connectEDspace - support for young people

Young people can face all sorts of pressures – including problems at school, with friends or at home.
connectEDspace is a website by Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV), dedicated to young people to help provide all the information they need to deal with the stuff they go through each day.

Aboriginal Family and Relationship Support


RAV provides support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and individuals to help strengthen family relationships.

Counselling provides an opportunity to talk with a professionally trained person to discuss couple issues, conflicts with friends, relationship breakdown, parenting, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, grief, sexual problems, childhood sexual abuse, stress and work related tensions and disputes.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Browse a list of answers to questions we are frequently asked.

General FAQs | Counselling FAQsFamily dispute resolution FAQs | Relationship education FAQs | Family violence FAQs | Working with us FAQs | Other FAQs

 

 General FAQs

Do you offer immediate, crisis support?

We do not offer a crisis support service. If you are in need of immediate support, contact one of the crisis services listed below.

Can I make a donation to Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV)?

Yes, we welcome donations to help us continue to provide services to all Victorians. You can make a donation online here. If you would like to make a cash or cheque donation, please call 1300 364 277.

How old do I have to be to access your services?

We usually require parents’ consent to work with children under the age of 18, but in certain circumstances, we will work with people aged 15 to 17 without parental consent. In these circumstances the young person needs to be able to understand the service that will be provided and give their informed consent. Some of our other programs are designed for specific groups of people or age ranges.

Is RAV a dating agency?

We are not a dating agency. We are an organisation committed to offering relationship support services such as counselling, family dispute resolution and relationship education courses to individuals, couples and families. Our vision is for positive, safe and respectful relationships for couples, families, schools, workplaces and communities.

As such, we do not provide services to help you find a partner. We can, however, offer you advice, counselling and education in how to improve your current or future relationships.

Do you offer legal advice?

No, we do not provide legal advice. The following organisations can provide you with legal advice and explain your rights.

Where are you located?

We have 13 centres across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. We also offer a telephone counselling service for clients who are unable to attend one of our centres. We also offer outreach services in a number of our programs. Our training services can also be delivered onsite to organisations and workplaces. View a list of Relationships Australia Victoria centres here.

 Counselling FAQs

What is counselling?

Counselling can help you to explore your concerns and difficulties in a supportive environment. Participating in counselling can help you clarify your situation, gain new perspectives and work towards change. Common issues that people seek counselling for include managing stress, life changes, relationship difficulties, separation and divorce, parenting, grief and loss, mental health issues, managing emotions, family violence, trauma and abuse, and work-related problems. Whatever your concern, it’s important to reach out for support, and seek help early when possible.

How can counselling help?

The counselling process helps you to identify your greatest concerns and areas you’d like to change. The counsellor will work with you to better undertsnd your situation, and develop a plan that uses your strengths to improve your wellbeing and relationships.

Sessions can focus on specific issues or broader experiences. Counselling is an effective strategy that can relieve distress, enhance relationships and functioning.

What happens in couple/relationship counselling?

Partners can attend counselling together. This can help you both to gain an understanding of the issues in your relationship and find collaborative ways to improve. Some couples who are considering separation can also benefit from couple counselling, as it can help you and your partner separate on respectful terms.

In relationship counselling, our counsellors don’t take sides. Instead, they facilitate conversation and can help you to gain insight into issues in your relationship and explore ways to move forward.

Within the first two counselling sessions, we will see each person separately to ask about a range of issues including problematic alcohol and drug use, family violence and mental health.

What happens during the first counselling session?

During your initial appointment, your counsellor aims to gain a solid understanding of your situation and your concerns. We’ll ask you a broad range of questions to find out what you are struggling with, as well as areas of your life where things may be going well. Your answers will help the counsellor to gain a better understanding of your situation and perspective, and the best way to help you.

Who can come to counselling sessions?

You can attend counselling alone, with your partner, as a family, as a parent and child, or your children can come by themselves. We work with individuals, couples, and families in a supportive and non-judgemental way. Our counselling is flexible to meet your needs and circumstances.

