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Who is accessing The Orange Door for assistance?

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

The Orange Door recognises that people can face additional barriers to getting the help they need, due to systemic or structural discrimination or disadvantage built into systems. The Orange Door network will ensure that everyone who needs support is able to access the right support at the right time, in alignment to theEverybody 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 Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement page

The Orange Door Inclusion Action Plan is a 2-year plan to embed inclusion, access, and equity in The Orange Door services and policies. Developed in 2019-20 with partner agencies, and due for release in early 2021, 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, their experiences and their access to services, in different ways.

The Inclusion Action Plan will outline a series of actions aimed at achieving inclusion through the physical environment, leadership, communication, training, and connection with local communities.

How many people has The Orange Door network sought to support?

Individuals and families access The Orange Door network for a range of reasons related to family violence and child wellbeing. Of all the referrals received in 2019-20 (51,240), over half (25,731) included at least one child.

The total number of referrals to The Orange Door network was 24.1% higher in 2019-20 than in 2018-19 and the number of referrals involving children was higher by 18.5%. The proportion of referrals involving children was relatively steady (50.2% in 2019-20 compared to 52.6% in 2018-19).

A referral can be for more than one person, hence the number of people who were provided a response from The Orange Door network is higher than the number of referrals received. In its second full year of operation, 59,592 people, including 23,055 children, were provided a response from The Orange Door network. Responses ranged from support with 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 network of services as many times as they need.

Like initial contact to The Orange Door, responses may be provided via face to face (in person or online), phone or email or a combination of these, depending on the person’s preferences and what is safe to do in the individual circumstances.

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

On average, 77.0% of people who received a response from The Orange Door only sought or were referred for assistance once. This was slightly lower than 2018-19 (80.1%). People who sought or were referred for assistance twice made up 15.9%, with 7.1% of people needing assistance more than twice (Figure 5).

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

Adult: 1 time (78.4%), 2 times (15%), 3 times (4.2%), 4 times (2.4%). Child: 1 time (82.8%), 2 times (13.2%), 3 times (3.1%), 4 times (1%)

The Orange Door network is welcoming to people of any age, gender, ability, sex, sexuality, ethnicity, culture, or religion.

During 2019-20, 49.9% of all adults who were provided a response from The Orange Door were recorded as identifying as female and 35.2% as male. Slightly fewer children were recorded as identifying as females (36.6%) compared to males (39.1%) (Figure 6). The proportions of adults and children who identify as male and female are similar to the previous year. No adults were recorded as gender diverse in 2019-20.

For a proportion of adults and children their sex and gender was not recorded.  This will continue to be an area for improvement in data collection.

Figure 6. Sex and gender identity for adults and children provided a response by The Orange Door

Figure 6. Sex and gender identity for adults and children who were provided a response by The Orange Door: Child self-described (0%), Child unknown (2%), Uknown (1%), Child not recorded (22%), Adult not recorded (14%), Child male (39%), Adult male (35%), Child female (37%), Adult female (50%)

Working with people from diverse communities

People from diverse communities are offered safe service responses through The Orange Door network where their cultural and religious and other preferences and specific needs are respected, including the option to work with a male or female worker if required. For people with language support needs, interpreters are available, and people 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 yet sufficiently robust for reporting purposes; this remains a key focus area for development and will be monitored as part of the 2-year Inclusion Action Plan due for release in 2021. The Inclusion Action Plan will outline a series of baseline actions aimed at achieving inclusion through the physical environment, leadership, communication, training, and connection.

Adhira and Rajani’s story: responding to cultural diversity

The Orange Door welcomes people of any age, gender, sex, sexuality, ethnicity, culture, religion, and ability. Practitioners tailor their approaches to ensure that everyone can access the service and receives a tailored response. 

Police had attended a verbal argument between Adhira* and her daughter in law, Rajani* and a family violence report was sent to The Orange Door. On receiving the report, the practitioner identified that a Tamil interpreter would be needed to ensure that there was clear communication.

Adhira advised the practitioner that it was important to her to have Rajani in the conversation. Through the use of interpreters, practitioners held safe separate conversations to ascertain the nature of the argument and that this did not form a pattern of abuse or coercion, while having regard to the needs and safety of both women.

Adhira and Rajani both separately advised the practitioner that they felt safe and comfortable to engage with the service, and to have a joint meeting to help improve their relationship. 

In these follow-up conversations, the practitioner discovered that Rajani has a child with autism, and her husband has a disability. Coupled with the impact of the initial COVID-19 restrictions on both her and Adhira, both felt that this may have contributed to the escalation of their verbal dispute.

The Orange Door provided a safe way for both Adhira and Rajani to speak about their frustrations and a safety and support plan was completed with both to help them manage how they would engage with each other in the future. They were offered individualised supports, such as counselling, disability, and family services, and were also able to think through what would work best for them as a family. Rajani was open to accessing support through her GP, and Adhira identified that the current disability services were very supportive. 

*Not their real names

 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 services. Aboriginal communities and organisations are connected to The Orange Door via their involvement in the Aboriginal Advisory Groups who provide advice and input into delivering culturally safe responses.

By the close of 2019-20, 4.4% (12.8 FTE) of the positions funded for The Orange Door were Aboriginal Practice Leader and Practitioner positions. Additional funding was provided in 2019-20 to Aboriginal services to be able to employ additional practitioners to work at The Orange Door. FSV is working with Aboriginal organisations and communities to develop additional cultural safety training to be tailored to the workforce of The Orange Door.

Lizzie’s story: Aboriginal practitioners creating cultural safety

People who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander can choose to be supported by an Aboriginal worker at The Orange Door or be referred to an Aboriginal service. Lizzie*, an Aboriginal woman, was referred to The Orange Door by police following 2 incidents that occurred within 2 days.

The Aboriginal practitioner at The Orange Door contacted Lizzie and arranged to meet her in person, at the place where Lizzie felt safest. Lizzie was relieved to be able to meet with someone in person, as she had found accessing services by phone during the COVID-19 pandemic had made it difficult for her to develop trust with the practitioner.

In the initial meeting, the practitioner was able to undertake a family violence risk assessment which identified that Lizzie continued to be at risk. To manage this, the practitioner developed a safety plan, which included accessing alternative accommodation supported by use of brokerage funding to ensure she had sufficient food, clothes, and a mobile phone to use. The practitioners also worked collaboratively with a range of services, through the area’s Risk Assessment and Management Panel which enabled agencies, including police and corrections, to be able to keep the perpetrators in view to manage the risk they posed to Lizzie.

Through her contact with the Aboriginal practitioner at The Orange Door, Lizzie was also able to be connected to supports for her own mental health. 

Lizzie told the practitioner that she feels safe in her new accommodation and continues to work with the mental health services. This has helped her to re-connect with estranged family members, and Lizzie is now supported to have contact with her three children who are in kinship care.

*Not her real name

The population of Aboriginal people in the 5 areas where The Orange Door was operating in 2019-20 ranges from 0.6% (North Eastern Melbourne area) to 3.3% (Mallee). In 2019-20, a total of 3,976 people who were provided a response from The Orange Door were recorded as identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, and of these, 53.1% were adults and 46.9% were children.

The proportion of people provided with a response from The Orange Door network who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in 2019-20 was similar to 2018-19 (6.7%, compared to 7% in the previous year).

Mallee recorded supporting the highest number of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (35% of people who were provided a response from The Orange Door and were recorded as identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander).

To expand accessibility for Aboriginal people, Aboriginal Access Points will be established in Mallee, Bayside Peninsula and Barwon to provide an additional option for Aboriginal people to access services and support. These are currently being designed to provide service choice and are a community-led service model that is self-determined by Victorian Aboriginal peoples.

Additionally, an Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan for The Orange Door is being developed in consultation with the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum and Aboriginal Advisory Groups. It will be aligned to the Dhelk Dja Agreement: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples and Strong Families, the Aboriginal 10-year Family Violence Agreement 2018-2028.

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 state-wide, 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 Dhelk Dja – a partnership with Aboriginal communities to address family violence page.

Reviewed 12 July 2021

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