No one should ever profit from women, men and children who have experienced domestic and sexual violence.
On 13 February 2017 1800RESPECT, the national telephone and online counselling service for women, men and children experiencing domestic or sexual violence, was advertised for tender.
This petition of citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House:
One in four women in Australia has experienced sexual assault and/or domestic violence. Men and children are also victims of this violence.
1800RESPECT provides telephone and on-line counselling by specialist sexual assault and domestic violence counsellors, who work at the Rape and Domestic Violence Service Australia (RDVSA).
It is the only specialist 24/7 rape and domestic violence counselling service in Australia.
From 1 August 2016, the Federal Government funded a call centre, operated by a multinational health insurance company, Medibank Health Solutions (MHS) to answer calls from victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
This means that instead of speaking immediately to a specialist counsellor, victims of violence must first talk to someone at a call centre run by MHS.
Now MHS has announced that it will put the specialist counselling service out to tender!
Victims of rape and domestic violence need a specialist counsellor, not a call centre run for profit at the lowest possible tender price.
We therefore, ask the House to: provide direct funding to RDVSA to provide 1800RESPECT and its other specialist services.
We further call on the House to provide sufficient, sustainable funding so that RDVSA can employ sufficient specialist counsellors and purchase sufficient equipment to answer all calls to its service.