Can I come to counselling by myself, for help with my relationship?

Yes, you can get relationship counselling alone. This can still be very beneficial for your relationship. If your partner decides to also attend sometime later, we can discuss how this can be managed.

Who will my counsellor be?

Our counsellors have qualifications in counselling, psychology or social work, and specific training and experience with a range of issues, including relationships, families, and children. When you contact us, our friendly staff will talk to you about why you’re seeking counselling and book an appointment for you with an appropriate counsellor.

Can I choose to see a male or female counsellor?

We have both male and female counsellors available. We can provide more information on our counsellors when you contact your nearest centre.

Do you provide counselling for people from different cultures and who speak languages other than English?

We understand the different needs of Victoria’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities. We can adapt our services to meet the needs of a wide range of cultures and community groups, including through the use of interpreters. Please call 1300 364 277 or contact your nearest centre for more information.

How long does counselling last?

Counselling sessions usually last for 50 minutes. There’s no set number of counselling sessions that clients attend. While some issues can be resolved in a few sessions, others take longer. Your counsellor will talk to you about what will be most helpful for you.

How much does counselling cost?

We are a not-for-profit community organisation and our counselling services are only partially government funded, so fees are normally charged. However, we do try to make our services as affordable as possible.

Our fees are determined on a sliding scale, based on a client's ability to pay. There is a surcharge on after-hours appointments. When you call to book an appointment, we will discuss the fees payable.

When are counselling sessions available?

Centre opening hours vary, however, most centres offer evening sessions as well as sessions during business hours. Please contact your nearest centre to find out the when counselling appointments are available in your area.

What if I can’t attend any available counselling sessions?

If you are unable to attend one of our centres, we provide a Telephone Relationship Counselling service. To find out more and see if you are eligible, please call 1800 817 569. We also provide some counselling services through our outreach services. Contact your nearest centre for further details.

What if I need to cancel my appointment?

We require at least 24 hours’ notice for cancelling appointments. If you don’t notify us within this time frame, a fee may be applicable. If you need to cancel an appointment, please contact the centre as soon as possible.

Do you offer online counselling?

We do not currently offer online counselling. You can book a face-to-face counselling session by calling 1300 364 277 or contacting your nearest centre. If you live in a rural or remote location in Victoria, you can access our Telephone Relationship Counselling by calling 1800 817 569.

Do I need a referral?

No, you don’t need a referral to access our counselling services. You can call us directly on 1300 364 277 or contact your nearest centre.

If another service or practitioner is referring you to RAV, they may facilitate a ‘warm referral’. This means that, they contact us to introduce us to you. This is always done with your permission, either in your presence or after you have signed a form agreeing for this to happen. This can help us to understand your situation, so we are well- equipped to be able to respond to your needs.

Is counselling confidential?

Yes, counselling sessions are confidential. RAV respects the privacy of clients and the confidentiality of client information. Your information is held securely and confidentially within RAV. However, confidentiality is limited by our duty of care. This means that there are some exceptions to circumstances, such as if we are concerned if there is a risk of harm to yourself or to others. Counsellors must also report child abuse or anything that indicates a child is at risk of abuse.

If you would like to know more about confidentiality, please contact your nearest centre.

 Family dispute resolution (FDR) FAQs

What is FDR?

FDR, also sometimes known as family mediation, is provided to help couples who are separating to resolve their family law disputes. These disputes may include conflict over child care, child support, financial arrangements or property division. Click here to find out more about FDR.

Who provides FDR sessions?

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners provide FDR. All of our FDR Practitioners are accedited by the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department and listed on the Department’s Register of Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners. Both male and female practitioners are available.

What does FDR involve?

Initially, an assessment is made to see whether FDR is appropriate for your circumstances. The Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner meets each person separately. 

During FDR, the people involved in the dispute meet with an FDR Practitioner to try and reach an agreement about matters related to separation. Everyone getst he chance to express their own point of view and speak freely about issues of concern. The FDR Practitioner's role is to help parties clarify issues, discuss options, focus on their children's needs, and come to agreements that resolve the issues in dispute.\

Read more about the FDR process.

