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The Orange Door network is the first of its kind. It brings together intake for specialist family violence, child and family, Aboriginal and perpetrator services. It aims to provide accessible and safe services for people experiencing family violence and for children, young people, and families in need of support.
It is delivered in partnership between community service organisations including Aboriginal services, and the Victorian Government.
The Orange Door network is an important shift in the way Victoria works with family violence victim survivors, and for families who need support with the care and wellbeing of children and young people.
It aims to be accessible, safe and welcoming. It provides tailored support for:
- adults, children and young people who are experiencing family violence
- families who need support with the care and wellbeing of children and young people
- perpetrators of family violence.
It brings services together as a partnership alongside government, which means individuals and families do not have to go to multiple services. They do not need to retell their story multiple times to have their needs met.
The Rolling Action Plan focuses on:
- continuing the roll out of The Orange Door network across the state
- strengthening Aboriginal responses
- planning the transition to the full service model
- improved data monitoring and reporting
- continuous improvement and evaluation.
What has happened
Since it commenced in May 2018, The Orange Door has supported over 200,000 people, including 80,000 children. This has provided people with access to immediate and longer-term supports. These range from crisis support to case management and counselling.
The Orange Door network has continued to roll out across the state. As of 2021, it is operating in 13 of the 17 Department of Families, Fairness and Housing areas across Victoria.
Even with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, service commenced in two areas in 2020 and a further six areas in 2021.
The Orange Door network is operational in Bayside Peninsula, Southern Melbourne, Inner Gippsland, Outer Gippsland, Ovens Murray, Goulburn, Inner Eastern Melbourne, North Eastern Melbourne, Loddon, Mallee, Barwon, Central Highlands and Wimmera South West (South West).
The Orange Door network sites by open date
|Date opened||Orange Door location|
Access to The Orange Door network is facilitated through networks in each area. These include the establishment of a primary site, access points, outposted services where The Orange Door workers are collocated with other services, and outreach.
Telephone and email options for referrals and to access supports complete the network.
Across the state, there are 12 operational access points1 and four operational outposts.2 In each area, access points and outposts complement the primary premises. This ensures people and communities have geographic access and choices to access services in ways that suit them.
The Orange Door network considers each local context and engages with the right stakeholders for the area.
The following highlights show some of our work to ensure that The Orange Door network embeds Aboriginal self-determination. The highlights also demonstrate how we are continuously improving the operation of sites and the capability of staff.
The Orange Door network has committed to embedding Aboriginal self-determination in its implementation.
To deliver on this commitment, we are undertaking the following:
- Aboriginal Access Points are being developed as a complementary service model to work alongside The Orange Door. These will provide a culturally safe referral pathway for Aboriginal people impacted by family violence.
- Staff and practice leaders from partner Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations provide experience and expertise to support ongoing plans to embed cultural safety and inclusion. They also ensure principles of self-determination are upheld when working with Aboriginal clients.
- The Aboriginal organisations that employ staff and practice leaders are part of The Orange Door network area-based governance structure. They have representatives on the Hub Leadership Group and Operational Leadership Group. Aboriginal Advisory Groups are also established as part of the area-based governance. These are currently in place in 12 areas, with the intention of establishing them in all remaining areas.
- The Strengthening Cultural Safety in The Orange Door project is under way with local Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in each Orange Door network partnership. This project encourages employment of Cultural Safety Project Leaders to facilitate cultural safety self-assessments and action planning. This includes the roll out of foundational training across The Orange Door staff.
- There is dedicated brokerage funding administered by an Aboriginal organisation for Aboriginal clients.
- Work has commenced to include key requirements from the Aboriginal inclusion action plan into the annual program that each Orange Door site will complete in 2022. This annual program will be informed by Aboriginal Advisory Groups and led by the Hub Leadership Group. It will give a strong local plan for ensuring cultural safety and inclusion.
We have also enhanced service connections, responses, and accessibility for individuals of any age, gender, ability, sex, sexuality, culture or religion. This includes through the release and implementation of the Inclusion action plan for The Orange Door in 2021.
We have embedded a continuous improvement approach to ensure staff, systems and service responses support good outcomes for clients. During 2020 and 2021 this included:
- ensuring the client voice continues to be prioritised, and that service responses support the specific needs of both adults and children
- developed and begun delivery of interim specialist training as part of a new site induction program that provides greater alignment to integrated practice
- developed a pilot approach to the connection and coordination of legal services within The Orange Door network, engaging key stakeholders and drawing on previous work to understand the client experience
- developed a performance management framework for final sector consultation, to help area-based The Orange Door governance groups understand the effectiveness of service delivery approaches, identify areas for improvement and provide information on the collective contribution, achievements, and impact of The Orange Door network as part of the partnership model
- progressed work towards developing several key pieces of work including:
- a refreshed integrated practice framework
- a framework for managing demand
- a standardised approach to child wellbeing assessments
- a quality governance guide.
