Annual Report 2017/18 Relationships Australia Northern Territory

Our Board

From Our Chairperson

From the Acting CEO

Geoff Radford

Our Clients


We have participated in many National and Territory events over the past year including:

  • Barunga Festival
  • NAIDOC week events
  • World music day (World Refugee Day)
  • Pride week
  • Neighbour Day
  • Defence Community Organisation Expo
  • Careers Expo
  • White Ribbon Day
  • Mardi Gras Sydney
  • 5th Anniversary of the National Apology for forced adoption
  • Seniors Expo
  • Nationl families week

Our Services

Family and separation

  • Family Dispute Resolution
  • Family Law Pathways Network
  • Family Relationships Centre
  • Family and Domestic Violence Services
  • Post Separation Cooperative Parenting
  • Relationship Education


  • Relationships Counselling
  • Employee Assistance Program

Youth and children

  • Youth Diversion Program
  • Children’s Counselling
  • Child Inclusive Practice
  • Healing our Children

Culture and language

  • Legally Assisted and Culturally Appropriate FDR
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Project

Other services

  • Royal Commission Support (Protection and Detention of Children in the NT)
  • Royal Commission Support (Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse)
  • Find and Connect
  • Forced Adoption Support Service

I'm not crime

Our support service for the Royal Commission into Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory produced a range of different approaches for supporting children involved in the Royal Commission. This included the successful ‘I’m Not Crime’ group program for young men involved in the youth justice system.

I’m Not Crime consisted of music and cultural workshops where participants were able to express themselves through music and reconnect with culture and country. Culturally appropriate activities were facilitated by Aboriginal Elders who could share the spiritual, physical and emotional connections to country. The music created by participants gave valuable feedback and insight into the considerations needed when working with young people who have been in contact with the justice system.

If I wasn’t here, I’d be at home just bored or (taking) drugs, the wrong crowd, the wrong people

One participant spoke about the diversionary benefits the service, “If I wasn’t here, I’d be at home just bored or (taking) drugs, the wrong crowd, the wrong people”. Another commented on their thoughts of the sevice, “It felt good compared to last week; I reckon a program like this could be revolutionary, it has been an outreach to us, (and) it has helped us a lot more than anybody else could have.”

I’m not Crime’s successful approach was documented by Jacqueline Dysart, a qualified social worker and researcher, who worked with the RA-NT to evaluate the program. The evaluation shares the valuable lessons learnt by the Royal Commission Support Team during the program with other service providers or organisations who are working with young people. Furthermore, the evaluation can inform funding bodies and policymakers of priorities and assist in decision making regarding services in this sector.

Our Find & Connect Support Service (FCSS) faces unique challenges in the Northern Territory, with the majority of clients living in rural, remote and often isolated regions. Our staff members work with clients in developing a suite of different strategies in managing the negative experiences of loneliness and living in isolation.

In the Northern Territory FCSS provides case management, advocacy, counselling records searching and family tracing to people affected by out-of-home care prior to 1990. FCSS is funded by the Department of Social Services and aims to provide specialised trauma-informed support to individuals who identify as Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants, and the Stolen Generations.

Many of these clients have a preference for support through our phone service, rather than travel to have in-person service at their nearest RA-NT office. The confines of living rural and remote in the NT can often contribute to isolation and loneliness which results in a detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing. As our clients grow older, fear and loneliness begin to impact their lives and people can become increasingly aware of not being physically and mentally self-sufficient as they once were.

We support clients by starting with small strategies and building on activities by trial and experimentation. These strategies need to consider the client’s unique lifestyle, the physical remoteness, and their financial circumstances. Effective strategies are those which offer social activities and/or support within a relaxed group format where people are active participants and the inclusion of animals into client’s lifestyles. Pets (cats, dogs, kangaroos, and buffalos) provide great comfort and companionship to clients and can decrease the feeling of loneliness and social isolation.

Encouragement of online social interaction has also lead to further social inclusion and reduces the feelings of loneliness for clients. Online interaction is particularly meaningful when clients are becoming increasingly frail or other life changes start to impact their quality of life. Given the uniqueness and physical isolation of clients, RA-NT has been able to success fully implement and deliver a flexible, trauma-informed and inclusive therapeutic approach to service delivery for FCSS clients.

Acknowledgement Seats

Two acknowledgement seats for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants were installed in Darwin and Alice Springs in 2017. RA-NT recognised the importance of a monument in the NT, and together with the support of local councils and the Alliance of Forgotten Australians, we were able to make these seats a reality. The seats publicly honour and acknowledge the people who grew up in homes or institutions in the NT.

Neighbour Day Launched in Alice Springs

The national launch of Neighbour Day was hosted in the Northern Territory by the Alice Springs community at the Sadadeen Primary School, with the support of Relationships Australia and Neighbour Day Ambassador and Natalie Ahmat of NITV/SBS television. The Alice Springs community was presented with the first Very Neighbourly Community Award for their active engagement with Neighbour Day for many years.

In 2018, 3115 Neighbour Day events were promoted and hosted around Australia by individual neighbours, community groups and businesses, in workplaces and by all levels of government – particularly local councils. The most popular events were morning and afternoon teas, BBQs, street parties, and ‘bring and share’ food gatherings, with almost 50 per cent of events open to the public. Other Australians chose to leave calling or connection cards with messages of support and their contact details, in case their neighbour ever needs a hand.

Building relationships through Neighbour Day

An example of a successful Neighbour Day in Alice Springs is local Jim Guckert and his daughter Linda, who organised a BBQ to celebrate Neighbour Day in their local park to meet others in their neighbourhood.

Neighbour Day, encourages people to connect with those who live in their neighbourhood. Mr Guckert’s motivation for organised the event was because he only knew his immediate neighbours and felt quite isolated, despite living in Alice Springs for 10 years. So he and his family door knocked in his street and surrounding areas and had more than 40 people attend the BBQ.

The gathering was such as success that the community came together again in the park for a New Year’s Eve celebration. Two women from the local nursing home also joined with their carers and shared stories of their life as indigenous artists, entertaining those present. Since the initial gathering, local residents report feeling safer, have a greater sense of community and trust in others


*Images and articles have been used from the Relationships Australia National Annual Report 17/18.

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