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Harrison seeks more funding for vital sexual violence helpline

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Charlestown state MP Jodie Harrison is calling on the NSW Government to step up its support for the vital NSW Sexual Violence Helpline.

It comes after revelations one in three calls were going unanswered.

The NSW Sexual Violence Helpline is a service operated by Full Stop Australia with funding from the NSW Government.

It provides 24/7 telephone and online crisis counselling for anyone in Australia who has experienced or is at risk of sexual assault, family or domestic violence.

In a pre-Budget submission, Full Stop Australia is seeking $923,701 in additional core funding over four years to cover operational costs and meet increased demand for the helpline services.

“Sexual assault is the fastest growing reported crime category in NSW, increasing by 6% each year over the last five years,” said Ms Harrison, the Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

“The NSW Sexual Violence Helpline is at the front line of supporting victim-survivors, receiving 14,089 calls and online contacts last year.

“Unfortunately, at current funding levels, 29% of calls to the helpline were unable to be answered.

“That means almost one in three people who are reaching out for help aren’t able to access assistance through the Sexual Violence Helpline.”

Ms Harrison was quick to downplay any criticism levelled at the staff, too.

“The lack of assistance isn’t because the amazing people who work at the helpline don’t want to help,” she stated.

“It’s because they are simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who are looking for help.

“I’m calling on the government to ensure that every person who reaches out to the NSW Sexual Violence Helpline is able to access its much-needed support.”

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