EDVOS is the specialist family violence service in Melbourne’s Eastern Metropolitan Region (EMR). Our work is focused across seven Local Government Areas including Boroondara, Manningham, Whitehorse, Monash, Knox, Maroondah and Yarra Ranges.
We work across the continuum of family violence including primary prevention, early intervention, response and recovery. The reach of our training, education and primary prevention programs extend throughout the EMR, Victoria and Australia.
Our specialist family violence response supports and services are mostly directed towards women, their children, pets and other animals, who are responding to any form of family violence. We provide support, information, case management, risk assessment, safety planning, community education, programs for pet safety and a strong network of referral pathways to other services.
EDVOS is committed to assisting all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age and ability within our community and can also provide access to other family violence services that are most suitable to the individual’s unique needs and goals.
It’s been another challenging year for all of us, as our community continues to grapple with COVID. We are all living in a time of great uncertainty - when we will be able to see family and friends, when kids can expect to be at school, when businesses can reopen and we can all return to some expectation of ‘normality’.
Not surprisingly, the impact is not spread evenly and for some of us it’s been especially tough and, at times, devastating. This includes many women and children who have suffered abuse and violence and haven’t been able to access their usual supports.
The pressure on our staff has been immense. Not only are they juggling their own personal situations, but they have been dealing with the trauma of these women and children on the phone, mostly on their own, without on the spot access to support from their teams.
As a board, we are so grateful for, and proud of, their commitment and determination to do whatever they can to keep women and children safe.
It’s been a busy and productive year for our board. We welcomed a number of colleagues to our meetings – Jill Gardner, Deputy Secretary, and Keith Smith, Executive Director, Outer Eastern Melbourne Area, DFFH, Eleri Butler, CEO, and Kelly Stanton, Executive Director Program and Service Development, Family Safety Victoria. We also had presentations from Grant Thornton on our Workforce Capability Project, Impact Co on our Strategic Plan and Theory of Change and from staff about The Orange Door.
With our new constitution, we had one vacancy and the opportunity to recruit two co-opted members. Our first priority was to bring in women with Lived Experience. After advertising, we appointed two fabulous young women, Kelly Shay and Chloe Symes. We were also delighted to further diversify our skill base with the appointment of Gary Trytell and Simona Gory.
The board used the VCOSS Governance Health check tool to review our performance and a number of directors completed a brief AICD course.
Developing our new Strategic Plan and Theory of Change gave the board the opportunity to build our shared understanding of how we want to lead EDVOS and the impact we want for the future. Together with our Workforce Capability project and improved finance capability, we have created such a strong foundation for the future.
Finally, I want to thank:
The past year has been challenging for EDVOS and the community. The pressures and risks placed on women and their children during COVID and lockdown periods in particular, has seen increased risk and complexity for women, which regardless of circumstance is unacceptable. In turn our responses, services and supports have adjusted to meet these demands and our dedicated, loyal and passionate staff have been unwavering in their commitment to ensure service continuity, build safety and continue to drive our efforts in promoting gender equality and a primary prevention and education focus.
Our new Strategic Plan 2021-24 was finalised which included the development of a Theory of Change which articulates EDVOS’s long term (7-10 years) impact and outcomes to achieve our vision for our community to be free from family violence, where everyone is safe. These important strategic directions are outlined further in this Annual Report.
Over the past twelve months we have also specifically placed much greater emphasis on the engagement, voice and participation of victim survivors in our work, both through the development of our new plans and strategies but also through our first Victim Survivor Engagement Framework. This work paves the way for greater involvement, self-direction and co-design opportunities for our clients. My sincere thanks and gratitude to the victim survivors who participated in our processes through focus groups, surveys and interviews.
Against the backdrop of COVID implications, remote and office based hybrid working arrangements, we have much to be proud of by achieving our standards reaccreditation, Rainbow Tick accreditation, confirmation of a new 4 year Funding and Service Agreement, resumption of the Flexible Support Package (FSP) administration and participation as the specialist family violence agency in the state government’s Orange Door network located in Box Hill in Melbourne’s inner east.
Additionally, we have built the foundations for our workforce to thrive and grow through the development of a Workforce Capability Framework, a skilled and experienced executive leadership team and an ongoing process of enhancing our organisational culture.
