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Reporting on first year of new Salvation Army body

Rob Hulls at launch of annual report for Vic State Command

Mr Rob Hulls, at the Victoria State Social Command's 2016 annual report launch. Photo by Devlin Moseley

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Hundreds of people attended The Victoria State Social Command’s inaugural annual report,  launched on 21 October at the Substation in Newport (in Melbourne’s west).

The event, which included a keynote presentation from former Victorian deputy premier and attorney-general Rob Hulls, commenced with informal video presentations and an interview with medical student Thanh Truong, who had been helped for many years by Westcare as a long-term out of home care client.

Mr Truong shared what life was like in out of home care and how life with his foster carers – who eventually adopted him and his younger brother – helped to change his life.

After a welcome and acknowledgement of the first peoples of the land by command social programme secretary Major Jenny Begent,  Mr Hulls welcomed the VSSC’s efforts throughout the year and declared that ‘The Salvation Army must provide hope to those who need it most – the vulnerable, the disadvantaged and the homeless’.

‘Encouraging Salvation Army members and staff to ‘lead, not just react, in providing wraparound services to those in need’, Mr Hulls noted the $122 million worth of services provided, by 1,100 employees and 63 officers. He described the re-structure of the state social command as a consistent, holistic approach that presents a strong, united voice to the government of Victoria.

‘For too long,’ he added, ‘services were delivered in silos; multidisciplinary services are the way of the future and holistic approaches are absolutely crucial – if we’re fair dinkum about bringing in holistic social justice.’

‘We have a common hope,’ state social commander Major Michael Coleman said, responding to Mr Hull’s exhortation, ‘that Victoria will be a state where we will doggedly hunt down and ameliorate the causes of social ills. We agree with your evidence-based view that multidisciplinary, cohesive approaches will best serve the marginalised people of Victoria.’  

Among other information conveyed, in 2016 the command helped some 5,000 women and 1,000 children through its Family and Domestic Violence services; 75% of its work was funded though governments; and up to 50% of those who presented at The Salvation Army in Victoria for help had no income.