Victoria’s inaugural Gambling Harm Awareness Week (8–14 October) was today launched by the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Marlene Kairouz, at an event that showcased innovative community approaches to tackling gambling harm.
A partnership between the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the community sector, local governments and industry, Gambling Harm Awareness week is the successor to Responsible Gambling Awareness Week, which ran annually in Victoria for more than a decade.
Speaking at the launch, Foundation CEO Louise Glanville said the week would focus on tailoring approaches to reduce and prevent harm from gambling in local communities, and overcoming the stigma that often acts as a barrier to people who need support from seeking it.
“Gambling harm is any negative consequence of a person’s gambling, which may have an impact on their self-esteem, relationships, finances, work or study, and physical or mental health,” Ms Glanville said.
“It can escalate quickly and affect not only the individual who gambles, but their family and friends as well, so it is important to be aware of the risks associated with gambling and able to recognise the signs of harm.
“Talking is the first step towards reducing gambling harm in our community because it makes it okay for people affected to reach out. That’s why the theme for the first Gambling Harm Awareness Week is TALK. SHARE. SUPPORT.”
Held at the iconic Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, the launch highlighted three different gambling harm prevention initiatives underway in partnership with the Foundation.
- Banyule Community Health is producing 16 podcasts featuring the stories of people who have personally experienced gambling harm, as well as exploring prevention and recovery. The podcasts enable those currently affected by gambling harm to hear from others who have ‘been there’ and understand the associated challenges.
- Mallee District Aboriginal Services is working with Elders and others in Mildura, Swan Hill and Kerang Aboriginal communities to co-design activities such as health and wellbeing yarning circles that include discussions about gambling.
- The Community Houses Association of the Outer Eastern Suburbs is working with communities and partners to develop learning resources for use at Neighbourhood Houses, as well as locally relevant strategies to reduce the risk of gambling harm.
Ms Glanville said Victorians were embracing Gambling Harm Awareness Week, with more than 50 community events taking place across the state throughout the week.
For more information, visit responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au/harmweek, view the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhN_u7oK93w or share your activities on social media using #GamblingHarm or #TalkShareSupport.