The move to make RDVSA tender for its work is ideological and it has the potential to allow an organisation to profit from rape.
On 13 February 1800RESPECT, the national telephone and online counselling service for women, men and children experiencing domestic or sexual violence, was advertised for tender.
Since its inception, 1800RESPECT has been provided by specialist domestic violence and sexual assault trauma counsellors, employed by the Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDVSA).
RDVSA has been told it must tender for this work and, despite the exceptional support it provides, is unlikely to be successful without widespread community support.
Why does RDVSA have to compete with ‘the market’ to provide life-saving support to victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence?
RDVSA is a union workplace with almost all of its 100 specialist counsellors and support staff members of the Australian Services Union.
RDVSA is a feminist organisation which has been critical of this Federal Government’s approach to addressing domestic violence.
It’s not about money: in 2015 RDVSA sought an additional $2 million from the Federal Government to fund additional specialist counsellors and telephone hardware that would allow them to answer all calls- instead the Government gave $5 million to corporation Medibank Health Services (MHS) to provide a ‘triage service’ as part of 1800RESPECT.
RDVSA openly opposed this move by the Federal Government, that more specialist counsellors not a call centre was needed to support those experiencing domestic and sexual violence.
No one should be able to profit the trauma of those experiencing domestic and sexual violence.