NSW Labor is promising they will provide an additional $923,000 a year to the NSW Sexual Violence Helpline.
The helpline provides critical, 24/7 state-wide specialist counselling service for people impacted by sexual violence which Labor believes is crucial as the demand for the service continues to rise.
Sexual assault crime rates show a 4.2 per cent upward trend in the five years to March 2022, and in 2021 there was a 27 per cent increase in the number of calls, with the helpline receiving 14,089 calls and online contacts.
NSW Labor have committed to providing an increased $923,701 in additional core funding per annum to cover the wages of an additional 25 counsellors as a lack of funding has resulted in almost one in three calls (29 per cent) go unanswered.
Charlestown MP and Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jodie Harrison said its important victims feel like they’re being heard and supported and that can’t happen if there isn’t someone there to answer the phone and listen.
“This is an important first step in NSW Labor’s commitment to supporting both victims and providers in this state,” she said.
Prue Car, NSW Labor Deputy Leader said Family and Domestic Violence is one of the most important challenges in our society and we need to do better.
“The services Full Stop Australia provide to the NSW community are invaluable and we are proud to support their ongoing efforts, particularly the support they provide through the NSW Sexual Violence Helpline.”
“It is hard enough as it to make the decision to reach out and ask for help – it us unacceptable for no one to pick up at the other end when you do make that call.”
Labor said this funding boost will be in addition to a one off funding injection of $467,679 to improve access to sexual violence services in priority populations, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women with disability, migrant and refugee women, and people from the LGBTIQA+ community.