General

What are my rights regarding my children in separated parenting (previously known as 'custody')?

Perhaps the best way to think about rights is to look at Children’s rights to know their parent’s and extended families, to be well supported and to enjoy their childhood in peace and safety. Parents and Grandparents have responsibilities to achieve these child outcomes.

RAQ offers help in the form of a Family Dispute Resolution process. This involves a screening process called an Intake and mediation between parents if appropriate. At Family Relationship Centres a group information session will be offered as well and Child Consultants may be involved where appropriate and agreed.

What are the fees and charges for your service/s?

A number of our services are free.

We are a not-for-profit community organisation and only partially funded by the government, so fees are normally charged. However, we do try to make our services as affordable as possible.

Our fees for counselling are $75 or $35 for concession card holders for a 1 hour counselling session.

Family Dispute Resolution Sessions are $35.00 per party for the intake session and $75.00 per party.

If you are unable to afford this, we have fee reduction available to all our clients.

We also offer a number of our services at no cost to the client, call 1300 364 277 to find out more.

Relationships, Relationship Counselling

What are the benefits of Relationship Counselling?
  • Help you to identify patterns in your relationship
  • Help recognise the factors which are contributing to misunderstandings
  • Help improve communication
  • Help manage differences and explore possibilities
  • Help address issues around managing conflict, affairs, parenting, sexual difficulties, loss and grief and separation
Who is relationship counselling for?

Relationship Counselling can assist you if you are:

  • Preparing to be in a relationship
  • Starting a relationship
  • Wanting to make your relationship stronger
  • Having relationship difficulties
Do you offer pre-marriage counselling/support?

Our FOCCUS Couples Education short program is often referred to as our ‘pre-marriage’ counselling, although is suitable for any committed couples.
We offer a range of relationship courses, both for couples, and those wishing to enter a new relationship. Please see our Courses page for more details.

Relationships

What happens at counselling?

You are encouraged to explore your feelings and emotions in a safe place where problems and issues can be understood. Counselling can help you gain clarity, exploring a wide range of possibilities, options and the possible consequences of actions. People report feeling supported, acknowledged, respected and valued throughout the counselling process.

What is the Building Better Relationships Course?

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Relationships, My Partner, Relationship Counselling

What if my partner doesn’t want to come?

You can access counselling on your own and this will ultimately impact on your partner, as change in one person in a relationship will also affect the other.  Also sometimes when one person accesses counselling, their partner can see the positive change and can be encouraged to attend.

Families

What is the definition of a family?

Typically when we think of families, the traditional nuclear and extended family who are biologically related may come to mind. However, a family can be made up of anyone a person considers to be their family. A family shares emotional bonds, common values, goals and responsibilities. Family members contribute significantly to the wellbeing of each other.

When a family includes children, one or more adults may take on an involved role in the child’s life and become a parent or carer. Parents and carers may not necessarily be biologically related to the child or even live with the child all the time. A child may have one or several parents or carers. In addition to their biological parents, this could include grandparents, step-parents, aunts and uncles, foster parents, adoptive parents, and any other person who fulfils a significant portion of the parenting and caregiving for the child.

Children’s Contact Service information  (locations and wait times)

[TBC – Susan Iddon]

What are healthy family relationships?

Healthy family relationships help all members of a family feel safe and connected to one another. Family relationships sometimes involve conflict, which is a normal part of family life. Conflicts can occur between adults, children or adults and children. Some examples of conflicts could be disagreements about household chores, parenting decisions, house rules or siblings wanting to watch different TV shows or not wanting to share toys. It is important that these conflicts are dealt with in a safe and respectful way. Healthy family relationships also mean that positive interactions between family members outnumber the difficult times.

Why are healthy family relationships important?

The relationships we experience with the people around us have a great influence on our wellbeing. Strong, positive relationships help us build trust and feel supported. Having people around us who can share positive and difficult times can also help us manage stress when things become tough.

Children first learn about relationships from their own families. Families give them a model from which they start to discover how to build relationships throughout their lives. Children who have a model of healthy relationships from their families are better able to create these relationships outside their families, with the other children and adults in their lives. When children learn the skills of building positive relationships, they can practise these skills over and over again as they meet new people. For example, when parents say "thank you" to children when they help out, then children are more likely to say "thank you" when their peers or other adults do something for them.

Children also feel safe when they know that their family members love and will protect one another. A warm and safe family environment helps children learn, develop and experience what strong relationships look like.

See the CHILDREN AND FAMILY ADVICE section for suggestions on some ways to improve your family relationships.

What happens when someone breaches a Parenting Order?

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Separation

Do you do mediation at Spring Hill?

