People must be able to access The Orange Door in ways that are safe, accessible and convenient for them.

The Orange Door is accessible through an access network across each department area that includes:

  • telephone and online access options (including a website and email)
  • primary physical premises and, over time, outposted practitioners and tailored access points providing alternative locations
  • outreach or mobile practitioners who can engage with people where they feel comfortable
  • referrals from other professionals and community organisations, including police referrals (L17s)

These channels are used by a range of people including: people self-referring; concerned friends, family or community members; and professional referrers (for example, general practitioners, courts, legal practitioners and teachers).

What this looks like in The Orange Door

Access network

The guiding principle of The Orange Door access network is that there should be no ‘wrong’ place for someone to seek help and that people should be able to access an equitable service response regardless of where or how they present (at The Orange Door or a service, in person or by telephone) or when they are identified as needing support. This requires the development of an access network in each area. This network comprises multiple means and places where people are able to access the ‘functionality’ of The Orange Door (the functions are described on pages 39-70).

The network comprises 3 key parts:

1. The Orange Door access methods

These comprise the telephone, online, outreach and physical locations (described below) where The Orange Door functions are delivered by the partnering organisations (CSOs) who make up The Orange Door. The Orange Door access methods provide the functions described in this document directly to people who make contact or are referred. Referrals to The Orange Door (including L17s) are received through these access channels.

2. Core services

These comprise the organisations and agencies that provide specialist family violence services, family services and perpetrator services in the area, including those that are partnering to make up The Orange Door. The Orange Door is the entry point for core services – specialist family violence services, perpetrator services and child and family services The Orange Door is the main entry point for people seeking or who need these services and performs the intake function for them. However, there are instances where these core services provide a direct entry point to the service system:

  • where a client presents directly to a core service with an immediate need that must be assessed and managed (crisis or high risk)
  • where a client has expressed a preference to directly access a core service, rather than The Orange Door (for example, if there is a pre-existing relationship or the client is Aboriginal and wants to work with an Aboriginal service).

In these cases, people who present to these services should not be physically redirected to The Orange Door. Core services can connect people to The Orange Door through:

  • directly undertaking the screening, triage, assessment and planning with the person and family in a consistent manner with The Orange Door
  • seeking secondary consultation from practitioners at The Orange Door, including practice leaders
  • connecting the person to The Orange Door – for example, by arranging an appointment with a practitioner at The Orange Door or supporting them to contact The Orange Door by telephone or redirecting the referral.

Core services should confirm that the person or family is informed about their option to access The Orange Door, the potential opportunities and outcomes of the connection with The Orange Door (for example, accessing and use of CIP information or multidisciplinary input to improve risk assessment and management) and how their information would be shared.

3. Broader services

These comprise the range of health, justice, community and education services in the area. These services refer to The Orange Door and seek information and advice or secondary consultations from The Orange Door in relation to their clients. This supports consistent and collaborative practice under the MARAM Framework, specifically this relates to responsibilities for information sharing, secondary consultation and referral (5 & 6).

In the future

Broader services (such as housing and homelessness services) may develop shared processes with The Orange Door to be able to deliver a partial function such as undertaking screening and triage consistent with The Orange Door approach. This will require developing statewide protocols and local agreements with the area-based Hub Leadership Group.

The Orange Door access network is supported by:

  • agreements with core services – family violence, family services and perpetrator services – to set clear expectations regarding access pathways and to ensure mutual understanding of respective roles and responsibilities
  • The Orange Door partnership agreements that set clear expectations about the roles and responsibilities of the partnering services in delivering integrated approaches across a catchment area
  • data collection mechanisms that record intake and assessment undertaken by core services outside The Orange Door (to provide a view of overall demand and system capacity)


The Orange Door predominantly provides services for the population living within the local DHHS area.

