How to become an Approved Counsellor

At this time, Victims Services are ONLY accepting applications from interested applicants who are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and/or
  • Based in, or willing to travel to certain areas in rural NSW including:
​Boggabilla​Goulburn​Nyngan
​Bourke​Grafton​Parkes
​Brewarrina​Kempsey​Scone
​Broken HillLightning Ridge​Walgett
​Cobar​Lithgow​West Wyalong
​Condobolin​Moree​White Cliffs
​Coonabarabran​Mudgee​Wilcannia
​​Coonamble​Muswellbrook​Wagga Wagga (males only)

Applicants must:

  • be fully registered as a psychologist with AHPRA, a member of the AASW or a member of the RANZCP.
  • demonstrate experience in Trauma Informed Practice and continuing professional development in this area.

Note: a requirement to be an Approved Counsellor is ongoing clinical supervision.
All new applicants are eligible to apply for Generalist Counsellor Status.

Rates of pay
Fees for the provision of counselling services provided under the Approved Counselling Service:

​Generalist Counsellor​$120/hr (plus GST)
​Specialist Counsellor​$144/hr (plus GST)
​Psychiatrists​$256/hr (plus GST)

Application process

  1. Assess your eligibility
  2. Apply online
  3. Review & approval of application
  4. Next steps

Assess your eligibility

Applicants must:

  • be a member of:
    - the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP); or
    - a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW); or
    - be fully registered as a psychologist, with the NSW Psychologist's Registration Board; and
  • demonstrate a minimum of two years experience as a registered provider in their profession; and
  • demonstrate currency in counselling victims of crime (within the past 2 years); and
  • demonstrate currency in professional training and development in relation to counselling victims of crime; and
  • qualify their ability to assess victim's of crime and develop intervention plans.

Apply online

Counsellors interested in applying to become an Approved Counsellor, are invited to review the Application for Approved Counsellors  (PDF, 453Kb) package and apply for the Deed of Agreement for Approved Counselling Services. The package includes information on operational requirements applicants will need to be able to support should they become registered to provide services under the Approved Counselling Service. A checklist is included in the package.

A completed application and your Deed of Agreement may be submitted as scanned documents and sent in via email attention to Coordinator Clinical Programs, or via post to:

Commissioner of Victims Rights
Victims Services
Locked Bag 5118
Parramatta NSW 2124

When to lodge applications:
Victims Services has three intake periods throughout the year to receive Approved Counsellor applications. The table outlines the key dates for lodgement, when review of applications will occur and notifying you of the decision. Victims Services will endeavour to finalise all decisions on completed applications by the end of the review period. Applications lodged outside of the intake periods will not be reviewed until the next intake period.

Lodgement / Intake periodReview period​Notification of outcome
​July - Aug 2017​Oct - Nov 2017​Dec 2017
​Feb - Mar 2018​May - Jun 2018​Aug 2018

Review and approval of applications

The review and approval of applications occurs over three stages.

First stage
Victims Services Clinical Programs reviews, identifies whether applicants have submitted sufficient information against the criteria. Clinical Programs provide comment on applications for the benefit of a second independent review undertaken by a nominated representative of the Professional Advisory Panel (PAP).

Second stage
The representative will assess the applicant's knowledge, skills and experience and make recommendations to the Commissioner of Victims Rights regarding appointment as an Approved Counsellor.

Membership of the Panel includes representatives from:

  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
  • Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Office, NSW Department of Health
  • Australian Association of Social Workers
  • Australian Psychological Society

Third stage
The Commissioner of Victims Rights has the final decision and provides direction taking into consideration the assessment and recommendations made by the PAP representative. The Commissioner may request further information, clarification or advice from applicants to make a final decision. Approval is provided for a set term of three years and may be subject to special conditions. All agreements are reviewed at the expiry of a term.

Next steps

Registration

If your application was successful, your practice details will be registered on the Approved Counselling Service directory. Based off your application, Victims Services will create a professional profile for you to assist Victims Services staff when making client referrals to you. Once a referral is made, your client will be provided with your contact details so he/she can contact you to request an initial appointment. You will also be notified in writing of any client referrals.

Victims Services is not able to guarantee client referrals to Approved Counsellors.

If your application was unsuccessful, you will receive specific feedback on your application and any area where you may need to develop your skills and knowledge. You may wish to reapply after a period of 12 months, for which time your application will be held on file.

Flexible service delivery for clients

Victims Services works with clients and Approved Counsellors to ensure flexible and responsive services are available to clients with varying needs.

While clients are attending counselling, they may also be working through their justice journey and may request support from Approved Counsellors with various facets of this journey, such as debriefing after contact with Police and other agencies in relation to the crime, or to a prepare Victims Impact Statement, or to provide court support. Some clients may require telephone counselling for a brief period, particularly where client's lifestyle may be in a period of transition, or those in rural or remote areas.

To facilitate these services, Approved Counsellors need to raise a request with the Coordinator Clinical Programs:
Phone: 1800 633 063
Email: vs@justice.nsw.gov.au.

A comprehensive overview of the various ways Approved Counsellors work with clients is provided in the Practice Standards for Approved Counsellors (PDF 5700Kb)

To facilitate appropriate referrals and responsive services, Approved Counsellors must notify Victims Services if there is a change to their practice location, contact information and availability. Updated information on the completion of relevant ongoing professional development and experience with different client groups is relevant to making appropriate client referrals.

Resources for Approved Counsellors

Practice Standards for Approved Counsellors (PDF 5700Kb)
Client feedback webpage
Initial Counselling Application form
Apply by email for:
Form to pre-approve travel expenses
Form to claim travel payment
Initial assessment and progress report templates
Frequently Asked Questions (PDF 100Kb)

Contact us

Further information may be obtained by contacting Victims Services Clinical Programs Team:
Phone: 1800 633 063
Email: vs@justice.nsw.gov.au

See also

Publications for service providers