The Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Melissa Horne, yesterday announced Settlement Services International (SSI) would deliver a new state-wide gambling harm prevention and counselling service for migrant and refugee communities.
Minister Horne was announcing an additional $660K in funding for migrant and refugee communities and community sporting clubs through Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF) programs during Gambling Harm Awareness Week (October 19–25).
The new multicultural service will complement existing gambling harm prevention and counselling services by offering a culturally safe, central point of contact for migrant and refugee community members. It will provide in-language counselling, information and activities to help address gambling harm in culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and consultation and coordination services for health professionals.
SSI will deliver services to communities across metropolitan and regional Victoria.
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis welcomed the announcement.
She said, “SSI is focused on supporting better life outcomes for those who have great strength and resilience yet do not always have the pathway to achieve their full potential.
“The delivery of this new service is our investment in the Victorian sector, where we can continue to be a leading contributor to our sector and society.”
During the two-year contract, SSI will support participants with gambling addiction, working in a culturally responsive and respectful way, while tailoring service delivery to individuals and their needs. Participants will be provided with assistance in a non-judgmental way and referred to other relevant services.
SSI will continue to engage with existing gambling harm prevention and counselling services while focusing efforts on providing information and opportunities to newer and emerging communities such as Assyrian, Afghani, Burmese, Indian, Somali, Sri Lankan and Sudanese communities to raise awareness of gambling harm.
Minister Horne said, “During Gambling Harm Awareness Week, we’re encouraging Victorians to break down the stigma associated with gambling harm through open conversations with friends and family members.”
VRGF CEO Shane Lucas said the new service to be provided by SSI would expand gambling harm prevention, reduction and support activities in Victorian communities that have previously been difficult to reach.
“Culture and language should not be a barrier to accessing services. Through the VRGF–SSI partnership, the aim will be to ensure that anyone who needs support in relation to a gambling issue can get it when, where and how they need it,” he said.
SSI State Director Victoria Sonia Vignjevic said, “SSI has worked extensively with multicultural communities, and our experience informs us that when working with sensitive topics such as gambling and addiction the most effective way to work with community, is to work within it.”
For more information about Gambling Harm Awareness Week, visit responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au
Media enquiries: SSI Senior Communications Officer Rebeka Selmeczki; 0468 998 300