None of this could have been achieved without a concerted team effort so I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff and those who left EDVOS over the past year – my thanks and appreciation to you all for the part you played in assisting us to rebuild and achieve what we have. I also acknowledge and sincerely thank our funding partners at the Department of Families Fairness and Housing, Family Safety Victoria, other funders, donors and stakeholders for your support, interest and commitment to our clients, our work and reducing the appalling and unacceptable rates of family violence.
Finally I would like to thank Sandie de Wolf our Chair and the EDVOS Board for their astute leadership, support and direction over the last year – one for us to remember, learn and grow from.
To drive bold and innovative change and to break the cycle of family violence to ensure that victim survivors are safe and able to thrive. We do this by working in partnership with victim survivors, the community and broader service system.
EDVOS received more than 13,500 referrals and requests for service from victim survivors across a wide range of referral sources. We triage and respond to all referrals and offer our support.
Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic and extended Melbourne Lockdowns many clients experienced an increase in the frequency and severity of family violence, combined with greater complexities of their situation, as victim survivors and perpetrators were forced to spend more time together.
In 2020 EDVOS became one of the first Family Violence Services to achieve
Rainbow Tick accreditation. This recognises the work completed to ensure that our service is safe and inclusive for all LGBTI people.
The most frequent supports included:
Our outcomes evaluation tool aligns with the Victorian Family Violence Outcomes Framework following the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016). All EDVOS clients who had a case management service received a survey link via text or email following the closure of their case management support period. 20% of case management clients responded to the survey.
EDVOS service success indicators relate to ‘Outcome 2: Victim survivors, vulnerable children and families, are safe and supported to recover and thrive’.
Our Primary Prevention work is evidence based and focuses on addressing gender inequality, which is the underlying cause of violence against women.
EDVOS delivered a range of projects that equipped individuals, families and organisations with the skills and confidence to play an active role in preventing violence in our community.
EDVOS, in partnership with Author Jayneen Sanders and Anglicare created ‘Hope’ – a story book to provide children living in family violence homes, or recovering after having experienced family violence, with a sense of hope that things might change.
Our extensive and varied education and training programs provide the community with skills and knowledge on a wide range of family violence topics.
Learn about the gender drivers of violence and how to play an active role to challenge the underlying norms, practices and structures that drive violence against women.
Supports teachers to plan for and respond to resistance in their work of implementing the Respectful Relationships initiative in their school community.
Designed for early years educators to learn about the impacts of gender stereotypes and practical ways to challenge gender norms in their work with children and families.
Builds the capacity of individuals and organisations to Recognise signs of family violence, Respond appropriately to disclosures and make Referrals to specialist family violence services.
Empowers vets and other animal professionals to Recognise the signs of family violence when they are working with animals and pets, Respond and Refer appropriately.
Is designed for professionals who respond to family violence to learn the collaborative practice and the foundational aspects of MARAM that enable collaboration.
Empowers salon professionals to understand why gender inequality is a cause of family violence and how to respond to family violence disclosures from clients and colleagues.
Initiatives such as flexible work arrangements; additional COVID related leave when needed (e.g. vaccination leave); a wide range of health and wellbeing activities; and technological equipment and software that enabled the work to continue safely, confidentially and efficiently.
Throughout the pandemic EDVOS staff have enjoyed over 20 editions of the internal newsletter 'Good News Gazette'. It provided much online fun and humour and supported staff connections whilst working from home.
Top 5 factors that staff said make “EDVOS a truly great place to work”;
EDVOS received a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 58.2 indicating staff would positively recommend EDVOS as a good place to work, compared with 18.8 (NPS) norm for Health & Community Services.
EDVOS received a NPS of 74.7 indicating staff would positively recommend EDVOS Services, compared with 31.5 (NPS) norm for Health & Community Services.
EDVOS is committed to developing our partnerships, alliances and networks that share in our vision for our community to be free from family violence, where everyone is safe.
Our Theory of Change and Three Year Strategic Ambition (2021-24) form part of our strategic framework that enables us to achieve our vision and enhance the outcomes for our clients and stakeholders.
We are keen to form partnerships and alliances with government and non-government services including community health, legal, law enforcement, education, finance, peak bodies, philanthropic organisations and various other expert primary prevention practitioners and policy experts. Including;
The EDVOS Board, Management and Staff would like to acknowledge and thank the Victorian Government for their funding and ongoing support. We would also like to thank our partners, donors and supporters who have contributed to our work throughout the year to ensure women and children experiencing family violence are safe and free from harm.