Our History


Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia was originally established as Sydney Rape Crisis Centre with funding from the Whitlam government in 1974, and celebrated its 40th Anniversary on 28 October 2014. 

Since it was established, the organisation has continuously expanded and improved its services for those affected by sexual, domestic and family violence, re-branding as NSW Rape Crisis Centre in 1997, and Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia in 2013.

Browse key milestones and activities from the last 40 years by decade, by clicking on the drop-down list below. 



2010 - Current

The organisation contributed to the development of ‘The National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children’;

The organisation was funded to provide telephone and online counselling for ‘1800RESPECT’ the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service;

The organisation researched the needs of Rural and Remote Practitioners. 

A national ‘Dunny Door Campaign’ for the 1800RESPECT service was delivered;

Gunbalunya Safe House Project provided workers with intensive mentoring, in-service training and professional development;

‘Hey Sis, we’ve got your back’ established to support Aboriginal women who are working in their communities against sexual assault;

The organisation commenced representation on the NSW Health Sexual Assault Services State-wide and the Trauma Informed Care Network;

Maintained accreditation with the Quality Improvement Council Health & Community Services Standards;
2013    New premises were officially opened by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales;

The organisation changed its name: Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia to reflect its national focus and increased range of services;

The organisation established Sexual Assault Counselling Australia to provide telephone and face to face counselling services to people affected by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Assault;

A delegation from China with the Australian Human Rights Commission was hosted;

Secondary Prevention Counselling Program established for men at risk of using violence in their relationships;  

Trauma Specialist Counselling provided to therapists supporting those impacted by the Royal Commission;

Significant expansion of Training and Consultation work;

2015   In September, the Department of Social Services engaged KPMG to review the 1800RESPECT service model and recommended options for reducing call waiting times and subsequently call abandonment rates. KPMG identified three options from that review: increased funding for the existing operating model; a triage function; and a trauma-specialist triage function. Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia implemented a range of changes to our service model that succeeded in reducing call waiting times and abandonment rates and proposed Option 3: the trauma-specialist triage function. Medibank Health Solutions was selected by the Department of Social Sciences to implement the triage model which commenced in August 2016.

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia, sponsored by The Hunting Ground Australia Project, developed the Sex, Safety and Respect prevention through education package of programs for Universities. The package includes:

-          Ethical Leadership to Prevent Gender Based Violence for University staff

-          Sex & Ethics Sexual Violence Prevention Program for University  student leaders

-          Understanding Sexual Consent and Preventing Sexual Violence in Universities for students 

The Full Stop Foundation was established by Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia to seek additional funding to expand our support services and prevention programs. The Foundation is working with trusts, foundations and other philanthropic sources, corporate sponsorship, community fundraising, and through the provision of training and other services on a fee for service basis to raise much needed funds. The Full Stop Foundation was launched at Parliament House in March 2015.


In 2015-2016, Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia provided support to 22,346 women, men and young people across 56,892 occasions of service.

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia continued its vicarious trauma work. The evidence-based training and management program works to address and reduce the risk that exposure to traumatic content poses to the health and welfare of staff. The organisation applies its expertise in this space to assist organisations to:

-          Develop tailored vicarious trauma management policies including specific strategies for risk reduction, monitoring, early intervention and offsetting the symptoms of vicarious trauma.

-          Administer psychometric testing, analysis and reporting on results for individuals, teams and organisations.

-          Train staff to increase their awareness of vicarious trauma and equip them with the skills necessary to identify and effectively manage vicarious trauma for themselves.

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia recognises that increasingly workplaces are developing a proactive role in addressing violence against women, particularly by offering domestic violence leave and other supports to help empower valued staff who are escaping domestic violence or dealing with sexual assault. Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia tailored a support package to offer to workplaces:

-          Assisting in the development of or reviewing policy and procedures related to supporting staff experiencing sexual and/or domestic violence

-          Providing training for organisational leaders, managers and frontline staff including supporting organisations to embed training into existing induction and routine workplace training practices

-          Assisting organisations to monitor and evaluate the impact of their work, including improvements to organisational responses to disclosures and to organisational culture more broadly

-          Tailored support to develop solutions to suit an organisation’s specific needs.

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia completed a key research project "Counselling Service Modalities and the Needs of Australians affected by Sexual, Domestic and Family Violence". This research examined how services around Australia meet the counselling needs of people experiencing sexual, domestic and family violence. The project explored the strengths and limitations of five different counselling service modalities that are delivered by trauma-focused community services; explored barriers to effective referrals between the counselling services and how to overcome these barriers; and examined the current state of knowledge about models for evaluating the effectiveness of various counselling service modalities delivered to people affected by sexual assault, domestic and family violence. The findings of this project were shared at the International Mental Health Conference 2016 held in Queensland, where the work was well received.

The Full Stop Foundation actively engaged in fundraising to support the work of Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia with a reception hosted by the Governor of NSW and community fundraising with the City2Surf. The Full Stop Foundation also engaged with businesses, individuals, trusts and foundations with the support of our patron and ambassadors.


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Find out abut sexual assault and domestic violence

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia  I  ABN 58 023 656 939

PO Box 555 Drummoyne NSW 2047 | Tel 02 8585 0333 Fax 02 9555 5911

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