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National domestic violence phone service introduces ‘discreet’ text messaging option

ABC News

By political reporter Nour Haydar, Posted 


The national phone and online counselling service for victims of domestic, family, and sexual violence is being expanded to include a new “discreet” text messaging option.

1800RESPECT launched as a 24/7 confidential counselling and referral service over a decade ago under the first national plan to reduce violence against women and children.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth will launch the new SMS service in Canberra today alongside Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Justine Elliot.

“This new SMS service channel will provide greater choice for people to seek support when they need it most and empower users to reach out via a channel that best suits their circumstances,” Ms Rishworth said.

“The option to text provides a more discreet and flexible way to contact the service for people who are unable to or are not safe to speak directly on the phone.”

She said a trial of the SMS service over the last fortnight had assisted victim-survivors who would have otherwise struggled to reach out through other means.

“In one case a user had lost their voice due to strangulation the night before and was unable to speak the next day,” she said.

“Through SMS capability they were able to seek and secure emergency accommodation via the 1800RESPECT service, where they would otherwise have not been able to access telephone support.”

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