People provided with a response

Who is accessing The Orange Door network for assistance?

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

The Orange Door network recognises that people can face additional barriers to getting the help they need due to systemic or structural discrimination. The Orange Door network will ensure that everyone who needs help is able to access the right support at the right time, 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 ten-year commitment that supports Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change to build an inclusive, non-discriminatory, 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 Government website.

The Orange Door Inclusion Action Plan is a two-year plan to embed inclusion, access, and equity in the services and policies of The Orange Door network. Developed in 2019-20 with partner agencies and released in 2021, it sets out how The Orange Door network will ensure services are accessible for all clients and offer supports tailored to individual needs and experiences. The Inclusion Action Plan outlines 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?

The Orange Door network provides a range of responses to individuals and families referred through for support, from the assessment of risk and need, development of safety plans, provision of an immediate crisis response, access to brokerage and connection to other services for ongoing support such as family violence case management and family services.

In 2020-21, 76,998 people including 30,806 children and young people (including unborn children) were referred to The Orange Door network and provided with a response[1]. Compared to 2019-20, this represented a 31.1% increase in the number of people and a 37.0% increase in the number of children and young people provided with a response. Children and young people represented 39.8% of all people provided with a response in 2020-21, slightly up from 38.0% in 2019-20. This reflects a growth in referrals to The Orange Door over this same time period.

Individuals and families can seek assistance from The Orange Door network as many times as they need. In 2020-21, 23.0% of people who received a response from The Orange Door network were referred or sought assistance two or more times during the financial year. Both adults and children and young people displayed a similar pattern in the number of times they were referred or sought support from The Orange Door network (Figure 6).

When comparing service access in 2020-21 with that in previous years (May 2018 to June 2020), 31.1% of people who received a response in 2020-21 had accessed the network in previous years.

Figure 6. Number of times people were referred or sought support from The Orange Door Network in 2020-21

CRM data

  • Download' Figure 6. Number of times people were referred or sought support from The Orange Door Network in 2020-21'

Similar to the methods used by individuals and families when making initial contact with The Orange Door network, responses from practitioners may be provided via face to face (in person or online), telephone, email or a combination of these, depending on the person’s preferences and what is safe to do in the specific circumstances. By providing a comprehensive service response to individuals, families and children and young people, The Orange Door network aims to address people’s needs and prevent them needing to tell their story more than once.

Working with people from diverse communities

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

In 2020-21, over half of all adults who were provided a response from The Orange Door network identified as female (56.6%) compared to a lower proportion who identified as male (40.9%). For children and young people, the proportion who identified as female or male were more equal. For a small percentage of people (3.9%), their gender was recorded as unknown. This reflected an improvement in recording of gender as the percentage of people where gender was recorded as unknown was larger in 2019-20 (11.4%). This is a marked improvement in data collection and will continue to be an area for improvement.

While the data about clients’ disability, country of birth, language spoken at home, sexual orientation, and gender identity is improving, it is still not sufficiently robust to provide an accurate reflection of the clients seen by The Orange Door network, or for reporting purposes. Data relating to client demographics remains an area of focus. Enhancements to the Orange Door network CRM in the next financial year will focus on increasing the quality and quantity of data collection on diverse communities with an emphasis on CALD and LGBTIQA+ communities and clients with a disability. There will be an emphasis in 2021-22 on making important fields mandatory and prompting users to review and edit this information when closing a case, as well as supporting workforce capability to ask identity questions. This will be monitored as part of the two-year Inclusion Action Plan.

The Inclusion Action Plan outlines a series of baseline actions aimed at achieving inclusion through the physical environment, leadership, communication, training, and connection. In addition to this, as part of the Inclusion Action Plan, and to support the frontline workforce in The Orange Door network, a range of capacity development initiatives are being planned and conducted across the network. These initiatives include building and embedding culturally responsive practice, supporting the workforce to engage with language and translation services and a pilot training and mentoring program to support LGBTIQA+ understanding and capacity across The Orange Door network. Following these initiatives, further work will be undertaken to replicate and scale-up effective elements of the training.

The Bandara Family: being accessible to everyone in our community

The Orange Door can be accessed by anyone in the community seeking assistance in relation to the wellbeing of children and young people or for family violence. Practitioners can tailor their approach to ensure that people of any ability, culture, age, gender, sex, sexuality, religion or ethnicity are able to fully access the service.

The Bandara family attended The Orange Door in person seeking financial assistance to buy food and other items. The mother, Dayani and father, Fernando were unable to access income support as they were seeking asylum in Australia due to religious persecution in their country of origin and were in the appeal stages of their application for a protection visa. The family were being supported by a number of agencies, including health and culturally specific organisations.

