Early success for 1800RESPECT’s new telephone counselling service
Data released by the Coalition Government today indicates a dramatic improvement in the service levels of 1800RESEPCT’s telephone counselling service.
“1800RESPECT is a vital counselling and support service for people who are experiencing sexual assault, domestic and family violence and are living in Australia,” Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said.
“Governments around Australia have recently come together to raise public awareness around domestic and family violence which has increased calls to 1800RESPECT.
“To meet the highly sensitive needs of callers who are often in emotional states and need urgent support, 1800RESPECT needs to be responsive. This response is particularly important as some callers have very confined windows of opportunity within which to seek assistance.
“In August the Coalition Government was willing to take an honest look at some of problems that had arisen in the old model of service delivery and devise and institute an evidenced based plan for reform. This has resulted in a new approach to answering calls and meeting increased demand to provide better service for those in need.”
Minister for Women, Senator Michaelia Cash, said early data has shown this new approach is clearly working and providing more responsive support to people when they need it.
“The approach sees qualified counsellors answering the phones to assess and address the immediate needs of callers,” Senator Cash said.
“They also transfer callers to appropriate support services, such as specialist trauma counsellors.
“Since the new approach was introduced, over 80 per cent of calls are answered in 20 seconds this is compared with 47 per cent of calls being answered in 30 seconds in 2015-16.”
Minister Porter said the current average wait time has decreased significantly and is now 35 seconds, a vast improvement on the 2015-16 average wait time of 10.3 minutes.
The call abandonment rate has also decreased and is now just 5.5 per cent compared to 44 per cent of calls that were abandoned in the 12 months prior to the implementation of the new approach.
“The early data on the new approach is positive, and I am very pleased with the results,” Minister Porter said.
“They indicate we are on track to delivering a system that’s sustainable and responsive to people who call the service.
“Most importantly though, the results show those affected by sexual, domestic and family violence are getting the support they need when they need it.”
1800RESPECT is an initiative of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022. For more information about activities under the National Plan visit www.plan4womenssafety.dss.gov.au.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 000. For sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling services call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au