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 18 locations in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, as well as additional outreach sites.
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 18 locations 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 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 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.
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 RAV 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 to provide a range of professional family and relationship services which extend well beyond our original marriage guidance origins.
We provide counselling for individuals, couples and families, including children. We are one of the largest providers of family dispute resolution in Australia, including through our four Family Relationship Centres for which we successfully tendered in the mid to late-2000s.
RAV delivers a wide range of relationship education services and support young people in East Gippsland through three headspace services in Bairnsdale, Sale, and Wonthaggi, and our i-Connect Family Mental Health Support Service.
We offer workplace services and professional training, including a Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution CHC81115 and a Graduate Diploma of Relationship Counselling CHC81015 (with a Focus on Family Violence), delivered through our Registered Training Organisation.
We also provide a specialist Forced Adoption Support Service, a Redress Support Services for those considering making an application or needing assistance with an application for the National Redress Scheme, and a Disability Counselling and Support service for people affected by violence and abuse and those impacted by the Disability Royal Commission.
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.