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Partner News - October 2023


In this edition

Gambling Harm Awareness Week news

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Welcome to the Gambling Harm Awareness Week (16 to 22 October) edition of Partner News.

Talk. Share. Support. continues as the overarching theme for the week, with a focus this year on how to have a conversation with a friend or loved one who may be experiencing, or at risk of, gambling harm.

A range of resources is now available to download from our website to help you support and promote the week through your networks, including a handy Promotional toolkit comprising everything you will need.

Visit the Gambling Harm Awareness Week web page for more.


Community events

To list your Gambling Harm Awareness Week community event on our events page, send the details to us via email. Please include the date, time, location, nature of the event (morning tea, trivia, webinar, etc), contact details of the event organiser, and any links to read more or register.
Find an event near you here.


Let's talk gambling podcast

Listen to and share episodes of the Foundation's new podcast, Let's talk gambling. Episode 5 of the podcast, How to have a conversation, features clinical psychologist Dr Anastasia Hronis and Foundation Lived Experience Advisory Committee member Nicholas Bloom on how to have a conversation about gambling harm.

New lived experience videos

The Foundation has produced a new series of short videos for Gambling Harm Awareness Week, in which people who have lived experience of gambling harm provide insights into, and offer advice on, having a conversation with someone about their gambling.

Download the Promotional toolkit for more details and tips on how to share them on your channels.

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Community engagement news

Hip-hop dance program is helping young people thrive

dance program

The Banyule Community Health Gambler’s Help team partnered with the Youth Foundation, L2R Dance and Charles La Trobe P-12 College to deliver a dance-based youth development program to school students in and around Heidelberg West who are at risk of behavioural, cognitive and emotional disengagement.

The 5, 6, 7, 8 dance program focused on building protective factors through social connection and physical wellbeing to reduce vulnerability to gambling harm in later years.

Program participants reported increased positive relationships with peers and trusted adult role models, increased confidence levels and improved physical and social wellbeing.

‘I used to be sad… I wasn’t usually into dance stuff. I used to be very negative and used to think I couldn’t do it. I usually just give up…. [this changed] when I joined dance and everyone was saying I was really good at it,’ said a program participant.

For more information about the program, contact Missy Ali, Senior Health Promotion Officer, Gambler’s Help at Banyule Community Health.

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Financial counselling news

In conversation with Lucinda Tucker, Gambler's Help, Meli

Lucinda Tucker chatted to Partner News about her work as a financial counsellor in Meli's Gambler's Help team and her additional role as the convenor of FCVic’s Gambling Issues Working Group (GIWG).

  • Tell us about your role and what you enjoy about it?

    I’m a financial counsellor within the Gambler’s Help program at Meli (formerly Bethany Community Support). I’ve been in this role since I graduated three-and-a-half years ago, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began. Working with clients remotely was not included in our training and it was a big learning curve for me and my colleagues!

    As financial counsellors, we assist people who gamble and affected others with financial problems related to gambling. Clients contact us when they are experiencing financial hardship such as overwhelming debt, difficulty putting food on the table, or problems paying their rent or mortgage. Sometimes clients confuse us with financial planners or advisors, but our role is very different. Rather than advise customers on how to grow their wealth and investments, we work with clients to manage their debt and help them manage their money day to day.

    In addition to my role as a financial counsellor, this year I took on the responsibility of being convenor for FCVic’s GIWG.

  • What’s the GIWG and how long has it been around?

    This group was created by FCVic approximately 18 years ago, along with several other networking groups that each focus on a specialised area of financial counselling. Other groups include family violence, prisons, and bankruptcy. The purpose of the GIWG is to share our knowledge, identify systemic issues, and advocate on matters relating to gambling harm where possible. The group also keeps members up to date with the many changes and demands of our roles in relation to gambling harm and gambling regulation.

  • What does the role of convenor involve and what have you enjoyed the most?

    The GIWG meets around five times a year and my role is to organise these meetings, source speakers, and follow up on actions. The role of convenor requires a commitment of one year and we all share it around as it can be time consuming, although some very dedicated financial counsellors do it for longer! Another responsibility is to meet with all the other convenors, share what we have learnt and identify any key issues that are affecting clients across all areas. These are then forwarded to FCVic for action in their role as the state’s peak body for financial counselling.

  • What are some of the group’s achievements?

