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Support and Safety Hubs

Support and Safety Hubs will help women and children experiencing family violence and families with vulnerabilities who need help with the wellbeing and development of their children.

They will help connect people directly to services and provide a coordinated response to a range of different needs, and where required a whole of family response including holding perpetrators to account.

As well as giving women, children and families the help they need to stay safe , the Hubs will have the training and tools to know more about the perpetrator. They will be able to  better assess risk and will have the  expertise to engage perpetrators to challenge and change their behaviour.

The establishment of the Support and Safety Hubs was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence and the Roadmap to Reform as part of a long term plan to end family violence in Victoria and help better support and protect vulnerable children.

Family Safety Victoria will establish the Hubs in partnership with government and community service organisations.

The initial roll-out of physical location of the Hubs will be across five launch sites in Barwon, Bayside Peninsula, Inner Gippsland, Mallee and North-East Melbourne areas.

The Hubs represent a major change in the way specialist family violence, family and children services and general services such as doctors, schools and hospitals are coordinated and connected to better respond to family violence and vulnerable children.

Over time a complete access network will be established and people will be able to access hubs how they want, when they want, in a way that is safe.

As well as the through physical locations, over time the hubs will deliver services through a network of:

  • telephone and online access options
  • primary, community-based locations
  • alternate satellite locations, or ‘spokes’, which will deliver a core set of Hub functions
  • out-posted Hub workers who are based within other services
  • outreach/mobile workers who will meet people where they feel comfortable, for example at home or in a community setting.

What will Hubs do

The Hubs network will be safe, inclusive and welcoming for all Victorians.

The Hubs will fundamentally change the way we work with women, children and families, by providing:

  • A more visible contact point so that people know where to go for support
  • Help for people to understand and identify family violence and child wellbeing issues
  • A better understanding of risk and plans to manage risk
  • Specialist expertise in working with women, children and men
  • An approach across the spectrum of prevention, early intervention and response
  • Connection and coordination – the Hubs will do some of the hard work for people to ensure they can access the right services.

Concept paper

The Support and Safety Hubs concept describes the intent, scope, key functions and roles of the Hubs and how the Hubs will contribute to Victoria’s plan to help end family violence in Victoria.

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

The concept was 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.


Frequently Asked Questions



What are the Hubs?

The Hubs will be known access points to services for women, children and young people experiencing family violence and families in need of support with the care, wellbeing and development of children and young people.

The Hubs will bring together access points for family violence services, family services and perpetrator/men’s services. They will replace existing referral points for women, children and young people who are victims family violence, and perpetrators of family violence (including police L17 referral points), and children and families in need of support (Child FIRST). 

The Hubs will provide:

  • an initial contact point, giving women, children and families access to the best information and expertise the first time they make contact with the system.
  • crisis response, including through immediate referrals to specialist services, connecting people to medical treatment and care, practical assistance, accommodation and coordination and advocacy with protective services (such as Victoria Police).
  • help to connect and coordinate access to services and supports for people – so people don’t bounce from one service to another or fall through the cracks.
  • flexible responses that are tailored to individual needs, to support the choices and goals of women, children, young people and families. This includes:
  • assessing families’ full range of needs and linking people to a wider range of other services from the outset
  • planning supports and services for a broad range of needs rather than people being allocated to a pre-determined service mix

Other services may also choose to co-locate or meet with clients at the Hubs.

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 and operating the Hubs.

The first Hubs will be established in the launch areas of Barwon, Bayside Peninsula, Inner Gippsland, Mallee and North-East Melbourne, and will commence operations from early 2018. Government has committed to full roll-out of the Hubs statewide by 2021.

Why do we need the Hubs?

The Royal Commission into Family Violence and Roadmap for Reform: Strong Families, Safe Children recommended the establishment of the Hubs because:
•    people often don’t know where to go for help and feel that they’re bounced around the service system
•    children and families are not always getting the right care at the right time – services are overwhelmed and family violence is a major driver of child vulnerability
•    efforts across the service system to hold perpetrators to account and keep him in view are insufficient leaving victim survivors with the burden of managing risk
•    there is too little effort in preventing harm and intervening at the earliest possible opportunity
•    existing risk assessment processes have not always been supported by workers having the best information or tools to address the diversity of people’s experience of family violence and risks to children’s wellbeing
•    the type of response people receive is often dependent on their point of entry to the service system and the capacity of that entry point to respond effectively
•    service responses can be fragmented and uncoordinated, with people having to repeatedly tell their story.

Who are the Hubs for?

The Hubs are for:
•    women, children, young people and older people experiencing family violence, and
•    families in need of support with the care, development and wellbeing of children and young people.
The Hubs will also plan interventions for perpetrators that hold them to account, address the risk they pose and challenge their violence and abusive behaviour.
Police referrals (L17 forms) for male victims experiencing family violence will continue to go to the Victims Support Agency. This is in recognition of the different experience men may have of family violence, and of the need to harness existing specialist skills in working with male victims. The Victims Support Agency and Hubs will work together to support victims of crime.

What will change as a result of the Hubs?

The Hubs will be transformative. They will deliver a fundamental change to the way we work with women, children and families, who will be supported by: 
•    a more visible contact point so that people know where to go for support
•    advice based on access to more comprehensive information 
•    advice based on up-to-date risk assessment tools 
•    specialist expertise in working with women, children and men together 
•    an approach across the spectrum of prevention, early intervention and response
•    connection and coordination of access to supports – the Hubs will do some of the hard work for people behind the scenes.
The approach of the Hubs will support the agency of women, children and families, to ensure that the services they receive meet their needs and their goals. 

The Hubs will change the system so that perpetrators are kept in view, the risk they pose can be assessed, and they are held to account for their behaviour.

Will the Hubs replace the whole service system?

The Hubs will not replace services providing casework, support and accommodation (although some of these services may choose to co-locate or meet with clients at the Hubs).
The Hubs will not be the only way to access services and support.

Will there be accommodation for people to stay overnight at the Hubs?

No. The Hubs won’t be places for people to stay overnight. They will connect people to accommodation services.

How will the Hubs be culturally safe for and respectful of Aboriginal people?

We will work in partnership with Aboriginal communities and services to: 
•    ensure access to support services that meet the needs of Aboriginal community members
•    ensure that the Hubs are culturally safe for Aboriginal people across the state
•    ensure that Aboriginal voices are heard in the Hubs governance and practice from the beginning
•    continue to build on the policies and guidelines that have been developed with the Aboriginal community, including Victoria Police’s Koori Family Violence Police Protocols.
Local Aboriginal communities and services will be engaged closely in the design and invited to participate in the launch area Hubs. 
How Aboriginal services and Hubs work together will be guided by input from communities in each Hub launch area.

What is the Statewide Concept?

The Statewide Concept describes the intent, scope, key functions and roles of the Hubs. It summarises who the Hubs are for; how people will access the Hubs; what the Hubs will do; features of the Hub Team to deliver on core functions; coordination with key statutory agencies and institutions; and next steps in establishing the Hubs. A link to the Concept is above.
The development of the Statewide Concept was informed by:
•    the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence
•    research into Hub-like models in Australia and overseas
•    forums across Victoria in October 2016 which were attended by over 700 people
•    four expert design workshops with practitioners and leading thinkers from across the social, community and justice service systems
•    workshops with victim survivors and others with experience of the service system that Hubs will bring together
•    input from the Family Violence Steering Committee, Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council, Aboriginal Co-Design Forum, Diverse Communities Intersectionality Working Group
•    a Project Control Group including relevant departments from across the Victorian government.

How will the Hubs fit into broader reforms?

Key reforms will facilitate the work in the Hubs, including:
•    improved information sharing to ensure that risk and needs assessment will be timely and informed by the whole picture
•    comprehensive multi-disciplinary risk assessment and risk management supported by the redevelopment of, and broad cross-sector training in, the Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework
•    the Central Information Point which will bring together previously siloed information from Victoria Police, Courts, Corrections Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services
•    the Family Violence Industry Plan and Roadmap for Reform

Workforce strategy will help us continue to build the skills and capability of the workforce for now and into the future. This will also consider ways to build a more diverse workforce to reflect the communities that we serve and include actions to support workforce health and wellbeing. 

The Hubs are also part of broader system reform, including the Roadmap for Reform of the children, youth and families services systems, and justice, courts and police reform.

How will government work with the community and services on implementation of the Hubs?

The design and implementation of the Hubs will continue to develop and be informed by community needs, consultation, and practice learnings. 
Engagement with the community and services will continue at both the statewide and local level. 

Local Hub Establishment Groups are being set up in each launch area. These groups will bring together the breadth of sectors and organisations that play a role in addressing family violence and child and family vulnerability, people with lived experiences, and community members to advise on the design and implementation of the Hubs.


Will the Hubs work with men?


The Hubs will work with families who need support with the care, wellbeing and development of children and young people, including male caregivers.

