Australia (nationwide)

Child and family Service and Child FIRST

Placing children and youth first, the Every Child Every Chance reforms provide professionals working within the sector more effective processes to:

  • listen to what children and young people want and need
  • enable earlier intervention
  • reduce child abuse and neglect
  • provide better support to Aboriginal children, young people and their families
  • work together in cooperation with other providers of children, young people and family services.

If you or someone you know needs support in your family or you would just like to discuss concerns you have for a child, call the Child FIRST service in you local area for a chat. If you believe that a child is in need of protection but you’re not sure your concerns meet the child protection threshold, call Child FIRST for a confidential consultation.

 

For more information visit:

http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/590110/child_FIRST_fact_sheet_PRINT.pdf

  • Cost: Free
  • Referrals: Yes
  • 24 Hours: No
  • Outreach: Yes
  • Walk-ins: Yes
  • Appointments: Yes
  • Lower Hume (Seymour): 1300 855 614
  • Goulburn Valley (Shepparton): 1300 854 944
  • Central Hume (Wangaratta): 1800 705 211
  • Upper Hume (Wodonga): 1800 705 211

Child Protection Services

What do child protection services provide

Child Protection provides child-centred, family-focused services to protect children and young people from significant harm caused by abuse or neglect within the family. It also aims to make sure that children and young people receive services to deal with the affect of abuse and neglect on their wellbeing and development.

The role of the Child Protection Service is to:

  • Receive reports from people who believe a child needs protection from abuse or neglect.
  • Provide advice to people who report cases of abuse or neglect.
  • Investigate when a child is believed to have been abused or is at risk of abuse or neglect.
  • Refer children and families to services in the community for ongoing support and harm prevention.
  • Take matters to the Children’s Court if the child’s safety within the family cannot be guaranteed.
  • Supervise children on legal orders granted by the Children’s Court.

Mandatory reporting of child abuse

Some professionals such as doctors, nurses, police and school teachers are legally obliged to report suspected child abuse. In addition, any person who believes on reasonable grounds that a child needs protection can make a report to the Victorian Child Protection Service. It is the Child Protection worker’s job to assess and, where necessary, further investigate if a child or young person is at risk of significant harm.

Further information can be found on Reporting child abuse or Making a referral to Child FIRST. To access their website, click here.

 

  • Cost: Free
  • Referrals: Yes
  • 24 Hours: Yes
  • Outreach: Yes
  • Walk-ins: Yes
  • Appointments: Yes
  • Hume Region (free call): 1800 650 227
  • After Hours (Victoria): 131 278
  • Wangaratta Office: 0357 220555
  • Wodonga Office: 0260 557777
  • Shepparton Office: 0358 321500
  • Seymour Office: 0357 936400

There are a range of services in our community that aim to support families and protect children. These can be categorised into three levels:

  • Universal (primary) services – are offered to everyone in the community. They include antenatal services (pregnancy counselling and advice), maternal and child health services, and preschool education. These services aim to provide support and help to prevent abuse and neglect.
  • Secondary services – identify and reduce the personal and social stresses on parents that may lead to family breakdown or child abuse. Services include in-home family help, financial or family counselling, respite care, and various parenting and self-help groups.
  • Tertiary (statutory) services – are for children who are or may be at risk of significant harm, and for whom intervention is needed for their ongoing safety. These services include the statutory Child Protection Service and Placement Service for children who are unable to live at home. Generally, where families are experiencing difficulties, it is more appropriate that less intrusive community-based professionals and agencies attempt to assist. Referral to the Child Protection Service occurs only where children and young people are at risk of significant harm.

Consumer Action Law Centre

Free legal advice helpline, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. 1800 466 477

    • Cost: Free
    • Referrals: No
    • 24 Hours: No
    • Outreach: No
    • Walk-ins: No
    • Appointments: No
    • Main Contact: 1300 558 181

    Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault National Help Line

    Telephone counselling for females and males specialising in domestic violence and sexual assault which is available in all regions nation wide.

