A new $10 million sexual assault support centre has been officially opened to provide Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia residents with integrated support for adults and children who have experienced sexual assault or abuse.
Joined by Liberal Candidate for Dandenong Joanna Palatsides, Liberal Candidate for Narre Warren South Susan Serey and Liberal Candidate for Narre Warren North Amanda Stapledon, Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge said this is the principal multidisciplinary centre (MDC) for Victoria and will bring together Victoria Police, child protection and sexual assault counselling services at the one site.
“As the principal centre, the service partners will provide best practice training, leadership and expertise to staff from other multidisciplinary centres located across the state,” said Ms Woolridge, and added that the centre will also co-locate nursing and forensic medical services to better support and provide better outcomes for vulnerable adults and children.
“The co-location of these important services means that assault victims will no longer need to attend a local public hospital to access these important services. It affords victim/survivors with a level of confidentiality while enabling them to receive counselling and support, as well as speak with police about the nature of the offence they have experienced, all in the one client-centred location.”
Ms Wooldridge said the centre will provide much-needed support to adults and children who have experienced sexual assault in Melbourne’s south-east growth corridor including those in the municipalities of Greater Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia.
The new facility will accommodate more than 70 staff including Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT) police members, South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault (SECASA) staff, child protection practitioners, a Monash Health nurse and medical staff from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine.
“This initiative is an excellent example of how the Napthine Government is delivering integrated and comprehensive responses to improve outcomes for vulnerable Victorians,” Ms Wooldridge said, and added that the Victorian Coalition Government has committed to expand the service to more areas throughout Victoria.
The new Dandenong centre brings the total number of multidisciplinary centres in Victoria to four, with the Napthine Government successfully operating centres in Geelong, Mildura and Seaford.
New centres in Bendigo and Morwell are expected to be operational by mid-2015.