Answers to your most asked questions.


Accessibility and Language

We offer a wide range of accessibility options for people with disabilities to ensure our services are inclusive. These can range from, but are not limited to:
  • Online or phone delivery
  • Wheelchair access at most of our centres
  • Staff visits at alternate locations
  • Collaboration with other service providers.
We welcome you to have a discussion with us during your client intake process to help us cater specifically for your needs.
No – to respect your privacy and confidentiality, Relationships Australia NSW will provide you with an interpreter at no additional cost.
Yes – we provide interpreters at all of our centres, in a range of different languages. Please let us know if you require one when booking your appointment.
Yes – Relationships Australia NSW has a Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging strategy, and part of this strategy is ensuring we provide valuable services to the LGBTQIA+ community. We’re continually working to be as inclusive as possible. We’re proud members of Pride in Health and Wellbeing, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, Diversity Council of Australia and ACON’s Welcome Here initiative, and we draw on their experience and expertise.

Appointment Information

No – we take the privacy and security of all our clients very seriously, so we’re unable to discuss, change or cancel appointments that aren’t made by you. We can only discuss or change booking details directly with the person who has made the booking.
Yes – all of our Counselling services are available online, as well as many of our Group Workshops, Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) and mediation sessions.
To cancel your session, please give us more than two full business days’ notice. No cancellation fee will apply in this case, and this will also allow us to open the session to someone else on the waiting list. If we are notified within less than 48 hours of your appointment, 50% of the total session fee will be charged. If you don’t show up to your appointment, 100% of your session fee will be charged.

Careers and Professional Training

Candidates for the CHC81115 Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution need to meet one of the following requirements;
  • Undergraduate degree or higher qualification in psychology, social work, law, conflict management, dispute resolution, family law mediation or equivalent
  • Accreditation under the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS)
  • Satisfactory completion of the mediation skill set from the Community Services Training Package (CHC)
  • Relevant work experience. This is likely to be in a dispute resolution environment in a position requiring self-directed application of knowledge, exercise of independent judgement and decision-making, and relevant technical skills.
To gain entry for our CHC81015 Graduate Diploma of Relationship Counselling (Responding to Family Violence) a candidate must have one of the following;
  • An undergraduate degree or higher qualification in counselling, psychology, social work, social science, or equivalent
  • A Diploma of Counselling from the CHC Community Services Training Package or equivalent
  • Ability to provide documented evidence of previous experience in a family counselling environment in a job role involving self-directed application of knowledge with substantial depth in some areas, exercise of independent judgement and decision-making, and a range of technical and other skills.
You’ll also need to undertake a suitability interview with the Course Coordinator to enter either of the diplomas. Recognition of Prior Learning credit may be granted for relevant prior study or experience. Students seeking recognition for all or part of a qualification must complete the online Recognition Application at least 14 days before the start of the course.
Relationships Australia NSW runs a Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution and Graduate Diploma of Relationship Counselling in collaboration with Relationships Australia Victoria. Undertaking them will provide you with a nationally accredited qualification so you can take the next step in your career. Find out more about the courses, register your interest or enrol here:
We currently offer work placements to students enrolled in our accredited qualification courses (Graduate Diploma of Relationship Counselling, and our Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution) delivered in partnership with Relationships Australia Victoria. Additionally, we offer work placement to individuals enrolled in courses with our partner organisations. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer any internships or student placement opportunities for students enrolled in study with external organisations.
No – unfortunately we are currently unable to offer any volunteering opportunities.
We recommend visiting our Careers page to find out what job opportunities are currently available. If you can’t see the perfect role for you right now, register your interest and we’ll be in touch if something suitable comes up.