Currently mediation is not offered at RAQ’s Spring Hill venue. The nearest RAQ mediation service northbound is at Chermside. The nearest mediation service southbound is at the Mt Gravatt Family Relationships Centre.

For the Support Children after Separation Program (SCaSP), do both parents have to give consent for a child to attend?

Yes, we do require consent from both parents.

For the Support Children after Separation Program (SCaSP), do both parents have to attend the intake session?

Yes, both parents need to attend, and no individual intake sessions can be arranged.

Do I need a certificate before going to court?

Some separated/separating people who have experienced domestic violence can apply directly to the Family Court of Australia.

  • Discuss with your lawyer or social worker whether the domestic violence should indicate a direction application.

Many people find that, by using FDR involving mediation, they can work out post-separation plans. They don’t need a certificate.

  • Plans can involve a property settlement and children’s arrangements. A certificate is not required but can be issued “just in case” [Section 60i].

A few people find that, for a variety of reasons, they have to begin Family Court action.

  • A section 60i Certificate (Family Law Act Regulation) indicates to a magistrate/judge that mediation didn’t occur/shouldn’t occur/did occur orwas halted.

Cancel my appointment please, I don’t want anything to do with the other party.

A service called FDR41 (Family Dispute Resolution for One) is offered at a select number of RAQ venues where trained mediators work with one person and the conflict they have.

Interstate or overseas travel with children of separated parents?

RAQ has trained Child Consultants at Family Relationship Centres who may be able to assist you with that question, and various programs contain opportunities for children to work through their feelings after separation. Please contact us on 1300 364 277 for details of how to arrange this for your child. If you are interested in the law’s view on children travelling interstate and overseas RAQ always suggests that you seek legal advice from a family lawyer. RAQ is not a legal office.

Parents and Grandparents rights regarding separating parents, child care/contact

Perhaps the best way to think about rights is to look at Children’s rights to know their parent’s and extended families, to be well supported and to enjoy their childhood in peace and safety. Parents and Grandparents have responsibilities to achieve these child outcomes.

Separation is a social fact that only you can confirm in your own situation. RAQ offers separation help in the form of a Family Dispute Resolution process. This involves a screening process called an Intake and mediation if appropriate. At Family Relationship Centres a group information session will be offered as well and child consultants may be involved where appropriate and agreed. A large group of Australians separate and negotiate their own arrangements. There is no legal requirement to do more.

How do I get a divorce?

Separation and divorce are different but offer related things.

Just as marriage is a legal contract, divorce is the legal dissolution of that contract. A family lawyer can assist you with a divorce application. RAQ is not a legal office.

Separation may require meetings to work out arrangements for raising children and dividing property and possessions.

RAQ Family Dispute Practitioners (mediators) are trained to work with separated people.

Book an Appointment

For more information or to make an appointment please call us on 1300 364 277.

I have to work some things out with my ex

RAQ Family Dispute Practitioners (mediators) are trained to work with separated people.

  • Family Dispute Practitioners at RAQ use mediation because it offers a safe, confidential, respectful model for separated people who have unresolved disputes.

Some separated people need to settle their property and possessions.

  • Property settlements at RAQ venues may occur if no children are involved. At Family Relationship Centres , children must be involved.

Some separated people who are parents need to make plans about how children will be raised in separate households.

Some separated people need to work on both.

  • Family mediators always suggest that you seek independent legal, financial, and any other advice to help the mediation discussion clarify.

  • Generally Family Mediators would suggest that if children’s matters are involved that the meetings should prioritise them over property and finances.

We need to work out a plan for raising our children

Some separated people rely on goodwill and regular communication to raise their children from separate households.

  • RAQ thinks that the parenting and other arrangements that separated people make themselves is the most powerful agreement of all, although legal power is not involved.

Some separated people use Family Dispute Resolution, which involves mediation, to arrive at agreements about children and property.

  • Family Relationship Centres can offer family dispute resolution, which involves mediation for parents and grandparents. RAQ venues offer very similar services for anyone in the community who is in dispute including those without children.

Parenting Plans in legal definition mean the agreements parents make themselves for raising their children but signed and dated by each parent to provide evidence of consent.

  • If a parenting plan breaks down, parents can return to re-mediate the plan or a magistrate will see the efforts made so far, if parents go to court.

RAQ mediators offer a safe and confidential setting for people to identify problems and conflicts they have to work on.

How do I fill out consent orders?

Consent Orders around children or property or both are legal processes where the Court formally acknowledges that people have agreed to certain plans and settlements. RAQ always encourages clients to seek legal advice around legal matters. RAQ is not a legal office. Our mediators may have legal backgrounds but cannot give legal advice.

Separation… Mediation… Divorce. What’s the difference?

