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How accessible and visible is The Orange Door?

The Orange Door aims to be accessible, safe and welcoming to people, providing quick and simple access to support. The Orange Door brings together referral points for victims and perpetrators of family violence and children and families needing support. It plays a unique role in coordinating streamlined service provision for individuals and families within the broader service system. 

Access to The Orange Door 

How are people accessing The Orange Door for assistance? 

In the 2018-19 financial year, The Orange Door received 41,291 referrals. A referral can either be for an individual or a group such as a family. Figure 2 shows the number of referrals received for each quarter, and the different access pathways into The Orange Door. 

In many instances, families are referred into The Orange Door. Practitioners consider the needs of each individual family member separately. As such, the number of individuals The Orange Door works with is greater than the number of referrals received. A total of 51,157 people were provided a response from The Orange Door ranging from identification of key issues and safety risks to being provided with an immediate crisis response or connected to services. 

Individuals and families who need support from The Orange Door can make a ‘self-referral’, meaning that they make direct contact themselves. Alternatively, referrals of individuals and families can be made by a range of professionals or members of the community. Referrals are made to The Orange Door where someone is at risk of experiencing or has experienced family violence, or when there is concern about a child’s safety or wellbeing. Referrals can also be made for people who use violence. 

Referrals that come directly from Victoria Police when there has been an incident of family violence are provided through the online ‘L17 portal’. In 2018-19, the most common way people accessed The Orange Door was through police referral reports, making up 63.8% of all referrals. 

Figure 2. Access pathways into The Orange Door

Of the total referrals received In Q1 (8,081):

  • 67.5% came via police reports
  • 7.7% came via child protection
  • 10.1% came via self-referrals
  • 14.0% came via other professional sources
  • 0.7% came via members of the public

Of the total referrals received In Q2 (10,140):

  • 66.1% came via police reports
  • 9.3% came via child protection
  • 10.8% came via self-referrals
  • 13.2% came via other professional sources
  • 0.6% came via members of the public

Of the total referrals received In Q3 (11,716):

  • 64.4% came via police reports
  • 7.0% came via child protection
  • 14.3% came via self-referrals
  • 13.7% came via other professional sources
  • 0.6% came via members of the public

Of the total referrals received In Q4 (11,354):

  • 58.6% came via police reports
  • 8.0% came via child protection
  • 16.6% came via self-referrals
  • 16.1% came via other professional sources
  • 0.7% came via members of the public

By the end of the first full year of operations (Q4, Figure 2), 16.6% of all contacts with The Orange Door were from people directly seeking assistance (self-referrals) for themselves and their family. 

People do not need a professional referral to access The Orange Door. The percentage of referrals in which individuals and families directly accessed The Orange Door for assistance through a self-referral steadily increased across the 2018-19 financial year (Figure 2). These self-referrals include contact via phone, email or walk-in. 

How does the community presence of The Orange Door support safe and easy access? 

People can contact The Orange Door in ways that are safe, accessible and convenient for them, including through primary physical community-based premises. The physical premises have been established in locations near local communities central to community service providers and public transport. 

The number of times individuals or families accessed the community-based premises increased across the first year of service delivery (Figure 3). The Orange Door is designed to have a safe and accessible community presence, to reduce stigma and make it easier for people seeking help for family violence or help with the wellbeing of children and families.

Figure 3. Number of times individuals or families accessed the primary Orange Door premises at point of referral

Figure 3 displays the number of times individuals or families accessed the primary Orange Door premises at point of referral in Barwon, Mallee, Bayside Peninsula, Inner Gippsland and North Eastern Melbourne in 2018-19.

The graph shows a steady increase over the year.

In 2018-19, 1,523 individuals and families (13.4%) came to The Orange Door premises looking for support for themselves or someone else. In addition, people accessed the physical premises after they had made initial contact by phone or email. People also attended the premises more than once for follow up appointments. 

The design of the space has been thoughtful, making it a really welcoming and flexible space. - practitioner in The Orange Door

Connecting to the service system 

How is The Orange Door connecting people to services to meet their needs? 

