Who is accessing The Orange Door for assistance?

The Orange Door is inclusive, responsive and accessible for individuals of any age, gender, ability, sex, sexuality, ethnicity, culture or religion. Upon full implementation across the 17 DHHS areas, The Orange Door will be readily available to all Victorians. 

The Orange Door recognises that people can face additional barriers to getting the help they need and will ensure that everyone who needs support is able to access the right service and receive the help they need in alignment to the Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement and The Orange Door Inclusion Action Plan. 

Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement is a 10-year commitment that supports Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change to build an inclusive, safe, responsive and accountable family violence system for all Victorians. 

The statement includes a call for everybody to: 

  • act as champions for diversity 
  • challenge the current system 
  • strive for change that delivers choice for all which includes workers, service organisation leaders and those with lived experience

More information about the statement can be found on the Victorian Governments website: 

The Orange Door Inclusion Action Plan is a 3-year plan to embed inclusion, access and equity in The Orange Door services and policies. It sets out the approach by which The Orange Door will offer supports tailored to individual needs and experiences. This includes services that are responsive to diverse community groups, recognising that diverse characteristics may impact individuals in different ways. 

How many people has The Orange Door sought to support? 

Individuals and families access The Orange Door for a range of reasons related to family violence and child wellbeing. Of all the referrals received in the 2018-19 financial year (41,291), over half (21,715) included at least one child on the referral. A referral can include more than one person, hence the number of people who were provided a response from The Orange Door is higher than the number of referrals received. In its first full year of operation, 51,157 people, including 19,655 children 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 can seek assistance from The Orange Door multiple times. 

The Orange Door recognises the agency of individuals and families in choosing to engage or not engage with the range of supports provided by The Orange Door. There are also circumstances where The Orange Door is unable to contact the individual. 

Responses from The Orange Door may be provided via face to face, phone or email or a combination of these, depending on the person’s preferences and what is safe to do in the individual circumstances. 

When a family is referred for family services and we suspect family violence then I involve the family violence practitioner. This didn’t always happen before The Orange Door. - practitioner in The Orange Door 

By providing a comprehensive service response to individuals, families and children, The Orange Door aims to address people’s needs and prevent them telling their story more than once. 

Practitioners also collect detailed information about the specific issues that cause an individual or family to be referred or seek assistance, which informs the process of assessing risk and need so that the right response can be offered. This information is captured in the CRM, but was not ready to be reported for the first year of service delivery. Future reporting will include more information about the specific reasons people seek help. 

Figure 5. Number of times people were referred or sought support

Of the total adults who received a response from The Orange Door (31,502), 78.4% only sought or were referred for assistance once. A smaller percentage (21.6%) needed assistance more than once.

Of the total children who received a response from The Orange Door (19,655), 82.8% only sought or were referred for assistance once. A smaller percentage (17.3%) needed assistance more than once 

On average, 80.1% of people who received a response from The Orange Door only sought or were referred for assistance once. A smaller percentage (19.9%) needed assistance more than once (Figure 5). 

Age and gender of people who were provided a response by The Orange Door 

The Orange Door is welcoming to people of any age, culture, ability, gender, sexuality or gender identity. 

Figure 6. Gender for adults and children who were provided a response by The Orange Door

51.5% of all adults who were provided a response from The Orange Door identified as female and 35.2% identified as male. Almost equal proportions of children identified as female or male (Figure 6). 

For a proportion of adults and children the gender was not recorded. This is understood to be an historical practice issue across the service system, and this will continue to be a key area for improvement. 

Working with people from diverse communities 

People from diverse communities are offered safe service responses through The Orange Door where their cultural and religious preferences are respected, including the option to work with a female worker if required. Interpreters are available, and clients are connected to targeted services such as settlement support or migration advice to meet their specific needs. The data relating to diverse communities has been improving over time but is not ready for reporting; this is a key focus area for development. 

To support and develop workforce capability relating to working with people from diverse communities, The Orange Door workforce is required to attend induction training at the commencement of operations for each The Orange Door area. The training is focused on putting the person at the centre of The Orange Door service, and includes components on Inclusive Practice, Client Voice and Intersectionality. This training has supported building the capacity of The Orange Door workforce to respond appropriately to people from diverse communities. 

Mario’s story: responding to cultural diversity 

Following advice from Centrelink, Mario*, a 65 year old man attended The Orange Door to discuss safety and wellbeing concerns about his 62 year old sister. She did not speak English and had been isolated from extended family for many years because of her husband’s controlling behaviours. The Orange Door practitioners contacted the woman and used a telephone interpreter to improve Communication and ensure understanding from both sides. The woman attended The Orange Door supported by her brother. A bi-lingual specialist child and family practitioner and specialist men’s practitioner both met with the woman. The Orange Door practitioners developed a safety plan for the woman and referred her to a cultural and language appropriate specialist support service for case management within their family violence program. 

* Not his real name 

How is The Orange Door supporting Aboriginal self-determination? 

The Orange Door works in partnership with local Aboriginal services to support Aboriginal self-determination and ensure that culturally safe responses are available for Aboriginal people. Local Aboriginal services are funded to provide Aboriginal Practice Leader and Practitioner roles in The Orange Door. These positions build relationships and partnerships with community organisations to support culturally appropriate and safe pathways and choices, including pathways to Aboriginal legal services. An Aboriginal Advisory Group is being established in each Orange Door area, with advice from local Aboriginal community controlled organisations. The Aboriginal Advisory Group membership is determined locally and is comprised of people from the local Aboriginal community, Aboriginal organisations (both partner and non-partner Agencies to The Orange Door) and local area Aboriginal gathering places. 

At the end of the 2018-19 financial year, a total of 4% (11 full-time equivalent) of the positions funded for The Orange Door were Aboriginal Practice Leader and Practitioner positions. 

Kira’s story: Aboriginal practitioners creating cultural safety 

Aboriginal practitioners are an important source of knowledge for The Orange Door workforce. One non-Aboriginal practitioner had been trying to get in contact with Kira*, an Aboriginal client, but was having difficulty. The practitioner reached out to an Aboriginal colleague who messaged Kira using her preferred contact method and got an instant response. Kira was a mother and said she had been scared to respond but felt culturally safe discussing her situation with an Aboriginal practitioner. 

* Not her real name 

The population of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in the five areas where The Orange Door is currently operating ranges from 0.6% (North Eastern Melbourne area) to 3.3% (Mallee). In the 2018-19 financial year, a total of 3,503 people who were provided a response from The Orange Door identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (7% of all the people supported within The Orange Door); Mallee supported the highest number of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. Of those who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, 52.7% were adults and 47.3% were children. 

Further work is underway to develop dedicated Aboriginal Access points. The design and implementation of these will be underpinned by the Dhelk Dja Agreement. Dhelk Dja is the key Aboriginal-led Victorian agreement that commits the signatories to work together and be accountable for ensuring that Aboriginal people, families and communities are stronger, safer, thriving and living free from family violence. 

It articulates the long-term partnership and directions required at a statewide, regional and local level to ensure that Aboriginal people, families and communities are violence free and services are built upon the foundation of Aboriginal self-determination. More information is available on the Victorian Government website: and built upon the foundation of Aboriginal self-determination. More information is available on the Victorian Government website:

Reviewed 16 January 2020

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