Health and Wellbeing

We work to make the City of Darebin a safer place for everyone by working closely with community groups, local police and government agencies to coordinate responses to community safety concerns.

Council works within an equity and public health framework in its approach to community safety. This is informed by evidence and best practice in Crime Prevention research and addresses the built, social, economic and cultural factors that influence safety and crime.

We consider community safety through an equity lens, by considering the impacts of people, experiences and places. Find out more in the Health and Wellbeing Plan.

Applying a gender lens to community safety and public place

Council is committed to supporting everyone’s right to feel safe and live free from violence. Council is working to apply a gender lens to community safety by considering the impacts of gender inequality in how we design and prioritise public place upgrades and community safety initiatives. An example of how we have done this is through the Gender Equality Map.

Family Violence

Family violence remains a pervasive issue for the Darebin community and is the most significant crime against the person in the municipality. We support the family violence service response system by working closely with our regional partners, including Victoria Police and the Darebin Family Violence Network. Find out more about the Darebin Family Violence Network and how Council is addressing family violence here.

Community Safety Audits

Council works with Victoria Police and community groups, sports clubs and other partners to conduct community safety audits of public spaces. A safety audit is designed to explore both contextual and individual evaluations of safety in a place. The audit allows individual experiences to be recorded and then collated to form a rich source of data. Assessments made of spaces include factors such as general perceptions, lighting, maintenance, accessibility and sightlines. Audit recommendations are used by teams across Council to determine how best to improve safety.

To discuss a location where a community safety audit may be useful, contact Council's Communtiy Safety Officer:

Ph: 8470 8587  


Council works closely with other organisations that help to make the City of Darebin a safer place. These include work with Victoria Police, Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Department of Health and Human Services. These organisations along with others and Council meet regularly through the Community Safety Reference Group.

Current Community Safety projects

Council is currently working to deliver the following safety infrastructure projects. Each of these have been funded by the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS). Current projects include:

  • TW Andrews Reserve – construction of a new meeting space and improvements to landscaping. The project will make this park a more welcoming and safer space. More information at: YourSay

  • Oakhill Village Lighting (Plenty Rd/Tyler St) – DJCS has funded a partnership project to investigate new approaches to test gender sensitive design approaches to influence the next iteration of the Victorian crime prevention strategy and state government public safety infrastructure funding for local government. The lighting and streetscape improvements are primarily between 621 and 671 Plenty Rd. More information at: YourSay

  • Main Drive Bundoora – street lighting along Main Drive between Plenty Rd and Springthorpe Blvd will be improved. The project will improve perceptions of safety for pedestrians, particularly those travelling between the 86 tram stop on Plenty Rd, La Trobe University and Polaris 3083 shopping centre. Construction is due for late 2020.

Further Information
Community Safety Officer
Ph: 8470 8587  

Council works in partnership with Victoria Police and other agencies to minimise the negative impacts of alcohol and other drugs on our community.

Drug and alcohol support services 

To support our  residents to access information, advice and referrals on alcohol and other drug use for themselves and their family, we have developed a pocket-sized Alcohol and other Drugs Quick Reference Guide. 

Alcohol Restricted Zones

Two alcohol restricted zones operate within the areas surrounding Preston Market shopping precinct in Preston and the Edwardes Street shopping precinct Reservoir.The zones are implemented in partnership with Darebin Police in an attempt to address public drinking and enhance perceptions of safety in the zones.

In the designated area the consumption or carrying of an open container of alcohol is prohibited, and may incur a $200 fine.

Cafes and restaurants are exempt and can continue trading under the conditions of their existing approved liquor license application.

Reservoir Restricted Zone: Area between Ralph Street, High Street, Cleeland Street, Olive Street and Byfield Street. - See more at:
  1. Preston Restricted Zone: Area between Bell Street, Plenty Road, Murray Road, High Street, Regent Street, Spring Street and St Georges Road.
  2. Reservoir Restricted Zone: Area between Ralph Street, High Street, Cleeland Street, Olive Street and Byfield Street.

Further Information
Communtiy Safety Officer
Ph: 8470 8587  

Information on financial assistance and food aid within Darebin.

 Access to food and basic items

If you need assistance to access food relief and essential items, we have put together a guide to help you find a local service that can assist you to access grocery vouchers, food parcels and pre-made meals. You can also call us on 8470 8888 and ask for the Community Navigation Service.

Council is working with local services to increase access of food relief to households. We are currently providing about 500 households with weekly food relief through our partnership with local agencies. Additionally, we have deployed 6 staff across the emergency relief network to provide additional assistance and funding for logistics.

Darebin's Emergency Relief Agencies
To request emergency relief assistance, call Darebin Information Volunteer Resource Service (DIVRS) on 9480 8200, Monday – Thursday between 9.30am -12.30pm. You may need to leave a message with your name and contact details and you will receive a call back the same day.

Otherwise, contact the following local agencies:

  • Encompass Care, Bundoora: 0422 461 847
  • Northern Community CareWorks, Preston: 9484 4788
  • Reservoir Neighbourhood House (Reservoir residents): 9462 4611
  • Salvation Army – Emergency Relief, Preston: 9471 9111
  • St Vincent de Paul - Call Centre: 1800 305 330

Victorian Government emergency relief packages
If you are self-isolating, you may be eligible for an emergency relief package. Call the dedicated coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. The hotline can also refer people to other support services if needed. Each eligible household will receive a two-week supply of essential goods. The packages will be delivered door-to-door, with other distribution points to be established as required.

Darebin Emergency Relief Network
The Network has a primary role to coordinate a regional approach to meeting the needs of residents experiencing financial or material disadvantage. Membership is open to the Darebin Emergency Relief Network (DERN) for a range of local emergency relief providers and other community agencies providing services to Darebin, or with interest in providing emergency relief services.

For further information, refer to the Terms of Reference.

Further Information
Community Development Officer
T: 8470 8552

We play an active and important role in reducing the harm associated with Electronic Gaming Machines (pokies) gambling

If you’re worried about your gambling or someone else’s,  support is available:

  • Gamblers Help Ph: 1800 858 858, TTY 1800 777 706 – 24-hour telephone counselling service
  • Gambling Help Online – 24/7 online support for problem gambling counselling and support.

 Electronic Gaming Machine Policy 2018-2022

On the 3 December 2018 Council endorsed the Darebin Electronic Gaming Machine Policy 2018-2022 and Action PlanThe policy seeks to make the Darebin community free of the harm associated with Electronic Gaming Machines (pokies), with over $80 million lost in EGM gambling in Darebin every year. EGM gambling is a major driver of household debt, family breakdown and there is now consistent evidence that gambling is a contributing factor to family violence.

The Policy will be enacted through four priority areas:

  1. Legislation Regulation: To exercise the full extent of Council's regulatory and legislative mandate to minimise harm from EGMs.

  2. Advocacy: Council will continue to be recognised as a state wide leader in driving changes to reform those systems and structures that cause gambling-related harm to the Darebin community.

  3. Organisational Alignment: Council will take a whole of organisation approach to minimising harm, acknowledging that all our activities can contribute to minimising harm.

  4. Evidence Research Data: Council will develop a strong, robust and defensible evidence base that will enhance Council’s capacity to effectively influence the location, management and operation of EGMs in the municipality and contribute to the broader evidence base.

What will the policy mean for the community?

The policy contains a number of items that relate to the provision of Council funding and support, most notably that:

  • Council will not fund community groups who meet in venues that have EGMs through any of its community funding programs.
  • Any sporting club, community group, organisation or association that operate or own EGMs will be ineligible for community grants, financial assistance or in kind support from Council.
  • Any sporting club, community group, organisation or association that receives sponsorship or grants (in-kind or cash) from poker machine revenue will have Council grants, in-kind support and funding reduced by the amount and level of funding and/or in-kind support received from EGM sources.
  • Council will not provide sporting grounds, Council venues or use of Council property to any sporting clubs, community groups, organisations or associations who directly operate or own EGMs in Darebin or elsewhere.

It is Council’s intention through this policy to support clubs and groups to be independent of any reliance on EMG generated funding or support.  We will work with organisations to develop tailored transition plans to ensure that they may continue to access Council facilities and resources and provide a benefit to their members.

Further Information:
Wellbeing Policy Lead
Ph: 8470 8553

Darebin City Council is required under the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 to develop a Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan every four years under the Act.

Darebin’s Health and Wellbeing Plan 2017-2021, has been developed on our understanding that people’s health and wellbeing is influenced by the social, economic, cultural, built and natural conditions in which Darebin people are born, grow, learn, live, work and age. These are known as social determinants that can either strengthen or weaken our health and wellbeing. It sets Council’s health priorities for the next four years.

It outlines what we will do to help achieve improved health and wellbeing outcomes so that residents can live rewarding, healthy and socially connected lives.

Our mission for Darebin’s Health and Wellbeing Plan is healthy, strong and resilient people and connected communities, and strives for health equity for all. There are four overarching goals to reach this vision:

1. Create equitable, healthy and sustainable neighbourhoods

2. Create lifelong learning, educational and employment opportunities for all Darebin people

3. Improve the emotional and social wellbeing of all Darebin people

4. Improve the physical health of all Darebin people

Further Information:

Coordinator Community Wellbeing
8470 8522 or

Tips for keeping yourself and your pets cool and safe during a heatwave.

In Darebin, temperatures often reaches more than 30 degrees in summer, which can be dangerous for people and animals. Some basic tips to remember during a heatwave are:

  • Keep your home cool
  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Wear sunscreen, a hat and light, loose clothing if you go outside
  • Keep your body cool and hydrated by drinking water and avoiding alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.

Plan Ahead

  • Check weather forecasts often at the Bureau of Meteorology website
  • Reschedule outdoor events, physical or sporting activities on days when extreme heat is forecast
  • If you are on medication, check with your doctor before going out in the summer heat
  • Stock up on food and other essentials so you don't have to leave the house during the heat

Steps for dealing with the heat

  • Drink plenty of water regularly to replenish fluids lost through perspiration.
  • Don't leave people or pets in cars
  • Keep cool by putting a damp towel around your neck and sit in front of a fan or air conditioner
  • Block sunlight from windows with heavy curtains or blinds
  • Stay indoors during the heat of the day
  • Open windows at night to let cooler air in to your house

Heat Stress

Signs of heat stress can include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, thirst, and heavy sweating. If you feel don't well call your doctor, Nurse-On-Call (1300 606 024) or in an emergency, ring 000 (triple zero).

Check in on others

If you have older, sick or frail neighbours, check in on them on heatwave days to make sure they're okay. Pass on the tips listed above to help them reduce their chances of suffering from a heat related illness. If they receive services from our Aged and Disability department they can also be put on our Client Heatwave Register so we can check in on them too. For more information call 8470 8828.


Don't forget to look after your pets during summer, make sure to:

  • Provide plenty of fresh, cool water every day
  • Ensure they have access to shaded, cool areas
  • Walk your dog early morning or in the evening to avoid sunburn and dehydration
  • Never leave your pet in a car or hot, enclosed space
  • If concerned, take your pet to your local vet

For further advice visit the RSPCA website.

Heatwave Planning

Our Heatwave Strategy aims to reduce the impact of heatwave on our community through education, service provision and urban design. For further information and resources, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Council supports people seeking housing and homelessness assistance by providing information and referral to local support agencies. A number of services in Darebin are continuing to offer assistance to people in need of housing and homelessness support during Covid-19.

Homelessness Support Services

  • Merri Outreach Support Service provide an Assertive Outreach Program to people sleeping rough in Darebin, which aims to bridge the gap between rough sleepers and the service system. The program consists of specialist outreach workers who can visit and respond to rough sleepers and connect them to services they need, including housing and health care.  A program referral can be made by email with the details of the location of the rough sleeper and other relevant information (such as concerns for their health or welfare). Please note, this is not an emergency response.
  • Haven; Home, Safe is the local access point for people who are experiencing homelessness in Darebin. They provide housing and support information; assessment and advocacy; referral to crisis accommodation and specialist support services and limited financial assistance to establish or maintain rental tenancies.
    T: 9479 0700 | 52-56 Mary Street Preston (open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday – please note social distancing measures are in place for people attending their site)
  • St Kilda Crisis Contact Service is a statewide after-hours housing and homelessness service, available from 5pm to 9am Monday to Friday and 24 hours on weekends.
    T: 1800 627 727
  • People experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping may also be able to access Darebin Council’s Community Shower Access Program, which provides free shower and locker access at Reservoir Leisure Centre Monday to Friday.  Please note people interested in accessing the program will be assessed for eligibility and suitability. For more information about this program, please email

Further Information
Community Development Officer
Ph: 8470 8552 or