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Expansion Of Domestic Violence Hotline Now Includes Text Services

The 1800RESPECT domestic violence helpline has expanded its service to include support through text messages to enhance accessibility for domestic violence victims.

This initiative aims to cater to individuals in unsafe situations who may face barriers to accessing telephone or web chat services.

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The 1800RESPECT hotline, which delivered over 268,629 responses in the 2022/23 financial year, is extending its reach to provide support via text messages 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

The move is particularly significant for those living in rural and remote communities or individuals with limited access to technology or the internet.

To seek help through the text service, victims can now send a message to 0458 737 732. 

The program, which launched two weeks ago, had already proven its value by assisting multiple victim-survivors in various situations.

In one instance, a user who had lost her voice due to a traumatic incident the night before was able to secure emergency accommodation through the discreet SMS service. 

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Another user applied the text support describing their partner’s behaviour, assessing if it constituted coercive control and verbal abuse. 

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said: “We have a national plan in place … we need to get on with the job of delivering those programs and support,” she told the ABC.

“Unfortunately, disrespect to women and the attitudes towards violence against women take time to change but we are determined to change them.”

As an additional safety measure, if a person doesn’t respond to the text message chain within six minutes, the service stops.

While the text support service offers a more discreet and flexible means of seeking help, it is currently available only in English. 

For immediate assistance, contact 1800 RESPECT at 1800 737 732 or Lifeline at 13 11 14.

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