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Who are we?

We are 1800RESPECT, the National Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Counselling Service (Service), which has been funded since 2010 as part of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. On 17 October 2022, the Australian, state and territory governments released the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032 (the National Plan) which builds on the previous plan.   

The Service is delivered by Telstra Health Pty Ltd ABN 38 163 077 236 (Telstra Health), a subsidiary of Telstra Corporation Limited, on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia through the Department of Social Services. In this Privacy Statement, references to 'us', 'we' and 'our' include the Department of Social Services, Telstra Health and any other contractors and service providers engaged in delivering the Service.  

We are committed to protecting your privacy. Where you provide us with personal information (that is, information about you or another person where you or that other person is identifiable) or where you have authorised another person to provide us with personal information, this information will be handled carefully and will be collected, used, stored and disclosed in a manner consistent with the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act).   

Who does this privacy statement apply to?

This Privacy Statement applies to all individuals whose personal information (including health and sensitive information) we may collect in the course of providing the Service. This includes the people who contact us because they experience the impacts of domestic, family and sexual violence; family and friends affected by violence or abuse; and the frontline workers and professionals who use our resources to support people experiencing violence and abuse. 

This Privacy Statement provides specific information about the information-handling that occurs in respect of the Service, however should be read alongside each participating organisation or agency’s Privacy Policy – for links to those Privacy Policies, please see the section of this statement titled ‘Where can you get more information about our privacy practices’ below. 

What personal information do we collect?

The personal information we collect generally depends on the way in which you engage with the Service and what you provide us with.   

Service users: 

If you are a service user, you can use the Service confidentially or by using a pseudonym (that is, a fake name). However, it may not always be possible to provide you with all aspects of the Service confidentially or through using a pseudonym. Where it is impracticable for the Service to be provided confidentially or through the use of a pseudonym, or you elect to not use a pseudonym, personal information, call information and/or telecommunications data may be used to help us effectively manage the Service and to help provide you with quality care that meets your needs.  

In such circumstances, the types of personal information we may collect can include: 

  • your name; 

  • your address or location – particularly if we need to contact emergency services on your behalf; 

  • your age or date of birth,  

  • your telephone number (if you use our SMS service then this will be used to communicate with you); 

  • your email address; and 

  • records and information relating to our provision of services, including clinical notes and recordings of conversations, online chat functionalities and counselling sessions. 

We may also collect sensitive information including health information about you, such as your racial or ethnic origin, or your medical history or description of current medical issues. 

Other individuals: 

If you are a frontline worker or professional who supports people experiencing violence and abuse, we may also collect the following personal information: 

  • your name and contact details; 

  • your job title or role; 

  • your employer; and 

  • records and information relating to your engagement with us

How do we collect your personal information?

Wherever possible, we will try to collect personal information from you directly, rather than from another person or source, unless it is unreasonable or impractical to do so. 

As described above, there may be occasions when we gather personal information about you from a third party, for example, from our IT or telecommunications provider, or from a person you have authorised to deal with us on your behalf. 

The typical ways in which we may collect your personal information include if you: 

  • deal with us directly over the phone or via other means (eg online chat or SMS); 

  • complete any online or written forms; 

  • interact with us online, including through our websites, email, online chat, mobile applications and social media channels;  

  • apply for a position with us (either as an employee or as a contractor). 

We record calls made to the Service for quality assurance and training purposes. In most circumstances, you can choose not to have your call recorded by informing us of this choice. 

If you contact us online via the ‘chat’ option or by SMS, we keep a transcript or record of the chat or SMS interaction to help us improve our service. If you do not want a transcript to be kept, you can tell the counsellor who interacts with you. If you contact us via the SMS option, your phone number, which we need in order to communicate with you via SMS, will be retained and archived. 

Why do we collect personal information?

We collect and use the above types of personal information (which may include your sensitive and health information) to enable us to provide the Service and to meet our legal obligations.  

For example: 

  • we may use your personal information (where you choose to provide it) to provide you with online or telephone counselling services or to respond to your queries, requests or feedback; and 

  • we may collect and use personal information, other call information and telecommunications data to identify callers in order to provide tailored support and help manage the Service. 

What do we use personal information for?

In general, we use and disclose service user’s personal information to: 

  • enable us to provide the Service; 

  • communicate with you by telephone, online chat or SMS; 

  • identify usage trends; 

  • provide tailored and personalised Service; 

  • help us to manage our Service standards; and 

  • assist us to comply with our legal obligations. 

If you are a frontline worker or professional who supports people experiencing violence and abuse, we may use your personal information to: 

  • support our provision of the Service; 

  • manage your registration to workers webinar series; 

  • provide you with frontline workers toolkit and resources; 

  • send you our workers and professionals newsletter; 

  • process and administer your requests to have your service listed; 

  • provide you with the tools, resources, and services we make available from time to time; and 

  • respond to your queries and feedback. 

We may use de-identified and aggregated information (where no one is identifiable) to improve the 1800RESPECT service, for reports and in evaluation of the Service and its various elements. De-identified information can also be used in academic articles and presentations at conferences. 

Who do we disclose personal information to?

