The Andrews Labor Government has released new details of Australia’s first Support and Safety Hubs, which will be established in Victoria to protect women and children from violence.
Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings today released the Support and Safety Hubs: A Statewide Concept report, which sets out how the Hubs will work, including their scope, how people will access their services, who will work within the Hubs and how they will connect and coordinate with relevant agencies.
It is the product of extensive consultation and engagement with victim survivors, family violence workers and other agencies and a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
The Hubs will provide a visible contact point for victim survivors and give local communities access to highly-skilled workers with connections to the justice system and social services, including housing.
To gain further insights ahead of the Victorian roll-out, Minister Jennings met with leading family violence practitioners at the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASHs) in Southwark, London and Nottinghamshire.
The regional Nottinghamshire MASH in Annesley is staffed by a 65-strong team made up of social workers, early intervention workers, education, adult safeguarding and trading standards officers, the local police’s domestic violence and child protection units, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue representatives and NHS specialists.
Last year, this MASH handled 21,440 referrals about children and 5,679 referrals about adults, roughly half of which resulted in an assessment by social care. In 2014, around 4 per cent of Nottinghamshire’s adult population experienced family violence and the MASH supported families by giving them the coordinated support they need.
The Victorian Budget 2017/18 invested $448.1 million to establish 17 Support and Safety Hubs across the state. The first Hubs will be launched in the Barwon, Bayside Peninsula, Inner Gippsland, Mallee and North-East Melbourne DHHS regions later this year.
More work will take place over the coming months, as the Labor Government works with locals on the design of the initial Hubs.
Quotes attributable to Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings
“The 17 Support and Safety Hubs across the state will provide a new system of protection and support that will prevent family violence, protect victim survivors and make perpetrators accountable.”
“The findings from the concept report and our meetings with similar agencies around the world will help inform our work as we start to roll out Victoria’s own Support and Safety Hubs later this year.”
Quotes attributable to Nottinghamshire County Council Leader Councillor Kay Cutts MBE
“The MASH allows information sharing and swift decisions to be made about the most appropriate action on a case by case basis.”
“As well as reducing the risk of harm to vulnerable children and adults, it has highlighted potentially vulnerable families early on so that action can be taken before the situation deteriorates further.”
Quotes attributable to Annesley Mash’s Operations Manager Merlin Tinker
“We are delighted to share our findings with the Victorian minister and we hope his trip to Nottinghamshire is both informative and beneficial.”
“The MASH has proved a successful partnership between agencies in Nottinghamshire and we have undoubtedly protected people more effectively with social workers, the police and health workers working together.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020