Children's Contact Service

Our services are government subsidised and are generally more affordable than private Children’s Contact Service providers. Our fees are calculated on a sliding scale based on each parent’s household income. Orientation sessions: Free. Changeovers: From $10 per changeover. Supervised visits: $30–$120 per hour, depending on household income. We understand many families are experiencing financial hardship, and nobody will be turned away due to an inability to pay. Our friendly team are happy to discuss your circumstances during your intake process.
It’s important to use clear and straightforward language when talking to your child about supervised contact visits. Let them know where they’ll be meeting with the other parent or family member and assure them that it’s a safe and welcoming environment. Our staff can also give you more information about talking to your children about the Children’s Contact Service.
Our staff at the Children’s Contact Service are friendly, professional and impartial, and don’t take sides in any disputes. Our priority is always the well-being and safety of the child.
If you’re worried about your safety or the safety of your child during supervised contact, it’s important to let the staff at the Children’s Contact Service know as soon as possible. We have procedures in place to ensure the safety of all our clients and staff, and can also make referrals to other support services
Yes – all visits and interactions are recorded as notes, which can be later subpoenaed by the court.
Families can generally use the service for six months from the time of their first supervised visit or changeover. However, this can usually be extended in certain cases. Simply speak with your CCS staff member about extending your service with us.
Visits are usually scheduled on a fortnightly basis for two hours. However, the frequency of visits can sometimes vary depending on several factors, including:
  • The established routines and activities of the child.
  • The age of the child. As babies and toddlers grow so quickly, for example, it may be ideal to schedule weekly visits so each parent can be part of their baby’s development, especially around important milestones.
  • The capacity of the service, based on current levels of demand.
Firstly, we’ll ask each parent to go through a registration process with the Service. This involves an initial conversation over the phone individually with each parent, where we’ll ask you some details. When we’ve spoken to both parents and registered you, you’ll then be placed on a waiting list.

We’ll conduct an intake assessment, which helps determine if we can manage your particular situation. During the assessment phase, each parent will meet separately with a worker from the CCS. After the assessment is completed, our CCS staff will advise you of the outcome.

If your case is assessed as suitable, we’ll give you an indication of when the service can commence. After this, the parent with whom the child lives can bring the child to the centre to meet our staff and see the surroundings. We’ll give a special illustrated children’s booklet to each child to help explain the process.

We’ll also explain the safety rules and the Service Agreement for using the Service, and can also refer you to other services available to assist you.

If your case isn’t unsuitable for the CCS, our staff will discuss other services which may be appropriate for you.
Waitlists vary depending on the type of service you’re looking to access, but are generally minimal. Families who need supervised visits generally have a slightly longer wait time than those seeking facilitated changeovers. We always aim to help families as quickly as possible.
No – for safety and security reasons, we only provide our services within one of our four Children’s Contact Centres at Blacktown, Penrith, Central Coast and Newcastle. 
In cases where separated parents are unable to meet face-to-face, a Children’s Contact Service worker can facilitate or supervise the transfer of a child from one parent to another, without parents needing to see each other in-person.
We have Children’s Contact Centres in the following locations: Blacktown: Level 2, 2 Warrick Lane, Blacktown NSW 2148 Penrith: Level 2, 606 High Street, Penrith NSW 2750 Central Coast: Level 1/4 Watt Street Gosford NSW, Australia Newcastle: 6 Heddon Road, Broadmeadow NSW 2292
A supervised visit is when a Children’s Contact Service worker oversees a visit between a child and their other parent or another family member. This is also called a Supervised Contact Visit. This can be required in instances where there is a perceived or actual risk to the child – for example, in the case of allegations of family violence. All visits take place in a controlled and secure environment at our Children’s Contact Centres. Visits should be a safe and comfortable time for the child, and our Centres have a range of toys and activities for children and parents to use. A CCS worker will observe the interaction between a child and his or her parent at all times, and record observation notes about the visits and all other contact with parents.
All separated families are welcome to use our Children’s Contact Service, whether or not they have ever married or lived with their child’s other parent. You may use this service voluntarily, or parents may be ordered by the family court to use facilitated changeovers, or have supervised visits with their children.
Children’s Contact Services (CCS) allow children of separated parents to have safe contact with the parent they don’t live with, in circumstances where parents aren’t able to manage their own contact arrangements. Where separated parents are not able to meet without conflict, a CCS also provides a safe, neutral venue for the transfer of children between parents. Our CCS aims to provide children with the opportunity to re-establish or maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents, and other significant people in their lives. The key goal of CCSs is to help separated families move to self-management of contact arrangements, for both changeover and unsupervised contact where possible, and where it’s considered safe. We always ensure that we keep children’s best interests central to the contact process.


