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Practice guidance and services' buildings designed with children and young people in mind

Friday, 24 May 2019 at 7:10 am

Practitioners have highlighted the strengthened focus on children experiencing family violence in their own right as one of the key benefits of the Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM). 

A range of organisations began using the new framework in September last year, and last month 52 practitioners at a number of pilot sites – including The Orange Door in Mallee – took part in user testing to determine the accuracy and useability of the MARAM practice guides.

User testing participants, from a variety of roles covering intake and assessment, men's behaviour change and case management, noted that the focus has shifted to thinking about children’s own risk as opposed to identifying their risk through their mother or non-offending parent or caregiver.

This increased focus on children and young people is not only being applied through direct interactions with practitioners, but also in physical locations where children and young people are getting help and support.

The Orange Door physical premises – currently in Barwon, Bayside Peninsula, Inner Gippsland, Mallee and North Eastern Melbourne – are specifically designed to be welcoming and accessible for the community, in line with the whole-of-family service model.

Key design considerations include creating culturally and age-appropriate spaces for children and young people, to evoke a sense of safety, choice and freedom, and also to ensure the buildings feel more casual – like a café or park – rather than institutional.

Suggestions from consultations are incorporated into the design to make The Orange Door ‘welcoming and homely’ for children and young people:

  • The children’s spaces have a range of age-appropriate toys and items to engage with – not just for little children, but to make it a safe and interesting space for children and young people of all ages.
  • Furniture and fittings such as soft couches and wall nooks with power and USB points for connecting devices (so children and young people can interact with their choice of multimedia content, while avoiding exposure to unnecessary adult conversations) as well as a computer  for public use
  • Practical considerations such as baby change areas and kitchenettes with microwaves for heating up bottles as well as the ability for practitioners to be able to provide practical supplies where needed, such as nappies or snacks.
  • Art and design made by locals or people who have used the services (including children) is featured.

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