Frontline Counselling Service
In October 2019 RA Tas successfully tendered to provide Frontline Counselling Services for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (the Disability Royal Commission). This Commission had been established in April 2019 in response to community concern about widespread reports of violence against, and the neglect, abuse and exploitation of, people with disability.
Frontline Counselling Services respond to an identified need to support the people that are involved in the process of providing information, evidence, and insights to the Commission. This includes an individual with disability, and their partners, family members, carers and support workers. The service also addresses a co-identified need to provide counselling and support for people with disability who have experienced abuse, violence, neglect or exploitation regardless of whether they proceed with the Commission or not.
The aim of the service is to provide trauma informed counselling, as well as support through provision of information and/or warm referrals to other essential services such as housing, financial or medical support and assistance.
We ensure the service is sensitive and accessible to all people, and language or disability are not barriers to accessing it.
Relationships Australia Tasmania also provides support and information about our partner services, such as legal and advocacy services, that can further assist with submissions to the Commission.
The counselling service aims to provide these services by meeting people where they’re at, finding alternative accessible options when needed, and providing an individualised approach to each person depending on their needs. We ensure the service is sensitive and accessible to all people, and language or disability are not barriers to accessing it. Aspects of the service which will be made available include:
- Accessible, client focussed and trauma-informed counselling (1-2-hour sessions as appropriate) tailored to meet specific client needs;
- Access to interpreting or cultural translation services;
- Supported referrals to support services in areas such as legal, financial, advocacy and psychological;
- Social and practical supports such as referral or collaboration with housing, health, aged care and mental health services;
- Referrals from and liaison with the Royal Commission;
- Medium term support, with referral to other agencies for intensive or longer-term provision as relevant.
Support for clients is open-ended in recognition that the effects of trauma cannot necessarily be addressed in a linear fashion. Client cases are not closed unless a client specifically requests this. This approach enables clients to access the service on an ongoing basis without needing to re-tell their stories or re-provide information.
Since this service commenced in January 2020 client numbers have steadily grown even despite the impact of COVID-19.
Since this service commenced in January 2020 client numbers have steadily grown even despite the impact of COVID-19. Relationships with key advocacy groups and other relevant stakeholders have also grown and strengthened, which is in turn enabling the customisation of the service to individual client needs. We are already gathering success stories and seeing the positive effect for clients from the support the service offers. The service is a great example of our RA Tas values at work.