Updated telco guidelines aim to help Australians affected by domestic and family violence

Broken phone
Escaping the cycle of domestic and family violence is never easy. Updated telco guidelines aim to make it easier for victims to access much-needed services safely and securely.

Domestic and family violence (DFV) is an epidemic-level problem in Australia. The figures are terrifying, with one woman killed every 7 days by a current or former partner, and one man every 29 days.

It’s a huge issue and one that can often rest on communication, because (to put it very, very simply) being able to cry for help can be an important first step.

Equally, one of the big issues around DFV is that the very technology that makes our lives more interesting day by day can become an absolute trap for DFV victims, with phone calls monitored and devices tracked by perpetrators, just to name a few issues at stake here.

The Communications Alliance has announced that it’s developed updated guidelines to assist DFV victims for retail service providers (RSPs… telcos to you and me) in more safely accessing services or indicating that they’re in a DFV situation.

DFV issues are complex and naturally enough confronting, with concerns over coercion, spyware, unwanted tracking, sharing harmful content, threatening communications and more.

The new guidelines are here and they detail in some length how telcos can develop policies to assist DFV victims, including when indications are that other support services may need to be called in.

These aren’t new guidelines – they’re an evolution of existing advice that’s designed to make it simpler to identify different types of DFV, the emerging and changing telecommunications space and ways that RSPs can and should deal with these kinds of issues.

Alex’s Take

This is good. What this should help to make happen is for DFV victims to be able to more simply address the complex issues around their situations where RSPs can and do play a role, whether that’s providing easier switching access for an existing number or service, or simply making access to their DFV support policies more transparent and readily available.

The reality here is that DFV is absolutely a community-wide issue that needs complex responses across a range of responsible parties, including telecommunications bodies.

If you or somebody you know is a victim of DFV, or you suspect they might be, there’s a range of services available to help. Consider contacting any of the following:

Attribution where it’s due: The above support list is the same one that the ABC uses (and that’s where I’ve got it from), because this isn’t an area I usually report on. Given the severity of the DFV issue, I hope the ABC’s lawyers don’t mind.

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