Referrals to services


The Orange Door supports people to navigate and connect with the broader range of services that may be required to meet their needs. The Orange Door makes warm referrals – that is, referrals that support the person to connect to services. Warm referrals can include phoning the service for the person, passing on information to the service with the person’s consent and, in some cases, where people need more support, helping them to navigate the service system. This approach supports consistent and collaborative practice under the MARAM Framework and practice responsibilities for information sharing, secondary consultation and referral.

The Orange Door is developing clear pathways and arrangements with key services at the statewide and local levels, such as:

  • early childhood, including maternal and child health services
  • Aboriginal services
  • courts and tribunals, including court programs such as the Court Integrated Services Program, Aboriginal programs and family violence practitioners in specialist family violence courts
  • legal services
  • financial counselling
  • homelessness and housing services
  • tenancy services
  • youth services, including services that work with young people in contact with the criminal justice system
  • health services, including mental health and drug and alcohol services, forensic services, community health, and hospitals
  • Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA)
  • Victims of Crime Helpline and the Victims Assistance Program
  • schools
  • training and employment services
  • Centrelink
  • Consumer Affairs Victoria
  • services for older people
  • multicultural services
  • disability services
  • Corrections Victoria
  • services that support families where adolescents use violence in the home

What this looks like within The Orange Door

Most referral pathways between The Orange Door and services are two-way; that is, they address the needs of The Orange Door and services to refer people and families to each other. Some pathways are developed and agreed at the statewide level, while others are at the area level. Pathways at the area level are developed with individual services or providers, or with a relevant network or partnership (for example, a Primary Care Partnership). These pathways will be agreed and some will be formalised over time.

Practitioners use their knowledge of the network of services within their area to identify the most appropriate service to meet the client or family’s needs. The Orange Door works with local providers to develop a strong understanding of the local network of services available. This includes collecting and storing the following information about each service in their local area:

  • name of the service provider and how to contact them
  • the range of services/programs/initiatives on offer through this provider, and the key features and benefits of each
  • the target population or cohort, mode/location of service provision (including an address if a physical location) and the language(s) it is provided in
  • opening hours of the outlets through which each service is provided and directions, transport information and proximity to public transport
  • eligibility criteria, waiting times, limitations and barriers (for example, whether conflict checks are undertaken in relation to legal referrals and geographic catchment)
  • admission and referral policies and procedures, costs/fees and acceptable methods of payment
  • competence in providing services appropriate to the client’s culture, language, sex, sexual orientation, age and developmental level, including information on strengths and specialist areas

Practitioners use their experience of working with the client or family to identify possible barriers that a client may experience in using another service and, where feasible and appropriate, work with the service and/or client to find ways to overcome these barriers. Such barriers may include:

  • lack of information about services and what is available
  • lack of client capacity or interest in taking up the referral
  • wait lists that are too long to meet the client’s needs
  • cost
  • lack of child care
  • cultural or language barriers
  • accessibility and ability barriers (including physical access and transport, as well as communication accessibility)
  • communication barriers (for example, lack of access to a phone or the internet)
  • stigma associated with using the service or lack of anonymity
  • paucity of suitable services in the geographic area

As much as possible, practitioners look for opportunities for people to utilise universal services to meet their ongoing needs, build on the strengths of their client and avoid the need for intensive support.

In making referrals to services, practitioners:

  • where appropriate, respect the client’s choice and control about accessing the service, and encourage and/or build the client’s capacity to self-manage the referral and access to the service
  • where necessary, provide support for the client to make initial contact with the service (this could mean calling on the client’s behalf or meeting with the client and the service(s) together)
  • make sure that any information gathered during the screening and assessment process is transferred to the service in an accurate and timely fashion (with consent where appropriate) (this improves the service’s ability to provide the client with the appropriate support and avoid clients having to ‘re-tell their story’)
  • confirm, to the extent possible, that the service is available and suitable for the client
  • undertake, or support clients to undertake, any eligibility or assessment process required (for example, the initial screen for alcohol and other drug problems, the online housing options finder and application for the Victorian Housing Register, or an application for grants of legal assistance)
  • follow up with clients to ensure they have connected into the service they need, and identify an alternative service option if required

Formal interfaces exist between The Orange Door and Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, Victims Support Agency, Child Protection and Integrated Family Services, Men’s Referral Service, RAMPs and Victoria Police. These are available at:

In the future

Over time, The Orange Door may seek to formalise more referral pathways and interface arrangements with other services. Developing these interfaces is informed by the network of services that exist, demographic trends, service gaps and opportunities for collaboration.

Formal interfaces between The Orange Door and other services could include elements such as:

  • co-locating services or establishing a tailored access point at another service
  • outposting The Orange Door practitioners at the service location (for example, a court or housing service)
  • sharing IT systems or using standardised referral forms, portals or systems to transfer information

Target group

Clients who access The Orange Door are referred to the most appropriate service in their local area where it has been determined that they need support from services beyond the core services – family services, family violence services and men’s/perpetrator services.


Practitioners have the skills and knowledge to be able to refer to the range of broader services in the area.

Practitioners undertake secondary consultations with practice leaders and workers from the range of services within their local area to help identify and connect clients to the right service where required.

Practitioners are able to provide information and advice to other services to help them to identify family violence and child safety and wellbeing concerns and identify when they should refer to The Orange Door.

Timing and duration

A referral from The Orange Door to a broader service could happen for a client at any point while they are involved with The Orange Door.

Clients whose needs and circumstances do not fall within the scope of The Orange Door (for example, where there is no family violence present or no concerns regarding children’s safety, development and wellbeing) but who require a service response are supported to connect with the most appropriate service.

The referral process is swift. In urgent cases, a referral should be completed as soon as possible.

Clients retain the option of re-contacting The Orange Door if the service doesn’t meet their needs or if they need additional support.