    1800 737 732

      • Cost: Free
      • Referrals: No
      • 24 Hours: Yes
      • Outreach: No
      • Walk-ins: No
      • Appointments: No
      • Free Call: 1800 737 732

      This service provides over the phone counselling on sexual assault and domestic violence. They are also able to provide referrals to allow you to book appointments at local agencies to seek further help.

      Family Law Courts National Enquiry Centre

      General information about family law court procedures, Family Law Court forms and publications, referrals to legal advice.  The National Enquiry Centre operates telephone and email information services (except in WA) for the Courts

      Opening Hours:
      8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday

        • Cost: Free
        • Referrals: Yes
        • 24 Hours: No
        • Outreach: No
        • Walk-ins: No
        • Appointments: No

        Services include:

        • general information about family law court procedures
        • general information about applying to the Family Law Courts
        • general procedural information about your case
        • family law forms and publications,
        • referrals to legal advice and other services in the family law system, and
        • copies of divorce certificates and orders.

        Immigrant Women’s Domestic Violence Service Hotline

        Immigrant Women’s Domestic Violence Service (IWDVS) gives voice and provides culturally sensitive services, in Victoria, to meet the needs of women and children from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds affected by domestic violence. It is free for immigrant women and families in situations of family violence and provides linguistic support in over 20 languages. You can call Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm.

        • Cost: Free
        • Referrals: No
        • 24 Hours: No
        • Outreach: No
        • Walk-ins: No
        • Appointments: No
        • Public Line: 03 8413 6800
        • Rural Women ring: 1800 755 988
        • Phone Interpreter Service: 131 450
        • TTY: 133 677

        The hotline provides culturally sensitive risk assessment, court assistance, information, support, advocacy and referral to women and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in situations of domestic violence.

         

        Kid’s Help Line

        Counselling line for children and young people aged 5-18 years, email and web counselling.counselling across all regions Australia wide.

        Free call 24/7 – 1800 55 1800

        • Cost: Free
        • Referrals: Yes
        • 24 Hours: Yes
        • Outreach: No
        • Walk-ins: No
        • Appointments: No
        • Free call: 1800 55 1800

        Lifeline

        Lifeline provides access to crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support services

        24/7 phone crisis counselling service for all regions across Australia

        131 114

        • Cost: Free
        • Referrals: Yes
        • 24 Hours: Yes
        • Outreach: No
        • Walk-ins: No
        • Appointments: No
        • Lifeline: 131114

        Lifeline’s National Services:

        •  24 Hour Telephone Crisis Support – 13 11 14
        • Online Crisis Support Chat
        • Service Finder – free directory of local health and community services
        • Mental Health Resource Centre
        • DValert – Domestic Violence Response Training
        • National Cannabis Information and Helpline

        Local Community Services:

        A range of services are provided through local Lifeline Centres across Australia that meets the needs of local communities. These services may include:

        • Suicide prevention and bereavement services
        • Face-to-face counselling
        • Financial counselling
        • Gambling counselling
        • Youth services
        • Disability services
        • Welfare programs
        • Rural outreach
        • Migrant support services
        • Family and mediation services
        • Counselling services for children
        • School based education programs
        • Information education and support groups
        • Indigenous support services

        Men’s Line Australia

        MensLine Australia is the national telephone and online support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns. The helpline is available from anywhere in Australia and is staffed by professional counsellors, experienced in men’s issues. Through our dedicated  counselling services, available through a range of ways, MensLine provides:

        • A safe and private place to talk about concerns;
        • Confidential, anonymous and non-judgmental support;
        • Coaching and practical strategies for managing personal relationship concerns;
        • Relevant information and linkage to other appropriate services and programs as required.
        • Cost: Free
        • Referrals: Yes
        • 24 Hours: Yes
        • Outreach: No
        • Walk-ins: No
        • Appointments: No

        MensLine Australia offers a range of free, professional counselling and support services for men across a range of modalities:

        • Open line – an immediate, single-session discussion and support available 24/7
        • Call back service – ongoing support through a series of up to six follow-up telephone counselling sessions with the same counsellor
        • Arabic call back service – culturally appropriate ongoing support for Australia’s Arabic community
        • Online counselling – text-based counselling available through the MensLine Australia website
        • Video counselling – face-to-face counselling available via Skype for men in rural and remote Australia
        • Assisted referrals – referring services or agencies who have established protocols with MensLine Australia can assist their clients to link directly with the MensLine service via a real-time warm-link transfer or email.

