Reaching Children through Universal Services (RCUS)

Supporting children who are affected by family violence

Family violence is a serious issue in Australia, with the effects of trauma playing out for children, families and communities today and into the future. The impact of family violence on children has been underestimated, with children the ‘silent victims’ and without access to the specialised support they need.

Our goal is provide children and young people with easily accessible support at an early stage, so that they can have their childhood restored and better long-term outcomes.

What is RCUS?

Reaching Children through Universal Services (RCUS) is for children and young people, aged 0-18 years, who have experienced family violence. RCUS staff will be based across five locations within Brimbank and Melton, so that services are delivered in locations best suited and least disruptive to the child and their family.

RCUS will deliver therapeutic services to children and young people and provide support, education and linkage to families. It is a family-inclusive recovery service providing wrap-around support for all aspects of a child’s life, promoting their psychological, social, emotional, physical and cognitive development.

Services vary according to the needs of the individual child or young person and support may continue for up to 12 months. The service is voluntary and there is no cost. RCUS services also include an afterhours telephone service

RCUS is an evidence-informed, demonstration project funded by the Department of Health and Human Services as part of the Family Violence Therapeutic Interventions projects.

RCUS: a multi-faceted response that includes

  • Trauma-informed counselling for children that is inclusive of the family
  • Therapeutic case management that focuses on all areas of a child’s life
  • Engagement of families in education and support, referral and linkages to services
  • Parenting programs to strengthen family communication and relationships.
  • Connecting children to culture and community,
  • Capacity building for universal services to assist affected children.

Accessing the service

The RCUS program is available to children and their families who are:

  • Living or studying in Brimbank or Melton and
  • Are actively engaged with one of the partner services and
  • Have experienced family violence in the past

Referrals into the program can be made by any of the partners, which are:

  • Brimbank City Council Community Care Department
  • Melton City Council Families and Children Unit
  • St Albans Primary School
  • Community Hub, located at St Albans Primary School
  • Kurunjang Secondary College, Melton

or by the following agencies for children and young people who are service users of the partners: Brimbank Melton Child FIRST and Integrated Family Services, Family Violence specialist providers, Child Protection, self-referrals.

If you would like to know more about the RCUS program or to receive support, call the Baptcare RCUS Coordinator or Worker on 9373 3800.

What is Family violence?

Family violence includes any violent, threatening or controlling behaviour that occurs in current and past family relationships. It includes all forms of physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse, such as threats, intimidation, name calling, put downs, isolation, stalking, harassing, guilt tripping, damaging or destroying property, harming or threatening harm to an animal or child, limiting access to income, isolating from supports.

A child is exposed to family violence if they see or otherwise experience its effects. Examples include (but are not limited to) the child overhearing threats of death or injury, seeing or hearing an assault, comforting or providing assistance to a family member who has been assaulted, being present when police or ambulance officers attend an incident).

Common forms of violence in families include: Spouse/partner abuse (violence among adult partners and ex-partners), Child abuse/neglect (abuse/neglect of children by an adult), Parental abuse (violence perpetrated by a child against their parent), Sibling abuse (violence between siblings).

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