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Addressing problem gambling harm: Working with families and friends

The impact of problem gambling on the families and friends of gamblers is the focus of a new push from the body responsible for providing the state's gambling help services.

The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation says the aim of the strategy is to ensure help is available to the estimated 300 thousand Victorians who are affected by someone else's gambling.

Foundation CEO Serge Sardo says unfortunately there a lack of awareness about the negative impact excessive gambling has on individuals, communities and society more broadly.

"Nowhere is this more keenly felt than within the families and close friends of people with gambling problems.

"Partners feel isolated, mothers and fathers feel responsible and children feel lost and confused," he said.

Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Jane Garrett, said the impact of problem gambling on families and friends is significant.

"The potential impact is both immediate and long term with research showing family members frequently experience poor health as well a financial stress and family breakdown.

"The impact of gambling problems can also trickle down the generations with the children at greater risk of developing problems themselves later in life," she said.

The Foundation says it will be further embedding family-sensitive practice across the Gambler's Help network to ensure statewide access to help services as part of its public health approach to addressing gambling-related harm.

This approach incorporates the use of population-wide strategies such as awareness campaigns promoting the issues and availability of help services as well as initiatives targeting groups at high risk.

The Foundation's latest major multi-media campaign highlights the impact of problem gambling across the generations.

"Our new campaign is quite different to previous campaigns in that it's focusing on ensuring family members and friends know help is available to them regardless of whether the gambler is getting help.

"Preventing harm from problem gambling is not just about the gambler, it's about stemming the downstream impacts and providing these people with the support, advice and counselling they need," said Mr Sardo.

The campaign will be on television, radio, online and in print until the end of May 2015.

Media contact:
Fiona Skivington, Manager, Media & Communication
on +61428248931 or

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