        Men’s Referral Service

        Anonymous, free, confidential referral service by men for men, about their anger or violence towards their partner or family and relationship issues.

        Free call Monday to Tuesday noon to 9pm: 1800 065 973 or (03) 9428 2899

        • Cost: Free
        • Referrals: Yes
        • 24 Hours: No
        • Outreach: No
        • Walk-ins: No
        • Appointments: No
        • Free Call: 1800 065 973
        • Secondary Contact: (03) 9428 2899

        The Men’s Referral Service primarily provides a telephone counselling service for:

        • men who might be using violent and controlling behaviour towards a partner or family member
        • women wishing to find information about male family violence for their partners or for themselves
        • friends, family or colleagues of people who are either using or experiencing family violence
        • professionals wishing to support a male or female client

        No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)

        NILS-270x260

        The No Interest Loan Scheme provides interest free loans for individuals or families on a low income. NILS is a community based program that enables eligible people to access fair, safe and equitable credit for the purchase of goods and services. NILS loans are generally for the purchase of essential household items. The NILS program in conjunction with National Australia Bank also offers the Adds Up Scheme which encourages and supports individuals to establish regular savings habits.

        The scheme can be accesed through Women’s Health Goulburn North East

        Eligibility includes women who are :

        • Living in the Hume region and have experienced DV recently.
        • Willing to be in contact with a DV service.
        • On a low income.
        • Interested in developing financial confidence and understanding.

        Loan purchase may include:

        Fridge, washing machine, medical procedure, educational one off costs.

        Loans are for up to $2000.

        Loans are available in the Hume region which includes the following shires: Rural City of Wangaratta, Rural City of Benalla, City of Wodonga, City of Greater Shepparton, Strathbogie Shire, Moira Shire, Murrindindi Shire, Towong Shire, Alpine Shire, Mansfield Shire and the Mitchell Shire

          • Referrals: No
          • 24 Hours: No
          • Outreach: No
          • Walk-ins: No
          • Appointments: No
          • Women's Health Goulburn North East: (03) 5722 3009

          Rape Crisis Centre – NSW.

          New South Wales Rape Crisis Centre provides the 24/7 telephone and online crisis counselling service for anyone in Australia who has experienced or is at risk of sexual assault, family or domestic violence and their non offending supporters.

          Counselling services for women who were sexually assaulted in childhood are also available from Women’s Health Centres across NSW. The Centre is committed to upholding the rights of all people to live in a socially just, equitable and non violent society.

          Free Call 1800 424 017

          • Cost: Free
          • Referrals: Yes
          • 24 Hours: Yes
          • Outreach: No
          • Walk-ins: No
          • Appointments: No
          • NSW Rape Crisis Centre (free call): 1800 424 017
          • National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence (free call): 1800 737 732

          For those who have experienced sexual assault, family or domestic violence

          The service, which is staffed by experienced and qualified trauma counsellors, can assist with:

          • Understanding and managing the immediate and ongoing impacts of experiencing sexual assault, family or domestic violence,
          • Achieving safety,
          • Making decisions about what to do, and
          • Information about Police, accessing counselling, accommodation, legal and other services in the local area

          For non offending family members and friends

          Counsellors can also provide support for non offending family members and friends. This may include assistance with understanding and manage their own response to having someone they care about experiencing violence and working with them to develop strategies to best assist that person.

