Telstra ends silent number fee for victims of domestic violence
The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, and Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins MP, today welcomed Telstra’s decision to waive its silent line fees for victims of domestic and family violence.
“I am pleased that Telstra has listened to their customers and taken this important step in protecting the privacy of some of Australia’s most vulnerable people,” Senator Conroy said.
“I expect other providers who charge silent number fees to do the same to protect victims of domestic and family violence.”
The issue of fees for silent or unlisted numbers was considered as part of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) review of Australian privacy laws.
The ALRC noted that victims of domestic and family violence had a particular need for free access to silent lines.
“There is still significant community interest about the fees charged for silent number use,” Senator Conroy said.
“As such, the Government has referred the ALRC’s recommendation to the Senate Committee on Telecommunications to examine whether this privacy safeguard should be made available free-of-charge to all Australians.”
“This is a welcome initiative – protecting privacy and still allowing improved telephone access to effective support,” said Ms Collins.
“It complements Telstra’s provision of free calls from mobiles and landlines to 1800RESPECT – the national hotline for domestic, family and sexual violence counselling and support.
“1800RESPECT is a $12.5 million commitment by the Australian Government, which also offers support to family and friends of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and those who work with victims.
“Making it easier to access support is important in helping people recover from their trauma and Telstra is to be commended for these efforts,” Ms Collins said.
For more details about Telstra’s initiative, customers should visit: http://exchange.telstra.com.au/2013/02/26/telstra-to-review-silent-line-fees/
Victims of domestic or family violence, as well as their family and friends, can access support by calling 1800 737 732 or visiting www.1800respect.org.au.