One of the key functions of The Orange Door is to connect individuals and families to the service system. The process of connecting an individual or family to a service is done either by an ‘allocation’ into a core service - when a client is supported to access any family violence service, family service, men’s perpetrator service, or an Aboriginal service, or by a ‘referral’ to broader services - when a client is supported to access any other service outside of the core Hub functions (e.g. broader services include housing or mental health support) (Diagram 1). In 2018-19, The Orange Door connected people with core services 5,560 times and people with broader services 1,075 times (Figure 4). 

Figure 4. Number of times people were connected to services

The Orange Door provides a range of responses to referrals that include: allocating to core services, referring to broader services, and addressing an individual’s risks and needs within The Orange Door where it is determined that they require immediate support. The Orange Door made 6,635 allocations and referrals to core services and broader services in 2018-19. For the remaining referrals received by The Orange Door, individuals: were provided with an immediate response addressing their needs and risks; decided not to engage with the service; or could not be contacted despite multiple attempts by The Orange Door practitioners. The processes of assessing risk and providing immediate responses are described later in the report. 

People have the option for The Orange Door practitioner to contact service providers on their behalf; this is known as a ‘warm referral’. The benefit of this is that, with the person’s consent, information can be shared from The Orange Door to allow a seamless connection to services. 

The Orange Door also facilitated connections to Risk Assessment and Management Panels (RAMPs) for victim survivors of family violence who were experiencing serious threat, where a normal service response could not mitigate the risk. In 2018-19, The Orange Door connected 65 victim survivors to more intensive support through RAMPs, which made up 39% of the total number addressed by RAMPs in the five areas where The Orange Door is operational.  

The Gorman family’s story: identifying and facilitating multiple service responses and ensuring child wellbeing and safety is prioritised 

The Orange Door received a referral related to the wellbeing and care of two children from the Gorman* family. There were multiple concerns in the family including substance abuse, untreated mental health issues and homelessness. The practitioner in The Orange Door engaged and linked a parent to family services (case management and support), legal counsel and the family relationships centre. A referral was also made for a child to gain medical care and obtain a mental health care plan. Following case closure at The Orange Door, the parent gave feedback to Orange Door practitioners on the confidence that they had gained via The Orange Door and the support provided through the entire process. Feedback was also provided by staff at the child’s school about the increase in the child’s engagement. 

*Not the family’s real name 

During the first year of implementation The Orange Door focused on building its local networks with critical services, including: 

  • Child Protection and Integrated Family Services 
  • Courts and community legal services 
  • Early years services 
  • Family violence services 
  • Hospitals 
  • Housing and homelessness 
  • Maternal and child health 
  • Men’s services (including behaviour change programs) 
  • Multicultural centres against family violence 
  • RAMPs 
  • Respectful relationships services 
  • Sexual assault services 
  • Victoria Police 
  • Women’s health services 

The Service System Navigator for each Orange Door area plays an important role in establishing and maintaining these local connections, including through practice interface agreements. This work includes strengthening access and responsiveness to diverse communities. 

Nick’s story: connecting perpetrators to the right services 

A young man, Nick* was contacted by a practitioner at The Orange Door after a referral from Victoria Police. Nick had a diagnosis of ADHD, Autism and Intellectual Disability and used intimidating behaviours towards two of his family members. The Orange Door practitioner engaged Nick and talked about his intimidating behaviours and what the triggers were. With Nick’s permission, The Orange Door practitioner spoke with an agency that supports individuals applying to access NDIS. The purpose of connecting Nick to this agency was to start the process for Nick to live an independent life with support and not be solely reliant on his mother who was his primary carer. The Orange Door also referred Nick to a local counselling service to discuss day-to-day stressors and his use of violence. Nick attended four sessions on his own and then a number of sessions with his family.

 *Not his real name 

Diagram 1. How The Orange Door connects with the service system

  • The Orange Door team is an integrated team of specialists from organisations delivering family violence victim and perpetrator services, child and family services, Aboriginal services and community-based Child Protection.
  • The Orange Door team can make allocations to core services or referrals to broader services.
  • Core services include family violence services, child and family services, perpetrator services and Aboriginal services and organisations.
  • Broader services include health services, alcohol and other drugs, mental health, maternal and child health, education services, youth services, services for older people, justice services and other services.

Reviewed 16 January 2020

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