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Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Team

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The Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Team was established at The Bouverie Centre in 1984 to provide a specialist service to families and professionals across Victoria who support people with an ABI. The team is funded by the Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS), Disability Services.

The ABI Team support the rights of persons with a disability to have the same rights as other people in their community. The team is guided by Acts which ensure they have the right to freedom, respect, equality and dignity. These Acts include

• Disability Act 2006 
• The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
• Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities

For more information on these Acts please visit:


What is ABI?

Acquired brain injury (ABI) is a condition affecting people who have sustained an injury to the brain. This injury may be the result of a traffic, sport or work accident, a medical condition such as a brain tumour, brain bleed or stroke, excessive long term abuse of alcohol / drugs, or any other condition which has interrupted the flow of oxygen or blood to the brain.

ABI affects all family members including the injured person, partners, parents, children, siblings, extended family members and community networks. Distress, concern and changes in relationships are common in families adjusting to the long-term effects of ABI.

The majority of people with ABI return to the care of their families. Family members face unique challenges and can often benefit from professional support that recognises the importance of relationships and the different roles and complex challenges for each person within the family.

Services provided by the ABI team

Direct support for families caring for someone with an ABI

Family Therapy

The Bouverie Centre currently sees around 30 new families affected by brain injury each year. Families are invited to meet with a qualified family therapist experienced in ABI for support and consultation. The team can provide information to families about ABI, how it might affect the family and how family members can best respond. They can also provide information and referral advice to families about other services that may be of assistance. Read more about family therapy at The Bouverie Centre.

Family to Family Link-Up

Our ABI Family to Family Link-Up program offers Victorian families the opportunity to meet with other families in order to share their experience and wisdom, and to offer and receive support and understanding about brain injury issues and life with ABI.

Training and consultation services for service providers

The Bouverie Centre’s ABI team provides a range of family sensitive training workshops and consultation to service providers throughout Victoria who are working with non-compensable clients and families affected by ABI. This includes services that offer:

  • Case management, allied health, counselling, family support and respite
  • Those in specialist areas such as drug and alcohol, mental health or juvenile justice

Who can attend?

Any family or family members who are dealing with the effects of ABI can attend. Services are free of charge for families not covered by a third party (for example TAC or other insurance companies).

Making a referral

A referral can be made by family members or by a professional involved in supporting the family. Please contact The Bouverie Centre and ask to speak with the Intake Worker. You may be asked to choose a time when it is possible for the Intake Worker to call you back. The Intake Worker will need some information about the family’s situation to decide if The Bouverie Centre is the best service to help. Interpreting, translation, hearing assistance and cultural advocates can be accessed upon request.

How long do families attend for?

Families usually attend for between 1-6 sessions and sometimes more over a period of months. Families and their therapist together decide how many appointments are needed.

Registration and files

At your first appointment, your family will be asked to complete a registration form. A file will be created (along with a registration number, called a UR number), as is required by the Department of Human Services. Your therapist has responsibility for this confidential file, and it will kept at The Bouverie Centre or archived centrally. Information from your file will not be shared without your consent.

Files may be subpoenaed and are also subject to privacy and confidentiality acts of parliament.

Please speak to your therapist or to the Clinical Program Manager for any questions relating to records kept at The Bouverie Centre, or your rights as a service user.

Confidentiality and safety

Your family situation will not be talked about or discussed outside The Bouverie Centre without your written consent except when someone is at risk of harm or if records are subpoenaed by court.

All efforts are made to ensure your safety while accessing this service. An advocate of your choice may accompany you to your appointments. If you wish to access an advocate please discuss with the intake worker, your therapist or refer to www.daru.org.au.

Services for people with disabilities and their carers

The Department of Human Services provides a wide range of resources and services for persons with a disability and their carers. Information is available in diverse languages and accessible formats and can be viewed by visiting www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-individuals/disability.

Giving feedback and complaints procedure

The ABI Team is committed to providing the best care possible. One way to do this is to receive feedback. Feedback or concerns regarding the service you are receiving can be made directly to the worker in the first instance, to the Director Dr Jeff Young and/or to the Disability Commissioner on 1300 728 187. For more information visit www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au.

Evidence based research

The ABI team has a strong interest in exploring the use of family-based interventions in working with clients with an ABI and their families. In 2010 the team published and presented on the key learnings from their action research project into the outcomes of the family to family link up program.


  • Franca Butera-Prinzi, Team Leader (Left)
  • Nella Charles, Family Therapist & Trainer (Middle)
  • Karen Story, Family Therapist & Trainer (Right)

Bouverie's ABI Team

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