In this section:

Counselling Services in Prison

Responsible government

  • New South Wales

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Improve support and service system responses
    • 17 Collaborate across services, sectors and workforces to ensure responses to women affected by domestic, family and sexual violence are coordinated, meet women’s needs, avoid women having to retell their story and promote their recovery.

What are we doing?

This initiative facilitates access for women in custody who are eligible under the Victims Support Scheme (VSS) to free counselling to assist them to recover from the psychological and emotional impacts of the crime. In the custodial environment, operational arrangements to enable access to counselling are managed by Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW).

Counselling under the VSS is delivered by social workers, psychologists, clinical psychologists or psychiatrists in private practice who have proven experience in working with victims of crime.

What have we achieved so far?

Counselling for victims of violent crime is available to women in nine correctional centres state-wide and over 39 women have accessed counselling in the 2020-21 financial year.

Counselling in prisons was paused in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Since 1 July 2021, 68 incarcerated women have been referred for counselling. Access arrangements, including the use of telephone and audio-visual link have been trialled and are in use, new counsellors are confirmed at nine sites and additional recruitment is being undertaken to meet demand. Due to the recent COVID-19 Delta outbreak in Sydney and NSW, alternative options for providing counselling are implemented at sites where face-to-face services cannot be provided at this time.

What is next?

Access to counselling under the Victims Support Scheme will continue to be managed as part of regular prison operations, ensuring women who are victims of crime have access to counselling while in custody.

What difference will we make?

The intended outcome of providing counselling in Prisons is to lower the impact of trauma for people in custody who have also been victims of violent crime. Women who are victims of violent crime in custody will not need to wait until leaving custody to access counselling under the VSS.

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