1800RESPECT is the national online and telephone counselling and support service for people who have experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, sexual assault and/or domestic and family violence, their family and friends, and frontline and isolated workers. It is a flagship service under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022 (the National Plan), providing support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The service provides:
- First response and online counselling, provided by experienced, qualified counsellors with a three-year tertiary qualification in a related field and a minimum of two years full-time counselling experience.
- Trauma specialist counselling, provided by experienced, qualified counsellors with a three-year tertiary qualification in a related field and three years minimum specialist trauma counselling experience or full-time equivalent experience in specialised sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling of people from diverse backgrounds and locations.
- Sector support through a range of online resources such as a digital toolkit for frontline workers and regular webinars.
- A range of service enhancement projects in collaboration with research and sector representatives to improve access for people with complex access requirements.
- Engagement with the sector and state and territory governments.
- A website with important information for those affected by domestic or family violence, their friends and family.
- Daisy mobile phone app provides information on domestic and family violence services available in a person’s local area.
- Sunny mobile phone app for women with disability who have experienced or are at risk of violence to learn about violence, know their rights and reach for support.
1800RESPECT has been funded since 2010 as part of the National Plan. The National Plan is a long-term partnership between the Commonwealth Government, state and territory governments and civil society, to deliver a significant and sustained reduction in violence against women and their children in Australia.
1800RESPECT was established as part of addressing Outcome 4 of the National Plan: ‘Services meet the needs of women and their children experiencing violence’. This is achieved through the provision of a free, confidential and online and telephone counselling, information and referral service that aims to ensure that anyone impacted by domestic and family violence and sexual assault can access the high quality support they need, when they need it, through 1800RESPECT.
The Department of Social Services commissioned an independent evaluation of 1800RESPECT. The evaluation was carried out by the University of New South Wales’s Social Policy Research Centre and the Gendered Violence Research Network.
Evaluation of 1800RESPECT – Final Report
In August 2016, a first responder triage model was implemented to improve the accessibility and responsiveness of the service, and to ensure that people affected by domestic and family violence and sexual assault are able to access support when they need it.
Under this model, all calls are answered by first response counsellors who have a minimum three‑year tertiary degree in a relevant field, such as Social Work, Social Services, Welfare Studies, Psychology or Counselling. They must also have a minimum of two years full‑time counselling experiencing. First response counsellors undergo additional in‑depth training before they can respond to 1800RESPECT calls.
Anyone who is assessed as needing trauma specialist counselling, or who requests this support, is warm transferred to a highly qualified and experienced trauma specialist counsellor. This means the initial counsellor provides the trauma-specialist counsellor with the information, with the caller still on the line, to avoid the caller needing to re-tell their story.
Trauma specialist counsellors hold a minimum three-year tertiary qualification in a relevant field and have a minimum of three years’ trauma specialist counselling experience, specialising in sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and working with people from diverse backgrounds and locations.
On 29 October 2017, three industry leading and highly experienced not-for-profit organisations began providing trauma specialist counselling services as part of 1800RESPECT. These partners are highly experienced and committed to providing world-class trauma specialist counselling for 1800RESPECT callers. The panel includes:
- DV Connect in Queensland www.dvconnect.org
- Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre in Victoria www.safesteps.org.au
- Women’s Safety Services in South Australia womenssafetyservices.com.au
In 2019, two new organisations joined the panel, they are:
Access the latest statistics on violence against women.
Access guides for journalists reporting on domestic violence or sexual assault developed by Our Watch.
More information about 1800RESPECT can be found on its website: 1800RESPECT.org.au
If you are covering a story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.
Questions and Answers
What training do the First Response counsellors receive?
First Response counsellors complete induction and ongoing training around all aspects relating to the support needs of anyone impacted by sexual assault, domestic and/or family violence. This includes responding to recent incidents of sexual violence, understanding how trauma impacts on a person, how to assess current and future safety needs and what services exist to support people towards safety. The training modules were developed in conjunction with subject matter experts including the 1800RESPECT National Sector Advisory Group, 1800RESPECT Specialist Counselling partner providers, the 1800RESPECT clinical team and external leaders in the field, to ensure counsellors have the knowledge, skills and therapeutic foundations to provide consistent, high quality support to anyone impacted by sexual assault, domestic and family violence.
Each counsellor develops a professional development plan with their clinical lead at the commencement of employment to identify areas of growth and ensure an ongoing commitment to best practice. Training is accompanied by regular coaching as well as clinical supervision and ongoing training opportunities.
This ensures that people receive the best quality of support when they contact 1800RESPECT.
If I contact 1800RESPECT, how will my personal information be protected?
1800RESPECT offers confidential online and telephone counselling and the protection of callers’ personal information is a priority of the service. Anybody who contacts 1800RESPECT can use a pseudonym, or withhold identifying information such as their birthdate or surname.
If you chose to provide 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.
For more information, visit the privacy section on the 1800RESPECT website.
What is DAISY?
DAISY is a free app developed by 1800RESPECT to provide information and connect people who are experiencing, or have experienced, sexual assault, domestic and family violence to support services in their state and local area.
DAISY includes safety features to help protect the privacy of people using it. For example, you can visit service websites from within the app, which means these sites will not show up in your browser history. The DAISY app can also be downloaded and used offline, which means there is no need to be connected to the internet to use it. Daisy app can be downloaded for free from iTunes or Google Play.
What is Sunny?
Sunny is a free app co-designed with women with disability, for women with disability who have experienced or are at risk of violence to learn about violence, know their rights and reach for support. The Sunny app can also be downloaded and used offline, which means there is no need to be connected to the internet to use it. SUNNY app can be downloaded for free from iTunes or Google Play.