Australia’s National Domestic Violence Phone Service Expands with Discreet Text Messaging Option

The national phone and online counselling service for victims of domestic, family, and sexual violence, 1800RESPECT, is introducing a new “discreet” text messaging option to provide more accessible support for those in need.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth launched the new SMS service alongside Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Justine Elliot in Canberra today, emphasizing its potential to reach individuals who might otherwise struggle to seek help due to safety concerns or personal preferences.

“This new SMS service channel will provide greater choice for people to seek support when they need it most,” Ms Rishworth stated. “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.”

The pilot of the SMS service over the past two weeks has already assisted victim-survivors who would have faced obstacles in reaching out through traditional methods. Ms Rishworth cited a case where a user, unable to speak due to strangulation, successfully sought and secured emergency accommodation through the SMS service.

The SMS service will initially provide a safety information and terms and conditions message before connecting users with a counsellor. While translators are available for phone calls, the SMS service will only be available in English.

Minister Rishworth also announced the launch of a new “video service” in the new year, allowing individuals requiring trauma support to interact with counsellors through video link.

With demand for 1800RESPECT increasing in recent years, reaching over 286,600 calls and online requests in 2020-21, these additional support channels aim to further empower individuals affected by domestic, family, and sexual violence to seek the assistance they need.

If you really need someone to talk to, call:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
  • MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
  • Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
  • Headspace on 1800 650 890
  • QLife on 1800 184 527

Family and domestic violence support:

1800 Respect national helpline: 1800 737 732

Women’s Crisis Line: 1800 811 811

Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491

Lifeline (24 hour crisis line): 131 114

Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277

NSW Domestic Violence Line: 1800 656 463

Qld DV Connect Womensline: 1800 811 811

Vic Safe Steps crisis response line: 1800 015 188

ACT 24/7 Crisis Line: (02) 6280 0900

Tas Family Violence Counselling and Support Service:1800 608 122

SA Domestic Violence Crisis Line:1800 800 098

WA Women’s Domestic Violence 24h Helpline:1800 007 339

NT Domestic violence helpline:1800 737 732

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