Holistic care for domestic violence victims


Melbourne:  Family violence and sexual assault victims across Melbourne’s west will now have access to the tailored support they need at the newly opened Wyndham Multi-Disciplinary Centre (MDC).

Minister for Police Lisa Neville, Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos and Member for Werribee Tim Pallas on May 29 joined Victoria Police to launch the $10 million centre, funded by the Labor Government, which will ensure victim-survivors have access to the best facilities and support, an official press release said.

The Labor Government is also investing $25 million over four years to better support survivors of family violence and sexual assault by ensuring they have access to counselling.

This brings the Labor Government’s support for Victorian sexual assault services to $27 million in 2018/19, an increase of $5.5 million or around 25 per cent since 2014.

Around 45 detectives, intelligence analysts and training police officers from Victoria Police’s Family Violence Unit and the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT) will work together alongside child protection staff, sexual assault counsellors and other support workers.

This includes workers from Department of Health and Human Services, West Centre Against Sexual Assault, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Women’s Health West, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, and Royal Children’s Hospital Gatehouse, which will move into the facility in coming months.

These agencies will work together to develop support plans to ensure victims do not have to deal with multiple agencies in different locations, the release further said.

Victim-survivors will also have access to forensic medical suites to enable forensic examinations on site and ongoing support with legal processes such as support in court and witness statements.

Victoria Police has seen an increase in reporting rates, referrals, joint investigations and an increase to the number of victims receiving counselling since the centres were launched by the Labor Government.

Neville said, “This vital $10 million support hub will give victim-survivors the support they need under the one roof. 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.”