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Free counselling is available to primary, family and secondary victims of an act of violence.
An initial 22 hours is available to primary, secondary victims and family victims and relevant family members.
Once the allocation of hours is used, further hours can be approved where the victim and counsellor agree to this course and exceptional reasons are evident or the applicant was a victim of child sexual assault or child abuse.
Becoming a victim of crime can be a distressing life event. The feelings victims experience 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.
For more information on reactions to becoming a victim of crime and ways to cope with the effects it can cause go to the reactions following a crime page.
The Approved Counselling Service (ACS) provides free individual counselling to people who have become victims of violent crime that occurred in NSW and aims to assist victims recover from the psychological and emotional impacts the crime has had on them. The ACS is available to people of all ages and backgrounds.
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.
Approved Counsellors under the ACS 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 and are available in the metropolitan and most rural and regional areas in NSW. While the service is a state-wide service, Victims Services has approved counsellors in other states and territories and also overseas.
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. A victim does not need to report the violence to another person or agency to access counselling.
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 page.
You are eligible to receive free counselling from an Approved Counsellor if you are psychologically, emotionally and/or have been physically injured:
Click the link for information on how to apply for counselling or discuss your needs with the Client Service Team through the Victims Access Line.