Media releases

July 25, 2011

Online counselling service launched for victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault

Australians at risk of sexual and/or domestic abuse can seek help from a new confidential online counselling service.

The new 24-hour service - - is an Australian Government initiative in conjunction with Medibank Health Solutions. It enhances the 1800RESPECT national telephone counselling service launched in October last year by providing violence sufferers with a greater number of channels and new ways to reach out for help and support.

Matthew Cullen, Group General Manager of Medibank Health Solutions, said, "We want to ensure that all Australians who have experienced or are at risk of violence are able to receive the support necessary to put an end to abuse.

"Through this innovative service, anyone can access the website to obtain professional and confidential counselling in a non-threatening and private forum, where they can be assured they will receive appropriate and specialised information, advice and support."

Medibank's latest online healthcare initiative will connect users with tertiary qualified professional counsellors and social workers via a secure technology platform. Through confidential and sensitive communication, users will be provided with information, counselling and referrals to relevant services. Medibank has contracted the NSW Rape Crisis Centre to provide the trained and professional counsellors who will be the backbone of the service.

The Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis, said, "The online service offers an important alternative means of seeking help. It has been designed to respond in a flexible way to the often complex needs of victims of violence and their families.

"The 1800RESPECT national telephone counselling service has averaged around 185 contacts a week since its launch in October last year. This is a sobering reminder of the need in our community for support services for victims of violence in the home. The more options we offer for victims of domestic violence, the more likely it is that people receive the help they need."

As part of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022, the service continues the Government's pledge to focus on long term solutions to end domestic abuse, including building respectful relationships and working to increase gender equality to prevent violence from occurring in the first place.

Launched on July 1, the new website is active now and is available to all Australians in need of online help and advice. The telephone service continues to provide support and can be reached by calling 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).


About Medibank Health Solutions

Medibank Health Solutions offers innovative and cost-effective healthcare services to business and government. Drawing on more than 35 years' experience, working in partnership with over 4,000 businesses and government organisations, we help Australians to better manage their health.

Our team of over 1,500 medical and allied health professionals provide more than 3 million health care interactions a year, by telephone, online and from our Australia-wide network of clinics:

  • telephone and web-based health advice, coaching and counselling, around the clock, seven days a week
  • travel health for consumers and business
  • visa medical assessments
  • workplace health care

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