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.


Safe Resolutions: New service to support Vietnamese families to resolve family law disputes

Please note: as of 1 July 2020, this service is no longer provided by Relationships Australia Victoria.

Safe Resolutions: New service to support Vietnamese families to resolve family law disputes

28 November 2017

Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) has been selected as the lead agency for a newly announced headspace centre in Bairnsdale in Victoria.
The new centre will provide early intervention mental health services to young people aged 12 to 25 years in East Gippsland. They will have access to free or low cost and confidential mental, general and sexual health services as well as education and employment, and alcohol and other drug support services. The comprehensive suite of services will include therapeutic, financial, and drug and alcohol counselling, psychiatric consultations, vocational guidance, help with job seeking and health and wellbeing services for Aboriginal young people.
With more than 68 years’ experience, RAV provides family and relationship support services to help Victorians to achieve positive, safe and respectful relationships.
RAV Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andrew Bickerdike, said RAV had a strong history of providing mental health services and supporting young people and families with issues affecting their wellbeing and relationships.
“We have established relationships with headspace centres in Hawthorn, Greensborough and Knox, and provide an existing family mental health support service for children and young people in East Gippsland,” Dr Bickerdike said. “We know how important early intervention mental health services are and we welcome the opportunity to continue to support young people in a dedicated way through the headspace centre in Bairnsdale.”
With a focus on meeting the local needs of the rural community, the centre will be supported by contract manager Gippsland Primary Health Network (PHN) and operated in partnership with a consortium of local services: Latrobe Regional Hospital, within Australia, Australian Community Support Organisation, Latrobe Community Health Service, Gippsland Lakes Community Health, MIND Australia, Gippsland & East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-Operative, and Advanced Personnel Management.
Ms Marianne Shearer, Chief Executive Officer of Gippsland PHN is excited to see the development of headspace in Bairnsdale. Ms Shearer said “it will be of great benefit for the community offering youth focussed mental health services. The East Gippsland community have passionately advocated for a service for their young people and it’s fantastic that we are able to assist it to come to fruition.”
Dr Bickerdike said that a Youth Advisory Group had also been established to enable young people to have direct input into the development of the centre and to ensure that the services are provided to young people in a welcoming, supportive, accessible and inclusive way.
“We’re pleased to have a group of enthusiastic and energetic young people involved in establishing the centre, and we look forward to working closely with these young people, our consortium members and the East Gippsland community in providing the headspace Bairnsdale centre.”
headspace has 95 centres currently operating across Australia and also operates an online and telephone service, eheadspace. More than 270,000 young Australians have come to headspace for support, guidance or help over the past 10 years.

Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) is leading a new pilot service supporting Vietnamese families through family law disputes, including those affected by family violence.

In partnership with a range of local services, RAV is providing free, legally-assisted and culturally appropriate family dispute resolution for Vietnamese families experiencing separation and divorce in western Melbourne.

The Safe Resolutions service, which is funded by the Attorney-General’s Department, aims to enhance access to proactive, educative and early intervention services including family dispute resolution, education sessions, legal representation and family violence support.

It involves Vietnamese-speaking program facilitators who understand cultural differences and translators trained in areas relating to family law and dispute resolution.

Safe Resolutions is delivered through RAV’s Sunshine Family Relationship Centre, in partnership with the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association, Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre and WEstjustice.

RAV’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andrew Bickerdike, said that RAV had extensive experience and expertise in providing family dispute resolution, and recognised the unique challenges faced by people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who are navigating through the family law system.

“We have more than 30 years’ experience supporting families to resolve their family law disputes,” Dr Bickerdike said.

“We recognise that people from diverse backgrounds may encounter additional challenges when faced with family law difficulties, particularly as a result of language barriers, limited knowledge and awareness of our justice or support systems, including court processes, and cultural differences.”

Existing culturally specific services are highly trusted by communities, however do not specialise in legal or family violence issues. The Safe Resolutions service is enabling RAV to partner with these valued services to provide a comprehensive, culturally appropriate service for separating families.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with other local organisations to provide this important service that will help members of the Vietnamese community to reach fair, safe and sustainable agreements.”

Dr Bickerdike also stated that separating and divorcing clients were often affected by family violence.

“Family violence is regrettably common in family law disputes. For this reason, it is vital that services are available to support families to safely participate in family dispute resolution, where appropriate.”

The Safe Resolutions pilot commenced in September and will run for two years.

Safe Resolutions is one of eight pilot services in Australia, funded by the Commonwealth Government as part of the Third Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. For more information visit

Media Contact:
Fiona White
Senior Manager Western Region
Ph: 0447 490 004

Download a PDF copy of this media release.