​How to become an Approved Counsellor

Victims Services is currently seeking professionals interested in providing Approved Counselling services to victims of crime. Interest from applicants who are based or willing to travel to rural NSW will be prioritised. Applicants must be fully registered as a psychologist with AHPRA, a member of the AASW or a member of the RANZCP.

The Approved Counselling Service provides free face to face counselling to victims of violent crimes that have occurred in NSW (section 31 Victims Rights and Support Act 2013).    

There is a list of Approved Counsellors on this website.

The counsellors with the Service are social workers, psychologists, clinical psychologists or psychiatrists in private practice who have proven experience in working with victims of crime. They are paid by Victims Services.

Current Rates of pay

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

Application

To apply to be a generalist counsellor please email Victims Services for a copy of the application.

Eligibility

Approved Counsellors must:

  • be a member of either 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 the counselling of victims of crime (within the past 12 months); and demonstrate currency in professional training and development in relation to counselling victims of crime; and
  • identify an ability to assess victims of crime and develop intervention plans.

Other conditions for the Approved Counsellor

In addition to meeting the approval criteria, counsellors must:

  • provide their own professional indemnity insurance
  • be available to see victims of crime within 48 hours of first contact for an initial assessment
  • agree to abide by their own professional code and the Code of Conduct for approved counsellors
  • sign a Statement of Fitness to Provide Counselling
  • agree to accept the government determined fee for approved counsellors
  • agree to abide by the decisions of the Commissioner of Victims Rights as to who is eligible for counselling
  • provide regular reports as required at pre-determined intervals
  • not receive payment from any other source for work undertaken on behalf of the Victims Services.

Applying to be a Specialist Counsellor

In order to be eligible to apply for accreditation as a Specialist Counsellor under the Approved Counselling Service, applicants MUST meet the following criteria:

  • Be fully registered as a psychologist with the Psychologist Board of Australia and have the area of practice endorsed.
  • Be a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers.
  • Have been an approved counsellor with the Approved Counselling Service for at least 12 months.

    AND must possess a Post Graduate Degree at the Masters level or higher in, or above, in an area deemed relevant by Victims Services including, but not limited to:
  • Social Work
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neuro Psychology
  • Counselling Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology

The Post Graduate Degree MUST include components of professional training and supervised experience and must be of at least two years full time duration or equivalent. Qualifications should be accredited by the appropriate body or deemed equivalent of an overseas qualification by the Australian professional body or registration body.

To apply to be a specialist counsellor please email Victims Services for a copy of the application.

Approval process

Your application will be considered by the Professional Advisory Panel which is convened on a regular basis to assist the Commissioner of Victims Rights, Victims Services. 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

After the Professional Advisory Panel has considered your application and made its recommendation to the Commissioner of Victims Rights, you will be advised in writing of the Commissioner's decision. Should you be successful, you will be sent a Counsellor handbook and also the signed copy of the Memorandum of Understanding for your information. At the same time, your name will be placed on the list of Approved Counsellors.

See also

Publications for service providers