Telcos pledge to take a stand against Domestic and Family Violence

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Today, Telstra, Optus, TPG Telecom, Vocus Group and Aussie Broadband have pledged to continually improve their support of domestic and family violence (DFV) victim-survivors.

This public commitment marks the introduction to the industry of the Telco Industry DFV Action Framework, announced in late 2021. The Action Framework delivers a mechanism for continual improvement. It also supports the 600+ telco service providers to provide a more informed and consistent experience for their 70,000+ employees and millions of customers.

Service providers across Australia are invited to join these leading telcos in taking the pledge and to attend a webinar on 28 April 2022, hosted by the Industry Impact Hub, to learn more.

The Telco Industry DFV Action Framework comprises four different Action Plans, applicable to and usable by all telco service providers, regardless of their size or type.

This large piece of work has been developed by Telco Together Foundation through consultation with the many industry and community sector organisations working in the DFV space.

General Manager Telco Together Foundation Warren Sainsbury commented “Any Telco can take the pledge to signify their support and intent whether they are just starting or have taken significant steps with their DFV policies and actions”.

The Framework has received support from Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, Minister for Families and Social Services and Women’s Safety, and eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

In recognition of the importance of this subject to the telco industry Minister Fletcher said “I wish to express my endorsement for the Telco Together Foundation’s positive leadership in reducing the instances and supporting victims as well as survivors of domestic and family violence (DFV) across Australia.

“Telecommunications devices and services can be a lifeline in a situation of DFV, but they can also be tools for control and abuse. As such, it is critical that telecommunication providers and its employees understand the influence they can potentially have on reducing instances of DFV and supporting victims and survivors”.

Minister Anne Ruston confirmed “I support wholeheartedly the Framework and see how it will educate telcos staff and allow telcos to be better equipped to support clients and those people who seek support in your retail stores. Thank you for your strong advocacy for victim-survivors of family, domestic and sexual violence, and I commend the Domestic and Family Violence Action Plan Framework”.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant has also expressed support for this whole-sector approach. The Commissioner said “Telcos have the power to make a difference, from supporting customers who are victim-survivors of domestic and family violence, ensuring continuing of service and protection of their privacy, to educating employees and the broader public about technology-facilitated abuse, to embedding user safety and rights in product design.

“We all have a role to play here. I am particularly pleased to see that the Action Plan Framework provides a pathway that can support any telco – from big to small – on a journey from ‘starting out’ to ‘leadership’”.

Telco Together Foundation Executive Director Renee Bowker said “The development of this Framework has been such a great example of how an industry can work together towards a better social outcome. DFV is a really widespread and complex issue, and it’s important for organisations of all sizes – and from all industries – to turn their minds to the role they can play in reducing the impact and prevalence of this issue.“

Following the introduction of the DFV Action Framework to the telco industry, and the telco webinar event, this telco industry initiative and the names of telcos that have pledged will be announced to the public in late May 2022.

Further information about the Telco Industry DFV Action Framework is available on the Industry Impact Hub website, together with details of the webinar to be held on 28 April 2022.

Further Detail:

  • The Industry Impact Hub is an initiative of Telco Together Foundation, where complex social issues of relevance to the industry and our communities are collaboratively discussed, addressed and actioned.
  • The DFV Action Framework consists of four action plans relevant to any telco regardless of size or resources. The content assimilates guidance from a wide range of organisations and pulls it together into an easy to follow model for adoption organisation-wide.
  • The industry’s collaborative approach has included structured consultation with Government, industry organisations, frontline DFV service providers and smaller telcos to ensure the industry Framework meets its objective of delivering benefit to telco customers and employees who may be DFV victim-survivors. This consultation has included discussions with eSafety, 1800RESPECT, Communications Alliance, ACCAN, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and Wesnet, amongst other key stakeholders.
  • Industry Impact Hub’s Domestic and Family Violence: https://industryimpacthub.org/domestic-and-family-violence/

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