Practitioners spoke with Dayani and Fernando utilising interpreters and their four children were supervised by other Orange Door practitioners whilst this occurred. Dayani shared that there had been a recent family violence incident and Fernando was served with a limited intervention order, with conditions not to further perpetrate family violence. When they attended court, they had been told about The Orange Door.

Dayani wished to remain in the relationship and the family home and was concerned for Fernando’s wellbeing. The Orange Door practitioner completed a safety plan with Dayani, which included advising her of her options for support whilst experiencing family violence as well as strategies in the event of another incident of family violence. Dayani declined family violence support as she was more comfortable with the therapeutic support she received via her culturally specific organisation. With Dayani’s consent, The Orange Door contacted the organisation and shared Dayani’s safety plan and The Orange Door’s family violence assessment.

During the assessment with Fernando, he discussed his use of violence, lack of employment, depression and substance misuse. Fernando acknowledged his values and belief systems had shaped his choice to use violence and the family dynamics. The Orange Door practitioner referred Fernando to a Southeast Asian men’s behaviour change program which addresses cultural values and issues relating to migration that may be contributing factors in his use of violence. Fernando also agreed to engage in a drug and alcohol service. The Orange Door practitioner and Fernando contacted the service together and completed a preliminary assessment and arranged a follow up appointment in two days.

The Orange Door practitioners provided material aid to the Bandara family via brokerage funding and encouraged the family to reconnect if they required.

The Orange Door practitioners consulted with each other and shared concerns for the families’ intersectional needs, indicative through the physical presentation of the family and the overall emotional wellbeing of the family, which was significantly impacted by their history of trauma and lack of access to money. Dayani and Fernando were referred to Family Services who stated that they would undertake a home visit that week. The Family Services worker undertook to coordinate a case conference with the professionals involved after their home visit and continued to monitor and assess the family violence risk.

*Not their real names

Supporting Aboriginal self-determination

Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations are critical partners in The Orange Door network. They receive funding to employ an Aboriginal Practice Leader and Aboriginal hub practitioners to ensure that Aboriginal people receive a culturally safe response. In addition, ACCOs support the establishment of the Aboriginal Advisory Group which involves community members, the Dhelk Dja coordinators and other ACCOs to ensure a culturally safe response and strong connections with local services.

In 2019-20, additional state-wide funding was provided to ACCOs enabling them to expand their Orange Door practitioner workforce, increasing from $1.8 million in 2019-20 to $5.4 million in 2020-21 (195.7% increase). This contributed towards the employment of additional staff dedicated for the delivery of services to Aboriginal people, and was in addition to other funding associated with the commencement of the two new Orange Door areas over the period.

FSV is working with ACCOs to develop additional cultural safety training to be tailored to the workforce of The Orange Door network. The Strengthening Cultural Safety in The Orange Door network project aims to support the delivery of a Culturally Safe environment for Aboriginal people seeking a service and the Aboriginal workforce through sustainable and locally driven implementation. This project responds to the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office report on Managing Support and Safety Hubs released in May 2020, which recommended that FSV work with local ACCOs and community representatives to roll out mandatory cultural safety training to all staff that is specific to the functions and operations of The Orange Door network.

As at June 2021, the following activities had commenced:

  • FSV had engaged the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) to lead the development of a Cultural Safety training package that is tailored to the functions of The Orange Door networks
  • Work was underway to engage Cultural Safety Project Leads for each area in The Orange Door network. These roles will help build an understanding across all Orange Door staff and governance groups. They will be responsible for:
    • the delivery of Cultural Safety training that is locally tailored
    • implementing a consistent Cultural Safety assessment and action planning process that is endorsed by the local Aboriginal Advisory Groups
    • embedding a continuous quality improvement cycle through action plan reviews that reflect on a continuum of learning process at an individual and organisational level
  • Engagement had occurred with all Hub Leadership Groups to ensure their obligations and commitment to supporting continuous improvement in Cultural Safety

The Orange Door network has undertaken work to improve the capture and recording of Aboriginal status in The Orange Door Client Record Management system by making it a mandatory field to support improvements in reporting.

In 2020-21, 6,131 people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander were provided with a response from The Orange Door network, 51.6% of whom were adults and 48.4% of who were children and young people (including unborn children). This represented 8.0%t of all people who were provided with a response from The Orange Door network in 2020-21, up slightly from 7.2% in 2019-20. This percentage varied widely across The Orange Door areas in 2020-21, ranging from 24.9% in Mallee to 4.7% in Bayside Peninsula (Figure 7). By way of comparison, Aboriginal people represent approximately 4.2% of the general population in the Mallee area and 0.6% of the general population in the Bayside Peninsula area (based on figures from the 2016 census). This comparison suggests Aboriginal people are significantly over-represented among The Orange Door network’s client base, highlighting the strong need for culturally safe and appropriate responses tailored for this community.

