We have over 70 years’ experience supporting Victorians, and meeting the needs of our clients has always been the motivation for our organisation as we work to relieve suffering, distress and helplessness, and to enhance physical, social and emotional wellbeing.
We provide our services from 15 centres in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, as well as additional outreach locations.
Our focus is on providing high-quality, effective and accessible services for people with complex relationship issues, and delivering prevention services that lead to system-wide change that reduces the incidence of relationship problems.
Recognising the different needs of diverse members of our community, we are committed to ensuring that our services are relevant and accessible. This includes to those from vulnerable and disadvantaged, culturally and linguistically diverse, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, and to members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, asexual (LGBTIQA+) communities.
Our services are provided from 15 centres in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. Our corporate support team is based in Camberwell.
In 2018/19 we celebrated the 70th anniversary of Relationships Australia Victoria – a milestone in our history. The organisation has evolved significantly since our beginnings as the Marriage Guidance Council in 1948 and we're proud to have assisted more than half a million Victorians over our 70-year history.
View our short video which shows the driving forces behind the work of Relationships Australia and the importance of investing in all relationships.
RAV has its roots in the marriage guidance movement which was developed in Melbourne in 1948. The early organisers were community-spirited people, clergy, doctors and professionals and 'some persons of high social rank' in the philanthropic and charitable areas.
In the early years in Melbourne, 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 RAV's 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.
The late seventies and early eighties saw increasing professionalisation of services. This resulted in the recruitment of paid professional staff, the phasing out of trained volunteer counsellors, and the reluctant closure of some centres because of significantly increased costs.
The eighties and nineties was a period of growth through successful securing of government funding for new programs including the family dispute resolution services, specialist family violence services and counselling services for problem gambling.
In the 2000s, family law reform saw RAV undergo further growth. We successfully tendered for four Family Relationship Centres (FRCs).
In the last decade, RAV has continued to grow, introducing a range of new services including Redress Support Services, headspace Bairnsdale and online counselling. RAV has also increased provision of Men's Behaviour Change Programs (MBCPs) and Family Safety Contact Services, and is now the largest provider of these services in Australia.
From an organisation delivering primarily "marriage guidance", we have evolved to one that provides a diverse mixture of professional services to suit the needs of an increasingly complex and diverse community.
Structurally, RAV is part of a national federation of eight state and territory Relationships Australia organisations, which while being independent of each other, share common objectives.
Our highly-skilled and qualified employees are at the core of our success. This dedicated team professionals have expertise across the areas of counselling, family dispute resolution, family violence, skills development and training. Our frontline staff are supported by corporate services in a range of areas including human resources, financial management and administration, communications and marketing, and information technology. Together, we focus on ensuring our clients' needs are at the forefront of everything we do.