Unit of competency details

CHCDFV505C - Counsel clients affected by domestic and family violence (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by CHCDFV006 - Counsel clients affected by domestic and family violenceThis version was released in CHC Community Services Training Package release 2.0 and meets the requirements of the 2012 Standards for Training Packages. Minimal changes to the elements and performance criteria. New evidence requirements for assessment including volume and frequency requirements. Significant changes to knowledge evidence. 07/Dec/2015
Supersedes and is equivalent to CHCDFV5B - Counsel clients affected by domestic and family violenceEquivalent outcome 24/Mar/2011

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 25/Mar/2011

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnUsage RecommendationRelease
CHC50612 - Diploma of Community Services WorkDiploma of Community Services WorkSuperseded
CHC51712 - Diploma of CounsellingDiploma of CounsellingSuperseded
CHC50308 - Diploma of Community Services (Mental health)Diploma of Community Services (Mental health)Superseded
CHC50108 - Diploma of DisabilityDiploma of DisabilityDeleted1-2 
HLT50113 - Diploma of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health CareDiploma of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health CareSuperseded1-4 
CHC52015 - Diploma of Community ServicesDiploma of Community ServicesSuperseded
CHC50608 - Diploma of Community Services WorkDiploma of Community Services WorkSuperseded
CHC50513 - Diploma of Youth JusticeDiploma of Youth JusticeSuperseded1-2 
CHC53315 - Diploma of Mental HealthDiploma of Mental HealthCurrent
CHC51408 - Diploma of Youth WorkDiploma of Youth WorkSuperseded1-2 
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SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 090501 Social Work  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 090501 Social Work  02/Feb/2009 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor


This unit describes the knowledge and skills required to use appropriate counselling and facilitation skills to thoroughly explore client issues and identify possible options by providing a safe and supportive environment which encourages clients to be actively involved in seeking their own solutions

Application of the Unit


This unit may apply in a range of community service contexts with clients who may experience domestic and family violence

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Not Applicable

Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

This unit contains Employability Skills

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements define the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

The Performance Criteria specify the level of performance required to demonstrate achievement of the Element. Terms in italics are elaborated in the Range Statement.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Establish confidence

1.1 Use appropriate interpersonal skills  to establish a professional relationship with clients  based on confidence and support

1.2 Conduct interviews and interactions  with clients in a safe environment and in a participatory and confidential manner

1.3 In all interactions with clients demonstrate sensitivity to cultural, family and individual differences and any specific needs 

1.4 Explain and promote rights and responsibilities  of client, their family and worker throughout client contact

1.5 Mutually determine appropriate structures, timeframes and protocols

1.6 In all work with clients, apply organisation standards and procedures  and comply with legislative and statutory requirements 

2. Explore issues

2.1 Use appropriate questioning  to encourage clients to explore and acknowledge their fears, concerns and personal capabilities

2.2 Encourage those who use violence to take personal responsibility for their actions

2.3 Use facilitation skills to encourage exploration of emotions and experiences that will assist in reflection of issues

2.4 Analyse and respond to any indications of risk  or threats to safety according to the degree and nature of the risk to client, their family and/or worker

2.5 Explore appropriate range of services and resources to meet needs of client and their family in accordance with organisation standards and procedures

2.6 Provide accurate and relevant information designed to develop awareness and understanding of domestic violence

2.7 Encourage client self determination through using opportunities which assist clients to identify issues, set personal goals  and make informed choices to enhance the safety of the client and their family

2.8 Encourage clients to recognise decisions and changes needed to assist them to achieve their goals

2.9 Acknowledge progress and encourage and support self management of issues

3. Identify possible future directions

3.1 Identify future services and support  required by the client and plan their delivery in consultation with client, their family and other appropriate people 

3.2 Jointly identify client information needs and agreed and implement actions to satisfy these as appropriate

3.3 Provide opportunities for client and their family to obtain information and develop skills in accordance with organisation standards and procedures

