A new live webchat service is giving people in regional, rural and remote Western Australia instant access to family and domestic violence support.
Launched by DVassist, it enables people outside the metropolitan area to ‘silently’ seek specialist help and advice regardless of their location and without compromising their safety or privacy.
It also removes the fear that ‘everyone in a small community will know you have sought help’, which is a significant barrier to people reaching out for family and domestic violence support.
Early feedback shows the new service is resonating with those living on isolated farming properties and the Gen Z cohort for whom webchat is the preferred method of communication.
Chief Executive Officer Esther Schwald said sometimes people only have a matter of moments to access support, and the DVassist webchat was launched with this in mind.
“It’s another way to talk to us,” she said.
“Users are instantly connected to a real person – not a bot – who is a specialist family and domestic violence counsellor with an understanding of living in regional, remote and rural communities.
“The visual anonymity offered by webchat is giving people the confidence to share more detail of their experience of family and domestic violence.”
Esther said the safety of people who use the DVassist webchat is paramount.
“Sadly, many people who are using violence in a relationship check their partner’s phone and internet use, so our counsellors advise our webchat users how to quickly end the conversation and delete the website from their browsing history.”
DVassist’s live webchat and confidential telephone helpline are available Monday to Friday, from 10am to 10pm. Webchat is available via dvassist.org.au and the helpline via 1800 080 083.
The DVassist website and services information hub is available 24/7.