Who we are
Who we are
Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) is a community based, not-for-profit organisation with no religious affiliations. We have over 70 years’ experience providing family and relationship support services. Our vision is for positive, respectful, safe and fulfilling relationships for all Australians.
Our commitment to you
We are committed to providing safe and inclusive services for all members of the community.
RAV acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners of the lands and waterways of Australia. We support Aboriginal people’s right to self-determination and culturally safe services.
We recognise the lifelong impacts of childhood trauma.
We recognise those who had children taken away from them.
Supporting Victorians since 1948
We first began in 1948 as a modest but aspirational organisation called the Marriage Guidance Council of Victoria. It was established by a group of professionals, including clergy, doctors and lawyers, who were concerned about the increasing prevalence of divorce following the Second World War, and the impact on families and society. In those early years, volunteers and some professionals primarily offered marriage education and couples counselling, with a focus on assisting couples who were experiencing difficulties to stay together, and on preventing future marriage difficulties.
During this time, activities were based in the homes of the organisation's members, moving to rented premises as the organisation expanded. It was not until October 1964 that the Council bought its first home at 46 Princess Street, Kew, which remains our largest centre.
The name Marriage Guidance Council of Victoria was adopted in 1952 reflecting the organisation's growing statewide focus. At different times there were regional committees at Albury, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Gippsland, the Goulburn Valley and Sunraysia. Counselling was provided in these areas as well as at Kew, Coburg, Horsham, Stawell, Doveton-Dandenong and Warragul.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the organisation recognised the needs of couples who were separating for support to enable them to agree on settlements for their assets and the care of their children, and avoid litigation where possible.
At the time, with mediation a relatively new area of service delivery, the organisation undertook a significant study trip to the United States to find out about and determine how mediation services could be implemented in Australia. As a result, by the mid-1980s, we were one of the earlier adopters of mediation, now known as family dispute resolution.
Also in the late 1970s, the structure of our workforce began to change from a network of volunteer counsellors to an organisation employing paid counsellors and mediators.
The needs of our clients have always been the motivation of our organisation, however, and we recognised that our clients were desperately needing assistance during this period of their lives, and that children, in particular, were suffering as a result of a lack of decisions around parental responsibilities.
In the early 1990s we further diversified our services, after we were one of two organisations that received some of the first funding from the Australian Government to provide family violence prevention services.
After this period of growth and change from the early 1980s through to the early 1990s, it was recognised that our name no longer reflected the breadth of services offered and so, in 1992, our name was changed to Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV).
Family violence prevention, support and recovery services have continued to be a focus for us since the 1990s and we are now the largest provider of men’s behaviour change programs and family safety services in Victoria. Our priority is the safety of women and children, and on holding men accountable for their behaviour and stopping using violence in their relationships.
In the most recent two decades, we have expanded further and are proud today to provide a range of family and relationship services which extend well beyond our original marriage guidance origins.
Structurally, we are part of a national federation of eight state and territory Relationships Australia organisations, which while being independent of each other, share common objectives. Visit the Relationships Australia National website for more information.
Neighbour Day is Relationships Australia’s annual celebration of community.
Neighbour Day aims to:
- strengthen communities and build better relationships with the people who live around us.
- create safer, healthier and more vibrant suburbs and towns.
- promote tolerance, respect and understanding.
- break down community barriers.
- protect the elderly, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.
Although officially held on the last Sunday of March every year, we encourage you to celebrate the principles of Neighbour Day all year round.
Visit the Neighbour Day website to find out more.