    One of the roles of the group is to identify key areas for advocacy in relation to gambling harm. This may include a particular creditor who is not assisting clients or not understanding the financial harm that gambling can cause. We tend to identify specific gambling behaviours and harms in our clients and share ways of taking action or resolving these issues with either the creditor, the regulator, the client, or sometimes all three!

    Our guest presenters keep the group up to date with the latest developments such as the latest scams, identification of gambling harm, theft strategies, and changes in legislation. It can also be a place where we can share cases and get input from the group or seek information from the guest speaker.

  • Final thoughts on GIWG?

    More than just a place of learning and sharing, the GIWG is a valuable source of advice and support. Those new to the financial counselling sector benefit from the wisdom and knowledge of peers who have been doing it for many years and hold encyclopaedic knowledge about the industry.

    I’ve enjoyed my time in the role but will be happy to hand over to a highly capable colleague and take on other challenges. It has been a worthwhile experience and given me a better understanding of this working group and others, and the important role they play in a multitude of ways.

  • How can we find out more?

    If you would like to find out more, speak to a financial counsellor at Gambler's Help or contact Annette Devereaux at

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Foundation news

The Foundation's annual plan for 2023-24 is now available

The Foundation looks forward to working with partners and stakeholders to deliver on the actions outlined in Our annual plan 2023–24 and building on the progress achieved under the current strategic priorities.

A significant priority for the Foundation will involve working collaboratively with the Department of Justice and Community Safety to ensure a smooth transition of the functions we currently perform to other agencies. This follows the recent announcement that most of the Foundation’s functions will transition to other areas of government from 1 July 2024.

Download Our annual plan 2023-24

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Training and professional development

Addiction is not a disease, and it matters

Wednesday, 18 October 2023, 11 am–12.30 pm

Dr Eli Kotler is a psychiatrist specialising in addictions and trauma and is the Medical Director of Malvern Private Hospital.

Eli's focus is on the underlying psychological and personality factors that predispose people to, and maintain, addictions. He is passionate about helping people with addictions to achieve recovery through a greater understanding of their own psychology and personalities.


Lapse and relapse when working with people affected by gambling harm (FCVic)

Wednesday, 25 October 2023, 10 am–12.30 pm

This session will focus on the different stages of gambling addiction. It will explore the causes of, and differences between, lapse and relapse and discuss effective financial counselling techniques for working with clients at different stages. The effect on a practitioner's sense of efficacy and achievement within their role when a client lapses or relapses will also be considered.

To register, you must be a Financial Counselling Victoria member.


Gambling and criminal law referrals (FCVic)

Thursday, 16 November 2023, 10 am–12.30 pm

This session will look at the legal and ethical considerations that come into play when a Gambler’s Help financial counselling case becomes a legal case.

Gambling and legal issues often co-occur. These commonly include clients using forged signatures to increase credit card limits, selling items they do not own, stealing from employers, and providing incorrect information to credit providers.

To register, you must be a Financial Counselling Victoria member.


Cultural awareness when working with First Nations clients and communities

Wednesday, 1 November 2023, 10 am–12.30 pm

First Nations Advisor to the Foundation, Ashley Gordon, will lead a workshop on cultural awareness when working with First Nations clients and communities. Ashley has worked as a gambling counsellor for more than 20 years and is a gambling researcher with the Centre for Gambling Education and Research at Southern Cross University, Lismore.

Ashley’s long-term goals include his ongoing involvement in the development and implementation of gambling-related policies and programs that improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal people. Workshop topics will include:

  • understanding First Nations people
  • engaging with First Nations clients and communities
  • brand and image
  • location and accessibility considerations
  • intake and first contact with First Nations clients
  • cultural competency of staff.


Gambling harm experiences by children of gamblers: the hidden voices

Thursday, 23 November 2023, 12:30–1:30 pm

A growing body of literature points to dysfunction in family environments affected by gambling problems, but little research has addressed the specific impacts of parental gambling on children.

Dr Aino Suomi, who led the research while at the Institute of Child Protection studies, Australian Catholic University, will present her 2021 Foundation-funded research, Gambling harm experienced by children of parents who gamble. The study addressed the specific effects of parental gambling on children and sought to better understand the harm experienced by children that could be directly attributed to their parents’ gambling.

Dr Suomi’s presentation will highlight key findings from the study, including the areas of child wellbeing that are affected by parental problem gambling, the extent to which the severity of parental gambling harm predicts the degree of gambling harm experienced by children, and how exposure to gambling harm in childhood relates to health and wellbeing outcomes later in life.


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