Following the declaration by Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, that family violence is ‘the most urgent law and order emergency occurring in the state’, the first-ever dedicated Centre of Learning for Family Violence has opened in Glen Waverley – providing a state-of-the-art simulation space for the front-line police.
Designed by leading architecture firm, FMSA Architecture, for Victoria Police, the facility features Australia’s first scenario training and simulation spaces dedicated to training those on the front-line of family violence.
A landmark project, the building is the direct result of academic research and key recommendations delivered in the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Currently, findings suggest that response to family violence can take up to 40-60 per cent of front-line police time and in 2018, there were around 79,000 reported family violence incidents.
Berry Street is one organisation that sees the impact of family violence through their work helping children, young people and families impacted by abuse, violence and neglect.
According to Berry Street CEO, Michael Persuco, family violence continues to be a significant problem in the community.
“Victoria Police are often the first responders to family violence, and their skills in managing these complex situations are key to ensuring the best outcomes for affected women, children and families, alongside partner organisations such as Berry Street.”
“This new facility, and its design which allows scenario-based training, is key to ensuring Victoria Police can continue to improve intervention and response for victim survivors of family violence, including children,” said Mr Persuco.
The Centre of Learning for Family Violence includes contemporary training facilities and first-of-its-kind Family Violence Simulation Centre, presenting a realistic suburban environment including a bedroom, living room, kitchen and front yard.
Driven by a need for flexibility, the training room is designed to accommodate a wide range of scenarios and demographics using movable room dividers, props and sensory techniques such as a dog barking or a loud TV, to act as distractors for trainees to improve their response.
Fully equipped with contemporary systems for live streaming, the centre also enables academic facilitators to conduct assessments without interrupting the scenario, while rural officers can also participate in training remotely.
FMSA Architecture Director, Greg Anson, believes the level of realism offered in the centre’s specialist training facilities will become a pivotal direction for many organisations in the future.
“Having designed specialised practical training facilities for industry and traditional educators, we understand the positive impact of the built environment, combined with emerging technologies can have on the way training is delivered.”
“The Centre of Learning for Family Violence is a primary example of how collaboration with specialist consultants can add value to the curriculum. By applying the principles of environmental psychology, we delivered a carefully designed environment that supports the ongoing effectiveness and safety of the trainees and educators,” said Mr Anson.
In commenting on FMSA’s involvement in this leading training facility, Mr Anson said: “as architects, we have a unique opportunity to shape the way we live, work and learn. The Centre of Learning for Family Violence demonstrates how informed and collaborative design can boost the quality of training environments for front line agencies like Victoria Police, which in turn improves social outcomes for the wider community*.