Free national counselling and advocacy support

Disabled person in mobility scooter from a distance

People with disability have the right to be safe – Free national counselling and advocacy support is available now

People with disability who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation can now access free and independent counselling and advocacy support.

Around 4.4 million Australians have disability, and research shows they are more likely to experience violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation than people without disability. 

The National Counselling and Referral Service provides free and independent counselling and advocacy support for people with disability who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation, or are engaging with the Disability Royal Commission, as well as their families, carers and support workers.

Trauma specialists Blue Knot Foundation have been funded by the Australian Government to manage the National Counselling and Referral Service.

Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, President of Blue Knot Foundation, says Blue Knot is a safe and confidential first point of contact for people who may need emotional support.

“Blue Knot provides short-term, trauma-informed phone counselling for people with disability, families, carers, advocates, service providers and sector workers,” Dr Kezelman says.

“Blue Knot also refers people to longer-term counselling as well as advocacy, legal, financial and other supports.”

Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) is the national representative body for advocacy organisations throughout Australia.

Mary Mallett, DANA’s CEO, says advocates are supporting an increasing number of people with disability since the Disability Royal Commission kicked off in 2019. 

“Advocates can help people to tell their story to the Disability Royal Commission, arrange accessible supports such as interpreters, and connect people to services such as legal, financial and other supports.”

“Advocates are also available to support people with disability to make decisions about engaging with the Disability Royal Commission.”

Contact the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468 9am to 6pm (AEST) weekdays and 9am to 5pm (AEST) weekends and national public holidays for counselling support, information and referral, or ask to be connected to a counsellor or advocate near you.

People who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment can contact the National Counselling and Referral Service through the National Relay Service on 133 677.

Counsellors and advocates can arrange free translations and interpreting for people who need help in another language. 

Culturally appropriate support is available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and their families.

Visit www.blueknot.org.au and www.dana.org.au for more information.

Visit the Department of Social Services’ website for captioned videos, Easy Read and Auslan resources, and a full list of organisations providing counselling, advocacy, legal and financial supports for the Disability Royal Commission. 

If you are currently experiencing any form of violence or abuse, or you are concerned for your or someone else’s safety, call 000 immediately.

Free, independent counselling and advocacy support is available for people with disability who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation; and anyone affected by the Disability Royal Commission. Call the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468 9am–6pm (AEST) weekdays and 9am–5pm (AEST) weekends and national public holidays for counselling support, or ask to be connected to a counsellor or advocate near you.

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