Frequently asked questions about the family counselling services that are funded in Austria.
There are over 380 family and partner counselling centres run by a wide range of sponsoring organisations in Austria. They are funded from the Federal Chancellery budget, Division for Family and Youth.
In addition to providing counselling in crisis situations in the sense of helping people to help themselves, these centres also offer information and preventative educational work.
The following were the most common topics in 2021:
- separation, divorce, visitation rights, child support (16.25 percent)
- psychological problems and addictions (20.67 percent)
- relationship conflicts, communication, division of roles, sexuality (12.43 percent)
- parenting, childcare, school, separation from children (12.12 percent)
- violence in the family, abuse, poor treatment (11.86 percent)
- pregnancy, birth control, desire to have a child (4.3 percent)
Funded family counselling centres are available in all areas across Austria. There is currently an average of one family counselling centre for every 22,500 inhabitants.
In 2021, around 316,000 counselling hours were offered and 446,888 counselling sessions held. There is a particular focus on pregnancy counselling, counselling on violence in the family, divorce and separation and counselling for parents with disabled children.
Since 1998, there have also been family counselling centres that can provide assistance for partners, children, young people and other reference persons (grandparents, friends etc.) if a relative, parent or partner has “contact” with a “sect”.
Funding for family counselling centres was established in 1974 as a support measure linked to the abortion provision. Since then, the counselling centres have become general points of contact for family and relationship issues.
Topics that can be discussed include:
- family planning and birth control,
- economic and social concerns,
- questions from expectant mothers and fathers,
- questions from single mothers/fathers,
- conflicts caused by an unwanted pregnancy,
- legal and social issues that may arise in a family,
- questions about sexuality and relationships,
- psychological difficulties or generational conflicts, but also sexual orientation and identity.
At most counselling centres, the hours during which visits or calls can take place are scheduled in such a way that people who work can use them too. Please check the opening times of the counselling centre and make an appointment by phone in advance. In special crisis situations you can also go to the counselling centre during the opening times without making an appointment in advance. You may have to wait.
There will definitely be a family counselling centre near you. Everyone who is looking for advice is welcome – anybody who has problems, is looking for solutions or wants to talk.
There is a wide range of specialists at the funded family counselling centres. These include doctors, social workers, marriage and family counsellors, lawyers, psychologists and education workers.
Our home page includes a search function that will help you find a family counselling centre that can advise you on your question and is conveniently located for you. Simply click on the topics you are interested in using our search engine. You will then be given a list of all of the counselling centres that can provide information about these topics.
The email addresses provided for the counselling centres can only be used to make contact or arrange appointments. Please do not send any personal documents or personal information (for example information about your financial circumstances, explanations about your relationship) to the email addresses provided.
The counselling is free. Voluntary contributions to our costs are welcome so the counselling can be kept running, particularly for those who are not able to contribute to the costs.
The staff costs for family counselling centres recognised according to the Family Counselling Funding Act are paid from the Family Burden Equalisation Fund, which currently stands at 15.5 million euros a year. However, this only covers some of the total costs of running the counselling centres. The federal states contribute around 31%, the municipalities 6%, the Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) 16% and other federal agencies 7% of the funding of the total costs, which run to around 78 million euros a year. Around 1% of the total budget is also able to be covered by the voluntary contributions. The remainder of the total costs are covered by the sponsors of the counselling centres in the form of donations and their own funds.
The “Availability” section can be found on the left side of the website for the counselling centre in question. You can find the basic opening times for the relevant counselling centre here. Please also note any additional information included with the opening hours such as “telephone availability only”. This means that the counselling centre itself is closed, but you can arrange an appointment by telephone.
You can find more information about making an appointment in the blue information box on the respective counselling centre website.
To avoid waiting times at the centres, we advise making an appointment by phone (during the opening hours indicated) before you come to a counselling centre. It is also possible to arrange counselling sessions outside of the opening hours indicated in individual cases.
In acute crisis situations, you can also contact the counselling centres directly during the opening hours indicated without signing up. We cannot guarantee that you won’t have to wait, though.
The Family Service is an information and service centre run by the Division for Family and Youth within the Federal Chancellery. You can contact the Federal Chancellery’s Family Service via email on email@example.com or by phone on 0800 240 262 (toll-free) Monday to Thursday from 9am to 3pm.
The Family Service team provides information in a skilled and non-bureaucratic manner about:
- family allowances and multiple-child supplement
- free transport for school pupils and apprentices
- family hardship allowance (for people with financial problems)
- additional subsidy for family care leave support
- parental education
Your call is free of charge, and you can of course remain anonymous.
You can find a full list of all funded family counselling centres in Austria that provide counselling on the issue of interest to you using the search function. See the question: “Who can I contact with any questions?”
We also offer initial assistance via the main navigation points by compiling important information and brochures on family topics and services. You can also find the text that is relevant to you using the full text search. You can get to know the counselling topics and counsellors better under the section on “topics”.
Every visitor has the right to remain anonymous and all counsellors are obliged to maintain strict confidentiality according to the Psychotherapy Act.