Separation is a social fact that only you can confirm in your own situation. RAQ offers separation help in the form of a Family Dispute Resolution process. This involves a screening process called an Intake and mediation if appropriate. At Family Relationship Centres a group information session will be offered as well and child consultants may be involved where appropriate and agreed. A large group of Australians separate and negotiate their own arrangements. There is no legal requirement to do more.

A small group of Australians make representations to the family court but generally they would need a Section 60i certificate to indicate that mediation was attempted. The type of Section 60i certificate indicates to a magistrate or judge what occurred in the attempt to mediate. Divorce is the legal dissolution of the marriage contract. RAQ always encourages clients to seek legal advice around legal matters. RAQ is not a legal office.

As a separated parent how old does my child have to be to decide where they want to live?

RAQ has trained Child Consultants at Family Relationship Centres who may be able to assist you with that question, and at several venues, RAQ offers counselling and support to children over the age of six whose families have/are experiencing separation. Contact us on 1300 364 277 for more information about how we can help your family manage this challenging time.

My partner has not returned the kids/ they have taken the kids and shot through, I don’t know what to do?

The safety of the child is always paramount, so if this is a crisis situation it is important to call the Police on emergency 000

If this is an ongoing/repeated situation, which is NOT considered an immediate crisis, some of our clients in this situation invite their former partners into a Family Dispute Resolution process. This involves a screening process called an Intake and mediation if appropriate. At Family Relationship Centres a group information session will be offered as well and child consultants may be involved where appropriate and agreed. A service called FDR41 (Family Dispute Resolution for One) is offered at a select number of RAQ venues where trained mediators work with one person and the conflict they have. If you are interested in the law’s view on children being relocated RAQ always encourages clients to seek legal advice. RAQ is not a legal office. Our mediators may have legal backgrounds but cannot give legal advice.

I haven’t seen my kids for years. What can I do?

Some of our clients who find themselves in this situation invite their former partners into a Family Dispute Resolution process. This involves a screening process called an Intake and mediation if appropriate. At Family Relationship Centres a group information session will be offered as well and Child Consultants may be involved where appropriate and agreed. A service called FDR41 (Family Dispute Resolution for One) is offered at a select number of RAQ venues where trained mediators work with one person and the conflict they have.

Myself, Financial Counselling (Within Gambling Help Service), Gambling Help Program (GHS), Gambling Counselling

How can counselling help with my gambling problem?

Gambling help counselling can help people experiencing problems associated with gambling in various ways.

Counselling can help you to:

  • clarify your goals for change;
  • understand why you gamble;
  • identify your gambling high risk people, places, situations and moods;
  • develop plans to eliminate, reduce or manage risks more effectively;
  • work with issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma and grief that may interact with gambling;
  • work to maintain changes made; and
  • identify and plan to manage relapse risks

 

My gambling isn’t the real problem; really it’s about depression, drugs, anxiety, relationships. Can you help with this?

Problem gamblers are more likely than non-problem gamblers to experience a range of problems, both recent and on-going.

When compared to non-problem gamblers, problem gamblers were significantly more likely to have experienced the following life events in the last 12 months:

  • the death of someone close to them;
  • a divorce;
  • legal difficulties;
  • a major injury or illness to either themselves or someone close;
  • trouble with work, boss or superiors;
  • a major change to their financial situation; and
  • an increase in arguments with someone close.

Source: A study of gambling in Victoria: Problem gambling from a public health perspective.  Victorian-gambling-study-wave-two-findings.pdf

EFFECT OF LIFE

People with gambling problems also exhibit a greater likelihood of experiencing a range of other health compromising behaviours.  People with gambling problems are more likely than non-problem gamblers to experience:

  • depression;
  • anxiety disorders;
  • alcohol use problems;
  • substance dependence or abuse; and
  • nicotine dependence.

Source: Petry, Stinson & Grant (2005) Co-morbidity of DSM-IV pathological gambling and other psychiatric disorders: Results from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions.

Our counselling staff are aware of the interrelationships between other life experiences and problem gambling and are experienced in working with clients to address gambling as it interacts with these other life issues.

 

Myself

Do you offer workshops separately for men and for women?

We currently offer Women’s Workshops (women only) in our Spring Hill location, and also, Alternatives to Aggression and Go Forward for Men (both men only) in a few venues. Other groups are not divided by gender, but please contact 1300 364 277 for more information on a course which might be right for you, or information on any new courses which may not be on the website yet.

Do you offer anger management courses?

We offer Alternatives to Aggression in some locations. Please click on the link to the relevant courses page for more details.

My Partner

Sometimes I make them really angry

Anger is a normal and healthy emotion, it is not the cause of abuse. Many people get angry and never engage power and control, many people who use power and control in a relationship are not angry when they do so. When abusers state they act in an abusive manner because they are angry, they are refusing to take responsibility for their actions and their choices. Rather, they choose to blame an emotion and deflect responsibility for their choices.