3.4 Use appropriate questioning and reflection to assist the client to make positive choices and changes as necessary

3.5 Maintain records of participation and progress according to organisation standards and procedures

Required Skills and Knowledge


This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge :

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

These include:

  • Detailed knowledge of appropriate counselling techniques that will explore client issues and encourage client's self determination to enhance client and client's family's safety
  • Understanding of current organisation procedures, practices and standards for client assessment, allocation of services, case management, interviewing, code of conduct, confidentiality, use of resources, programmed intervention and duty of care requirements
  • Understanding of domestic violence indicators and procedures for undertaking assessment of needs of client and client's family
  • Knowledge of respectful strategies that will assist in client self-determination which enhances client and their family's safety
  • Knowledge of the various groups represented within the local community (e.g. Cultural, religious, language, sexual identity, age and disability) and an understanding of the issues that arise when working with those groups
  • Knowledge of the social, historical, political and economic context of domestic violence, including types and nature of domestic violence, power and gender issues, child abuse, and associated criminal issues
  • Specific knowledge of the appropriate range of referral sources and associated protocols
  • Understanding of the prevalence of myths, unhelpful beliefs, attitudes and practices in the broader society in regard to domestic violence, and their effects on individuals' rights to safety and autonomy
  • Knowledge of legislative requirements and provisions relevant to area of service delivery and delegated responsibility
  • Awareness of own values and attitudes and their potential impact on clients
  • Understanding of specific limitations of work role, responsibility and professional abilities

Essential skills :

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to:

  • Work within the counselling framework
  • Manage own values so they do not impede effective work and manage the stress of the work - key indicators of competency
  • Use interpersonal and general counselling skills and knowledge to obtain relevant client information and respond appropriately, in particular to:
  • establish confidence with clients through appropriate interpersonal styles and methods
  • use a range of questioning and interviewing techniques to facilitate exploration of client issues
  • identify and assess needs of client and client's family including consideration of the physical and emotional safety of clients and their family
  • encourage users of violence to take responsibility and be accountable for their use of violence
  • facilitate client's self determination by using appropriate interpersonal skills to encourage clients to set their own personal goals which enhance safety
  • depending on the work program or services provided apply specific knowledge of particular groups or issues (e.g. alcohol and other drugs (AOD), same-sex relationships, religious, survivors/victims, users of violence, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander issues, mental health etc)
  • accurately interpret and comply with legal and procedural requirements
  • understand own work role and responsibilities in relation to service delivery

In addition, the candidate must be able to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

These include the ability to:

  • Demonstrate application of skills in:
  • interpersonal relationship such as questioning and active listening (paraphrasing, clarifying, summarising) techniques, including non-judgemental and empathic approaches
  • response ranging from responding sensitively to disclosures to maintaining confidentiality in relation to people affected by domestic violence
  • assessment for a broad range of unpredictable problems involving analysis, assessment, and evaluation-for example, identifying domestic violence during professional contact with clients and their family
  • problem solving for a defined range of predictable problems, for example when the needs of client and/or client's family are identified as lying outside a worker's particular professional role the worker should offer the client accurate and current information about appropriate services and workers in other occupational groups
  • collaboration between worker, client and client's family, and between services and other providers
  • counselling which challenges violence and abuse and support the change process
  • literacy and communication in relation to analysis, evaluation and presentation of information including preparing documents and reports related to client needs and service delivery issues

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this unit of competency :

  • The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills
  • This unit will be most appropriately assessed in the workplace or in a simulated workplace and under the normal range of workplace conditions
  • Assessment of performance should be over a period of time covering all categories within the Range Statement statements that are applicable in the learning environment
  • This will include contexts applicable to the work environment, such as actual or simulated workplace situations involving a combination of direct, indirect and supplementary forms of evidence

Access and equity considerations :

  • All workers in community services should be aware of access, equity and human rights issues in relation to their own area of work
  • All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment
  • In recognition of particular issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Context of and specific resources for assessment :

