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Partner News - September 2023

PARTNER NEWS September 2023

In this edition

Community engagement news

Sparking conversations about gambling harm among the LGBTIQ+ community on Wear It Purple Day

PCC Wear it purple event 25Aug23

Above: Arkid Shirokaj, Primary Care Connect Gambler's Help community engagement worker, at a Wear It Purple Day event in Shepparton.

Primary Care Connect Gambler's Help joined a range of health service providers from the Greater Shepparton area at a community event on Wear It Purple Day, 25 August. An eye-catching rainbow fruit platter and a variety of enticing merch helped to attract many attendees to the booth. The event helped raise awareness and understanding of gambling harm, its effects on members of the LGBTIQ+ community, and the help services available in the Greater Shepparton region. It also helped to increase awareness of Gambler’s Help programs among other service providers.

Meli helps parents and carers understand the risks of gambling and gaming among young people

Meli community event

Above left: Gambler’s Help community engagement worker, Courtney Guy (far right). Above right: Courtney Guy presenting at an information forum in Hamilton.

In response to growing community concern of parents and carers about the risks of gambling and gaming among young people, the Meli Great South Coast Gambler’s Help team co-hosted an information forum at Hamilton Library on 23 August.

Meli (formerly Bethany Community Support) was joined by other local community and youth organisations to present information about the support services, and referral pathways they provide for young people and their parents/carers.

Gambler’s Help community engagement worker Courtney Guy spoke about the risks of gambling and gaming among young people, and where to access support and information. She was joined by guest speaker and GP, Dr Mark Johnson, and a lived experience panel of two young community members who added their valuable insights to the conversation about gambling harm and other wellbeing issues.

‘It was an opportunity to increase gambling harm awareness and provide information on the link between gaming and gambling to parents, carers, and professionals who work with young people,’ Courtney said. ‘Feedback from the event was great and the group has been asked to come back and provide more information sessions in the community.’

Mark your calendars for Gambling Harm Awareness Week: 16 to 22 October 2023

GHAW Calendar Logo_2023

Talk. Share. Support. will continue as the theme, while the focus this year will be 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 online resources will be available to download, including in-language tips for having the conversation and a new podcast featuring clinical psychologist Dr Anastasia Hronis and Foundation Lived Experience Advisory Committee member Nicholas Bloom. Visit the Gambling Harm Awareness Week web page for updates.

New translated video resources now available

Three new videos exploring gambling harm are now available in Arabic, Bengali, Dari, Pashto, Punjabi and Tamil. Co-created by Arabic Welfare and the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the animations have been developed to help raise awareness of gambling harm and the support options available via Gambler’s Help. With English subtitles, they are ideal for multicultural community organisations to share on their digital channels to help start conversations about gambling harm.

  • Video 1: The beginning of gambling harm (1:20)
  • Video 2: When gambling harm goes untreated (1:18)
  • Video 3: Gaming and gambling (1:24)

More translated resources for people seeking information and support for gambling issues, visit the Help in other languages section of the Gambler’s Help website.

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Financial counselling news

In conversation with Annette Devereaux, FCVic

Professionalisation and Service Integration (Gambling) Lead, Annette Devereaux, chatted to Partner News about her Foundation-funded role and the work that Financial Counselling Victoria (FCVic) does to support Gambler's Help financial counsellors and raise the profile of their work.

Annette Devereaux bio picture 2022
  • Let’s start with the basics - what is FCVic?

    It’s Victoria’s peak body for financial counsellors. Since it began operating in 1978, FCVic has grown to include over 400 financial counsellors, students, and organisation members, all of whom are focused on different areas of consumer protection and financial counselling practice.

  • What does FCVic do in relation to gambling harm?

    Our work to support financial counsellors working in gambling harm has also grown and developed. We now have around 35 financial counsellors working in state and federally-funded roles.

    We assist in coordinating the Gambling Issues Working Group, a financial counsellor network for those working in gambling harm. Their focus is advocacy and change within the sector, as well as supporting fellow financial counsellors with complex case discussions.

  • How do FCVic and the Foundation work together?

