The General Manager of 1800RESPECT Gabrielle Denning-Cotter, tells SBS Punjabi that the national helpline is responding to far greater number numbers of calls from women in distress, or from family members seeking advice and help, than ever before.
She also reveals, "Our information shows that callers from Indian background are our second highest number of callers to the 1800RESPECT service, after women born in Australia."
"Our information shows that callers from Indian background are our second highest number of callers to the 1800RESPECT service, after women born in Australia."
Listen to SBS Punjabi's full interview with Gabrielle Denning-Cotter below:
In an earlier interview, social workers Taruna Singh Chaudhry and Prateek Pahwa had also revealed that India-born women facing family violence seldom access government services, for fear of losing their visa status.
The Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia (FECCA) has written an open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia, to ensure that all victims of familly violence have access to crisis payments, regardless of their visa status.
Denning-Cotter also reveals that call response times have been reduced dramatically, despite the huge spike in demand for counselling helpline services over the Dec- Jan holiday period.
"We know that the holiday period can be a sensitive time of year for many women experiencing sexual assault, domestic or family violence,” Ms Denning-Cotter she added.
“Despite significant increases in demand, more women in need are having their calls answered in a timely manner.
"In December 2016 1800RESPECT answered more calls in that month alone, than were answered in the last 6 months of 2015. The average call waiting time has also reduced from over 10 minutes in 2015-16 to approximately 40 seconds.”
Callers including frontline workers, friends or family members now also have better access to information, advice or counselling to support someone at risk of or experiencing violence or abuse.
Melbourne-based psychiatrist Dr Manjula O'Connor earlier told SBS Punjabi that in many Indian families, domestic violence is dowry-related.
She had filed a petition to Victoria’s Parliament requesting the practice to be formally recognised as “economic abuse”. She'd also made a submission to the Royal Commission into Family Violence to bring in anti-dowry legislation in Victoria.