Victoria's Andrews government has sidestepped a widely supported push by Border agencies for a "one-stop shop" for family and domestic violence victims.
A series of special reports by The Border Mail has uncovered deep frustration at the lack of such a service, which they say compromises victims' recovery.
It is agreed that crisis care is effectively covered by agencies on both sides of the river, with informal information sharing networks further ensuring no client's needs go unmet.
But the lack of case management and sub-acute services is considered a major flaw of a system where there is limited scope for early intervention and preventative work for victims.
That includes addressing issues such as breaking down the gender stereotypes that leave women vulnerable to abuse from men, as well as men's behavioural programs.
- Emergency: 000
- DV Hotline: 1800 656 463
- Safe Steps: 1800 015 188
- Betty's Place Women's Refuge: 02 6058 6200 or 1900 885 355
- DV counselling: 1800 737 732
- Kids' Helpine: 1800 789 978
- MensLine: 1300 789 978
An Albury-based overarching agency would be created only through the funding and support of the NSW government.
An option though that experts from both sides of the border believe has much merit is establishing such a single service under the umbrella of Albury Wodonga Health, which is part of the Victorian health system.
Asset funding for Albury still rests with NSW.
A recent example was the NSW government funding an Albury hospital emergency department upgrade.
"Albury Wodonga Health with its cross-border aspect," one widely respected source told The Border Mail, "would be an ideal provider to be involved."
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The government was asked to provide answers to several questions, submitted to the Office of the Premier, on this scenario.
One was whether the government was open to using Albury Wodonga Health in a lead role for introducing such an overarching service, given it was managed by Victoria.
This was not addressed.
Instead, the office of Premier Daniel Andrews issued a brief statement, from Prevention of Family Violence Minister Gabrielle Williams.
"Family violence is our No.1 law and order emergency and it requires a whole-of-community approach to end it," she said.
"We work to ensure anyone experiencing family violence in the Albury Wodonga region receives the care they need, in collaboration with the NSW government.
"Our service providers recognise this as a fluid population, and they tailor responses to individual circumstances as much as possible."
As background, the government pointed out how it provided more than $6 million to the Ovens Murray region "to support victim survivors of family violence and sexual assault".
A further $800,000 had been made available to assist perpetrators of family violence change their behaviour.
Also highlighted was the government's The Orange Door program, involving co-ordinated hubs for family response services.
Ovens Murray will get one of the services in 2020.
North East agencies, who Albury providers say are far better funded with more effective, targeted government programs, have praised The Orange Door concept.
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