connectEDspace - support for young people

Young people can face all sorts of pressures – including problems at school, with friends or at home.
connectEDspace is a website by Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV), dedicated to young people to help provide all the information they need to deal with the stuff they go through each day.

Aboriginal Family and Relationship Support

RAV provides support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and individuals to help strengthen family relationships.

Counselling provides an opportunity to talk with a professionally trained person to discuss couple issues, conflicts with friends, relationship breakdown, parenting, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, grief, sexual problems, childhood sexual abuse, stress and work related tensions and disputes.


Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) is committed to supporting all Victorians, regardless of their background. We understand that traditional family structures are diverse and we believe in strengthening families and supporting people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to have positive, safe and respectful relationships. We provide services that cater to community needs, including by tailoring services to meet the needs of the client groups with which we work. Our staff endeavour to work with members of diverse communities to provide information and assistance on a whole range of family issues.

In collaboration with many organisations across the state, we coordinate workshops, forums, meetings, networks and support groups to meet the growing needs of Victoria's multicultural community.

We are committed to providing access to our services for both established and emerging migrant communities in both metropolitan and regional Victoria.

Programs in 2018/19

Safe Resolutions

From October 2017 to 1 July 2020, we provided Safe Resolutions, a free, legally-assisted family dispute resolution service for the Vietnamese community in western Melbourne experiencing separation and divorce. The pilot service, which was funded by the Attorney-General’s Department, operated through our Sunshine Family Relationship Centre. 

In partnership with the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association, Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre and WEstjustice, the RAV service supported families experiencing complex family violence issues to resolve their family law disputes. The innovative service was well received and appreciated by the local Vietnamese community.

“ I feel very fortunate to be linked with the Safe Resolutions program.  I received very good support to resolve my issues.”

Integral to the program’s success were Vietnamese-speaking program facilitators who understood cultural differences, and translators with training to understand the family law system and dispute resolution services.

As part of the service, a range of family law and family violence education sessions were held to enhance access to the service and strengthen the community’s capacity to respond to the issues. Safe Resolutions also hosted a series of Vietnamese Cultural Awareness Training days, designed to enhance the skills of FDR, legal, family violence and administrative staff in using culturally sensitive practices when working with Vietnamese clients.

Vietnamese-specific Men's Behaviour Change Programs

In western Melbourne, we worked with Vietnamese perpetrators of family violence in our Vietnamese-specific MBCPs. The groups are tailored to the needs, culture and experiences of Vietnamese men in Australia, including Australian laws and customs. The program’s facilitators and family safety practitioner are all Vietnamese, which enhances the cultural appropriateness and accessibility of the group. This group is now well established and participant feedback is consistently positive.

African-Australian Community Taskforce

We partnered with the Victoria Police African Australian Community Taskforce to deliver a series of workshops to African Australian community leaders about family violence prevention. This community-led taskforce arose out of meetings between community leaders and the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police during which family violence education was identified as key to addressing family breakdown in the community and its subsequent impact on young people’s lives.

Leaders who participated in the workshops were supported to learn about the complex cultural and systemic factors which can affect family conflict and violence, including inter-generational trauma, shifting gender and family roles and expectations, migration and resettlement, and the loss of traditional cultural knowledge, language and practices. Participants also received information about healthy couple and family relationships and approaches to family violence prevention and reparation.

At a follow up workshop, representatives from Victoria Police, Child Protection, Legal Aid and RAV provided information and engaged in conversations about how services can work collaboratively with communities to overcome challenges in a culturally sensitive manner.

The men participated actively in the workshops and expressed their hopes of returning to their communities with strategies to facilitate engagement and community action to prevent family violence.

Tuning in to Kids for Afghan Women

In Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs, we delivered a number of Tuning in to Kids parenting programs in the community for Afghan women with children aged three to six years. The Tuning in to Kids program supports parents to develop and enhance their parenting skills, focusing on building the relationship between parent and child.

Contact our Cranbourne Centre for more information.

Women’s Support and Social Group

In Sunshine, we provided a multicultural support and social group for women from refugee backgrounds. As part of the group, the women received information and practical strategies for managing stress and maintaining health and wellbeing.

Contact our Sunshine Centre for more information.

Programs in 2017/18

Our centres work collaboratively with a broad range of community organisations, actively participate in local networks to improve referral pathways and processes, and are continuously enhancing our understanding of diverse communities and local needs.

We ensure that our services are accessible and responsive to culturally and linguistically diverse clients through extended session times, the use of accredited interpreters, the provision of plain English document translations, and being aware of clients' different cultural norms. 

In 2017/18, we provided services to clients who spoke 92 languages other than English and were born in 137 countries. 

Culturally-specific family violence initiatives for cohorts within Victoria's correctional system.

