What is The Orange Door and how does it work?

The Orange Door is for adults, children and young people who are at risk of experiencing or have experienced family violence, and for families who need support with the development and wellbeing needs of children. It provides an integrated intake pathway to family violence services, services for perpetrators, Aboriginal services, and children and family services. Within The Orange Door these are known as 'core services.'

The whole family is kept in view, with expert support tailored to each family member’s needs. The Orange Door also connects people to the broader range of services outside of the core services – such as mental health or housing support – thus enabling a network of safety and support. Practitioners support people to navigate the service system and address the spectrum of needs that might be identified. The Orange Door is designed to avoid the person having to ‘re-tell their story’ by providing a more collaborative and joined-up approach.

How The Orange Door is set up differently to support people

A partnership approach provides opportunities to strengthen coordinated and integrated service responses, where practitioners bring specialist expertise to multi-disciplinary teams and where agencies, services and organisations work together.

The Orange Door brings together services as a partnership to support women, children and families and hold perpetrators to account. The unique model of The Orange Door allows practitioners with different specialisations to learn from and with each other, drawing on each other’s knowledge and experience, and providing a more integrated assessment of risk.

The Orange Door brings together practitioners from specialist family violence services, child and family services, Aboriginal services and perpetrator services to form multi-disciplinary teams and provide wrap-around support.

The Orange Door also helps to tilt the focus towards tackling the source of the violence including a focus on perpetrator visibility, engagement and accountability.

The Orange Door has connections with the systems and networks of services in each area. These strong service connections help people who access The Orange Door to connect to the right services at the right time. The Orange Door also has a Service System Navigator in each area who works proactively to ensure strong partnerships with local services and agencies.

The Orange Door provides a visible entry point to the service system and is currently operating in the Bayside Peninsula, Barwon, Inner Gippsland, Mallee and North Eastern Melbourne areas. The Orange Door provides support to people across these catchment areas. There are safe and accessible physical premises in Frankston, Geelong, Morwell, Mildura and Heidelberg. These primary premises have been consciously set up to be inclusive spaces for diverse communities. In the future, The Orange Door will operate in all 17 DHHS areas across Victoria. More information is available on The Orange Door website: www.orangedoor.vic.gov.au

In addition to accessing the physical premises, anyone can access The Orange Door via phone, email or referral. In addition to the primary premises, The Orange Door will enhance the network of safety and support in each area through the establishment of Access Points over time. Access Points will be visibly branded and provide public access to The Orange Door from alternative locations, enhancing accessibility across a geographic area or for specific communities. Access points are currently operational in Colac in the Barwon Area and Swan Hill in the Mallee Area.

Who works at The Orange Door?

The Orange Door workforce reflects the intent of the service model through the establishment of multidisciplinary teams that provide an informed and coordinated service response. The composition of the workforce includes:

  • Multidisciplinary team (employed by community service organisations): This team draws on expertise of different practitioners in a multidisciplinary team with specialists in family violence, child and family services and perpetrator services.
  • Practice leadership: Specialist expertise is provided to the multidisciplinary team to support high quality and culturally safe service delivery through practice leadership roles such as: Team Leader, Advanced Family Violence Practice Leader, Integrated Practice Leader, Community Based Senior Child Protection Practitioner, Aboriginal Practice Leader and Practitioner.
  • Operational support: The Orange Door teams are supported operationally by a Manager, Operational Support, Reporting Officers, Administration, Service System Navigator and Client Support staff.

There is a commitment from The Orange Door workforce to develop capability in other specialisations and work in an integrated manner ... - PwC Evaluation, 2019

Of the 278 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions, 90.8% of positions were filled as of the 30 June 2019 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Composition of The Orange Door workforce

The total FTE (277.7) within The Orange Door as of the 30 June 2019 was made up of:

  • 25.4% Specialist Family Violence Practitioners
  • 23.2% Child and Family Practitioners
  • 13.0% Team Leaders
  • 10.2% Family Violence Perpetrator Practitioners
  • 9.0% Admin and Support Staff
  • 6.7% Community Based Child Protection Senior Practitioners and Managers
  • 4.9% Practice Leaders covering Advanced Family Violence and Integrated Practice
  • 4.0% Aboriginal Practice Leaders & Practitioners
  • 1.8% Hub Managers
  • 1.8% Service System Navigators

During the first year of implementation FSV, together with partner agencies, peak bodies and a range of stakeholders, developed the Workforce Strategy for The Orange Door and the first Annual Action Plan. The strategy focuses on supporting staff with the unique challenges that arise from The Orange Door service delivery context. This includes consideration of how best to support staff in the context of delivering services under a new and evolving service model, integrated practice in a multi-agency environment and a matrix management structure.

The five priorities of the Workforce Strategy for The Orange Door are:

  1. Supporting implementation of The Orange Door
  2. Supporting the workforce to work in the new, unique and evolving service model
  3. Developing the capabilities of the workforce to deliver evidence informed, inclusive and responsive practice
  4. Building a strong culture in The Orange Door while maintaining employing agency links
  5. Collecting and analysing workforce data to support planning and continuous development of The Orange Door.

The strategy acknowledges that The Orange Door is one part of a continuum of service provision across multiple service sectors. It is intended to complement and build on other sector wide workforce strategies and industry development plans such as the Victorian Government’s, Building from strength: 10-Year Industry Plan for Family Violence Prevention.

Supporting and strengthening the workforce that prevents and responds to family violence is critical to the success of family violence reform in Victoria. The 10-year plan sets out a long-term vision for a workforce that is supported, valued, skilled and diverse. Website: www.vic.gov.au/building-strength-10-year-industry-plan

Alice’s story: demonstrating integrated practice

The Orange Door received a phone call from a private psychologist who was working with Alice* and her four children, all under the age of seven. The referring psychologist said Alice had shared information that suggested she may have experienced family violence. The psychologist then supported Alice to visit the Orange Door premises, accompanied by her mother and one of her children. The family violence practitioner at The Orange Door completed a risk assessment with Alice who disclosed she was experiencing abuse from the father of her children, Rob. The child wellbeing practitioner completed a best interests assessment of the children, consulting with the children’s school, and identified behavioural and developmental concerns. The men’s practitioner completed a risk assessment with Rob, and connected him with emergency accommodation so that he did not need to return home, and legal aid. Alice was supported to access brokerage funding to change the locks in her home and assisted to apply for a family violence intervention order at the Magistrates court. Alice and her children were also referred to intensive case management and family violence counselling.

*Not her real name