have to reapply through a Support and Safety Hub to keep accessing this support?

No. Transitional arrangements will be put in place to ensure that people already accessing a service will continue to receive support as needed with continuity of case management where appropriate.  People who have already received support will still be welcome to access Support and Safety Hubs in the future if they wish to do so.

Will there be police stationed at the support and safety hubs?

Hubs will have a close working relationship with all local services, including the police, so that victim survivors and families are supported and perpetrators remain in view and accountable.  The detailed design and operational requirements of the hubs will be determined through the next stage of co-design and consultation.