Sexual assault and domestic violence has been a largely hidden crime. In the late 1960s and 1970s many women began to speak out about their experiences and break the silence that for so long had surrounded this crime. This led to a growing public awareness about the extent of violence against women in this society and the need to address it as an issue of serious social concern.
In 1986 the then Minister for Health David White convened a working party to examine issue of women’s health needs. The working party report Why Women’s Health—Victorian Women Respond recommended that the Government establish sexual assault and domestic violence centres in all health regions by 1990.
In 1991, the Mallee Sexual Assault Unit was established with the provision of 24 hour crisis care for all victims of sexual assault. The establishment of a Crisis Care Unit within the service enables all victims / survivors of sexual assault to access a trained Forensic Medical Officer and an advocate in confidential and safe surroundings.
Nydia House provided refuge, counselling, support / advocacy etc. for all victims of family violence. In 1993, Mallee Sexual Assault succeeded in its submission to obtain Nydia House and renamed the agency as Mallee Domestic Violence Services in which the agency has since become incorporated.
In 2007 Mallee Sexual Assault Unit Inc in conjunction with Victoria Police opened one of two pilot sites in Victoria for the Specialist Multi-disciplinary Centre (MDC) for Sexual Assault. A 24 hour Sexual Assault Centre was established in Mildura, allowing victims of a sexual assault to receive a consistent and comprehensive response to their needs by police and sexual assault counsellor advocates. The Sexual Assault Centre included a specially trained police unit, Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT), specialised Child Protection Team and the Mallee Sexual Assault Unit. SOCIT is staffed by Detectives whose specific role is to investigate sex offences and child abuse and provide support to victims.
In 2011 specialised practitioners from a Child Protection Team (DHS) joined the MDC – their specific role is to investigate allegations of physical and / or sexual abuse against children.