Morwell forum puts spotlight on gambling

An interactive forum looking at helping people impacted by gambling-related harm in a holistic way was held in Morwell today.

Hosted by Latrobe Community Health Services and FMC Mediation and Counselling, more than 50 industry professionals representing different service providers from across the region participated in the forum, which explored the links between gambling, family violence and crime.

The forum featured three presentations including RMIT University’s Centre for Innovative Justice manager of policy and research Elena Campbell, co-author of Increasing the Odds for Safety and Respect: a Gambling and Family Violence Issues Paper Bronwyn Martin, and Three Sides of the Coin, a theatre troupe whose members have all been impacted by gambling in some way.

Latrobe Community Health Service gambler’s help community educator Lauren Sewell said it is important for service providers and industry professionals to understand how gambling, family violence and crime interlink.

“I think a lot of the time, especially with people working in these industries, their core focus in one particular thing, whether it be gambling or crime,” she said.

“However, it is important to look at it as a holistic approach so [the client] can be treated correctly and referred to the correct services.

“A lot of the time, if someone does present for one thing, there is also something driving that, which could be whether someone presents for family violence, gambling could be contributing to that as an underlying issue.”

Ms Sewell said she hoped the event would help organisations work more effectively together.

“I think definitely having something like this provides an overall message for everyone to understand how the three interlink,” she said.

“And if people are presenting to a service and they don’t have the services needed for a particular person, they can refer them on to the people that they meet today and know that those services are out there and then people who are coming to be treated for specific things have a better outcome.”

Ms Sewell said stereotypes in the community about the types of people who can be impacted by gambling are often inaccurate and unhelpful.

“Research has shown that there is no particular gender or personality type when it comes to someone who can be affected by gambling, family violence or crime,” she said.

“It is non-discriminative, anyone can be impacted.

“It doesn’t have to be a gambler themselves that is impacted. It can be someone else gambling that is impacting you and that is where that co-occurrence of gambling and crime and family violence come into play.”