Figure 7: Aboriginal clients as a proportion of total clients and Aboriginal population as a proportion of total population, 2020-21

CRM data and ABS estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians June 2016

  • Download' Figure 7: Aboriginal clients as a proportion of total clients and Aboriginal population as a proportion of total population, 2020-21'

To expand accessibility for Aboriginal people, Aboriginal Access Points will be established in Mallee, Bayside Peninsula and Barwon by December 2022 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 network has been developed in consultation with the Dhelk Dja Koori Caucus, Priority Sub-Working Groups and Aboriginal Advisory Groups. The Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan was finalised and endorsed by the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum in August 2021. The Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan is 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 and underpinned by the principles in the Ngarneit Birrang Holistic Healing Framework.

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 that services are built upon the foundation of Aboriginal self-determination. The Dhelk Dja Three Year Action Plan articulates the critical actions and supporting activities required to progress the Dhelk Dja Agreement’s five strategic priorities. Each of these priorities recognise the need to invest in Aboriginal culture, leadership and decision making as the key to ending family violence in Victorian Aboriginal communities.

Jane and Mick: ensuring The Orange Door response is culturally safe

The Orange Door Aboriginal team works with members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait community to ensure that it provides an integrated response that is culturally safe and is underpinned by the principle of self-determination.

Jane is an Aboriginal woman, living with Mick, a non-Aboriginal male. Both Jane and Mick have had mental health and alcohol abuse co-presentations and Mick has previously been incarcerated for non-family violence related violence offences.

The Orange Door had four police L17 referrals between January and April for Mick and Jane, with Mick’s violence escalating with each one. Their situation was considered high risk as the relationship was only four months in duration and with each incident the violence and risk indicators increased.

The Aboriginal Practice Leader and Aboriginal Practitioner had attempted to engage with Jane via phone, however Jane declined supports each time she was contacted.

The Orange Door practitioner attempted contact with Mick, however he didn't respond to phone calls. The Orange Door completed a Central Information Point (CIP) report to understand Mick’s pattern and history of family violence – this was shared with the Aboriginal Practice Leader. The Orange Door practitioner for Mick undertook information sharing with Corrections, who were working with Mick. At the time that Mick’s next meeting with Corrections was scheduled, the Aboriginal Practitioner contacted Jane – this time Jane asked for assistance, disclosing that Mick was closely monitoring her and often took her phone from her. The Orange Door arranged for a mobile phone to be delivered to Jane’s home whilst Mick was not present, so she had a means of communicating with services including The Orange Door and police.

Two days later, a fifth police referral was received as Mick seriously injured Jane and she was transported to hospital for treatment. The hospital Aboriginal mental health liaison worker contacted The Orange Door Aboriginal Practitioner with Jane to request support.

Mick had been remanded into custody and refused bail which meant Jane felt safe enough to work with The Orange Door to complete a risk assessment and safety plan. The Orange Door brokerage was utilised to assist with security upgrades of Jane’s home.

Jane was referred to the local Risk Assessment and Management Panel (RAMP) (with her consent) due to the high-risk indicators from assessments which allowed a well-coordinated approach to maintaining Jane’s safety and keeping Mick in view.

The Aboriginal Practitioner worked at Jane’s pace, engaging with Jane to establish confidence in service support and slowly introduce Jane to the family violence program worker from a local ACCO. This was done to decrease the impact on Jane, who was showing a significant trauma response from the experienced violence. The Aboriginal Practice Leader was consulted throughout the engagement, to ensure that a culturally appropriate and safe response was provide to Jane.

Through application of a Flexible Support Package from the local ACCO, Jane was funded to visit family outside of the area to maintain her safety. Mick had several court appearances and was being assessed for a program which would result in his release into the community. Mick declined supports from The Orange Door and The Orange Door confirmed that, if released, Mick would be monitored via Corrections and the local police specialist Family Violence Investigation Unit.

Working with Jane at her pace, The Orange Door ensured a culturally safe response that honoured her voice and choice. Working in a coordinated and integrated way with the local ACCO, Corrections, the RAMP coordinator and Victoria Police, The Orange Door Aboriginal Practitioner and Aboriginal Practice Leader supported Jane to maintain her agency and safety.

*Not their real names


[1] In instances where families are referred to The Orange Door network, practitioners consider the needs of each individual family member separately. Accordingly, the number of individuals The Orange Door network works with is greater than the number of referrals received.