how can this happen?

The Federal Government is responsible for providing support to victims of domestic and sexual violence. This includes the operation of the national telephone and online support service 1800RESPECT.

Since its establishment in 2010, the federal government has funded multinational health insurer, Medibank Health Solutions (MHS) to operate 1800RESPECT. 

Since its establishment, MHS contracted the specialist sexual assault and domestic violence counselling service to the Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDVSA), a world leading specialist trauma counselling not-for-profit (NFP) organisation.

In February, MHS announced that it would put out to tender the specialist counselling service. RDVSA, which has provided the service since it was established was given less than one week to lodge their ‘expression of interest’ in continuing to provide their service. 

The Federal Government cannot allow any organisation to profit from rape. It must ensure that women, men and children experiencing trauma from domestic or sexual violence have the best support available.

The Federal Government must directly fund RDVSA and provide sufficient funds to employ the counsellors it needs, and the telephone infrastructure needed to answer all calls from victims of sexual and domestic violence.