Survivors of sexual assault in the western suburbs will soon be able to report crimes to police, provide forensic samples, and receive support, counselling and child protection advice at the one site.
The new centre at Werribee will provide survivors, many of who have also experienced family violence, a safe place to report crimes and receive the help they need without having to repeat their distressing story to numerous services.
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos today visited the site of the Wyndham Multi-disciplinary Centre, which is due to open in mid-2018, to check the progress of the building.
The centre will be home to a Victoria Police Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT), Family Violence Team members, and forensic examiners, as well as Child Protection Practitioners, sexual assault counsellors, and a community nurse.
Survivors will not have to move from service to service, nor building to building. Instead, the next steps in their journey will be down the hallway or in the next room.
Better integration and co-location of services mean survivors experience more timely and accessible responses, and increased sensitivity and privacy. Survivors are also kept appraised of the legal status of their cases while engaged with other service providers.
The Victorian Budget 2017/18 allocated $2.5 million to support the establishment of the centre, which will be the seventh of its type in Victoria.
The other centres are in Dandenong, Seaford, Geelong, Mildura, Morwell and Bendigo.
The funding for the centre was part of the Andrews Labor Government’s commitment to respond to increased demand for services as a result of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“We heard from evidence at the Royal Commission into Family Violence about the need to put victims first. This project helps achieve this for western Melbourne.”
“This facility will provide services for women, children and young people in the western suburbs seeking support following sexual assault.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville
"These Multi-Disciplinary Centres have made a huge difference for victims of family violence. Having Victoria Police and other key service providers under one roof has improved the response and support for victims. "
"You cannot separate out the issues of family violence, sexual assault and child abuse. That is why it is so important that we have these services working together to ensure those impacted by family violence have the right supports and services in one place."
Reviewed 19 August 2020