- commenced the development of a data strategy with external services currently providing feedback. Once finalised, the strategy will help improve data collection, information sharing and assist in providing insights on how The Orange Door network is operating.
The Orange Door
A 23-year-old woman of Somalian descent, Hira*, was 20 weeks pregnant when she came into The Orange Door.
Hira was born in Australia, but her family sent her to Somalia to a facility that she describes as using physical punishment and control to rectify her ‘behaviour’. This was distressing for Hira, and when she returned to Melbourne, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was subject to physical abuse from her extended family.
An intervention order was in place against a family member. However, Hira had been unable to find the support she needed to establish her own home away from her extended family.
When Hira came to The Orange Door, practitioners undertook a family violence needs and risk assessment. Practitioners identified that emergency safe accommodation was a priority, as was providing funds to meet Hira’s immediate practical needs. This meant making sure she had enough to eat and did not have to return to her family’s home for clothing or belongings.
Hira agreed for The Orange Door practitioner to communicate with other support services – including housing and youth services, and prenatal services.
The Orange Door practitioner made sure these services were aware of and understood Hira’s specific safety and support needs and her history of trauma. This helped the services more effectively identify specific supports. These included transitional housing in her area of preference, and a referral to the Cradle to Kinder program that could support her as a new parent. This was particularly important for her, as she could not rely on any extended family for support.
Hira has made the most of living safely and independently. Since the birth of her child, she continues to use local community and health supports that support her child’s wellbeing and development, and also give Hira an opportunity to focus on healing from her trauma.
*Names have been changed
What is next
The statewide roll out of The Orange Door network will continue. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. Hume Moreland opened in February 2022 and implementation is progressing well towards service commencement in the remaining departmental areas of Outer Eastern Melbourne, Brimbank Melton and Western Melbourne, as well as the northern region of the Wimmera South-West Area (Wimmera).
During this implementation phase, existing services will continue to operate in areas until The Orange Door network opens. Specific activities include:
- planning for the delivery of additional access points and outposts
- three Aboriginal Access Points, which are expected to be operational by the end of 2022
- development of agreed and consistent service connections with housing and financial counselling services
- improving our reporting to show The Orange Door network is delivering better outcomes for clients
- an evaluation of The Orange Door network to provide additional insights on what is working well and what we could do better
- continued work to deliver the remaining Victorian Auditor-General’s Office recommendations including:
- finalising and commencing implementation of the Performance Management Framework
- delivering a consistent approach to assessment of children and young people across The Orange Door network
- planning for the transition to delivery of the full service model outlined in the statewide concept
- continuing training development and delivery, including refreshed induction training, and the Strengthening Cultural Safety in The Orange Door project
- finalising the demand management framework, integrated practice framework and improvements to data capture, quality and timeliness.
What this means for outcomes
The Orange Door networks support victim survivors and families to ensure they receive the assistance they need as quickly as possible. The integration of multiple services means people only have to tell their stories once. This is a deliberate design to minimise retraumatisation. It also focuses on a system that can better understand and support individuals’ needs. This ensures victim survivors are safe and able to rebuild their lives, and families get help when they need it.
The Orange Door network engages with perpetrators to address the risk they pose, challenge their violent and abusive behaviour and connect them with services to address their behaviour. Central Information Point reports and greater information sharing capability supports risk assessment. This is done through greater visibility of perpetrator / alleged perpetrator behaviour, including history of family violence. This is informed by an understanding of perpetrator risk and intervention planning that keeps perpetrators in view and helps hold them to account.
Additionally, a strengthened approach to practice leadership has been implemented across The Orange Door network in each area. This includes the establishment of new practice leader roles focused on working with perpetrators. This work complements existing roles focused on integrated practice, working with Aboriginal people and families, and victim survivors.
The design and implementation of The Orange Door network creates system change to better respond to victim survivors, create greater visibility of children and young people experiencing family violence and to prevent the escalation of family violence. The Orange Door network employs specialised training, alignment of risk assessment, information sharing, and a diverse workforce. This increases staff capability. It also ensures a consistent approach that supports staff to work towards common client goals at intake. The Orange Door network is a foundational step towards creating an integrated family violence system. This in turn supports a family violence system that is accessible and available across the community.
1Access points are branded The Orange Door network locations that have at least one permanent multidisciplinary team that delivers the full suite of The Orange Door services.
2Outposts involve a smaller staff cohort operating from a location hosted by a partner agency or community service to deliver support to The Orange Door clients.
Reviewed 14 April 2022