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Definitions of commonly used terms in this document.

All forms of family violence

The Orange Door design uses the broad definition of family violence in the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic). Family violence includes physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic abuse, as well as coercion and control or domination that causes the family member to feel fear for the safety or wellbeing of themselves or another person, and the exposure of these behaviours, or the effects of them, to a child.

The design of The Orange Door also recognises the many relationships in which family violence can occur. These include between spouses or domestic partners and in other intimate personal relationships such as parent–child relationships, child–parent relationships, relationships with elders, siblings and other relatives, and between extended families, kinship networks and in family-like or carer relationships.


Refers to the Department of Human and Health Services.

The gendered nature of family violence

The use of gendered language is deliberate. It recognises that most victims of family violence are women, most perpetrators are men, and that violence perpetrated by a man is the most prevalent form of family violence. It recognises that the causes of family violence are complex and include gender inequality and community attitudes towards the roles of women and men in society.

Throughout this document, references are made to ‘women, children and young people’ in relation to people who are victim-survivors of, or at risk of, family violence, and to ‘men’ in relation to people perpetrating violence.

The design of The Orange Door recognises that a gendered understanding of family violence is critical to providing effective services and systems. The design of The Orange Door, and this document, also recognises that victims are not always women or children, that perpetrators are not always men, and that family violence occurs in relationships other than male–female intimate partner relationships. Victims of these forms of family violence face additional barriers to getting help because these other forms of violence are often not recognised or understood. The Orange Door responds to, and links effectively with, services that respond to family violence in all its forms.

References in this document to support for women, children and young people experiencing or at risk of family violence should be understood (unless otherwise specified) to relate also to victims of all forms of family violence. For clarity, specific issues relating to family violence that do not occur in a male–female intimate partner relationship are noted throughout the document.

The Orange Door is for families in need of support

The Orange Door is central to Victoria’s approach to addressing both family violence and children, young people and families in need of support (which may or may not be related to family violence) and forms a critical part of the broader service system response. The design of The Orange Door recognises that family violence and supporting children, young people and families in need are major social challenges for Victoria and core priorities for The Orange Door.

Children, young people and families in need of support are likely to be characterised by:

  • multiple risk factors and long-term chronic needs, meaning that children are at high risk of developmental deficits
  • children, young people and families who are at high risk of long-term involvement in specialist secondary services
  • cycles of disadvantage and poverty resulting in chronic neglect and cumulative harm
  • single/definable risk factors that need an individualised, specialised response to ameliorate their circumstances
  • single/definable risk factors that may need specialised short-term or episodic assistance to prevent or minimise the escalation of risk

Throughout this document, reference is made to ‘women, children and young people experiencing family violence, and families in need of support with the care, wellbeing and development of children and young people’. In these references, the ordering of different cohorts of people is for simplicity and convenience in a written document only and does not imply a priority or emphasis on either group.


This is the term used in state and national policy to describe people who use violence. The aim in using this term is to ensure safety and accountability and to end the individual’s use of violence. This term is not limited to people who have been accused or convicted of criminal offences. This term is not meant to define the perpetrator for life; the aim is to end the individual’s use of violence.


The term ‘Aboriginal’ is inclusive of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria.


Culturally and linguistically diverse or ‘CALD’ is used to reflect the fact that the Victorian population is ethnically diverse. The Victorian Government is committed to delivering services that meet the needs of people from multicultural communities, including people with refugee or asylum-seeking backgrounds.

The Orange Door practitioners

Refers to specialist workers within The Orange Door including:

  • specialist family violence workers
  • men’s family violence workers
  • Child FIRST service workers
  • Aboriginal practitioners
  • senior child protection practitioners
  • practice leaders

Home agency

Refers to a staff member’s employer (either DHHS, FSV or a CSO).