          For Professionals

          Professionals can contact the Service for:

          • Debrief after assisting someone who has experienced sexual assault, family or domestic violence,
          • Support for their clients while they are annual leave,
          • Out of hours support for clients who are at a stage in their recovery where 24/7 support will assist, and/or
          • Clinical consultation.

          Online Service

          Sometimes making the first contact can be difficult. Rape Crisis Online services offer an alternative way to access initial information and support. The Online service is a one to one, in real time ‘chat’ with a Centre counsellor.

          Sexual Assault Helpline

          The Sexual Assault Crisis Line Victoria (SACL) is a state-wide, after-hours, confidential, telephone crisis counselling service for victim/survivors of both past and recent sexual assault.

          SACL operates between 5pm weeknights through to 9am the next day and throughout weekends and public holidays.

          Free call the crisis line on 1800 806 292

          • Cost: Free
          • Referrals: Yes
          • 24 Hours: Yes
          • Outreach: No
          • Walk-ins: No
          • Appointments: No

          The Sexual Assault Crisis Line provides:
          • crisis counselling, support and advocacy to victim/survivors
          • information about the impacts and myths of sexual assault and abuse
          • information about legal rights
          • referrals to appropriate services for ongoing support
          • support to non-offending family/friends
          • provides consultation and debriefing to other professionals.

          Victoria Legal Aid Helpline

          They help people with their legal problems, with focus on protecting the rights of Victorians and representing those who need it the most.

          Victoria Legal Aid provide free legal information and education to all Victorians, with a focus on prevention and early resolution of legal problems. We prioritise more intensive legal services such as legal advice and representation for people who meet eligibility criteria, based on their financial situation, the nature and seriousness of their problem and their individual circumstances.

          Call 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8.45 am to 5.15 pm.

          They have a Shepparton Office which provides some duty lawyer services and advice.

          • Cost: Free
          • Referrals: Yes
          • 24 Hours: No
          • Outreach: No
          • Walk-ins: Yes
          • Appointments: Yes
          • Shepparton Office: 36–42 High Street
            Shepparton
            VIC
            3630
          • Victoria (freecall): 1300 792 387
          • Shepparton Office: (03) 5823 6200
          • Shepparton Office: shepparton@via.vic.gov.au

          Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Hotline

          The Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service (WDVCS) is the region-wide not-for-profit service for women and children experiencing violence and abuse from a partner or ex-partner, another family member or someone close to them.

          The WDVCS is staffed by women and you can call confidentially 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 1800 015 188

          • Cost: Free
          • Referrals: Yes
          • 24 Hours: Yes
          • Outreach: No
          • Walk-ins: No
          • Appointments: No
          • Victoria (Free Call): 1800 015 188
          • New South Wales (Free Call): 1800 656 463
          • TTY (Free Call): 1800 671 442
          • Email Adress: admin@wdvcs.org.au

          The service provides emergency accommodation, a free 24-hour crisis line, outreach services, advocacy, referral, and information and support services to enable women and children to become – and stay – free from violence.

          Victoria – Service providing information, support & referral, for women by women.

          New South Wales – Crisis counselling/referral provided for partner violence.

           

           

          Women’s Legal Services Victoria

          Women’s Legal Services Victoria operate a free and confidential Legal Advice Line for women in Victoria who need legal advice, information or referral – regardless of income or assets. We offer women the opportunity to speak confidentially with a female lawyer about legal issues arising from relationship breakdown and violence against women.

          Free call – 1800 133 302

          Hours of operation

          Monday 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

          Tuesday 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

          Wednesday 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

          Thursday 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

          • Cost: Free
          • Referrals: Yes
          • 24 Hours: No
          • Outreach: No
          • Walk-ins: No
          • Appointments: No

          We specialise in legal issues arising from relationship breakdown and violence against women. This means that we assist women with issues such as:

          •  Separation and divorce
          • Children living with and spending time with their parents (this used to be called “custody and access” or “residence and contact”)
          • Division of property after separation
          • Protection from family violence and personal safety (intervention orders)
          • Victims of crime applications