You are not responsible for your partner’s choices, only they can be responsible and take control.  To state anger is the cause of abuse places the responsibility on the victim, blaming them for causing the anger and therefore, somehow, being responsible for the abuser’s actions. This is never the case.

My partner needs counselling but won't go. What do I do?

Trying to convince someone to do something they don’t want to do may cause them to dig their heels in and resist your best efforts. A tip for influencing your partner in a respectful and more effective way is to use the DARN principle:-

Desire – what is it that they want?

Ability – what are they able to do right now?

Reason – what is the reason for attending the course / counselling?

Need – how could it help to get their needs met? (E.g. a need may be for a more satisfying and intimate relationship)

DARN will sound less like giving advice to your partner, and more like gentle conversation.

Learn about what your partner wants, and their unmet needs. Then explore with them how the counselling or course may benefit them. This approach may increase their motivation to attend counselling or the course but it might also be helpful to consider your needs and coping. 

If you are in need of support please feel to contact 1300 364 277

It seems to get better then something just sets them off

This is a normal part of the abuse cycle. The abuse cycle has six parts and, at any given time, a relationship may be in any one of these parts however, it generally begins with the “Standover phase – control and fear”.  That is, the abuser starts or continues to make demands, exerting their power and control over the other person.  That can take many forms depending on that person’s behaviour of choice. It can however, include demanding to see the grocery receipt with accusations of overspending, checking phone records, etc.

This is followed by the “Explosion phase”. The abuser, physically hurts the other party, threatens to hurt, breaks items, yells, sexually abuses or dramatically increases emotional abuse and so on.

After the explosion, the abuser enters the “Remorse phase” and drags the other party along with them. This is the time they justify their behaviours by blaming stress, anger, trouble at work, bad childhood, anything that will remove the blame for that behaviour from the abuser. 

Then comes the “Pursuit and promises phase”. The abuser may promise to get help and may even make an appointment to see someone. During this phase, the abuser will do almost anything to get things “back to normal”. They may buy presents, continue to say sorry and pursue the other party to the point it may feel like they are falling in love again.

This then flows into the honeymoon phase in which the couple are getting on well because the abuser is choosing to control their abusive behaviours for a period of time.  Previous appointments made in the “Pursuit and promises phase” are often cancelled due to everything going so well and the abuser claiming intervention is no longer needed.

This often leads into the “Build-up phase” in which the other party may question the decision to cancel the appointment (or any justifiably questionable power and control based behaviour).  The abuser becomes tired of not being in a position of power and makes the choice to begin to re-engage in abusive behaviours such as controlling, questioning and blaming the other party for their behaviours.

As the build-up continues to grow, the abuser moves back into the “Standover phase”, thus, beginning the cycle again.

This cycle may occur in a matter of days, it may occur in a matter of weeks or even months.  The underlying issue with the cycle is that, unless the abuser takes responsibility for their behaviours and makes a real effort to change them, the cycle will continue unabated, often for years and even generations.

Talk to someone

For more information or to make an appointment please call us on 1300 364 277.

Domestic and Family Violence Prevention

But the kids don’t see the abuse

Children are affected by domestic violence, even if they are not present during an incident.  They may hear the violence from their rooms, or see the aftermath such as bruises, broken possessions and moved furniture.  Children also pick up on emotional abuse.  They become confused and unsettled and the parents cycle through the abuse cycle, sending incompatible and inconsistent messages of love to the child.  The child becomes increasingly distressed as their parents oscillate between loving and kind, to stressed and highly anxious, to demanding and unstable and so on.

These children often feel unsafe, isolated, anxious, depressed, angry and distrustful of authority figures.  As a result, they may display behaviour or emotional problems such as low self-esteem, hyper-vigilance, antisocial behaviours, eating disorders, sleep disorders, unhealthy boundaries, suicidal ideation and/or rigid views on gender roles to name a few. 

These problems may follow them well into adulthood and manifest themselves through alcohol/drug addictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), adult depression and/or perpetrating or being a victim of violence in relationships themselves.

But I love them

Of course you do.  This is completely natural and very understandable.  There is something in this person that attracted you to them in the first place.  Whether it was their smile, their protective nature, their way with kids or their natural ability on a trampoline, there are always reasons to fall and stay in love.  The question is how that person is demonstrating their love toward you.  If it is through the use of power and control, that person needs to take major steps to change their behaviours as they are not demonstrating love, or at least a healthy version of it.

The kids are too young to be affected

Babies and very young children do not need to understand to respond emotionally and physically to domestic violence.  For example, the heart rate of very young children increases in response to the sound of an adult screaming or crying.  Regardless of whether children witness domestic violence, they are affected.  They pick up on the mood of their parents, and they ‘tune in’ to the atmosphere. 