If a person or family who does not live in that catchment, or someone who is transient/homeless approaches The Orange Door seeking support for family violence or child safety and wellbeing issues, The Orange Door responds to their immediate needs in relation to family violence and the safety, wellbeing and development of children. In the interests of practicality, building trust and helping people who need it, The Orange Door provides a minimum standard of service as appropriate in the circumstances. For example, if the situation is high risk and there is no other service or agency that would be responsible and/or it would be highly impractical for them to respond, The Orange Door provides a crisis response. In other circumstances, The Orange Door conducts screening, identification and triage, and then helps the person or family identify a suitable service in their local area.

If professional referrals (including L17s) are sent to The Orange Door, but it is identified that the service response should be provided in another area (for example, based on the person’s current place of residence or they are actively engaged with a service in that area), they are redirected. However, The Orange Door can accept referrals outside the catchment in limited circumstances. This may be appropriate for reasons of:

  • safety (for example, if it is safer for women and children experiencing family violence to access services from The Orange Door in that area)
  • privacy (for example, if it would better protect the client’s confidentiality or privacy to access services from The Orange Door in that area)
  • accessibility (for example, if it is easier for the client to access services at The Orange Door in that area because of transport connections)
  • perpetrator accountability (for example, if it would assist to ensure the perpetrator remains ‘in view’)

At a minimum, The Orange Door must support people and families to access another appropriate service that can assist. This means that The Orange Door links people to services in other areas and interstate.

Access methods

Access to The Orange Door includes:

  • telephone and online access options (including a website and email)
  • primary physical community-based premises
  • a limited number of alternative access points to ensure geographic access and to provide people with greater choice, including Aboriginal people
  • outreach or mobile practitioners who can engage with people where they feel comfortable

These channels are used by a range of people including:

  • people self-referring
  • concerned friends, family or community members
  • referrals from other professionals and community organisations, including police referrals (L17s) (for example, general practitioners and teachers)

Telephone access

Currently there are toll-free phone numbers for The Orange Door in each area. Calls have been re-routed to The Orange Door from existing Child FIRST numbers in areas where The Orange Door is operating for a transitional period.

The Orange Door provides advice and information to help people who contact The Orange Door either for themselves or friends and family members to identify family violence and child safety and wellbeing concerns and to support them to engage with or to take up services. People are able to make enquiries and request information from The Orange Door anonymously or on behalf of others.

In the future

When there is full statewide rollout of The Orange Door, The Orange Door will transition to a statewide toll-free phone number. Calls to this number will route to The Orange Door in the closest local area, if identifiable.

After-hours telephone access

After-hours telephone support continues to be provided by existing statewide services including safe steps, the Sexual Assault Crisis Line, Men’s Referral Service and the Victims of Crime Helpline. These services provide after-hours telephone support, safety planning and access to accommodation for victims of family violence, as well as telephone support and referrals for perpetrators of family violence. Urgent responses after hours in relation to children continue to be assessed and provided by the Child Protection Central After Hours service.

These services refer non-urgent enquiries or requests for assistance from people or professionals to The Orange Door, in areas where it is operating, for a response during operating hours. Where an immediate response is required, this is either provided directly by the after-hours service, or by activating a local agency response. In both cases, The Orange Door is informed of the response provided and the need to undertake any required follow-up during operating hours.

In the future

The Orange Door will transition to extended operating hours.

Online access

The Orange Door website provides information regarding:

  • what is The Orange Door?
  • who can access The Orange Door?
  • how to contact The Orange Door, including phone numbers, locations/addresses and a generic email address for The Orange Door in each area
  • links to other relevant services including after-hours services.

The website has information in different languages and meets accessibility standards for people with disabilities. It also has information for the range of people who might seek support through The Orange Door, including Aboriginal people, older people, LGBTI people and adolescents.

In the future

Over time, it is expected that increased use of technology will support people to access The Orange Door remotely. The Orange Door will expand its online presence and functionality, reflecting the changing ways in which some people access services. This expanded digital functionality will include:

  • video-call/conferencing facilities
  • online self-referrals and professional referrals
  • an online chat tool
  • online self-assessment of family violence risk.

FSV will continue to explore ways of expanding the digital presence of The Orange Door based on the latest research and best practice in Victoria and other jurisdictions. In particular, FSV will consider the learnings from existing and pilot programs such as the online intervention order application pilot, safety apps and chatbots.