  • This unit can be delivered and assessed independently, however holistic assessment practice with other community services units of competency is encouraged
  • Resources required for assessment of this unit include access to:
  • an appropriate workplace where assessment can take place or simulation of realistic workplace setting for assessment
  • Where assessment is conducted within the workplace there are no resource implications above those normally available in the workplace
  • Where assessment is conducted in a simulated or non-workplace environment then access to the necessary equipment and research resources should be provided
  • Access to simulated exercises, case studies related to service delivery issues will also be required if non-workplace assessment paths are utilised

Method of assessment :

  • Evidence will be determined by selection from the Range Statement, justified in terms of work requirements, work roles and responsibilities and occupational specialisations
  • Evidence for assessment of competence may be gathered by appropriate combination of the following:
  • demonstration of competency within the working environment in counselling clients affected by domestic violence
  • assessment must be in the workplace, however, where there is not an opportunity to cover all relevant aspects in the work environment, the remainder should be assessed through realistic simulations, projects, previous relevant experience or oral questioning on 'What if?' scenarios
  • observation of processes and procedures, oral and/or written questions on Essential knowledge and skills and consideration of required attitudes
  • where performance is not directly observed and/or is required to be demonstrated over a period of time and/or in a number of locations, any evidence should be authenticated by colleagues, supervisors, clients or other appropriate persons
  • review of any documentation produced by the candidate related to client needs analysis and counselling clients in relation to domestic violence

Related units :

This unit should be assessed after or in conjunction with related unit:

  • CHCDFV402C Manage own professional development in responding to domestic and family violence

For the purpose of integrated assessment, this unit may be assessed in conjunction with the following unit:

  • CHCCS607D Coordinate the assessment and delivery of services to clients with particular needs

Range Statement


The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Interpersonal skills may include :

  • Means by which an emotionally safe and empathic environment is created
  • Means for communicating with people with disabilities or where English is not the first language
  • Methods of communicating with different age, religious, gender and sexual identity groups
  • Non-judgemental communication techniques
  • Using strategies that empower client to ensure safety of client and family
  • Cultural, sub-cultural awareness/sensitivity
  • Demonstrating empathy
  • Using appropriate body language
  • Reflecting, summarising and paraphrasing
  • Asking open-ended questions
  • The ability to ask direct questions about violence in a sensitive and appropriate way
  • Using conflict management skills if appropriate
  • If needed, use of a qualified interpreter whose involvement will not jeopardise the safety of the client and/or client's family
  • Recognition of client/worker power differences
  • Maintaining confidentiality
  • Active listening
  • Techniques to challenge client's behaviour and attitudes where appropriate

Clients may include :

  • Individuals (inclusive of children, youth, adults and the aged)
  • Referred or self-referred clients
  • People with specific needs seeking access to services
  • Voluntary and involuntary clients
  • Survivors/victims of domestic violence, their families and friends
  • Users of violence and their family

Interviews and interactions with clients may be either informal or formal and include :

  • Scheduled or impromptu
  • Via telephone or in person
  • Separate interviews
  • Other specialist assistance
  • Through a qualified interpreter whose involvement will not jeopardise the safety of the client or their family
  • Those conducted in a safe environment which encourages disclosure when appropriate

Specific needs relating to clients may include , but are not limited to those :

  • Who have a disability
  • Who come from diverse cultural and sub-cultural backgrounds
  • Whose preferred or first language is not english
  • Who are aged or young
  • Who live in a remote or rural location
  • Who are in same-sex relationships
  • Whose religious beliefs or practices need to be considered
  • Who have addiction or dependency issues
  • With a dual diagnosis
  • Who are of a particular gender
  • Who come from an aboriginal background
  • Who come from a torres strait islander background
  • Who have mental health issues

Rights and responsibilities include those relating to :