    FCVic and the Foundation work together to raise awareness of gambling harm among financial counsellors and support the financial counsellors who work within Gambler’s Help. The Foundation funds FCVic to deliver two key components:

    1. Ongoing specialist training of financial counsellors in gambling harm, including comorbidities, asset protection, working with affected others, and use of the Recovery Assistance Program. Our training calendar is renewed every six months and we are ensuring we meet the needs of our members with the training we offer.
    2. My role as Professionalisation and Service Integration (Gambling) Lead, which has been funded as an 18-month project. The role involves raising the profile of the work financial counsellors do at Gambler’s Help, supporting the agencies and financial counsellors working in gambling harm, and identifying training needs and opportunities for the sector. In my role, I liaise with key stakeholders such as the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission, generalist financial counselling agencies, Financial Counselling Australia (which also does great work in gambling harm policy and advocacy development) and, of course, the Foundation itself.
  • What are you most excited about right now?

    Seven months into the 18-month project that funds my role, we’ve been able to support new financial counsellors to start their careers directly into Gambler’s Help programs. We have also provided many training sessions, discussed strategic alliances to promote the work of financial counsellors, and raised the profile of the amazing work Gambler’s Help financial counsellors do.

  • How is this project improving outcomes for clients?

    Our work is demanding and complex but rewarding at the same time.

    Just the other day I spoke to a new financial counsellor working in a Gambler’s Help program about a new client presentation: a young male, working, with rent arrears ($1000), utility debts ($7000), family debt ($3000) and seven different Buy-Now-Pay-Later debts (including wage advance products) totalling $6000.

    We start by understanding the client’s needs, i.e. what they want to achieve or change. We then research the debts and options available to the client (debt waiver, reduced payments, concessions and grant applications, payment holiday, etc) and work with the client to hopefully reduce the debts, make them more manageable, and assist the client to see a light at the end of the financial tunnel. If we can work longer term with the client and discuss using a budget, as well as developing savings and understanding triggers to financial distress, we are a happy financial counsellor!

  • 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

Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission Harm Minimisation Forum

VGCCC forum (800 × 300px)

On 31 August, Foundation Senior Advisor Dr Gabi Byrne attended the VGCCC Harm Minimisation Forum in Bendigo. The forum offered community members, organisations (including those supported by the Foundation), and local government officials with an opportunity to engage with, and learn more about, the VGCCC’s efforts to regulate gambling in Victoria.

VGCCC Deputy Chair Ron Ben-David, Deputy CEO and Executive Director Regulatory Operations Scott May, and Director of the Gambling Division, Glorija Kuzman, spoke about the Commission’s position on gambling harm, the work it has done since its establishment in July 2022, and regional compliance initiatives.

They also showcased the Commission’s new strategy for incorporating harm minimisation into all operations and emphasised their expectations for the gambling industry to follow suit. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions and voice their opinions and concerns about the function of the VGCCC and the government’s proposed gambling reforms.


BetStop is now live

On 21 August, the Australian Communications and Media Authority launched BetStop, the National Self-Exclusion Register.

BetStop allows people to exclude themselves from all Australian licensed online and phone wagering services in a single step, with options to self-exclude for a period from three months up to a lifetime. A ban can be extended at any time. Once a person has signed up to BetStop, betting services must close all of their accounts, stop sending them marketing material, and prevent them from placing a bet or opening a new account. People can self-exclude directly by visiting

Have your say: Submissions sought in Victorian gambling policy consultations

As mentioned in the Foundation’s Gambling in Victoria update, submissions are being sought for the following Department of Justice and Community Safety policy consultations:

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Training and professional development

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 and what can cause clients to lapse and relapse. It will explore the 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 when a Gambler’s Help financial counselling case becomes a legal case and what are the legal and ethical boundaries.

Gambling and legal issues can often co-occur and include forged signatures to increase credit card limits, the sale of items that didn’t belong to the client, stealing from the employer, or provision of incorrect information to credit providers. To register, you must be a Financial Counselling Victoria member.


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If you have missed any of our training or professional development webinars, recorded sessions are available on our Training resources web page.

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