More Australians than ever before are reaching out to 1800RESPECT about sexual assault, domestic and family violence, with the number of people seeking information, referrals and counselling more than doubling recently.
Increased awareness of sexual assault, domestic and family violence, through the #metoo movement, is driving more people to use the service.
Long-term analysis of 1800RESPECT data shows that in the first three months of 2014 the service received almost 12,000 contacts. In just the first three months of 2018, it received over 28,000 contacts – a 133 per cent increase.
Medibank delivers the 1800RESPECT service on behalf of the Australian Government as part of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. It is delivered through a public private partnership arrangement with three women’s services organisations – safesteps Family Violence Response Centre in Victoria, Women’s Safety Service South Australia and DV Connect in Queensland.
“Movements like #metoo and significant international and local media reporting have seen increased awareness of sexual assault, domestic and family violence which has driven people to contact 1800RESPECT and ask for help,” Medibank CEO Craig Drummond said.
“Significant community discussion has seen Australians reach out for support with the knowledge that they will be believed and listened to without being judged.
“More people are talking to our counsellors and saying that this is the first time they’ve reached out for help – these people often say that they’re not really sure if what they’re experiencing is abuse.
“1800RESPECT is continuing to experience sharp increases in the number of people contacting counsellors online and over the phone in days surrounding high profile media stories.
“Medibank is proud to run the 1800RESPECT service, it is a vital service for the Australian community that provides critical help to those impacted by sexual assault, domestic and family violence,” Mr Drummond said.
National Director of WESNET, Australia's peak women's organisation for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence, Karen Bentley said: “It is really important that men are engaged in this issue as without them nothing will change. The overwhelming majority of violence is perpetrated by men. We acknowledge that not all men are violent, but #yesallmen need to join with everyone to call out their male friends, colleagues, and family members about sexist attitudes and putting down women which is at the very root of all violence against women. Otherwise silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
If you are worried about unhealthy, abusive or violent behaviour in any of your relationships, you can contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au for information, web chat and referrals. Anyone who needs to access the free service can feel confident that 1800RESPECT has the capacity and capability to provide support 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Medibank CEO Craig Drummond has been a Male Champion of Change since 2016.
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1800RESPECT is a national service that provides confidential information, referral, counselling and support for all Australians impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence. This includes telephone and online information and counselling as well as capacity-building resources to support workers and professionals (such as online toolkits, newsletters and webinars). 1800RESPECT also hosts the Daisy app which provides localised information on support services.