Keeping people safe in the face of COVID restrictions

Keeping women and children safe and ensuring the continuation of therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic demanded the urgent creation of a safe and secure online platform to deliver group programs and training by the Sexual Assault and Family Violence Centre (SAFV Centre).

With the quick adaption of the delivery of their therapeutic group programs to a safe and secure online platform the SAFV Centre was able to continue protecting people impacted by sexual assault and women and young people impacted by family violence within the COVID restrictions.

Thanks to your donations to the Give Where You Live Foundation was able to support this adaptation with a $30,000 grant that assisted sourcing and implementing a suitable online platform.

For the SAFV Centre clients, this online approach was a vital lifeline during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Lillian first engaged with The SAFV Centre in 2012 for her daughter, and again at the end of 2018 for herself after leaving an abusive husband. Throughout 2019 and 2020, Lillian received case management and counselling and was due to start the Therapeutic Group program, Trauma-focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (TACT), when COVID hit.

In October, The SAFV Centre’s group programs moved to an online platform, thanks to grant funding, with the TACT program the first to go live. For Lillian, staying connected to The SAFV Centre throughout the COVID restrictions has been vital to her recovery.

I’m so grateful for the ongoing support from The SAFV Centre. I’ve been very impressed with the TACT group and how well it has been adjusted to an online platform. The program provides education about self-love, self-care, and healthy relationships, as well as boundaries, self-respect, and mindfulness exercises.

I have such a strong bond with the counsellor advocates at The SAFV Centre and having that bond made me feel so safe and connected in the group program that I felt confident to speak and share my feelings.  Having the ability to join the TACT group online at home means I can schedule my work around participating in the program without having to travel to and from The Centre, while also staying connected during COVID restrictions.

 The most important thing I’ve learned through the TACT group is that while the abuse that I experienced has had a big impact on my life, with the right tools to heal, I can see the possibility of having a wonderful life.”

Helen Bolton, Chief Executive Officer, said “Across 2019-2020, The SAFV Centre supported more than 4,200 clients, a 9% increase on the previous year. “We recognise that people who have experienced sexual assault and family violence need holistic services that encompass physical, emotional, psychological, material, legal and health needs. With this knowledge, we offer a broad range of client services, including a range of therapeutic group programs to address the impacts of trauma from sexual assault and family violence.

 To continue to offer our full range of services, we urgently needed a secure and confidential online platform to allow our staff to safely engaged our clients in our group programs and continue through recovery.

We are truly appreciative of the support and advocacy of the Give Where You Live Foundation, and their supporters and donors, for their continued support of our organisation and the community.”

The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre is a community-based, not-for-profit service, offering free, confidential trauma-informed sexual assault and family violence services across the Barwon, Wimmera, and Western Melbourne areas of Victoria. Operating for over 40 years in the Barwon area the SAVF Centre is a trusted specialist organisation supporting our communities in need, offering 24-hour crisis care and support for anyone who has experienced a recent sexual assault or women, children, and young people experiencing family violence. The SAFV Centre provides free and confidential case management support to women, children, and young people experiencing family violence. They also provide free and confidential trauma-informed counselling and a range of therapeutic group programs to address the impacts of trauma from sexual assault and family violence.

You can contact the Sexual Assault and Family Violence Centre on 5222 4318 or online at  For all emergencies, including if anyone is in immediate danger, please call 000.  All calls outside of business hours will be automatically diverted to the 24 hours Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1800 806 292.