Wyndham multidisciplinary centre

Minister’s Statement

I rise to inform the house of what the Andrews Labor government is doing to better support victim survivors of sexual assault. On 28 May I was pleased to join with Minister for Police Lisa Neville and Treasurer Tim Pallas to open the Wyndham multidisciplinary centre. The $10 million site is the seventh such centre in Victoria. The Royal Commission into Family Violence showed us that there is an urgent need to put victims at the centre of service delivery, and that is what centres like this do. This one‑stop shop ensures that family violence and sexual assault victims across Melbourne’s west have access to the tailored support that they need and ensures there is no wrong door for victim survivors seeking support. This means better, more coordinated services for people in Melbourne’s west, including the cities of Hobsons Bay, Brimbank and Maribyrnong. It is also a sign to local survivors of sexual assault that their community stands ready to support them, and there is now a space where their voices can be heard.

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 will work together alongside child protection staff, family violence workers, sexual assault counsellors and other support workers. This includes workers from the Department of Health and Human Services, the West Centre Against Sexual Assault, the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Women’s Health West, the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency and the Royal Children’s Hospital Gatehouse, who will also work within the facility. I acknowledge the support of all of those organisations in getting this centre off the ground. Victim survivors will also have access to forensic medical suites to enable forensic examinations on site and to ongoing support with legal processes, such as support in court and with witness statements.

Having visited all the other multidisciplinary centres I have heard how this cooperative model is invaluable. Victims do not have to retell their traumatic stories to multiple workers. Police also advise that the support provided by sexual assault counsellors empowers victim survivors to make statements to police in order to ensure perpetrators can be held to account. Our budget this year invests $25 million over four years to better support survivors of family violence and sexual assault by ensuring they have access to counselling. This brings our support for sexual assault services to $27 million in 2018–19 — a 25 per cent increase since 2014. Every Victorian deserves to have world‑best services and to be supported and cared for no matter where they live.