New multidisciplinary centre underway

MENTAL Health Minister Mary Wooldridge turned the first sod on the new Bendigo Multidisciplinary Centre on Wednesday afternoon.

Ms Wooldridge was joined by Victoria Police assistant commissioner Jack Blayney to mark the start of construction works.

"The Bendigo Multidisciplinary Centre brings together police, the sexual assault unit, child protection workforce, our centre for sexual assault counsellers, nursing support and also forensic services," Ms Wooldridge said.

"It brings them all in one site in a purpose built facility.

"It's going to make a very significant difference for women and children who have experienced sexual assault and child abuse to be able to have that one-stop shop to report the issues, to get counselling and support to ensure the well-being of children and make sure that perpetrators are held to account."

The state government has invested more than $6.7 million in the project which is expected to be completed by mid-2015. 

"These services operate already in Bendigo, independently, and they collaborate but there's a distance between them," Ms Wooldridge said.

"Having them co-located in a specialist built building, all under one roof, makes easier and more effective for women and their children to be able to get the support they need."

Assistant commissioner Jack Blayney said the centre was another great step forward for Bendigo.

"This will also assist us in the way that we actually deal with offenders," he said. 

"Because we deal primarily with the victim and the investigation there's a lot of work that gets done around victims.

"So us, Victoria Police, working together with the other agencies around how we can better support victims is always going to be of benefit for them to try and get through the issues they are dealing with and make them stronger persons as far as an outcome is concerned."

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