Co-location of services in the Multi-disciplinary Complex (MDC)
The Bendigo MDC is one of eight MDCs in Victoria which aim to provide an efficient and effective trauma informed response to sexual crimes and child sexual and physical abuse.
CASA is within the Bendigo Multi-disciplinary Complex (MDC) along with:
- Victoria Police Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT);
- Child Protection Child Sexual Offences Investigation Team;
- Bendigo Health Sexual Health; and
- Victims of Crime Program.
CASA counsellors and advocates work alongside the specialist SOCIT team, DHHS, child protection staff, community health nurses and forensic medical officers to provide an integrated model.
How does the MDC work and what are the benefits?
The Victorian Government funds the MDC model and the aim is to reform the way the criminal justice system responds to sexual assault.
It is hoped that the co-location of services and collaboration will:
• increase sexual assault and child abuse reporting rates;
• stem the attrition rates of reported matters through the criminal justice system;
• increase prosecution rates;
• reduce offending and re-offending; and
• assist the recovery of victims.
After three years of operation the MDCs were evaluated by Deakin University.
Both clients and MDC staff were interviewed and comments by people utilising MDC services highlighted the positive attributes of co-location:
“I didn’t have to explain my whole story or the whole case or where things were at because I was only dealing with one or two police members.”
“It’s important because you don’t have to go shopping for things, everything’s in the one spot.”
“They let me know all the time what was happening.”
“They never once made you feel it was your fault or anything.”
“It is comforting knowing that unless somebody else has experienced this or either works here, they don’t know what building you’re going into.”
For more information please read the Deakin University Evaluation Report on MDCs
Sexual Offences & Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT)
The Sexual Offences & Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT) are specialist detectives trained to investigate the sensitive and complex crimes of sexual assault and child abuse. The role of SOCIT is to investigate crime, apprehend offenders and initiate prevention and reduction strategies. SOCIT aims to ensure a timely and empathetic response to victims of sexual assault and child abuse.
The role of SOCIT is to:
• investigate crime;
• apprehend offenders; and
• initiate prevention and reduction strategies.
Child Protection — Sexual and Physical Abuse Investigation Team
Child Protection Services provide child-centred, family focused services to protect children and young people from significant harm caused by abuse or neglect in the family. Child Protection Services also aims to make sure that children and young people receive services and supports to deal with the effects of abuse and neglect on their wellbeing and development.
Community Health Nurses
Community Health Nurses (CHN) provide support for health and wellbeing, as well as offering health information and education. The Bendigo MDC nurses are female with years of experience supporting people with their health, wellbeing and education. While CHNs do not replace the CASA Central Victoria counselling service, nor are they the forensic nurses, a CHN can help you with sexual and reproductive health information, referrals and generalist support.
Victim Assistance Program
The Victim Assistance Program (VAP) helps people who have experienced violence (reported and unreported) by helping to manage the affects of crime.
VAP assists by helping you to understand legal talk, and finding support services. VAP also assists family members of victims of crime as well as family members, dependants and partners of people who have died as a result of an act of violence.
Depending on each individual’s needs, VAP can provide the following services:
• referrals to additional support services such as housing, solicitors, counselling and therapeutic services;
• information about the criminal justice system;
• advocacy on the behalf of the victim;
• support when making statements to the police and courts;
• support at court and VOCAT hearings; and
• assisting with the preparation of Victim Impact Statements and submissions to the Adult Parole Board.