We understand that there are lots of unknowns at the moment. Increased stresses are being felt by all of us in our workplaces, at home and in the community, as we all try to navigate what is happening here in Australia and across the world. I wanted to take a moment to update you on the measures inTouch is implementing during this time.

We have made our decisions to maintain services with the health and safety of our employees, clients and the community as our priority.

First and foremost, inTouch is committed to finding innovative ways to ensure the communities we help can continue to access our services, and be supported safely. This is particularly important as many of our clients could now be at higher risk – as many services are changing the way they operate, women are forced to spend more time with the perpetrator of violence due to social distancing, self-isolation and shut-down measures.

In line with advice from Victorian and Federal Governments and health experts, inTouch has implemented changes to our working arrangements which are consistent with social distancing practices. We are taking steps to empower our employees to work remotely from home, and modifying our service delivery models to enable programs to continue with minimal disruption. We are committed to doing our part to reduce the risks, help slow the curve and the spread of COVID-19.

At present, these steps include the following:

Organisation-wide

  1. Social distancing practices are being followed by employees still in the office.
  2. We are transitioning to a virtual office with face-to-face services suspended, and new, innovative ways of working online are in development.
  3. Our employees are being supported to work from home.

Direct client services

  1. Our case managers will continue to provide support to our clients via phone, and teleconferencing.

  2. We will be introducing a triage system for intake and all new clients will continue to go through the intake and risk assessment processes.
  3. Our case managers who would normally provide face-to-face outreach support at four courts across Melbourne will continue to do so via phone.
  4. We are still available to support the sector with secondary consultations and co-case management.
  5. We are developing a specific ‘online hub’ that is designed to:
    • empower victim-survivors to be informed about resources and services they can access, and to continue to be able to self-refer to inTouch
    • support our colleagues in the sector and other service providers, to continue to facilitate referrals and request secondary consultations.

Community legal centre

  1. Our lawyers and migration agents will continue to provide support to our existing and new clients via phone and teleconferencing.
  2. Face-to-face court support will be limited. Lawyers will follow social distancing protocols implemented by the courts and increase us of telephone based support.
  3. Our face-to-face support with Monash Health (as part of the Health Justice Partnership), has been temporarily suspended. However, our lawyers will continue to accept referrals and support clients through this referral pathway.

Motivation for Change Program: For men who use violence

  1. Face-to-face group sessions have been suspended for now.
  2. One-on-one case management support to men will continue via phone.

inSpire

  1. inSpire programs and community events have been temporarily suspended.
  2. Our Inspire for Change victim-survivor advisory group will continue to be supported and consulted where required via phone and teleconferencing.

Sector and Community

  1. Face-to-face training and events have been suspended.
  2. We are exploring ways to bring our capacity building services online and looking to develop innovative virtual training tools for the sector and community. There will be announcements in the coming weeks.

Policy and Advocacy

  1. While we transition to a virtual office we are committed to continuing to advocate for our clients and raise awareness of the issues they face, even more so during COVID-19.

The way in which we work may change during this time, but we are committed to continuing to operate as business-as-usual as much as possible.

Over the past few weeks we have seen how the situation can change daily. We will continue to keep in touch with you throughout this period and will provide information quickly should our work arrangements change further. If you haven’t already done so, I would encourage you to signup for inTouch newsletters, and follow inTouch on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for more updates.

We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the sector, the community and our clients during this time. Thank you for your support and patience. We appreciate the challenges faced by everyone during this difficult time but our hope is that we will emerge stronger on the other side.

For now, take care and keep safe.

Warm regards,

Michal Morris
CEO | inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence