Telstra launches program to help women impacted by domestic violence

Media Release, 25 November 2014

Helping women impacted by domestic violence to stay safely connected, Telstra is launching a new program in partnership with the Women’s Services Network (WESNET) to provide women with access to a new smartphone, pre-paid credit and information on the safe use of technology.

One in three women in Australia will experience physical or sexual violence during their lifetime and the impact of violence against women in Australia is widespread, having profound personal, social and economic costs for individuals, communities and the nation.

WESNET Chair, Julie Oberin, says technological advancements are presenting a whole new set of issues for women impacted by domestic violence and refuge workers to navigate.

“With technology now a major part of everyday life, stalkers increasingly use a variety of telephone, surveillance and computer technologies to monitor and harass their victims,” says Ms Oberin. “Women impacted by domestic violence need access to safe and secure communications to ensure they can remain connected with family, friends, essential services and vital information.

“We’re pleased to be partnering with Telstra to provide practical support in terms of new phones along with educational materials to support agencies helping women impacted by domestic violence to understand new technologies and how to increase their safety.”

Through the Safe Connections program, Telstra will be providing 5,000 smartphones annually, $30 pre-paid recharge cards and technology safety tips to WESNET for distribution through partner agencies. This is in addition to the $1 million in mobile pre-paid recharge cards Telstra has made available each year to help people impacted by domestic violence remain connected.

“Your mobile phone helps keep you connected with friends and loved ones and is an essential part of your everyday life,” says Nancie-Lee Robinson, Telstra General Manager of Digital Inclusion.

“If you are impacted by domestic violence it can also become a lifeline to search for and find help, create safety plans and find pathways to a new life.

“Telstra’s purpose – to create a brilliant connected future for everyone – guides our social and community investment to focus on digital inclusion and ensuring everyone has access to the benefits digital technology can bring.

“The Safe Connections program is our way of showing we care by helping people experiencing domestic violence in a time of need.”

Safe Connections is a new initiative under Telstra’s ‘Everyone Connected’ program, which includes our work with community organisations to address the communications needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians.