Domestic Violence Crisis Line

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:24): My question is to the Attorney-General. Can the minister share with the house an update on the women's domestic violence crisis hotline that has now begun operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

The Hon. V.A. CHAPMAN (Bragg—Deputy Premier, Attorney-General) (14:25): I thank the member for Hammond for this question, and his continued work in regional South Australia. He has a clear understanding of the significance of isolation and distance that historically make access to services difficult.

In his own area, I'm sure he will be pleased to know that in respect of our domestic violence service that has been operating under the disclosure scheme, some 14 applications have been received in the non-metropolitan areas. These applicants will be linked with the safety service providers in their area to ensure no gaps occur in providing that important service.

This is a reform that will save lives and I am pleased that it has been rolled out and been so successful to date. I commend the minister in the other place for her work on this scheme, and the police for their vital role in assessing all of those applications, which I point out is now statewide rather than just an isolated geographical area in the state.

The Domestic Violence Crisis Line extended to a 24 hours a day service, seven days a week, because we know that domestic violence doesn't happen between nine and five and it needs to be addressed. The funding and rollout, along with the personal protection app, of course are very significant in this area. It's a service which is run by the Women's Safety Services SA, led by Maria Hagias, and I again commend the work of the Hon. Michelle Lensink MLC in progressing this reform as urgently as she has.

In providing $1.66 million in funding to the Women's Safety Services, more and more at-risk people can now contact the service and receive critical support when they need it most. Along with the member for Elder and the minister, we attended the Women's Safety Services. Of course, we were able to welcome the opportunity to meet with a number of the women who operate this service, and their extremely dedicated service is greatly appreciated.

Clearly, the extra funding means that the crisis line will be able to staff their operations around the clock and that hundreds of women living in a violent or abusive relationship are able to access immediate specialist support when they need it most. Prior to this, the statewide hotline had only been able to afford to operate nine to five on weekdays, with calls outside of these hours diverted to the homeless service run by Uniting Communities. This government has prioritised further funding to support this program and will continue to monitor its use.

The house may be specifically interested to know that, last year, the DV Crisis Line responded to 7,756 calls; of those, 1,552 people being registered clients of the service. We know from experience that domestic violence does not occur, as I say, during business hours. It may often be the case that those at risk need to strategically pick a time to contact the service—i.e. when their partner will not know that they are making their call—so that they remain safe.

Quite simply, this government is delivering on its domestic violence election commitments and will continue to ensure that women feel safe and supported, and importantly, know where to turn for help when they need it.