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Counselling in Prison Program

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?

The Counselling in Prison program is delivered jointly through Victims Services NSW and Corrective Services NSW. The Counselling in Prison program allows people in custody who have been a victim of crime to access the Approved Counselling Service (ACS) and address their complex trauma histories.

The program is funded through the Victims Support Fund.

The ACS provides free individual counselling to people who have become victims of violent crime that occurred in NSW and aims to assist victims recover from the psychological and emotional impacts the crime has had on them.

Approved Counsellors under the ACS are 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?

The program is available in ten correctional centres state-wide, encompassing all women’s prisons in NSW, with the exception of Broken Hill Correctional Centre.

An evaluation of the Counselling in Prison trial in 2015 found that, overall, the program was effective. An analysis of pre and post counselling data showed a reduction in the level of severity scores for depression, anxiety and stress for individuals participating in the program. The reduction was significant and did not differ by age, gender or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status. The counselling was perceived as invaluable as such a service was otherwise unavailable to inmates.

What is next?

The Counselling in Prison program is an ongoing program and progressive roll out is currently under way.

What difference will we make?

The intended outcome of the Counselling in Prison program is to lower the impact of trauma for people in custody who have also been victims of violent crime.

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