Supporting Family Violence Victims In South-West Victoria

17 April 2018

The Andrews Labor Government is ensuring family violence victims across Geelong and south-west Victoria have the best facilities and support they need at the newly refurbished Barwon Multi-Disciplinary Centre (MDC).

The upgraded facility in Geelong is a $3 million investment from the Labor Government, which has almost tripled the centre’s capacity to support victims and survivors.

The refurbishment will now provide capacity for 140 staff, compared to about 50 staff when it first opened in 2012.

The centre will service Geelong, Corio, Waurn Ponds, Bellarine, Drysdale, Portarlington, Queenscliff, Lara, Torquay, Anglesea and Lorne.

The works have provided space for Victoria Police’s Family Violence Unit to be co-located with the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team for the first time.

New features include a remote witness facility so victims can provide evidence remotely to court and a forensic medical suite where adult victims of sexual assault can get access to a forensic examination on site.

Minerva Community Services has also moved into the facility and merged with the Barwon Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) to become Barwon CASA Minerva.

An additional nine specialist family violence detectives will be deployed to the centre by April next year on top of 38 new frontline police for Geelong, as part of the Government’s recent record allocation of 825 new police.

The first 10 frontline officers have already started working in the community and the remaining 17 will hit the streets by April 2019.

The Labor Government’s second Community Safety Statement has seen $115 million package to be funded under the upcoming Victorian Budget 2018/19 to deliver more police, protection and prevention.

This comes on top of the Government’s record $2 billion investment, which is delivering 3,135 new police, tougher laws and harsher sentences.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville

“This vital $3 million refurbishment will give victims the support they need – and it’s crucial they get an appropriate, professional and compassionate response.”

“More victims and survivors will be encouraged to come forward to seek help and report crimes across the region with police, legal and counselling services will be offered in the one location.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Geelong Christine Couzens

“The centre will play an important role in responding to family violence, sexual assault and child abuse victims, by providing the support victims need locally.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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