The Hubs will also plan interventions for perpetrators that hold them to account, address the risk they pose and challenge their violence and abusive behaviour.

Male victims experiencing family violence will be referred to the Victims Support Agency, which currently provides a tailored access point to meet the needs of male victims. The Hubs and the Victims Support Agency will have a close working relationship to ensure a coordinated service response to family members.

Why will the Hubs engage with perpetrators – will this deter people from seeking help?

The safety of women and children is 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.

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.

The physical Hubs will not be set up to run men’s behaviour change or other programs.

The Hubs will draw on the experience of services who already work with both victims and perpetrators to ensure the design of the Hubs and the development of practice embeds safety measures. 

The Royal Commission recommended that the Hubs receive police family violence referrals for women, children and men. By acting on a consolidated referral and having close connections for justice services, the Hubs will work to keep perpetrators in view and hold them accountable for their actions.

The risk posed by perpetrators increases significantly when information is not shared, or new information isn’t included in risk assessments.

Having perpetrator information available to Hub workers will allow workers to adequately assess and manage the risk posed to victim survivors, including children, and families and enables workers to plan appropriate interventions for perpetrators.

Typically, the Hubs will receive an online referral about a perpetrator from police. The contact made in response to a police referral is likely to be initially by phone. 

Which organisations will be located in the Hubs?

To operate the Hubs, Family Safety Victoria will bring together workers from organisations that currently:
•    receive police referrals (L17s) for women who are victims of family violence
•    receive police referrals for perpetrators of family violence (known as ‘Enhanced Intake Services’)
•    provide the Child FIRST service, and
•    as appropriate, other agencies that deliver relevant services.

These workers will form the ‘Hub Team’. 

Other services may wish to co-locate or meet with clients at the Hubs. This may include specialist family violence services, family services, men’s services, housing services, homelessness services, legal services, drug and alcohol services, mental health services, or sexual assault services.

The Hubs will not replace specialist services providing casework, support and accommodation. However, these services may choose to co-locate with the Hubs, or have their workers meet with clients at the Hubs locations.

What is the role of Family Safety Victoria in the Hubs?

Family Safety Victoria will provide local leadership, facilitation and oversight, and within each Hub will: 
•    manage the facilities and infrastructure
•    support the organisations in the Hub to work together 
•    monitor performance and reporting
•    facilitate problem solving in relation to operating issues. 

Family Safety Victoria will not supervise the Hub Team.

This model draws on the expertise and experience of the organisations who currently deliver the Hub functions, supported by Family Safety Victoria. For example, Family Safety Victoria will support the organisations providing the Hub Team to form a partnership to ensure that they work together to deliver the Hub functions in an integrated way. 

Each organisation will maintain responsibility for employing and managing its staff, but will have a shared responsibility with its partners to deliver an experience for the Hub clients that is streamlined and coordinated.

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. People won’t have to go through the Hubs to access support.
Transitional arrangements will be put in place to ensure that people already accessing a service will continue to receive support as needed. The Hubs will not replace existing case management support and other service responses. 

People who have already received support will still be welcome to directly access services they have used previously, or to access Support and Safety Hubs, if they need or wish to do so.

Will police be stationed in the Support and Safety Hubs?

Police will not be part of the Hub Team, but they will have a close working relationship with the Hubs bringing their data and professional judgement to bear on the work of the Hubs.
The detailed design and operational requirements of the Hubs, including how the Hubs work with Victoria Police, will be informed by the next stage of co-design and consultation.

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.

For this reason, it is necessary to offer a different service that is tailored to meet the unique needs of male victims.

The Royal Commission recognised that the experiences and needs of male victims can be different to women and children. It recommended that the Victims Support Agency continue to provide a tailored response to male victims. 

The Victims of Crime Helpline provide advice and information seven days a week.

The Victims Assistance Program provides a case management service and uses brokerage funding to provide practical support or therapeutic interventions, such as accommodation and counselling.

Will the Hubs change in the future?

The role and operation of the Hubs will not be static or fixed at one point in time.

The implementation of the Hubs will involve a carefully supported transition over time for the Hubs to achieve their full vision and aspiration. 

Continued design and implementation work will be informed by the evidence of what works, and what hasn’t worked, in other service delivery models from across Australia and the world.

The launch areas will be evaluated to inform future work.

The design of the Hubs will also develop as the reforms to the rest of the system develop.

Government has committed to establish Hubs in all 17 DHHS areas across the state by 2021.