We don’t provide mental health assessments or diagnoses for any mental illnesses. However, this is something that most GPs can provide, so we encourage you to speak to your doctor or healthcare provider. They may then refer you to one of our services for further support. Find out more about mental health assessments here.
No – while we welcome referrals from healthcare professionals and GPs for many of our services, a referral for counselling isn’t required.
Children under the age of 18 can attend Family Counselling or Adolescent Family Therapy sessions with their parents or carers. We can’t provide individual counselling sessions for children under the age of 18 years.
To respect the privacy of all of our clients, we are unable to call your partner directly to request that they attend counselling. If they’re looking for further information, more clarity, or want to discuss their concerns about coming to counselling, they are more than welcome to call us directly. We’ll be happy to speak to them confidentially and answer any questions they have.
Yes – after your first session with a particular counsellor, you’ll continue to see the same counsellor for your follow-up sessions as well.
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to speak with your counsellor prior to the sessions, due to their schedules. However, our client services team can help you with your enquiries, and make notes for your counsellor to refer to during your first appointment.
Yes, we will do our best to accommodate your request to meet with the counsellor of your choice. However, we can’t always guarantee you will see your preferred counsellor, as they may already be booked out and unable to accept new bookings.
During the Client Intake process, our team will ask you specific questions to help connect you with programs or services that we believe will be best for your situation. Our counsellors have experience and ongoing training in a variety of counselling models and methods, and will work with you to determine the best approach for your particular needs.
Our counsellors have a diverse range of skills, qualifications, and relevant industry training. While professional backgrounds often range from psychology to social or casework, all our counsellors need to have a Bachelors degree or higher, with additional counselling-specific training.
Sometimes we all need some extra support and guidance to help find ways to move forward. Counselling can offer you practical tools and strategies to help you overcome challenges and look at things from a different perspective. Our counselling services are welcoming, non-judgemental and suitable for individuals, couples, and families. If you are in crisis, experiencing domestic or family violence, or have made the decision to separate, we have additional services that we can offer to give you the best support.

Family Court Ordered Programs

To receive a certificate of attendance, participants must attend 80% of the group workshop or program. If you’re unable to make a session for reasons outside your control, please contact us.
Yes – you can sign up to as many programs as you would like to attend.
While we commonly facilitate Taking Responsibility, Circle of Security and Women’s Choice and Change, any of our programs can be referred by the Family Court or Parenting Order Programs.
All customer information is protected under the Family Law Act. We are unable to write reports or provide parenting assessments. However, we are happy to provide you with a letter of attendance at any point in the counselling program. Our Children’s Contact Service is the only program that provides reports if requested through the court process.

Family Dispute Resolution (Mediation)

If you have any feedback or would like to make a complaint about our Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) and Mediation service, we encourage you to speak directly with your practitioner in the first instance.

If they’re unable to resolve your concerns or you don’t feel comfortable raising the issue with them, they can refer you to a team leader. They’ll manage your complaint internally via the process outlined in the information pack you received from your Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner when you first engaged with the service.

If we’re unable to resolve your complaint internally, or if you prefer, you can use the Australian Attorney-General’s Department complaints process. To make a complaint with the Attorney-General’s Department, please use the channels below:

Email: flscomplaints@ag.gov.au
Phone: 02 6141 6666
Family Law Services Section
Attorney-General’s Department
Robert Garran Offices
3–5 National Circuit
Barton ACT 2600
If both parties reach an agreement during Family Dispute Resolution, this can be recorded as a Parenting Agreement. Please note that this is not a legally enforceable document. During your sessions, you may also come to agreements about property and financial decisions. If you do wish to make your agreements about your parenting, property and financial arrangements legally binding, you can apply to the Family Court to have your agreement made into a Consent Order.
If issues can’t be resolved, your Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner will issue you with a Section 60I certificate. This shows that a genuine effort to resolve your dispute through Family Dispute Resolution has been attempted. If you later decide to apply to the Family law court for parenting orders, the Court requires that a copy of the Section 60I certificate be filed with your Court Application.
If you have specific requests for cultural or religious reasons, please let us know when you enquire, and we can work with you to try and accommodate your needs. We recognise people’s backgrounds, values, family circumstances and connections are diverse, and we work with people from all walks of life. We have extensive experience working with a wide range of families including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. We can also provide an interpreter at your sessions if necessary, at no extra cost to you.
If an established Parenting Agreement is not being met or is no longer working, it may be suitable for further mediation sessions to be organised. If you need further support, we encourage you to seek legal advice.
We can help separating partners to reach both parenting and property agreements and can put these into writing. Please note, however that these written agreements won’t be legally binding. If you do want to make these agreements legally binding, we encourage you to seek legal advice.
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a process for separating partners in Australia. It offers an alternative to family court or legal proceedings, and is a structured process that helps individual parties express their thoughts and needs to one another. All parents separating in Australia are required to attempt to resolve their parenting disputes in FDR (the Family Relationship Centres are one place that offer FDR services) before approaching the court. If Family Dispute Resolution (mediation) is suitable, we can help with parenting and property arrangements. If we determine that mediation is not suitable for you and your family, we can provide you with information about the next steps. FDR may not always be the right process for all separating partners. Each person meets with their assigned FDR Practitioner individually to discuss their circumstances and identify whether there are any reasons why FDR may or may not work for them at that time.
Once you’ve made the decision to separate, it can be confusing and overwhelming to know what to do next. We welcome you to contact Relationships Australia NSW to help guide you through this process, and put you in contact with the services that you may need. We can help you determine the approach that’s most suitable for your unique situation. We also encourage all clients to seek their own legal advice.
If you are separating and you have children, and your partner refuses or fails to participate in the FDR process, then our Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner may issue you with a 60i certificate. This then enables you to apply to the Court for parenting orders. If you are separating and do not have children, and your case involves only property or financial matters, we recommend that you seek legal advice if the other party does not wish to participate in FDR.
The first session with your FDR Practitioner is called a Pre-mediation assessment. This is an individual session between yourself and your assigned practitioner for 1.5 hours. The purpose of this session is to determine whether Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is appropriate for your situation, and whether it is likely to achieve the outcomes each party want. We’ll consider the parties involved, the issues you present, and the proposed timing of FDR.
In some cases it can be agreed by both the FDR Practitioner (mediator) and the other party for other people to be present during mediation sessions including lawyers or support persons, however, this needs to be discussed and negotiated ahead of time. Please talk to your Family Advisor or FDR Practitioner if you would like to consider these options.
After you make an enquiry about mediation, our staff will conduct a screening process. This is to find out more about you, your ex-partner, and how safe your situation is. If mediation isn’t suitable or safe for you, we can provide you with a Section 60I certificate. We can also refer you to other services that can provide you with support, such as counselling, behaviour change programs, and domestic violence support groups.

Group Workshops

If you’re unable to attend a session, please contact our client services team by calling 1300 364 277 or emailing us, and we will let your Group Leaders know. Please note – for those who’ve been court-ordered to attend one of our group programs (such as our Men’s Behaviour Change program), participants must attend at least 80% of the workshop’s scheduled sessions in order to receive a statement of attendance.
Our group workshops are perfect for those looking to build their relationship skills in a safe, supportive and collaborative group environment, led by our expert facilitators. We cover a huge range of topics, from parenting techniques to developing mental wellbeing practices – and offer groups throughout the year, both online and face-to-face.

Healthcare and Casework Referrals

Please get in touch with us to make a referral. We always welcome warm referrals as we find they produce higher levels of engagement and more successful outcomes for our clients and customers. We’re happy to organise joint meetings or phone calls for both parties to discuss our programs and services.
All of our services, group workshops and counselling services are available for referral.

Payment and Fees

Many of our services operate on a sliding fee scale. This is a payment model adjusted to an individual’s income. Those on lower incomes will pay a lower price, while those in higher income brackets will pay a slightly higher price. Our aim is for everyone who needs our services, to be able to access them.
The cost of each services varies. Fees depend on the program, the number of sessions you attend, and your individual income. For most services, we use a sliding scale to calculate the right fees for your circumstances. Some services are free for everyone, while others are free for certain users. You can calculate the amount you’ll pay by visiting the specific page that relates to the service or workshop you’re interested in. We pride ourselves on making our services accessible and fees can be waived in cases of financial hardship.
To receive a refund for a cancelled appointment, please refer to our cancellation policy. If you have been unhappy with a service that you’ve attended, we want to hear from you. Please fill out our Feedback and Complaints Form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Yes – we can work with you to arrange this. Please let us know of your interest in this, at the time of enquiry.
Payment for your first session is required upfront, prior to your appointment. We can take payment over the phone at the time of booking.
No – unfortunately our sessions can’t be claimed on private healthcare insurance rebates, nor do Medicare rebates apply. However, our services are affordably priced, and operate on a sliding scale according to your income level. Some services are also provided free of charge.
Yes – many of our services are free for Concession Card holders.
Unfortunately, as our services are already government-funded and heavily subsidised, we don’t accept mental health care plans for any of our services.

Relationships are the threads that connect us to each other and the world we all shape and share.



Join Our Newsletter
Skip to content