Furthermore, a parents’ capacity to develop a healthy attachment to the baby through shared positive experiences is dramatically reduced when that parent is constantly on edge, upset or frightened.  This lack of attachment in the early years can lead to compounded trauma and anxiety based issues later in childhood, adolescence or adulthood.

They just lose control sometimes

Although this is an excuse often used by abusers, it is simply not true.  The use of power and control over another person is not as a result of losing control, it is a deliberate behaviour or series of behaviours, put in place to gain control over another person.  Domestic violence occurs when someone decides to use physical, sexual, emotional, social and/or spiritual abuse to get their way.  Actions are as a result of choices and choices are often made after careful consideration of the other person’s weaknesses and trigger points and the manner in which the abuser can most effectively manipulate these. 

It seems to get better and then something just seems to set them off

This is a normal part of the abuse cycle.  The abuse cycle has six parts and, at any given time, a relationship may be in any one of these parts however, it generally begins with the “Standover phase – control and fear”.  That is, the abuser starts or continues to make demands, exerting their power and control over the other person.  That can take many forms depending on that person’s behaviour of choice.  It can however, include demanding to see the grocery receipt with accusations of overspending, checking phone records, etc.

This is followed by the “Explosion phase”.  The abuser, physically hurts the other party, threatens to hurt, breaks items, yells, sexually abuses or dramatically increases emotional abuse and so on.

After the explosion, the abuser enters the “Remorse phase” and drags the other party along with them.  This is the time they justify their behaviours by blaming stress, anger, trouble at work, bad childhood, anything that will remove the blame for that behaviour from the abuser. 

Then comes the “Pursuit and promises phase”.  The abuser may promise to get help and may even make an appointment to see someone.  During this phase, the abuser will do almost anything to get things “back to normal”.  They may buy presents, continue to say sorry and pursue the other party to the point it may feel like they are falling in love again.

This then flows into the honeymoon phase in which the couple are getting on well because the abuser is choosing to control their abusive behaviours for a period of time.  Previous appointments made in the “Pursuit and promises phase” are often cancelled due to everything going so well and the abuser claiming intervention is no longer needed.

This often leads into the “Build-up phase” in which the other party may question the decision to cancel the appointment (or any justifiably questionable power and control based behaviour).  The abuser becomes tired of not being in a position of power and makes the choice to begin to re-engage in abusive behaviours such as controlling, questioning and blaming the other party for their behaviours.

As the build-up continues to grow, the abuser moves back into the “Standover phase”, thus, beginning the cycle again.

This cycle may occur in a matter of days, it may occur in a matter of weeks or even months.  The underlying issue with the cycle is that, unless the abuser takes responsibility for their behaviours and makes a real effort to change them, the cycle will continue unabated, often for years and even generations.

The church / my parents / my friends say I should stick with it. Marriage is sacred.

Regardless of the espoused sacred nature of a marriage / relationship, where there is abuse there is no relationship.  The dynamics are so dramatically skewed it is not an equal partnership.  Nor is it a healthy one. 

Although others often mean well when sharing their thoughts on lives other than their own, only those living in a situation can truly understand that situation. 

It is perfectly okay to leave a domestically violent relationship.  It is perfectly okay to prioritise your safety and/or that of the children and it is perfectly okay to seek help in achieving this.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, takes many forms including physical, emotional, spiritual, social and economic violence.  Through the use of power and control one partner gets what they want from the relationship to the detriment of the other partner.  Domestic violence is not limited to hitting.  Nor does it just take the form of yelling.  It can be incredibly subtle, becoming more malignant over time.  Coercion may be mild to begin with, later growing more demanding or it may remain low key for the long term.  The underlying dynamic is the use of power and control that results in an uneven or unfair partnership between two people.

But they are a good parent, just not a good partner

It is quite a contradiction to believe a person can be a bad partner but a good parent.  Occasionally being loving and kind to a child and ensuring their material needs are met is the easy part of parenting.  However, role modelling, providing an emotionally and physically safe environment and teaching them about respect for others is equally important.  A child who sees an unhealthy relationship between their parents will not learn the value of a healthy relationship.  Nor will they know how to have one.  Consider if this is what you want for your child’s future and balance this against the role modelling s/he is currently experiencing.  Will the events happening now lead to what you dream of for their future?

What are the types of domestic violence?

