The opening of a new family violence facility in Ballarat will transform the region's approach to providing professional support, a leading staff member at Berry Street says.
The Orange Door, expected to open in March 2020, will provide a single point of contact for people experiencing family violence to access a range of services.
Berry Street Regional Director Western Andrew Lowth said the Orange Door would make it easier for victims to seek help earlier.
"It is a fantastic opportunity for women and children to be able to access a service at the point where they need it and also to make men more accountable for their behaviour," he said.
Family violence, child protection, legal, financial and other services will be based at the Orange Door, allowing intervention before victims reach crisis point.
Having that one point of contact is incredible and is changing the whole service structure.Andrew Lowth, Berry Street
Berry Street, Child and Family Services Ballarat and the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-Operative are collaborating to deliver the facility.
Mr Lowth said this collaboration of services was key to improving access to support.
"Currently and in the past Berry Street, WRISC and CAFS are all providers of services. Women and children aren't sure what is the best service available," he said.
"What is fantastic with the Orange Door model is all of the intake and assessment is done here, whether it is on the phone, through the website or on site. The initial work is done here, then decisions are made about what each individual needs and referrals are made to family violence and other services for women and children.
"Having that one point of contact is incredible and is changing the whole service structure."
RELATED COVERAGE: The Orange Door in Ballarat is now expected to open in 2020
Victorian Prevention of Family Violence Minister Gabrielle Williams visited Ballarat on Wednesday to tour the Orange Door's Armstrong Street site.
She said senior staff had been recruited and recruitment of other staff for the facility was ongoing, with redevelopment and refurbishment works are due to commence early next year.
Watch a video about the Orange Door below.
While the Orange Door will be located in central Ballarat, staff will work to ensure the service is accessible to people across the whole of the Central Highlands.
Mr Lowth said an Orange Door access point would be established in Bacchus Marsh, in addition to an outpost in Ararat and Daylesford one or two days a week.
The Orange Door site in Ballarat will be the sixth Orange Door to open in Victoria - 17 in total are being rolled out across the state.
Victorian Goverment figures show more than 69,000 people, including more than 26,000 children, have been referred to or directly sought help from the Orange Door since operations began.
Mr Lowth said he expected the demand for the service in the Central Highlands to be high.
"A high demand for support is a good thing as it means women are wanting to do something about what is happening to them, to make men more accountable and to push the responsibility on to them for their behaviours," he said.
"Our attitudes are changing and there is a whole lot more visibility around family violence. We still have a long way to go in the sense that we need to make men much more accountable for their behaviour and their attitudes."
The Orange Door is funded by the Victorian Government.
Visit orangedoor.vic.gov.au/ for information about family violence services in Ballarat.
Help is also available through 1800RESPECT, call 1800 737 732.
- "I will never be free": family violence victims suffer abuse after separation
- 'Family violence is a health issue': hospital strengthens response
- Family violence traumatising for children caught in the middle
- How the system failed this grandmother after a lifetime of family violence
- Collaborative approach to address scope of family violence
- Equality key to family violence prevention, focus of new Women's Health Grampians campaign
- OPINIONTamara Farrell death; why we need to talk violence against women
- Family violence advocate Rosie Batty speaks at Committee for Ballarat dinner
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.