How long does FDR last?

The length of the FDR process varies, depending on the case. It will depend on the number and complexity of issues to be discussed, the level of cooperation or conflict between parties, and the availability of the FDR service to see the parties, as well as the availability of the parties themselves.

Assessment sessions usually last 1 to 1.5 hours.

FDR sessions are usually 2 hours long, although longer sessions are scheduled if a ‘shuttle’ FDR process is used, or an interpreter is required. FDR for parenting matters usually take 1 to 2 sessions, but if property and financial matters are also involved, then 4 to 5 sessions are usually needed.

Our friendly staff will confirm the length of your sessions when you make an appointment.

Who attends FDR sessions?

One person (usually a parent or grandparent) starts the FDR process, and will request that we formally invite the other parent, or another person, with whom they are in dispute. It is also sometimes possible to bring a family member or other person to support you, including your lawyer if lawyer-assisted FDR is offered. If there are language difficulties, a translator may also be present.

Can I include my children in the FDR process?

If both parents agree, your children can speak to a trained child consultant during the FDR process, through a process known as Child Inclusive Practice. This can help you to understand your children’s experience of the separation and their developmental needs. Read more about Child Inclusive Practice in our Hearing your child’s voice in FDR brochure.

What if I don’t want to speak directly to my former partner during FDR?

We also provide shuttle or shuttle telephone FDR, if this is assessed as being appropriate to your situation. During the shuttle process, you do not have to be in a room with, or speak directly to your former partner. The Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner moves between the parties as the issues are discussed. In a lawyer-assisted FDR process, if you have a lawyer, they can also negotiate on your behalf.

How much does FDR cost?

FDR can be more affordable than going to court or paying a lawyer.

We are a not-for-profit community organisation and our counselling and family dispute resolution services are only partially government funded, so fees are normally charged. However, we do try to make our services as affordable as possible.

Our fees are determined on a sliding scale, based on income. Please contact your nearest centre for more information.

What’s the difference between FDR and counselling?

FDR focuses on resolving disputes about particular issues, whereas the focus in counselling is on the relationship between the couple, whether that be before, during or after separation. Resolution of issues in FDR may have a beneficial effect on the parenting relationship after separation.

Sometimes during or after FDR, clients also choose to access our counselling service or relationship education groups, to support them through the process. You can talk to your FDR Practitioner, who can refer you to these services.

Is FDR confidential?

Everything disclosed during FDR is confidential, but there are exceptions in some circumstances. This could include if the client consents to disclosure, or if there is reasonable suspicion of or risk of child abuse, where it is considered that disclosure is necessary to protect a child from the risk of harm, to prevent or lessen a serious or imminent risk to the life or health of a person, or of damage to property.

Information exchanged during FDR cannot be used as evidence in Court in family law matters, except for an admission by an adult, or disclosure by a child, of child abuse or risk of abuse, which may be admitted as evidence.

Do FDR Practitioners provide legal advice?

No. FDR Practitioners may provide general legal information where appropriate, but do not provide specific legal advice about your situation. We strongly suggest you seek legal advice before, during and after FDR. A list of organisations that could help with this is available here.

Do you provide training in FDR?

Yes, if you are interested in a career in the FDR field, we provide both accredited training and shorter workshops in FDR. Find out more on our Training page.

 Relationship education FAQs

What is relationship education?

Relationship education courses and groups help you learn new skills to improve your situation, whatever that might be. They’re a chance to share experiences with people in similar circumstances and connect with others. Our relationship education courses cover many common areas of concern: parenting, family violence, marriage and commitment preparation, relationships, separation, programs for men, and programs for women.

Who can attend relationship education courses and groups?

This varies depending on the course. Some courses are designed for couples, others for individuals, and some involve an assessment beforehand to ensure that the course is suitable for you and your circumstances. Please see our individual course listings for more details.

How much do relationship education courses and groups cost?

