Sex assault help crisis
Fewer callbacks due to lack of staff
NEARLY half of calls to the state’s after-hours sexual assault crisis number are not answered, with one counsellor manning the phone.
The Royal Women’s Hospital runs the Sexual Assault Crisis Line and revealed more than 200 calls were missed in the past financial year, many from people abused by family members.
The hospital revealed a resource shortfall in a submission to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, which also proposed mandating hospitals to report on disclosures of domestic abuse.
CASA forum spokeswoman Carolyn Worth said it could be demoralising for women who finally mustered the courage to call about abuse they had either experienced or witnessed.
“The concern is I don’t think they all do call back if they can’t get through,” she said. “They might go back to whatever they do to survive, whether it’s drinking too much or taking some tablets.
“It’s really quite devastating for some people. They need two staff on, not just one.”
Other recommendations raised with the royal commission yesterday include: INTERVENTION orders to take other forms of domestic violence like economic abuse into account; ALL public servants to be entitled to dedicated “domestic violence leave” and a state government campaign encouraging other workplaces to adopt it; COUPLES be separated by police overnight after an incident if practical, or the perpetrator arrested, even if the situation has calmed, and; POLICE take the devastating consequences of family viol- ence into primary schools in a bid to prevent a new generation of offenders.
A high school teacher detailed in an anonymous submission how their violent nephew had curbed his behaviour after a home visit from police, and suggested officers run annual classes in year 7.
“I’ve seen police come to our schools regularly to speak with students about how to behave on public transportation, what will happen if they shoplift, and conversations about other forms of petty crime,’’ the teacher wrote.
“What we must add is education in schools regarding the definition of and effects caused by family violence.”
Meanwhile, the commission heard yesterday women are staying in abusive relationships because they feared they would be destitute if they left.