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Meeting the needs of Aboriginal people

The Orange Door will support the self-determination of Aboriginal people and works closely with Aboriginal communities and services to ensure Aboriginal people receive culturally safe and appropriate services that meet their needs.

Professionals should use a strengths-based approach that values the strengths of Aboriginal individuals and the collective strengths of Aboriginal knowledge, systems and expertise – and refer to and apply the principles from Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families, the Aboriginal-led Victorian agreement for addressing family violence.

When working with Aboriginal people and communities, it is also important to recognise the impact of current and historical child removal policies including family separation, and disconnection from culture and country, including the ongoing impact of institutionalised abuse and neglect suffered by many removed children that continues to impact on Aboriginal people and families. The meaning of this, in the context of risk and impact to the person experiencing family violence, will need to be considered for risk assessment and risk management.

Professionals should reflect on their own bias and, where improvements can be made, tailor their practice approach accordingly. To address potential barriers, person-centred practice uses an intersectional lens and adopts culturally sensitive and safe practices when undertaking risk assessment and management. This includes recognising the particular presentations of family violence risk factors for people from Aboriginal communities.

The statewide concept outlined a number of key principles for the design of The Orange Door service model. The following information summarises how these principles are being put into practice.

Aboriginal self-determination within The Orange Door governance

  • Aboriginal people are part of The Orange Door governance arrangements from the beginning (Hub Leadership Groups and Local Hub Establishment Groups).
  • The relationship between Aboriginal services, communities and The Orange Door has been informed by advice from Aboriginal communities and services within each launch area.
  • Hub Leadership and Local Hub Establishment Groups recognise that many Aboriginal services already deliver many functions of The Orange Door for Aboriginal women, men, children and young people and families, and that other Aboriginal services can be supported to perform these functions over time.
  • Hub Leadership and Local Hub Establishment Groups recognise that a whole-of-family approach is the longstanding attribute of Aboriginal communities that The Orange Door is learning from.
  • There are mechanisms for Aboriginal people to provide feedback on services and to input into service design, evaluation and improvements. Aboriginal services and communities have been asked for advice to help shape these mechanisms.

Choice for Aboriginal people to seek support through The Orange Door or an Aboriginal service

  • The foundational model for The Orange Door includes the opportunity for a local Aboriginal service to employ two Aboriginal workers, including an Aboriginal practice leader, within The Orange Door network.
  • The number of Aboriginal people working within The Orange Door continues to increase as The Orange Door network expands.
  • Aboriginal workers have helped to shape the design and implementation of The Orange Door from the start and built relationships and partnerships with community organisations to support
  • culturally appropriate and safe pathways and choices, including pathways to Aboriginal legal services.
  • Agreed referral pathways and working and employment arrangements between The Orange Door and Aboriginal service(s) in each area are established at the local level to ensure that Aboriginal people can benefit from the specialisation of Aboriginal services and The Orange Door functionality regardless of whether they access The Orange Door directly or via an Aboriginal service.
  • The Orange Door and Aboriginal services are able to contact each other to share information, provide advice and coordinate responses where relevant.
  • Information materials for community members about the supports they can access have been developed in partnership with local Aboriginal communities and services, emphasising that Aboriginal people may choose to contact The Orange Door outside their catchment area to protect privacy.
  • Existing Koori Family Violence Police Protocols are maintained, including for police L17 family violence referrals. This means that some L17 referrals continue to be made directly to Aboriginal services.
  • Aboriginal services are supported to build workforce capabilities, opportunities and career pathways, including training in the MARAM Framework.

Embedding cultural safety across The Orange Door, informed by local culture and community

  • Physical premises of The Orange Door are designed to be welcoming for Aboriginal people and families, with visible recognition and acknowledgement of Aboriginal culture and Country.
  • As part of their funding agreement, all funded organisations partnering to deliver The Orange Door are expected to deliver culturally safe services to Aboriginal people as part of their service agreements and, in particular, demonstrate compliance with the Human Service Standard 4.4 that supports ‘People [to] maintain and strengthen connection to their Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture and community’.
  • The Orange Door also considers Aboriginal cultural rights when delivering services based on their obligations under Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.
  • Aboriginal self-determination and cultural safety is a requirement within The Orange Door’ interim integrated practice framework and position descriptions for all The Orange Door staff.
  • Cultural safety issues for Aboriginal workers are identified and addressed.
  • The Orange Door has frameworks, policies and procedures in place to identify Aboriginal clients and work with them in a culturally safe way, informed by an understanding of intergenerational trauma and discrimination, collective grief and loss.
  • Local Aboriginal communities or services will deliver training to The Orange Door practitioners to build their understanding and respect for the inherent strength and expertise of Aboriginal people, as well as the accumulation of trauma across the generations associated with the impact of white settlement, colonisation and the dispossession of land, culture and children.
  • Training will be embedded as an ongoing commitment to build a deeper and more nuanced understanding of cultural perspectives, holistic and healing approaches, and the strengths and opportunities within the local Aboriginal community.
  • Aboriginal services and workers provide expert practice advice in delivering culturally safe and appropriate triage, assessment and support responses.

Reviewed 19 January 2020

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