All about counselling                  

Becoming a victim of crime can be a distressing life event. It can help victims of crime to know that what they are feeling may be normal reactions to an abnormal event. Many of these reactions may fade over a period of weeks, although some might last longer. Victims can cope in different ways.

The Approved Counselling Service (ACS) provides free individual counselling to people who have become victims of violent crime that occurred in NSW.

The ACS is available to family members of homicide victims, people who are in violent relationships and people who have experienced recent or past violence. It is not necessary for a victim to report the violence to another person or agency. While the service is a state-wide service, Victims Services has appointed counsellors in other states and territories and also overseas to work with clients.

People interested in accessing counselling may apply online, or discuss their needs with a Support Coordinator through Victims Access Line.

The ACS aims to assist victims recover from the psychological and emotional impacts the crime has had on them.

Counselling is provided on a short-term basis of up to 22 hours, with a clear focus on rehabilitation. While recovery responses are generally positive for victims who access counselling soon after the incident has occurred, people who have been victims of events many years earlier can find several benefits through counselling. This includes those people who have been too afraid to open up about the incident before, or who feel they were not understood by others when they previously tried to.

To learn more about how counselling could benefit you or someone you know, please review Victims Services Counselling and Support publications.

Counsellors approved to provide services under the ACS are social workers, psychologists, clinical psychologists, and psychiatrists in private practice who have proven experience working with victims of crime and in using evidenced- based practices in sessions. Clients may ask counsellors to support them through their justice journey. This support could be in many forms, for example providing counselling in preparation for reporting a crime to police, support to attend court, and assistance with preparing a victims impact statement.

For information on how to choose an Approved Counsellor, and the professional requirements and standards Approved Counsellors must meet, please review  the  How to find an Approved Counsellor webpage.

The ACS is available to people of all ages and backgrounds. As a therapeutic intervention, counselling is generally effective for persons aged 4 years old and above.


Victims Access Line
1800 633 063

Aboriginal Contact Line 1800 019 123