Disability Counselling and Support
In December 2019, we began delivering a Counselling and Support service for people affected by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, also known as the Disability Royal Commission (DRC).
We are pleased to announce that we have recently broadened our service to support all Victorians with disability who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation; without them needing to have been affected by the DRC. We can also support families, families, friends, carers and allies including professionals.
- trauma-informed counselling support;
- interpreting and access to interpreters and translation services, if needed to access the service;
- information around the impacts of trauma, and skills and strategies to manage these impacts;
- help to access other services such as legal, advocacy, financial, housing, and physical and mental health support, including through warm referrals;
- information about the Disability Royal Commission;
- support in deciding whether and how to make a submission.
Our current clients are living with a variety of disabilities ranging from psycho-social disabilities such as post-traumatic stress disorder to physical disabilities like rheumatoid arthritis. We have had both people living with disability and carers referred to the service. Some of the people we are working with are well underway with making their submission to the DRC while others are receiving emotional support for the trauma consequent of the violence and abuse perpetrated against them, before they consider if they want to contribute to the DRC.
With over 120 service stakeholders identified across Victoria and more emerging every week, the task of letting organisations know of the way in which our service can support people is exciting and dynamic. We recently joined a state-wide network of DRC support services including advocacy, legal and counselling services all working to support people engaging with the DRC. We look forward to an ongoing fruitful partnership with these services across Victoria.
The impact of COVID-19
We have continued to support people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic via telephone and video conferencing. The number of sessions we offer to clients has been increased during this time, as their access to many other services has been dramatically impacted by the pandemic.
The many barriers and challenges faced by people with disability during the pandemic include lack of access to essential care, medications, food and treatment, carers and family, and accessible information about the pandemic.
During the initial stages of the pandemic, the DRC suspended all face-to-face public and private hearings. Hearings resumed in August via online live streaming, with the September 2020 hearing examining the use of psychotropic medications to address behaviours of concern exhibited by people with disability.
Further information is available on the DRC website.
For more information about the Disability Counselling and Support service and to find out how we can support you, visit our dedicated service page, email us or call 1 800 317 387 to speak to our dedicated intake worker.
Relationships Australia Victoria is one of the two organisations in Victoria providing a Counselling and Support Service for People Affected by the Royal Commission. drummond street services is the other organisation.
*Image for illustrative purposes only