  • Rights of safety
  • Rights under common law
  • Rights outlined under relevant standards/principles and charters (e.g. Un declaration on rights of the child)
  • Rights under the constitution
  • Rights and responsibilities under legislation
    (e.g. freedom of information and child protection legislation)
  • Guidelines relating to parameters of confidentiality/client consent
  • Worker's code of ethics
  • Rights of victim to access crime compensation

Organisation standards and procedures include those relating to :

  • Client and worker safety
  • Collection and storage of information
  • Client interview protocols and procedures
  • Code of conduct/code of ethics
  • Principles and implementation of duty of care and rights of client to self determination
  • Departmental, inter-departmental regulations, protocols and procedures relevant to work role and responsibilities
  • Inter-agency practice and protocols
  • Personnel procedures
  • Organisation mission statement and/or philosophy
  • Assessment for eligibility to access particular services
  • Completion of forms and applications
  • Guidelines relating to parameters of confidentiality/client consent
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Industry standards

Legislative and statutory requirements may include 

  • Relevant State/territory/Commonwealth legislation (e.g. domestic violence, guardianship, disability services, immigration, anti-discrimination, child protection, legal practice legislation)
  • International conventions relating to the rights of children and young people
  • Relevant international conventions on civil and human rights
  • Freedom of Information legislation

Questioning and other communication techniques may be adjusted as appropriate according to :

  • Whether client has experienced domestic violence or was a user of violence
  • Client's needs
  • Cultural diversity
  • Religious beliefs/practices
  • Disabilities
  • Language
  • Communication methods/styles
  • Appropriate interpersonal styles

Risk may refer to client , client's family and /or worker and be indicated by the following :

  • Self identification of risk
  • Evidence of physical injuries
  • Threat to safety
  • Current or previous criminal charges for assault of client by partner/ex-partner
  • Current or previous police involvement
  • Objective assessment of client's current ability to protect self and children from further assault or harm
  • Threat or attempts to self-harm
  • Feelings of depression, anger, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, emotional distress or sleep disturbances
  • Medical problems such as overuse of tranquillisers, or alcohol, drug or substance abuse
  • Intimidation and harassment
  • Existing or previous orders relating to domestic violence (e.g. apprehended violence order), or breach of orders
  • Avoidance of discussion regarding possible abuse
  • Client being denied access to funds, resources or required medications
  • Implausible explanation for injuries
  • Repeated requests for financial assistance
  • Other factors that may indicate a history of violence
  • Children's behaviour and developmental level
  • Current behaviours of user of violence
  • Frequent hospital visits/admissions
  • Current or previous separation
  • Family court and/or relationship history
  • Implied or actual threats to harm the worker by user of violence

Goals should be realistic and attainable and may be :

  • Those set out in a case plan
  • Those set out by the individual
  • Related to compliance with directions/orders
  • Immediate, short term, long term
  • Or any combination of the above

Services and support may be internally or externally provided and could include , but are not limited to :

  • Safety, physical and emotional security
  • Assistance to gain economic support
  • Protection from financial exploitation
  • Immediate and appropriate responses which aim to ensure/maintain safety
  • Legal or medical information and support
  • Accommodation/transportation
  • Access to services/information
  • Counselling (individual, family or group focused)
  • Referrals to specialist services
  • Referrals to community support and/or education groups
  • Establishment of community networks
  • Domestic violence awareness raising programs
  • Provision of assistance to address issues, gather information and locate other resources
  • Advocacy

Appropriate people include :

  • Organisation management, colleagues, supervisor, team members
  • Acknowledged domestic violence specialists
  • Various community groups representing cultural, sub-cultural, religious, social, ethnic, gender, sexual identity, and age groupings within the community
  • Government representatives and service providers
  • Behaviour change groups, such as user of violence groups, drug and alcohol groups
  • Family members, friends, care-givers
  • Support groups such as survivors/victims of violence groups, community houses, women's networks, church groups, refuges, and professional associations
  • Authorities responsible for provision of community and justice administration services, for example, local councils, legal services, such as legal aid, and state and commonwealth agencies

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable