Family violence services can now be accessed in a single place in Wangaratta and Wodonga, after it was announced the Ovens Murray Orange Door Network is operating and available to residents throughout pandemic lockdowns.
The Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams said people were allowed to access services, such as the Orange Door, even during COVID-19 restrictions.
"In the context of the pandemic, it's really critical that people understand that family violence services continue to operate, that our orange door service continues to operate," she said.
"It is a legitimate reason to leave your home even during restrictions, even during lockdowns."
Ms Williams said the Orange door would provide comprehensive, all in one support.
"What the Orange Door does is bring together specialist workers from the family violence sector, children and family services, men's services and also Aboriginal services to coordinate," she said.
"So that the stress is taken out of navigating a complex system, so that people don't also have to repeat their story over and over."
The Orange Door network in Ovens Murray is a strong partnership between Mungabareena Aboriginal Cooperative, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, Centre Against Violence, Gateway Health, Upper Murray Family Care, and the Victorian Government.
It can also help people access case management, financial counselling and legal assistance, parenting support and provide advice to professionals, and concerned family members and friends.
Ms Williams said prior to the pandemic there were increased reports of family violence, but during lockdowns the numbers dipped.
"Which is probably unsurprising, because people are confined to their homes and may have limited opportunity to reach out for support," she said.
"So what we've prioritized over the last 18 months, is to be able to support the service systems to be able to operate in that environment, including new ways to access services."
The Orange Door Network was a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Ms Williams said a Benalla Orange Door service would also be opened in the future.
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