Domestic violence takes many and varied forms.  Although every domestically violent relationship is based on the use of power and control by one partner, the manner in which this is exerted varies greatly.  Some examples of domestic violence may include: 

  • Controlling behaviours (not allowing the other party any privacy, dictating who they can talk to and when, checking phone records, checking grocery receipts, questioning constantly, etc.)
  • Creating fear (cruelty to a pet, having weapons in the house, or even having “a look”, etc.);
  • Intimidation (suddenly appearing when the partner is out with friends, constantly calling and/or texting when apart, breaking possessions, etc.);
  • Physical abuse (pushing, shoving, hitting, slapping, attempted strangulation, hair-pulling, punching, etc.);
  • Verbal abuse (using words as a weapon, ridiculing, name-calling, yelling, etc.);
  • Emotional abuse (humiliating, degrading or demeaning the other person through put downs, and accusations, emotional withdrawal and refusing to speak for extended periods of time, etc.);
  • Social abuse (isolating the other party socially, constantly putting down friends and family or making them feel inferior whilst in social situations, etc.);
  • Sexual abuse (any unwanted sexual behaviours including coercion or sulking, etc.)
  • Spiritual abuse (making fun of spiritual beliefs, preventing them from attending services, etc.)

Book an Appointment

For more information or to make an appointment please call us on 1300 364 277.

They say they are very sorry

Most abusers state they are sorry following an abusive episode, in particular when they have committed physical or emotional abuse.  This remorse is part of a pattern of violence.  During this phase they may promise it will never happen again, promise to get help, give gifts and do or promise almost anything to ‘get back to normal’.  Once the apology is accepted or the relationship returns to ‘normal’, the pattern of abuse and violence begins again. 

People who are truly sorry and serious about changing their behaviour will take full responsibility for that behaviour, seek help and actively work on changing that behaviour.  Promising to do so and putting off appointments and actions for real change is not taking responsibility.

I really should try harder to do the right thing

An abuser uses power and control over another person to get what they want out of a relationship.  The manner in which they treat the other person is not reliant on what that person does.  It is a calculated and considered approach that maintains their power and control, regardless of what the other person does.  Many abusers and even some people in the general public blame the victim for the abuse.  That is, they believe, or try to make the victim believe that, somehow, the abuser’s behaviours are a consequence of something the victim has done. 

Common thoughts are “If only I had that meal ready on time.”  “I really shouldn’t nag him when he goes out and spends our entire weekly budget on beer, he deserves to let off steam.” And “It really makes him mad when I stand up for myself so I should just give in and not do it – it is easier that way.”  These are victim blaming thoughts and they excuse the abuser from taking responsibility for their behaviour.  It is a fact that abusers will choose to use power and control in a relationship regardless of the other person’s actions however, they will do everything they can to convince their victim this is not the case and the abuse is their fault.

Being subjected to the use of power and control to make you feel like a lesser person is never your fault.

They are feeling stressed and just acting out

Although stress is a commonly used rationale for abuse, this is quite simply not the case.  Stress does not cause abuse.  We all experience stress however, the majority of us do not hurt others during these times.  Abusers who state they are feeling stressed don’t hit their boss, the Police or the neighbour.   They do however, choose to victimise family members who have less power.  This use of power and control is a choice that can be controlled quite effectively in the public arena.  As a result, it is not unreasonable to expect that person to make the same choice to not use power and control in the home.

Everyone fights sometimes. How can I tell a fight from abuse?

Disagreements occur in most relationships.  Sometimes these disagreements can become arguments and both people get loud and say things that hurt the other person’s feelings.  However, in most relationships, both people say they are sorry and make up.  No one gets hurt physically and no one uses power and control to make the other person feel worse. 

When that happens, the relationship is domestically violent.  In these relationships one person uses power and control over another to get what they want from the relationship.  The person who uses this power and control may do so in a number of different ways.  They may use emotional and psychological abuse, and/or threats of physical violence or abandonment.  They may attempt to isolate the individual from family and friends, limit their use of the phone, track phone use, open private mail and belittle the other person, chipping away at their sense of independence and self-confidence.  This is not a healthy relationship, it is domestic violence; regardless of how disagreements occur, how often they occur or who instigates them.

They haven’t actually hit me.

Emotional and verbal abuse are the most common forms of abuse and are present in the majority of abusive relationships, regardless of whether there is physical violence used.  Abuse can be very subtle and sometimes, it is difficult to recognise, as the abuser is often very manipulative and convincing.  For example, the abuser often convinces the individual that phones are tracked to make sure that person is safe, isolation from friends and family is because they love you more than your friends and family and you are not allowed to work because they love you and want to provide for you. 

These forms of abuse can cause significant harm, negatively impacting on self-confidence and self-esteem.  In fact, the damage caused by emotional and verbal abuse often lasts long after the relationship has ended.

It only happens when they are drunk or high.

