MEDIA RELEASE: No Profit From Rape

SPOKESPERSON: Natalie Lang, Secretary, Australian Services Union, NSW & ACT (Services) Branch

This morning Natalie Lang, Secretary of the Australian Services Union, NSW & ACT (Services) Branch (ASU) which represents the 100 specialist counsellors and support staff at RDVSA, will appear on Breakfast with Robbie Buck.

The future of Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDVSA), Australia’s leading specialist counselling service for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, hangs in the balance as it waits for the outcome of its tender for 1800RESPECT.

RDVSA has run 1800RESPECT, the national telephone and online counselling service for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, since it first started 7 years ago, however on 13 February was given one week to tender to continue service provision. 

“Over the last 12 months RDVSA has been highly critical of the Federal Government’s handling of 1800RESPECT.” said Natalie Lang, Secretary of the Australian Services Union, NSW & ACT (Services) Branch (ASU) which represents the 100 specialist counsellors and support staff at RDVSA.

“The current 1800RESPECT operating model sees victims of domestic violence and sexual assault put through to a ‘triage call centre’ managed by Medibank Health Solutions (MHS) before being able to speak to an RDVSA specialist counsellor,” Ms Lang said.  

“The specialist counsellors of RDVSA have repeatedly stated the danger in forcing victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to retell their stories but instead of listening to these internationally recognised experts, their work is put out to tender,” Ms Lang said.

The ASU is calling on the Federal Government to directly fund RDVSA to provide all aspects of 1800RESPECT, and to end its contract with multinational insurance company MHS.

“The 1800RESPECT triage call centre, the McDonald's drive-thru approach to counselling victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, is dangerous and must be shut down,” Ms Lang said.

“The 1800RESPECT contract with a for-profit multinational insurance company MHS is by its very nature appalling and must end.

“If the Federal Government takes seriously its responsibility to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault it must act now to provide them with the best support available,” Ms Lang said.


For media enquiries contact Lauren Hutchins: 0423 029 586

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