Many violence support calls go unanswered

·2-min read

Almost 1500 calls a month to Australia's domestic violence support line go unanswered.

In December there were 27,200 calls to the 1800RESPECT domestic support line, with about 25,730 answered.

Department of Social Services officials have confirmed the phone line works to a standard of answering 90 per cent of calls.

Senior department official Liz Hefren-Webb said although some calls went unanswered, people seeking support could call back later for assistance.

"The goal is to answer as many as possible. Of course we would like them all to be answered," she told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Thursday.

Call times vary and staffing rates are based on predictions on how many people could seek support each day.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said the answer rate for March was 95 per cent.

The national phone service is being delivered by Medibank Health Services, but the hunt is underway for the next provider.

A tender is out for the contract, with a decision expected next month.

In response to questioning from Labor senator Jenny McAllister, officials could not say if the answer rate goal would still be 90 per cent for the tender.

Funding for the line is paid on a per call basis and culturally diverse services are a requirement of the contract.

The 1800RESPECT website is available in 28 languages.

Senator Ruston said a national meeting of women's safety ministers had been scheduled for April 7.

They will consider organising a summit for stakeholders in preparation for the next action plan to end violence against women.

The department is also responsible for the 'stop it at the start' campaign which demonstrates that disrespect to women is the starting point for violence.

Officials said the TV commercial had been viewed online 51 million times, and the website has been visited by 1.2 million users.

Resources - such as those specifically for teachers and parents - had been downloaded 85,000 times.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

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