Many people use drugs and alcohol and do not physically or emotionally abuse the people around them.  Many people who don’t use drugs and/or alcohol choose to physically or emotionally abuse the people around them.  In fact, alcohol and drugs are often used by abusers as an excuse for their behaviour or even a reason to engage in that behaviour.  While the use of alcohol and drugs can often make the violence more serious, it does not cause it.

The use of power and control in a relationship, whether it be physical or emotional is a choice.  It is a choice made by one person to use power and control over another.  Should the use of drugs or alcohol increase the likelihood of that person being physically or emotionally abusive, or increase the severity of that abuse, that person is responsible for making the choice not to drink alcohol or use drugs.

Sometimes I make him really angry

Anger is a normal and healthy emotion, it is not the cause of abuse.  Many people get angry and never engage power and control, many people who use power and control in a relationship are not angry when they do so.  When abusers state they act in an abusive manner because they are angry, they are refusing to take responsibility for their actions and their choices.  Rather, they choose to blame an emotion and deflect responsibility for their choices.

You are not responsible for your partner’s choices, only they can be responsible and take control.  To state anger is the cause of abuse places the responsibility on the victim, blaming them for causing the anger and therefore, somehow, being responsible for the abuser’s actions.  This is never the case.

Gambling Help Program (GHS)

How long and how often would I need to attend counselling?

How long and how often people attend gambling help counselling vary.

At the gambling help service our phone and face to face appointments usually last for an hour.

Frequency and timing of sessions will be negotiated between yourself and your counsellor to respond to your own situation.

Early in the counselling process, your counsellor may invite you to attend weekly appointments.  Appointment frequency may scale back through fortnightly to monthly as you gain confidence in managing your gambling.  When you are confident about managing your gambling your counsellor will work with you to terminate counselling.

Can you send me money; I have gambled the deeds to the house?

Unfortunately, sending money is not one of the ways we can help, we can offer support from financial and gambling help counsellors. 

Financial counsellors provide free, independent, confidential support to review your financial situation and options.  They offer information and advocacy to assist you to make a plan to deal with financial difficulties.

Gambling help counsellors can help you to better understand your and to make changes to reduce the risk of financial problems that may arise from gambling.

Rainbow Program

Are the groups confidential?

The importance of confidentiality is stressed at each meeting. We understand the potential damage that can be caused when a group participant discloses, outside the group, something that another person has said in the group. In the development of group agreements, the facilitators always address confidentiality specifically, as well as a number of other measures to ensure that all participants feel safe, heard and included.

How safe will I be at a Rainbow Program group?

Emotional and physical safety are of paramount importance to us in the facilitation of our groups. The facilitators work with participants to develop group agreements and monitor these during meetings, to ensure that all participants are feeling safe, heard and included. The importance of confidentiality is stressed at each meeting.

Groups can only be attended by LGBTIQ people, unless joined by a supportive loved one or ally. Non-LGBTIQ allies are not permitted to attend groups on their own.

How much does it cost to attend a Rainbow group?

Attendance at Rainbow Program groups is free, to encourage maximum participation. Participants are asked to contribute a gold coin donation to cover light refreshments provided.

Is Rainbow Training evidence based?

The Relationships Australia Queensland (RAQ) Rainbow Training is a suite of training modules designed to offer effective training for human services organisations in achieving best practice in service provision to clients of diverse bodies, genders and sexualities. This target group is often referred to as the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer) community. At Relationships Australia Queensland, we also sometimes refer to this community as the Rainbow Community. These various terms will all be used in this document, depending on the context.

The learning materials have been developed by RAQ’s Rainbow Program, in consultation with leading Australian support agencies, such as Queensland AIDS Council and members of the community.

The Rainbow Training modules introduce staff to essential skills and knowledge relating to Rainbow clients.

What will participants gain from Rainbow Training?

Each training module or series will comprise different sets of knowledge and opportunities for experiential learning. Our proposed outcomes for participants, broadly are the following:

  • Participants will feel they have greater knowledge and understanding of Rainbow cultural issues and experiences
  • Participants will have a deeper understanding of their own identity & values development and conditioned heteronormative assumptions
  • Participants will have a deeper understanding of the negative impacts of heterosexism and cisgenderism on the lives of people of diverse bodies, genders and sexualities
  • Participants will feel more confident in approaching work with people of diverse bodies, genders and sexualities
What approach does Rainbow Training take?

The Rainbow training approach is largely informed by the model of Gay-Affirmative Practice and the growing body of work supporting its efficacy (McGeorge & Stone Carlson, 2011; Bieschke, Perez et al., 2007; Lebolt, 1999). In order to reflect the inclusive nature of the Rainbow Program, we have adopted the term ‘LGBTIQ-Affirmative Practice’.