Generally, personal information that is collected in connection with the Service may be shared between Telstra Health, the Department of Social Services and with contractors and service providers engaged to provide the Service (collectively, Contracted Service Providers). In this regard, it is noted that: 

  • any personal information held by Telstra Health or its contractors and service providers in connection with the Service is held on behalf of the Department of Social Services, so that we can provide the Service. If Telstra Health stops providing the Service on behalf of the Department of Social Services, and the Department of Social Services requests, we will transfer the information to the Department of Social Services or to such contractors as the Department of Social Services appoints to perform the Service; and 

  • where Contracted Service Providers are engaged, they are bound by the Privacy Act and obligations of security and confidentiality, and contractual measures are in place to ensure they comply with those obligations.  

We only disclose your personal information to third parties for the purposes for which you gave it to us or for a secondary purpose if permitted by law, which includes: 

  • where you have consented; 

  • where you would reasonably expect us to do so, and where related to the primary purpose of collection, or, in the case of sensitive information, directly related to the primary purpose; 

  • where required or authorised by or under an Australian law or a court/tribunal order, such as to comply with mandatory reporting requirements in relation to suspected cases of child abuse and neglect, or in connection with a subpoena. If we are issued with a subpoena requiring disclosure of personal information, we take reasonable steps to ascertain whether disclosure might result in further harm or distress to those experiencing violence and abuse and, if so, we use all reasonable endeavours to object to the disclosure on any legal grounds available to us; or 

  • where a permitted situation exists under the Privacy Act, such as lessening or preventing a serious threat to the life, health or safety of an individual, or to public health or safety, or locating a person reported as missing. 

De-identified information (where no one is identifiable) may also be shared with research partners from time to time. 

We will not disclose any of your information to any overseas recipients other than overseas emergency or law enforcement services where this is required. 

Access, correction and complaints

You can request to access or correct personal information we hold about you, please contact us by emailing 1800respectenquiries@health.telstra.com.  

Information we collect from you as part of the Service will be retained in accordance with statutory requirements. 

You can also use the above email address to contact us with a privacy query or complaint. We hope to resolve any complaints without needing to involve third parties, but you may also be able to lodge a complaint with a relevant regulator such as the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (www.oaic.gov.au or 1300 363 992). 

Before we disclose or share any personal information with you, we will require you to sufficiently verify your identity and provide further information (including by completing a prescribed form). If you do not provide the information requested, we may not be able to process your request. 
 
We will aim to assess all requests for access or correction within 30 days and will provide our response (along with any reasons) in writing.  

Security of your personal information

We take reasonable steps to ensure the security of all information we collect, including that the information is protected from unauthorised access, loss, modification or disclosure. For example, your personal information is maintained in a secure environment, which can be accessed only by authorised personnel.  

We hold your information in accordance with the Archives Act 1983 (Cth), and take reasonable steps to make sure that the personal information we collect, use and disclose is accurate, complete, up-to-date and relevant.  

However, the transfer of information over wireless networks and the internet is not inherently secure. We cannot guarantee the security, during transmission, of any personal information provided to us via our website or services; please bear this in mind when transmitting information by this means to us. Information transmitted via internet or telecommunications services including SMS may also travel overseas via third party carriers or network service providers. 

Where can you get more information about our privacy practices?

Our respective Privacy Policies also contain more information about each participating organisation and agency’s privacy practices, including how you may request access to, or correction of, personal information that a specific entity may hold about you, how you can lodge a privacy complaint and how we manage such complaints. Whether your personal information has been collected by one of the below organisations or agencies will depend on which service you have used. If you would like more information, please contact us by emailing 1800respectenquiries@health.telstra.com

You can obtain the latest version of our Privacy Policies by visiting our websites below: 

This Privacy Statement is current as at November 2023 and may be updated from time to time

Please consult this page regularly for any changes to the Privacy Statement. 

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When you interact with our site, we strive to make your experience easy and meaningful. We, or our third party service providers, may use cookies and similar technologies to track site visitor activity and collect site data. Examples of information that we may collect includes technical information such as your computer’s IP address and your browser type, and information about your visit such as the products you viewed or searched for, the country you are in, what you clicked on and what links you visited to get to or from our site. 

If we identify you with this information, any use or disclosure of that information will be in accordance with this Privacy Statement and applicable privacy laws. 

A cookie is a text file that a website transfers to your computer’s hard drive for record-keeping purposes. Cookies help us gather and store information about visitors to our websites and are intended to improve your website browsing experience whilst visiting. Our cookies assign a random, unique number to each visitor’s computer. They do not contain information that would personally identify the visitor, although we can associate a cookie with any identifying information that is or has been provided by a customer while visiting our site. 

We, or our third party service providers, use cookies that remain on your computer for a specified period of time or until they are deleted (persistent cookies). These cookies record clickstream information (data reporting the URLs, or names of the pages, on our site that have been visited). We may also use cookies that exist only temporarily during an online session (session cookies) – these cookies allow you to log in to your account and they allow us to identify you temporarily as you move through the site. Most browsers allow users to refuse cookies, but doing so may impede the functionality of some portions of our site. 

We may also engage third parties, such as Google Analytics, to track and analyse site activity on our behalf. To do so, these third parties may place cookies or web beacons to track user activity on our site. The information generated by these cookies (including your truncated IP address) is transmitted to and stored by Google, and other third party providers, on servers in the United States. Google will use this information for the purpose of evaluating your, and other users’ use of our website, mobile website, compiling reports for us on website activity and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage. 

We use the data collected by such third parties to help us administer, report on and improve the quality of the site and to analyse usage of the site. 

We recommend viewing the site in private browser or incognito mode. For more information on device and online safety, including using this site, visit our Technology and Safety section.