Victims of sexual assault and child abuse in Bendigo will no longer be made to tell their story over and over thanks to a new centre that will give them one-stop support from police, child protection workers and counsellors.
The Minister for Police Wade Noonan and Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos today officially opened the multi-disciplinary centre, which will give victims, many of whom also suffer family violence, a safe place to quickly get the help they need.
Services at the Bendigo MDC include:
- Sexual Offences Child Abuse Investigations Teams from Victoria Police
- Child protection from the Department of Health and Human Services Child Protection
- Sexual assault counselling for victims and family members from the local Centre Against Sexual Assault
- Nursing and forensic medical services
The services will help victims report their assault and receive treatment, counselling and legal advice. Victims can also be referred to the MDC by local agencies or health services.
The 2015-16 Victorian Budget delivered an additional $81.3 million over the next five years to respond to family violence and sexual assault.
This included $17.7 million to expand crisis and support services across Victoria, including at the Royal Children’s Hospital and Royal Women’s Hospital.
Victoria now has five MDCs – at Dandenong, Geelong, Mildura, Seaford and now Bendigo. A sixth is set to open in Morwell this year.
The expansion of MDCs in Victoria comes as the Royal Commission is due to report in February. The Andrews Labor Government will accept all the Commission’s recommendations.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Wade Noonan
“Victims of sexual assault and child abuse may suffer less trauma by coming to a safe place where specialists such as police and counsellors can give them the help they need.”
“This centre will help vulnerable people in Bendigo who are escaping sexual assault or child abuse, often amid a backdrop of family violence.’’
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“Victims of sexual assault shouldn’t have to travel from service to service repeating their story each time. This will help them get the support they need in one place.”
“This Government is responding to sexual assault and family violence in Victorian communities by empowering those who have experienced abuse through providing the right support when they need it.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020