RAV commenced a contract with the Department of Justice and Regulation to develop responsive, culturally specific family violence initiatives for cohorts within Victoria’s correctional system.

In partnership with the inTouch Multicultural Centre against Family Violence, Kildonan Uniting and No to Violence, we developed family violence-related information sessions and resources, and family violence programs for African and Maori men. We also developed culturally appropriate Arabic and Vietnamese men's behaviour change programs, focused on enhancing relationships within families, understanding and communicating emotions, improving relationships with children and managing behaviour.

The project involves the development of cultural guidelines for the delivery of Corrections Victoria offending behaviour programs.

Afghan Family Strengthening Group

Building on our engagement with South East Community Links staff and management in recent years, we funded and co-facilitated an Afghan Family Strengthening Group in south-east Melbourne, in partnership with South East Community Links.

“ All the topics were great and it helped me in many ways. Keep it up.” – Afghan Family Strengthening Group participant

Over four sessions and with the assistance of an interpreter, family members from the local Afghan community gained knowledge about how to strengthen their family relationships. Psycho-education, skills-building and informal discussions enabled participants to raise topics of importance to their families and community, including strategies to connect with family, challenges when parenting adolescents, discipline, managing social media, and identifying healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Feedback indicated that the groups were clear, interesting and positively impacted participants’ feelings of wellbeing, with the materials used and the presentation of content appropriate for Afghan culture.

Parent Information Sessions

In partnership with the Flemington Community Centre, the Melbourne FRC delivered a series of parent information sessions for 20 local mothers from a range of cultural backgrounds including Vietnamese, Somali, Eritrean and Ethiopian, many of whom were caring for children from within their extended family networks as well as their own children. The interactive sessions included topics supporting children’s growing emotional intelligence, building strong attachment and play-based learning. Feedback indicated that the women valued the opportunity to share their parenting experiences, problem-solve issues and meet other local residents.

Working in and with the community

In partnership with the Flemington Community Centre, the Melbourne FRC delivered a series of parent information sessions for 20 local mothers from a range of cultural backgrounds including Vietnamese, Somali, Eritrean and Ethiopian, many of whom were caring for children from within their extended family networks as well as their own children. The interactive sessions included topics supporting children’s growing emotional intelligence, building strong attachment and play-based learning. Feedback indicated that the women valued the opportunity to share their parenting experiences, problem-solve issues and meet other local residents.

RAV participated in a celebration of cultural and linguistic diversity at a primary school in south-east Melbourne. As part of an activity-filled day, we held a debate as well as a question and answer session to explore the themes of family; cultural awareness; connecting through culture, including through stories and music; and the link between communication and relationships.

Our Traralgon Centre collaborated with the newly established Multicultural Women’s Friendship Group in Gippsland. During an informal craft session, RAV provided group members, many of whom were new to Australia or to the local area, with the opportunity to hear and ask questions about our services, including relationship counselling. Additional craft sessions focused on the topics of connecting with others, sharing skills and increasing participants’ awareness of what is healthy and what is unhealthy in a relationship. The use of craft activities enabled RAV to develop relationships, engage and share information with the women in a safe and supportive environment.

Young Gippsland women from multicultural backgrounds attended Girls Space, a series of educative sessions delivered after school, where we presented on topics such as relaxation, body image, relationships and self-care.

Our Traralgon Centre once again celebrated Eid al-Fitz, which marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. We sponsored and participated in the Eid Festival, which encourages positive relationships with people of all backgrounds and faiths in the community. The community event gave Muslim and non-Muslim families the opportunity to come together to enjoy a range of activities, food and craft stalls, and connect with their community neighbours.

Across many of our centres, we joined in celebrations to mark Refugee Week and Harmony Day, while in Shepparton we provided an interactive activity at an inclusive-focused family event, as part of the launch of Cultural Diversity Week.

Also in Shepparton, we participated in a community day focused on children and families, particularly new members of the community from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

We joined the South East CALD Network’s Pathways to Better Living Expo, which showcased services and support available in Dandenong for the community, particularly for people from diverse backgrounds. We also shared information and engaged with services at a forum in eastern metropolitan Melbourne, which focused on promoting gender equity and respect in multicultural communities.

Our Kew Centre welcomed the opportunity to present to young Somali Australians in northern Melbourne, and consult with them about our upcoming relationship education courses, and how they could be tailored to the specific needs and experiences of the Somali community.

With a commitment to working collaboratively with other services and the community, we participated in networks such as the Yarra and La Trobe Settlement Forums, Family Violence CALD Network, Whittlesea Multicultural Issues Network, South East CALD Network and the Brimbank Melton Settlement Advisory Committee.

DVD resource for migrant families

RAV has produced "Building Strong Families", a DVD resource for migrants and refugees settling in Australia. 
For more information, visit our Publications page, or to order online, click here.


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