The Government has today announced an independent and confidential 24/7 telephone service to support current and former Commonwealth ministerial, parliamentary and electorate office staff, and those who have experienced serious incidents in a Commonwealth Parliamentary workplace.
The Parliamentary Support Line 1800 APH SPT (1800 274 778) is now available. The Parliamentary Support Line will be operated by Medibank Health Solutions who also provide 1800 RESPECT. The new service is free, anonymous, independent and completely confidential and can provide information, counselling and referrals in response to sexual violence, assault, sexual harassment or other serious incidents in the workplace.
The service will operate as a supportive counselling, information and referral service provided by trained professionals specialising in supporting staff, their families, friends and colleagues. It will not have an investigative function.
Counsellors will provide initial services and if the caller wishes can assist callers with a supported referral to police, the Finance Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (MaPS) Case team and other support services for MOP(S) Act employees. The line will be able to assist with supported referrals to police if a caller wishes. The service is completely confidential.
This is a specific and immediate service developed as one option in addition to the range of services already publicly available, such as:
- The police on 000, if you are in fear for your immediate safety, or police services in your jurisdiction if you wish to report a criminal offence.
- 1800RESPECT, which is available if you or someone you know has experienced sexual, family or domestic violence. Call 1800 737 732 or go to 1800respect.org.au for online counselling, 24 hours a day.
- The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (02 6247 2525), or equivalent services in your jurisdiction.
- MensLine Australia, which is available to men who need help or have concerns about their own behaviour. Call 1300 789 978 or mensline.org.au for around the clock counselling. The service is available from anywhere in Australia and is staffed by professional counsellors, experienced in men’s issues.
Resources and support measures will be available for managers of MOP(S) Act employees to assist them to better support their staff. Managers are also encouraged to access 1800 APH SPT if they are feeling distressed or for help in supporting an impacted staff member.
The new support and referral service is an initial response. Ongoing supports will be considered as part of the independent review of workplace culture being established by the Minister for Finance.
MaPS is also expanding its services for current and former MOP(S) Act employees and parliamentarians to include enhanced case management support and additional advice and education.