This varies depending on the course. Please see our individual course listings for details of costs.

Do I need a referral?

You do not need a referral for our relationship education courses.

Some of our courses involve an assessment to make sure they’re right for you. Please see our individual course listings for more details.

Do you offer any relationship education courses online?

Yes, we offer Good Connecting Online, a free course to help you keep your relationships happy and stable.

Do you offer any culturally-specific courses?

Some of our courses are designed to meet the needs of specific cultural groups. Please contact your nearest centre for more information.

 Family Violence FAQs

Do you offer immediate, crisis support?

We do not offer crisis support. If you feel like you or your family are in immediate danger, call 000.

Specialist emergency support is available from:

How do I know if I’ve experienced family violence?

Family violence is destructive behaviour in an intimate relationship where one person tries to dominate and control the other. It can include physical, verbal, sexual, emotional, social, financial and spiritual abuse, as well as stalking. Read What is family violence? for more information.

If you are unsure if you are experiencing family violence, contact 1800Respect on 1800 737 732 to talk about what’s happening.

What family violence services do you provide for users of, and those affected by family violence?

Our family violence services include prevention and early intervention initiatives, men’s behaviour change programs and support and recovery programs for children, individuals and parents. More information can be found on our family violence services page.

What family violence support do you provide for partners and children affected by family violence?

Our whole-of-family approach to family violence services means we work with those who use violence, and those who experience it. We have dedicated staff who work to prioritise the safety of partners, former partners, children and family members of clients who have used family violence.

We have developed a Family Safety Model for working with people affected by family violence. Read about our Family Safety Model here.

More information on our family violence services, including support and recovery services, is available here.

How much do your family violence services cost?

This varies depending on the service. Please contact your nearest centre for details on costs of specific courses and services.

Do you provide training for professionals to respond to family violence?

Yes, we have a number of family violence-related training courses for professionals. Find out more on our Professional Development training page.

We also provide a range of family violence-related training and workshops to organisations, to provide targeted opportunities for employees to expand their knowledge and skills, and better support their staff, clients and customers. Find out more on our Workplace Training page.

 Working with us

Do you have any job vacancies at present?

We regularly list new employment opportunities at RAV on our website. Please refer to our Careers page for all current job vacancies.

Do you provide internships for students?

We actively support opportunities for internship placements for students undertaking courses at RAV.

We provide several opportunities each year for clinical internships, as a post-course option through our Specialist Course in Couple Therapy (SCCT). The SCCT is an accredited component of the Swinburne University Master of Social Science (Couple Counselling) at second year level. It can also be completed as a stand-alone, non-accredited course over five months (Semester 1). For more information, click here.

As part of our Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution (CHC81115), we offer internships in a supervised environment. Read more about the course here.

Do you accept volunteers?

Unfortunately, we do not take any students or volunteers, or offer any internships outside of our clinical internships at this time.

 Other FAQs

Can I copy the information on this website?

The information on this website is the property of RAV, unless specifically stated to be otherwise.

The material is subject to copyright protection unless otherwise stated. You may reproduce the content, free of charge for personal, non-commercial use, provided it is reproduced accurately, not used in a misleading context and attributed to RAV. If you are republishing the material or issuing it to others, you must acknowledge its source, copyright status and date of publication.

The permission to reproduce RAV copyright protected material does not extend to any material on this site that is identified as being the copyright of a third party. You must obtain authorisation to reproduce such material from the copyright holder concerned. You may not use the RAV logo without permission. Please contact us for more information.

How do I link to the RAV website?

You can let us know if you wish RAV to link to your website by contacting us via the form below. Each outbound link request is assessed for appropriateness for inclusion and will be included in a category of our choosing. Submitting a link on this form does not guarantee that it will be included, only that it will be assessed.

We reserve the right to refuse any link submitted for placement on our web site.

We reserve the right to refuse a request to place a link to our website on another website if that site has content that is not fitting or appropriate to our philosophy and values.

Procedure to Link to our website

Link Application Form