We stand together with those affected by the devastating bushfire crisis across Australia. If you are affected by the bushfires, there are practical ways we can support you. Please read on to see the services available.
If you are not directly impacted by the bushfires, but want to help those who are, there are practical ways you can assist.
VU support services for students, staff & the community
If you are a student and are affected by the bushfire crisis, support is available at VU.
- Our professionally trained counsellors provide free, confidential counselling sessions for students.
- VU offers counselling services to staff and their families through the VU Employee Assistance Program.
- VU’s Psychology Clinic is open to the community, with treatment provided by provisional psychologists under supervision of clinical psychologists.
- Our Chaplaincy is a multi-faith – or no-faith – facility offering support, reflection centres and wellbeing programs.
Various types of leave are available for employees who have been impacted, including community service leave and other leave arrangements depending on your circumstances.
Special consideration for students
VU offers special consideration for assessments in several instances including medical or compassionate grounds. You may apply for special consideration if you experienced unexpected circumstances that had an adverse impact on your performance, or prevented you from attending scheduled exams.
Financial, legal & housing support
If you or your family have experienced financial loss through the bushfires, support is available. We provide free and confidential support to help students manage time, money and personal issues. Assistance includes accommodation, applying for student loans, managing your study and living-related costs, tax help, free legal advice and more.
How to help others: look out for friends, family & colleagues
VU Clinical Psychologist Alana Howells was assistant manager of an Emergency Recovery Team providing psychological first aid after disasters, including the Black Saturday bushfires. She says:
“Immediately during and after such a disaster, people need to take care of their basic needs, such as trying to get enough rest and eating well. Social support is also important, as it is easy for many people to withdraw and become disconnected, but sometimes practical support is the most important way to show someone that you care.”
Take the time to check on the wellbeing of your friends, family, colleagues and children, who may have been affected by these traumatic events. For some great tips on how to approach sensitive conversions, and loads of resources visit the RU OK? website.
Ways you can contribute
The Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews suggests monetary donations are now the most appropriate way to support fire brigades, animal rescue and those impacted by the bushfires. Donations of goods are currently not being requested. If you are able to donate, here are some of the reputable agencies we recommend (please be wary of potential scammers) and ways you can contribute:
- Victorian Government Bushfire Appeal
- Red Cross disaster relief
- CFA Victoria
- NSW Rural Fire Service
- WIRES (Wildlife Rescue) or RSPCA NSW Bushfire Appeal.
Stay safe with fire authorities' apps
Please heed safety warnings and stay away from fire-affected areas, following CFA bushfire safety advice. Download your following relevant official fire authorities’ app/s, so you can safely avoid potential disaster zones: