SKEPTICAL auditors have warned that 12 family violence support hubs including Bendigo's might not be fully prepared to help clients upon opening.
A new Victorian auditor-general report says five so called "Orange Door" hubs completed elsewhere were rushed and lacked detailed planning.
The $448.1 million roll-out was a key recommendation of the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence, which found women and children were forced to navigate an inconsistent system that was hard to navigate.
Orange Doors bring together frontline workers from different public and private groups in one place to help them work with those in need.
Government department Family Safety Victoria is leading the roll-out and got planning approval from the City of Greater Bendigo in March to build a hub in the middle of town.
Auditors have found that some people trying to get help at existing Orange Doors have sometimes been forced to wait months, despite frontline workers efforts to deal with backlogs at several sites.
"Across the five open hubs, FSV has not done enough to support practitioners to give their clients timely, coordinated help," the auditors found.
"Individual hubs have had to develop their own ways to coordinate services, manage demand and share information.
"These inconsistent approaches mean that clients may receive different services depending on where they live, rather than their needs."
Family Safety Victoria cannot track or deal with those problems properly because of gaps in performance monitoring, evaluation and governance, auditors found.
It also cannot show whether the hubs are leading to better results for families.
"This is because it is not collecting the right data to understand its clients' experiences within and beyond a hub," auditors noted.
They are concerned that the push to open 12 hubs in less than three years is making it harder for the department to deal with weaknesses during the roll-out.
However, the department is putting plans in place to avoid some of the problems faced when the first five Orange Doors opened.
"For example, it has introduced a minimum 80 per cent staffing level for new hubs before they can open," auditors noted.
They have told the department it is critical to develop "detailed and realistic plans" for remaining hubs.
Family Safety Victoria has accepted all recommendations and will aim to finish detailed plans for the 12 new sites by December.
It is also working on ways to better track outcomes, along with training and guidelines based on experiences at the five opened Orange Doors.
One Australian woman is killed every 11 days by her current or former partner, according to the 2016 royal commission.
Two children are killed every month by a parent.
If you or someone you know is affected by family violence or sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
In central Victoria, the Centre for Non-Violence can be reached on 5430 3000.
The Sexual Assault Crisis Line is available on 1800 806 292.
The Men's Referral Service provides counselling to men who carry out family violence, on 1300 766 491.
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