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Protecting yourself and your family

Have an escape plan if you are at risk of harm – know where you can go to be safe.

If you have ever felt threatened or unsafe, or if you are concerned about the welfare of children affected by a parent’s gambling, it’s important that you know that there is support available.

Call the domestic violence line on 1800 737 732 or Gambling Help on 1800 858 858. There are many options available to you including counselling, temporary accommodation, and Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs). Go to 1800RESPECT for more information.

If you have a lot of debt, or if creditors are bothering you, see a credit counsellor. A credit counsellor can help you manage your debt and set up a family budget. A legal advisor can help you sort out which debts you share (such as co-signed loans) and which you do not. Let advisors know about the gambling problems.

If you’re concerned about the safety of person or others

Be aware that suicidal thoughts and behaviours are more common in people with gambling issues, because the person may see suicide as a way to avoid difficult conversations with loved ones, or viable solution to financial problems due to life insurance payouts.

A family member may have thoughts of suicide if he or she:

  • changes behaviour, appearance or mood.
  • seems depressed, sad or withdrawn.
  • gives away prized possessions.
  • talks about suicide and says he or she has a plan.
  • makes a will or talks about final wishes.

If this happens, you should:

  • take all suicide threats seriously.
  • stay calm and listen carefully.
  • let the person talk about his or her feelings.
  • accept what he or she says. Don’t pass judgment or try to solve the problem.
  • ask if the person feels suicidal and has a plan.
  • remove any means for self-harm (e.g. firearms, medications).
  • support the person in getting professional help (e.g. crisis centre, counsellor, doctor, emergency room or clergy).
  • let your doctor know what is going on.
  • not agree to keep the person’s suicidal thoughts a secret.
  • tell someone who can help.

If you are concerned that the person may become violent, you should not approach the person alone.

If you are concerned that the person may harm themselves or others, seek professional support.

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