Referrals to Specialised and Intensive Services


A person who holds one of the following visa types is eligible for Specialised and Intensive Services under the Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP):

  • Refugee
  • Special Humanitarian Programme
  • Permanent protection
  • All temporary protection

A person is eligible for services for up to five years after their arrival in Australia. Flexibility may be shown to this timeframe and other visa subclasses in exceptional circumstances.

Exceptional needs

DSS assesses a client's eligibility for HSP Specialised and Intensive Services on a case-by-case basis. Generally clients are being impacted by one or more of the following:

  • Disability
    • physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment
    • diagnosed or undiagnosed
  • health needs that are severe, critical, long term and/or unmanaged
    • diagnosed or undiagnosed
  • mental health issues that significantly impact daily life
    • including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts, risk of self-harm or other conditions
    • diagnosed or undiagnosed.
  • homelessness or housing instability
    • primary homelessness, such as sleeping rough or living in an improvised dwelling
    • secondary homelessness, including staying with friends or relatives and with no other usual address and people staying in specialist homelessness services
    • risk of homelessness
    • housing that is inappropriate due to a person’s disability
  • domestic and family violence
    • domestic and family violence occurs when someone tries to control their partner or other family/household members in ways that intimidate or oppress them.
    • Controlling behaviours can include threats, humiliation (‘put downs’), emotional abuse, physical assault, sexual abuse, financial exploitation or deprivation and social isolation, such as not allowing contact with family or friends
    • family violence means conduct, whether actual or threatened, by a family member towards the person, other family members and/or their property that causes the person to fear for their personal well-being and/or safety
    • domestic violence can include physical, emotional and/or psychological violence to someone who is not a family member, for example co-tenants and people in shared housing situations.
  • child and youth welfare concerns
    • including risky or anti-social behaviour, substance abuse or disengagement from educational activities
    • including child protection issues such as physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse, neglect, underage forced marriage or other
    • parenting concerns
    • developmental concerns (diagnosed or undiagnosed).

Issues may be significantly impacting daily life and settlement outcomes, and may result in family and/or relationship breakdown, behavioural concerns, social isolation, financial hardship and/or legal issues.

Who can refer a person for Specialised and Intensive Services

Anyone can refer a person to Specialised and Intensive Services under the HSP, including:

  • migrant resource centres and refugee support groups
  • settlement service providers
  • Australian Government, state or territory government agencies
  • community and health organisations
  • local church and volunteer groups
  • doctors, teachers, police officers and school counsellors
  • individuals, including self-referral.

How to refer a person to Specialised and Intensive Services under the HSP

If someone you know in the above client groups appears to be in need of this type of support, you may first contact the Department on 1300 855 669 to discuss the referral and whether it meets the eligibility criteria.

To refer a client to Specialised and Intensive Services please complete a Specialised and Intensive Services referral form and email it to the Department at

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