Who can I talk to?

When people have been verbally or physically abused or threatened with harm they may have troubling symptoms:

  • Emotional: crying, anxiety, fear, memory problems, shame, anger, poor motivation, nightmares, numbness
  • Physical: headaches, tiredness, stomach upset, shaky hands, easily startled
  • Behaviour: avoiding people, losing confidence, conflict with family, increased use of alcohol or drugs, difficulty going out alone

These symptoms are normal after an extreme, stressful experience; they’re also temporary. Noticing these changes in your life and accepting them are the first steps to recovery.

When the time is right you may need to talk about what happened or share how you are feeling but you may not wish to talk with family or friends.

This page lets you know where you can go to access counselling for yourself, and provides information about Women’s Health West’s children’s counselling service.

Children’s counselling service

The children’s counselling team at Women’s Health West offers counselling and therapeutic groups for children in the western metropolitan region of Melbourne who have experienced family violence.

Counselling is available for children between the ages of 0 and 17 years and 11 months who have experienced family violence.

Counselling is available as single sessions, short term (3 to 6 sessions) medium term (for 3 to 6 months), or long term (up to a year) support.

Children’s counselling is available in Melton, Hoppers Crossing and Footscray, and is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Benefits of counselling

Children’s counselling aims to provide children with opportunities to:

  • Express emotions
  • Make sense of their experiences of family violence
  • Strengthen relationships with their mother or carer
  • Strengthen relationships with their siblings

We assist adults to create a supportive environment for the child, and to understand and respond to the child’s behaviours, which may be resulting from trauma.

SPLASh – Safe Place for Laughter, Arts and Sharing

SPALSh is a therapeutic creative arts groups for children aged between 8 and 12 years old, who have experienced family violence.

SPLASh is an 8 week program run during school terms 2 and 4. Groups have a maximum of 8 participants.

SPLASh encourages children to identify and express emotions through art making, play and talking. It supports children to build relationships with peers and connect with other children who have had a similar experience. It also provides opportunities to strengthen relationships with their mother or carer.

How to contact Women’s Health West’s children’s counselling team

Children’s counselling services are free to children who have witnessed or experienced family violence.

It is important for mothers and carers to be involved in children’s counselling; this can be crucial to a child’s recovery. It can also help a mother or carer to understand their child’s behaviour, and how it might be a way for them to express their emotional experiences.

We ask mothers or carers to attend parent sessions, and where appropriate, to join the counselling sessions with their child. Please consider this when referring.

To make a referral or find out more, please call our intake team on (03) 9689 9588.

Counselling for women

Women’s Health West don’t offer women’s counselling, however, other services do, and we can link you in with them.

Please feel free to get in touch with us and we can recommend a suitable and convenient counsellor for you to speak with. Call (03) 9689 9588 or email fvassist@whwest.org.au for further information.

Numbers to call if you need someone to talk to:

1800RESPECT  1800 737 732

National sexual assault, domestic family violence counselling service

Suicide Call Back Service  1300 659 467

10am – 8.30pm, 7 days a week

SuicideLine (Victoria)  1300 651 251

24 hours, 7 days a week

Parentline Victoria 13 22 89

8am – midnight, 7 days a week