Supporting Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia
Message from R&DVSA:
Further to the difficult decision made by Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia, to withdraw from the 1800RESPECT service, we are now asking you, our colleagues in the women’s sector to reach out to your parliamentarians and make a submission to the 1800RESPECT Senate Inquiry to express your support for our organisation.
As you will understand the decision we made was not made lightly. Only after considerable negotiation with the lead agency, Medibank Health Solutions, did the Board of Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia come to the conclusion that accepting the sub contract and the new Medibank service model would be inconsistent with the values, ethics, quality counselling practices and work place relations that are foundational to our organisation and culture.
The decision to withdraw will also mean about 70 of our highly committed and skilled staff will be made redundant. (Note: acceptance of the sub contract would have resulted in 50 redundancies as the sub contract offer was considerably smaller than the previous sub contract.) It is of enormous credit to staff that they overwhelmingly support the decision to withdraw based on ethical, clinical and protection of client file note grounds
How You Can Help:
1. Contribute to the Senate Inquiry
On 11 September 2017, the Senate established an inquiry into the 1800RESPECT service.
As members of the sector, your contribution to the Senate Inquiry will be invaluable. You are well aware of how the changes to the service have impacted on the provision of high quality counselling for some of the most vulnerable people in Australia.
You can find out more about the Senate Inquiry and make a submission here.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, 6 October 2017.
2. Contact your MP and Senators
Please contact your federal representatives and ask them to ensure that our organisation receives the funding needed to pay redundancies to our staff. You can contact the representatives for your local area, as well as the offices of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Social Services Christian Porter.
It can take four to six weeks for parliamentarians to communicate the views of their constituents to the relevant parties, so if you are able to contact your MP as soon as possible, that would be most effective. You are also welcome to encourage your friends and family to express their views to their representatives this way as well.
You can find out how to get in touch with your MP and Senators here.
If you are speaking to an MP or Senator’s office on the phone, you can use the following message –
“Hi, my name is ______ and I’m a constituent from ______.
I’m calling in regard to Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia withdrawing from the contract with the Government operated 1800RESPECT service due to their serious ethical concerns listed on their website here.
I’m concerned that the 70 dedicated Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia workers who are being made redundant as a consequence will not receive their redundancy entitlements.
Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia may have to close down if the Government does not fund these payments.
I support the Government taking responsibility for funding for these redundancy payments, as they have done in the past.
This issue needs to be escalated to the office of Christian Porter.
Thank you for your time.”