Physical access

Primary physical community-based premises has been established for The Orange Door in each of the five areas that operates during standard business hours (Monday to Friday, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm).

The physical community-based premises are safe, welcoming places for people to access support. They have:

  • a welcoming and culturally safe public area, for adults and children
  • comfortable spaces and private rooms for client interviews
  • dedicated and secure working areas for staff
  • meeting rooms for multiagency meetings and case conferences

To ensure the safety and accessibility of all people who use The Orange Door, the premises:

  • have entrances, waiting areas and exits that are accessible for people with disabilities
  • offer accessible communication modes and information in different languages, including in its signage
  • control circulation of people in the building through public, semi-public and staff-only zones
  • duress and emergency alarms, and CCTV
  • private security monitoring

How do perpetrators of family violence access and engage with The Orange Door?

As well as supporting women, children and families, The Orange Door makes contact with and plans interventions for perpetrators. The safety of women and children is the priority for The Orange Door, and engaging perpetrators with a view to ending violence is central to that objective.

Strong safety measures in design and operation of The Orange Door, along with careful operational planning and scheduling, ensure the risks posed by working with perpetrators are thoroughly managed.

  • The Orange Door has a range of contact points including telephone, online access and outreach workers.
  • Typically, The Orange Door receives an online referral about a perpetrator from police. The contact made in response to a police referral is initially by phone.
  • The Orange Door staff are able to meet with perpetrators in other locations such as a men’s family violence service or a court.
  • The Orange Door does not deliver men’s behaviour change or other perpetrator programs from The Orange Door premises.

Design of The Orange Door has drawn on the experience of services who work with victims and perpetrators to ensure The Orange Door embeds safety measures.

The risk posed by perpetrators increases significantly when information about them is unknown or not shared, or when new information isn’t included in risk assessments. The Orange Door has access to perpetrator information shared through the CIP and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme, which enables information to be shared about perpetrators, without requiring their consent to assess and manage the risks posed to victim survivors and to plan appropriate interventions.

The Orange Door works with other parts of the service system when working with perpetrators, including justice agencies, to ensure an integrated service response and up-to-date risk assessments.

The Perpetrator Practice Guidance outlines how The Orange Door manages perpetrators of family violence and is available at: MARAM perpetrator focused assessment tools and practice guides will also be made available in 2020.

Outposted workers

A limited number of practitioners operate as outposted workers from other locations in the DHHS area beyond the primary premises, with capacity to deliver The Orange Door service including access to the CIP and use of the CRM. These outposts are identified and agreed by the Hub leadership groups.

In the future, Outposted workers may be fixed in one location, or may ‘rove’ between different services to provide support across a larger geographic area. The locations where The Orange Door practitioners are outposted is determined by local area needs.


Practitioners undertake outreach with clients and families in settings where they feel most comfortable. Outreach should be prioritised when:

  • the client’s capability to travel to The Orange Door or alternative location is limited (for example, due to geographic distance, severe financial difficulty, limited safety or capability to travel independently due to a disability or they have significant carer responsibilities)
  • travelling to The Orange Door puts the person’s safety at risk (for example, where their movements are monitored by the perpetrator or they wish to remain anonymous or not be seen using the service).
  • other attempts to engage the person or family have been unsuccessful, and the presenting concerns or risks are not able to be sufficiently assessed or managed
  • the practitioner believes that assessment would be significantly more efficient or effective if conducted in an environment where the client is comfortable (for example, to help alleviate an individual’s anxiety or fear, build rapport with the person or where observation of the person or family’s context supports the assessment process).

Before undertaking an outreach visit practitioners assess whether this has the potential to increase safety risks to the client (for example, where a perpetrator is not aware that their victim has engaged with a support service) and conduct an assessment of potential worker safety risks. This includes using standard practices to maintain safety (for example, ensuring mobile phones are charged and details of appointments are recorded and available to other team members), as well as consideration of specific contextual factors and risk mitigations that might be necessary. This could include undertaking an outreach visit with a colleague or requesting a joint visit with police.

