Every day, familiar faces

Preventing violence against women and children requires a major shift in what societies regard as acceptable practices, and it concerns us all.

"We know family violence has increased during the pandemic - which is why we haven't wasted a moment pushing ahead with our vital reforms, including this next significant step in the expansion of our Orange Door Network," Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams said.

The Victorian Government is taking major steps forward with its expansion of the Orange Door Network, with a new central hub opening in regional Victoria and a further four additional sites now confirmed.

In Loddon the primary site is in Bendigo - while lease agreements have been signed for primary sites in the Southern Melbourne, Western Melbourne and Wimmera South West regions. Given its geographical area, Wimmera South West will host two primary sites in Horsham and Warrnambool.

The $448 million Australian-first initiative is a free service for those impacted by family violence that brings immediate and ongoing support services under the one roof.

A key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, the Orange Door Network will service all 17 Department of Health and Human Services regions by the end of 2022.

"Everyone deserves to be safe at home but for too many Victorians, this is not the case - that's why these investments are so important," Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams said.

Each primary site is complemented by access points and outposts, making it even easier for people to get in-person support wherever they live. The Network brings together workers from specialist family violence, child and family, Aboriginal and men's services to deliver risk assessment, safety planning and crisis assistance, as well as vital connections to services for ongoing support.

To date, it is operating in seven regions across Victoria, with the Loddon Orange Door open now in Bendigo - and further access points planned for Echuca, Maryborough, Macedon Ranges and Loddon Shire.

For 24/7 family violence help and support, contact Safe Steps on 1800 015 188 or webchat safesteps.org.au/chat Monday through Friday, 9am to 9pm. For more information visit orangedoor.vic.gov.au.

SAFE RELATIONSHIPS SIGNS FOR TEENS

Teen dating violence is what happens when one person uses physical, emotional or sexual abuse to gain power and keep control over the other person. Dating violence is not an argument once in a while. It is a continual pattern of abusive and/or violent behaviour.

Signs of a violent relationship

Are you going out with someone who Is jealous and possessive, won't let you have friends, checks up on you, and won't accept breaking up?

Tries to control you by being bossy, giving orders, making all the decisions, not taking your opinions seriously? Scares you?

These and more, are all signs you are in a violent relationship and you need to seek help.

Your relationship rights

You can ask for, and refuse, a date. Be treated with respect always.

Choose and keep your friends. Leave a relationship.

Be treated as an equal. Feel safe, no matter who you are hanging out with.

How to recognise if your relationship is healthy

You trust your partner and you make important decisions together.

Your partner understands when you spend time away from him/her and vice versa.

The relationship is based on equality, open communication, respect for boundaries, trust, and commitment.

A healthy relationship is built around respect, fun, honesty, a sense of humour, trust, love, space, compatibility, compromise, caring, listening, maturity, forgiveness, understanding, empathy, change, growth, learning from each other, sharing, friendship, being faithful, and commitment.

If you are worried about yourself or a friend you can: Call safe steps on 1800 015 188, 24 hours 7 days per week.

Call the police on 000 or contact someone you can trust like a relative, teacher or school guidance officer.

Kids Helpline is a free and confidential counselling service for young people (5 to 25). Phone 1800 55 1800.

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