Central to LGBTIQ-Affirmative Practice is an emphasis on an exploration of practitioners’ understandings of their own sexual orientation development as well as their understanding of the heteronormative assumptions they were conditioned by and the heterosexual privilege they experience (if heterosexual) in daily life.

Whilst it is acknowledged that there does not currently exist in the literature a cohesive therapeutic model that can be called ‘Gay-Affirmative Therapy’ (Johnson, S.D, 2012), there is general consensus about the core elements of a gay-affirmative approach to psychotherapy, (Kort, 2008; Lebolt, J, 1999), which can be comprised as the following:

  • Cultural knowledge pertaining to the lives and collective experiences of LGBTI individuals, couples and families
  • An awareness of our own sexuality development and heteronormative conditioning and the experience of heterosexual privilege
  • A stance of proactive advocacy, which helps LGBTI clients to recognise the systemic impacts of heterosexism and homophobia on their lives and relationships

You can read more about the Rainbow Training in our Introduction to Rainbow Training document.

Are the Rainbow counselling staff members of the LGBTIQ community?

Whilst most of our counsellors would not identify as members of the LGBTIQ community, some do. All of our counsellors have expressed a keen interest in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ people. Those who do not have a lived experience of sexual or gender diversity receive considerable training and support to ensure a working knowledge of the community

What are the operating hours of the service?

Service times vary from venue to venue, including day time hours and some evening hours. We are closed on weekends. Contact us to find out the availability of your nearest Rainbow Counsellor

Rainbow Counselling Service

What topics does Rainbow Training offer?

The rainbow Training foundational modules include:

  • Setting the Scene – Key Concepts in working with Rainbow clients
  • Family Systems and the Coming out Process
  • Gender Diversity: Journeys of Transition               
  • The ‘Queering’ of Partnerships – LGB, Sex & Relationship

We also provide some information-based sessions, including topics, such as:

  • Rainbow Families and the Law
  • Mental Health & Wellbeing in the Rainbow Community
  • Domestic & Family Violence and the Rainbow Community

Rainbow Training can tailor sessions and training programs to meet the needs of your organisation or team, so feel free to contact the Rainbow Program Leader to explore how we can support your learning needs. Phone: 1300 364 277

What is the Rainbow Counselling Service?

The Rainbow Counselling Service is a counselling service for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals and couples, their families and allies, as well as those questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity. The service hub is located at our Spring Hill venue with two specifically trained counsellors covering the whole working week. We also have a network of Rainbow counsellors across our regional and metropolitan venues, who receive specific training and support to work effectively with LGBTIQ clients.

What is Rainbow Training?

The Relationships Australia Queensland (RAQ) Rainbow Training is a suite of training modules designed to offer effective training for human services organisations in achieving best practice in service provision to clients of diverse bodies, genders and sexualities. This target group is often referred to as the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer) community. At Relationships Australia Queensland, we also sometimes refer to this community as the Rainbow Community. These various terms will all be used in this document, depending on the context.

The learning materials have been developed by RAQ’s Rainbow Program, in consultation with leading Australian support agencies, such as Queensland AIDS Council and members of the community.

The Rainbow Training modules introduce staff to essential skills and knowledge relating to Rainbow clients.

What issues can be brought to the Rainbow Service?

The focus is on you and your relationships, but we acknowledge that other issues, such as addictions, anxiety and depression, domestic violence or trauma are issues, which sometimes impact relationships. The Rainbow Service does not rule out working with such issues within this context but if appropriate, your Rainbow Service counsellor may suggest referring you to other specialist services. 

Can I see any Relationships Australia counsellor?

Some LGBTIQ clients appreciate being able to see a counsellor with specific training and experience in working with LGBTIQ clients. You may or may not consider this important to you. The Rainbow Service is one of a number of options available for you, but you may choose to simply access the venue closest to where you live or work.

Victims Counselling and Support Service

What if the crime was committed in another state?

As long as you are currently residing in Queensland, it does not matter where the crime was committed.

Will I receive support if I have to attend court?

Whilst we cannot attend court with you, we can  provide you with information about the court process and referrals to other organisations who can attend court with you.  

Must the crime have been reported to the police?

No, you are eligible to access the service whether the crime has been reported the police or not.

Is there a limit to the number of counselling sessions I can access?

No, your counsellor will work with you and tailor your counselling according to your need.

Does it matter what sort of crime has been committed?

No, it does not matter what type of crime is involved, you can access the service as long as a crime is involved. 

Is this service offered to someone who has committed a crime?

No, this service is only for victims of crime, family members and people who have witnessed a crime.

What if someone has committed suicide?

Although suicide is not a crime, you and other family members can still access our service to receive support at this difficult time.

How much will it cost me to access counselling and support?

The Victims Counselling and Support Service (VCSS) is a free service.