Referrals (L17 and professionals)

  • Referrals made by police in relation to family violence incidents are transmitted to The Orange Door through the L17 portal. The Orange Door receives L17 referrals for female victims of family violence, children and all perpetrators. Police L17 referrals for adult male victims are sent to the Victims Support Agency (VSA). Where the police assess a child at risk of significant harm, referrals are sent directly to Child Protection. The L17 portal is integrated with The Orange Door CRM but practitioners also have direct access to the L17 portal to view, track and redirect referrals, update client information and share information with other services, if required*.
  • The Orange Door receives referrals from a range of other services and professionals. These referrals are made via email, telephone or in writing. Referral processes between The Orange Door and key services help identify which clients should be referred to The Orange Door, guide how the referral is made and that relevant information is effectively transferred.
  • Child Protection refers children and families to The Orange Door where it does not identify a significant risk of harm but identifies a family in need of support with the care, wellbeing and development of children and young people. Child Protection also refers to The Orange Door where, through their work, they identify people in need of either family violence or family support services; including adult victims or perpetrators.

*A new L17 Form (also known as the ‘Family Violence Report’) was launched in August 2019. The L17 is an actuarial tool meaning that certain questions are scored. The score reflects the risk of re-occurrence of a police-attended family violence incident rather than the level or ‘seriousness’ of risk under MARAM. Of the 15 MARAM risk factors that indicate an increased risk of the victim being killed or almost killed, only 4 are scored questions within the L17. While the scoring is valuable as it indicates which L17s will be reviewed by the Victoria Police Family Violence Investigation Unit (FVIU), it should not be used to form the basis of risk assessment or triage response by specialist family violence services. When L17 referrals are received, professionals should use their professional judgment to determine the presence of high risk factors and engage in risk assessment using their professional judgment under MARAM.

In the future

Tailored access points will be established to supplement the primary community-based premises and offer alternative physical locations where people can access support offered by The Orange Door. They will have a range of purposes including providing:

  • physical access to The Orange Door support for people living in remote communities, or where it is difficult to travel to the primary area-based premises of The Orange Door
  • options for Aboriginal people to access The Orange Door support through an Aboriginal service
  • alternative options for people from diverse backgrounds to access The Orange Door support through services that are specialised in meeting their needs or specific to their community

Options for tailored access points could include:

  • existing workforces in core services delivering The Orange Door functions as a part of their roles from their current service locations through applying The Orange Door practice approaches and systems (including the CRM)
  • dedicated teams delivering The Orange Door functions from an identified service location, separate from the primary physical premises

Tailored access points will be determined based on the following criteria:

  • current and projected levels of demand and population growth
  • a high need for a specific service response
  • where an existing service is in place to host the team
  • the accessibility of The Orange Door primary premises
  • where there is a potential host service in place with existing infrastructure
  • it meets a service gap linked to whole-of-government infrastructure planning projects

Tailored access points will be required to:

  • participate in an area-based Hub Leadership Group
  • become a party to The Orange Door partnership agreement
  • apply The Orange Door service model, interim integrated practice framework and other policy guidance as relevant
  • be a prescribed information-sharing entity under the family violence information-sharing regime
  • apply common risk and needs identification tools, including the MARAM Framework
  • use the CRM

In addition, work to design and establish dedicated Aboriginal Access points is being delivered as part of the Dhelk Dja Agreement.


The Orange Door practitioners aim to provide positive and successful initial contact and engagement with clients and promote the voice of the child. Practitioners work to build trust and rapport with people accessing The Orange Door quickly, in order to boost their confidence in the service. Practitioners have a clear understanding of how to safely and appropriately engage perpetrators of family violence.

Practitioners recognise and work to meet the needs of Victoria’s diverse communities including working with Aboriginal people, people with disabilities and LGBTI people, as well as people experiencing forms of family violence other than intimate partner violence – for example, elder abuse and adolescents who use violence in the home.

Practice tools, frameworks and guidelines

The physical community-based premises of The Orange Door are designed to comply with disability access requirements, occupational safety standards and cultural safety guidelines.

Interpreter services and accessible communication modes are available.