Wimmera and South West Family Violence Partnership

Who We Are

The Wimmera and South West Family Violence Partnership (the Partnership) is one of ten family violence Regional Integration Committees currently working throughout Victoria to identify and address systemic service issues within the context of the state-wide family violence reforms. In 2016, the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence recognised the work of these Committees, specifying that Regional Integration Committees, supported by Regional Integration Coordinators (also known as Principal Strategic Advisors), should be included in the governance structure tasked with implementing the Commission’s recommendations and overseeing systemic improvements in family violence policy (RCFV, 2016, rec. 193).

The Wimmera and South West Family Violence Partnership provides a collaborative and supportive platform for regional organisations and agencies directly and indirectly involved in family violence prevention and response. Partnership members are provided:

  • Access to information and resources on Victorian family violence policy and reform;

  • Access to local family violence networks and state level advocacy/representation;

  • Strategic regional governance, planning and service coordination; and

  • Access to family violence training and capacity building resources.

Our aim is to build connected, coordinated and strategically aligned rural and regional service delivery across the Wimmera and South West. The Wimmera and South West region aligns with the Department of Health and Human Services Western Area, covering a geographic expanse of 56,000km2, an area equivalent to 23% of Victoria’s landmass. The Western Area is divided into ten Local Government Areas, being Yarriambiack, Hindmarsh, West Wimmera, Northern Grampians and the Rural City of Horsham in the Wimmera sub-region; and Glenelg, Southern Grampians, Moyne, Corangamite and the City of Warrnambool in the South West sub-region.

As a consequence of the geographic spread and diversity of our rural and remote communities, it is a priority of the Wimmera and South West Family Violence Partnership to develop and implement innovative local service improvements tailored to accommodate the unique needs of those experiencing family violence within our rural and remote region.


How We Are Working To Impove the System

The agreed priority areas for the Wimmera and South West Family Violence Partnership over the next 12 months are to:

  • Drive regional co-design efforts to adapt emerging service models to the rural context;

  • Advocate for evidenced-based resourcing of emerging models and existing services;

  • Facilitate family violence workforce stability, service capacity and consistent training; and

  • Facilitate a politically active, client-centred, collaborative focus to regional service delivery.


Understanding Our Service System Project

The Understanding Our Service System – Service Mapping Project is a major research project currently being undertaken by the Wimmera and South West Family Violence Partnership within the context of a transformational reform environment arising from the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence. The Wimmera and South West Family Violence Partnership has chosen the timing of the Service Mapping Project to create real-time opportunities to proactively identify and critically examine gaps and enablers in community access to family violence services within the region in the line with the intent of the Royal Commission’s recommendations on reform.

Our aim is to develop a detailed picture of the service system that supports individuals who have been impacted by family violence and sexual assault across the Wimmera and South West area. To gather an evidence-base that formally establishes the unique contextual realities and requirements of rural-remote communities in relation to family violence service delivery.

The research will identify:

  • The current avenues used by consumers to access support (even if unintentional through connection with ‘early noticing’ services);

  • The current place of the Wimmera & South West Family Violence Partnership and it’s individual member organisations in this scenario;

  • Identification of gaps, enablers, rurally-nuanced risk and logistics; and potential solutions in service system design; and

  • The potential place and role of the WSWFV Partnership as part of the RCFV reforms

 Due for completion in November this year, the research will also consider how social, cultural, spiritual, economic, professional and technological factors impact members of rural-remote communities experiencing family violence in a rural context. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • reduced visibility of certain vulnerable communities;

  • diverse points of entry into the service system (for instance through disclosures to religious leaders; neighbourhood houses; immigration settlement workers);

  • issues with access to public transport;

  • issues with a lack of government funding for the travel requirements of rural services;

  • lack of access to face-to-face family violence support in rural locations;

  • lack of crisis accommodation;

  • poor or non-existent mobile phone and internet coverage in rural-remote locations;

  • risk factors associated with geographic isolation;

  • impact of traditional/outdated methods of service delivery (e.g. siloed services lacking sufficient integration and accountability for person-centred referrals);

  • a lack of sufficiently advanced technological platforms of a quality which can facilitate consistent, secure and respectful information sharing, helping to ensure the safety and wellbeing of dispersed communities;

  • significant delays in police response times in remote areas due to the requirement of a two-person response to violent situations; and

  • issues with population-based funding models inappropriately applied to rural-remote areas;

Rural and remote communities were formally identified by the Victorian Royal Commission as a diverse community. As such, the evidence-base which will result from the Understanding Our Service System - Service Mapping Project can provide a critical contribution to the effective co-design of purposeful rural service systems. Including but not limited to a Rural and Remote Support and Safety Hubs Model that effectively addresses the unique safety and welfare issues which exist in the rural context through careful co-design and adaption of current metro-centric designs.

To date the Service Mapping Project has undertaken an initial professional survey, obtaining in excess of 100 responses; and eight two-hour Information and Consultation Forums attended by approximately 140 professionals across the Wimmera and South West. Further desk research and interviews are now occurring. The findings of the Understanding Our Service System – Service Mapping Project are expected to be released in early November 2018.


Key Messages

  • Our region is characterised by two distinct service systems (the Wimmera and the South West) and we understand that a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not support our region, which is characterised by diverse communities spread across a large geographic area.

  • We don’t agree that a Safety Hub model with one physical location (Orange Door) will be the best option for our region. Whilst supporting the safety hub concept- the model is missing the detail to address the local nuances that exist across our catchment.  Instead, we seek to provide the best evidence-based solutions through our careful research.

  •  We offer a solution. Through our research project Understanding our Service System we aim to design innovative models of service delivery to meet the needs of communities across the Wimmera & South West whilst working within the context of the RCFV reform.

  • Our research and the work of the partnership will explore different models of service delivery and will consider how we can innovate to best address local need. It has the potential to inform Safety Hub (Inc. Orange Door) design, and other elements of service system design for the Wimmera and South West.

  •  We are proactive, and solution focussed and look to work with government and other partners to design and implement the most effective and efficient outcomes for our region. This extends across all elements of the RCFV reform.

  •  We wish to work in partnership with government and other partners on a Safety Hub model which incorporates an ‘innovation component’ in the local design for the Wimmera and the South West.



Mandy Noble
Principal Strategic Advisor – Wimmera
Phone: 5358 7411

Bernadette Northeast
Independent Chair
Phone: 0409 417 908

Kelly Dufty
Principal Strategic Advisor – South West
Phone: 55005496

  Mary Clapham
Deputy Chair – Wimmera
Phone: 5564 4144