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Meeting the needs of Victoria’s diverse communities

Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, it is unlawful to discriminate against someone based on a number of personal characteristics including race, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity in a number of areas of public life including service delivery. Services also have a ‘positive duty’ to prevent discrimination from occurring. This means planning, considering service delivery barriers for diverse communities, and taking proactive steps to remove them and ensure discrimination does not occur. Tailoring service delivery methods for diverse community members or providing adjustments for people with disabilities are examples of steps to meet the positive duty.

The Orange Door aims to offer accessible, responsive and non-discriminatory supports tailored to individual needs and experiences. This includes services that are responsive to the diverse community groups identified by the Royal Commission into Family Violence including:

  • Aboriginal communities
  • CALD communities
  • faith communities
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse and/or intersex (LGBTI) communities
  • people with a disability
  • people experiencing mental health issues
  • older people
  • women in or exiting prison or forensic institutions
  • people working in the sex industry
  • rural, regional and remote communities
  • male victims of family violence, with supported referral pathways in place for adult men

Practitioners working at The Orange Door tailor support according to need to enable people to participate fully and access services on an equal basis. This includes factors relating to religion, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, culture, language and communication requirements, socioeconomic status, disability, mental health, age, geographic location or visa status. Practitioners working at The Orange Door apply an intersectional lens which considers a person’s whole, multi-layered identity and life experience and involves reflecting on one’s own bias to respond safely and appropriately in practice.

Practitioners at The Orange Door:

  • respect and acknowledge the inherent strengths and importance of a person’s background or identities including, for example, Aboriginality, culture, faith, sex or gender identity
  • do not require proof of sex or gender identity, or information about medical history or treatment
  • seek client views on appropriate services and support appropriate referrals or secondary consultations including, for example, to culturally specific services, LGBTI services, elder abuse services and men’s or women’s support services.

A number of principles underpin The Orange Door’ commitment to welcoming and responding to diverse communities including:

  • Access and equity – Actively and systematically working to ensure that people have access and opportunity to utilise The Orange Door and feel safe doing so.
  • Inclusive and non-discriminatory service delivery – The Orange Door is underpinned by human rights and empathy to ensure that everyone is included.
  • Practitioner approach – practitioner’s attitudes, behaviours, policies and systems enable full and equal participation for everyone.
  • Responsive – practitioners are aware of and adaptive to the diverse and intersecting needs of all individuals and communities and are not rigid or tailored to a single population group.
  • Empowerment and self-determination – The Orange Door recognises the strengths and the lived experiences of clients and enable them to make decisions about how they engage with services.

The Orange Door workforce and governance structures aim to reflect the diversity of the community.

The Orange Door is building relationships and pathways with local services and networks to support clients (for example, Aboriginal services, elder services, disability supports, LGBTI networks and housing, drug/alcohol, ethno-specific organisations and migrant resource centres).

The Orange Door will be guided by Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement which sets out the Victoria Government’s long-term vision for the creation of a family violence system that is more inclusive, safe, responsive and accountable to all Victorians.


Practitioners receive training to support their practice in delivering responsive, equitable and non-discriminatory services to individuals and families including responding to diverse and intersectional needs.

Workers take an intersectional approach that:

  • views a person holistically
  • recognises the many layers that make up a person’s needs, experiences and identity
  • recognises the overlapping, intersecting forms of discrimination and stigma that they may be exposed to within our society and service system
  • recognises that a person’s identity affects the way they experience family violence, how willing they are to report it or to seek help and what kind of support they require
  • recognises the multiple, overlapping, intersecting factors that contribute to the complexity of a child or family’s needs and issues

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s Guideline: Family violence service and accommodation – complying with the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, developed in response to a recommendation from the Royal Commission into Family Violence, provides detailed guidance on inclusive and non-discriminatory service delivery and adopting an intersectional approach.1

1 Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission 2017, Guideline: Family violence service and accommodation > Complying with the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, VEOHRC, Melbourne

The Orange Door acts consistently with human rights. The Charter sets out 20 fundamental rights including the right to recognition and equality before the law, the right to protection of families and children and the right to privacy. The Charter requires public authorities to act consistently with the rights in the Charter. Public authorities include Victorian state and local government departments and agencies, and those delivering services on their behalf, to act consistently with the human rights in the Charter. The agencies within The Orange Door act as public authorities when providing the functions outlined below.

Modifications and adjustments

As service providers, the partner agencies who make up The Orange Door have legal obligations to make adjustments for people with disabilities under Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act 2010, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) and the Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010. The following supports relating to physical and communication access are examples of reasonable adjustments:

  • engagement – engaging with the person and not talking about the person to the carer or support worker; allowing for privacy, including the opportunity for people with carers or support people to disclose information without them present
  • communication access – including professional interpreters, Auslan interpreters, communication or memory aids such as picture boards, tablets or communication books
  • information access – translating information into other languages, producing information in Easy English or producing Auslan videos
  • physical access – including by providing ground floor access and attendant carers
  • support – such as contacting independent people or advocates to provide communication support between a person with a cognitive disability or mental health disability and The Orange Door practitioners