Financial Counselling Practice Guidance: Integrating financial counselling in a legal setting for effective collaborative practice
The CIJ delivered a ground breaking financial counselling service pilot to women in Dame Phyllis Frost Centre.
Part of the multidisciplinary Inside Access program run by the Mental Health Legal Centre (MHLC), this pilot was funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF), following the release of the CIJ’s 2017 report, Compulsion, Convergence or Crime? Contact with the criminal justice system as a form of gambling harm. This report highlighted the links between gambling and offending – whether as an issue actually driving offending, or as one of many co-occurring issues ‘in the mix’ of many offenders’ lives.
While our 2017 report indicated that gambling harm was prevalent amongst people in contact with the criminal justice system, this work also indicated that it remained a ‘sleeper’ issue in terms of the system’s overall understanding, as well as in terms of the willingness of offenders to identify it as a factor with which they may need help. This means that it is often not disclosed until a client has developed a trusted relationship with a relevant practitioner.
Conscious of this, as well as of the significant wider financial issues facing people in contact with the criminal justice system, the CIJ and VRGF collaborated, with the vital support of MHLC and the Programs staff at DPFC, to deliver a pilot addressing women’s broader financial issues within the context of criminalisation. In keeping with our goal of offering life-changing experiences for students, this pilot also facilitated clinical placements for a number of RMIT Financial Counselling students.