Financial Counsellors Supporting Family Violence Victims

The Andrews Labor Government’s specialist family violence financial counselling service has helped more than 1100 victims across Victoria since October.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz today visited the Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service in St Albans, where family violence financial counsellors have so far supported 44 women living in the Brimbank and Melton areas.

In September 2016, the Labor Government announced $1.75 million to train and employ 10 full-time family violence financial counsellors at 14 agencies across the state.

The counsellors help vulnerable women access financial hardship programs and negotiate with creditors and debt collectors to protect assets from repossession.

Family violence perpetrators can trap their victims in violent relationships by taking control of their victim’s money – making them financially dependent on their abuser.

Funding for family violence financial counsellors is provided as part of Consumer Affairs Victoria’s Financial Counselling Program (FCP) – a free, independent and confidential phone or face-to-face service delivered by community agencies across Victoria.

The FCP includes 74 full-time equivalent counsellors and is supported by the National Debt Helpline website and telephone service.

The family violence financial counselling service is a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, and is part of the Labor Government’s unprecedented investment in addressing Victoria’s number one law and order issue.

Victorians experiencing financial difficulty can contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or visit moneyhelp.org.au for information and advice.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz

“We’re the first state Government in Australia to fund financial counsellors specifically for family violence victims – an initiative that is already improving the lives of those who need it most.”

“Good Shepherd clients are dealing with a range of issues, including abusive partners incurring fines in their name and utility debts after moving home.”

“The Andrews Labor Government’s family violence financial counselling program is helping victims leave abusive relationships and rebuild their lives.”