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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 191


(Questions No. 552 and 590)

Ms Butler asked the Minister for Social Services, in writing, on 9 November 2016 and 10 November 2016:

1) Has the new 'first responder' model for 1800RESPECT taken effect.2) Of the answered calls, what proportion of callers are being put through to a counsellor engagement by the counselling provider, Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia.

Mr Porter: The Minister for Social Services has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) The first responder triage model for 1800RESPECT has taken effect. It was implemented on 16 August 2016.

(2) All calls are responded to by qualified, professional counsellors with tertiary qualifications and a minimum of two years full time counselling experience. A referral assessment process is used to determine when a call requires trauma specialist counselling. These calls are then referred to Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia (R&DVSA) through a three way transfer between the first responder counsellor, the R&DVSA counsellor and the caller. The referral assessment process was jointly developed between Medibank Health Solutions, contracted providers of 1800RESPECT, and R&DVSA.

To date, an average of 25 per cent of calls are being transferred to R&DVSA because they require trauma specialist counselling.

The implementation of the first response triage model has been successful. The percentage of abandoned calls has reduced from 44 per cent in 2015-16 to an average of 5.5 per cent since implementation. The 1800RESPECT service is also answering at least 80 per cent of calls within 20 seconds. This means women contacting the service are now having their calls answered and receiving the support they need, when they need it.