About telephone and online counselling
This information is written for health professionals.
If you have been impacted by sexual violence and would like to speak to a counsellor, you can reach us 24/7 by telephone or online.
Get in touch:
NSW Rape Crisis
Sexual Assault Counselling Australia
Domestic Violence Impact Line
LGBTIQ+ Violence Service
Information for health professionals
Emerging research has shown that treatments for trauma and complex trauma may be effectively delivered through telephone and online modalities, with promising results (Bolton & Dorstyn, 2015; Cook & Doyle, 2002; Kiropoulos et al., 2008 cited in (Radliska B. et al 2018).
The World Health Organisation (2018) goes so far as to say that 'Crisis lines help alleviate the distress a person may be experiencing and can reduce the intensity of such feelings to enable problem-solving and practical actions to be considered in response to personal problems.'
The anonymity of these modalities, and the increased perception of control and social distance for the client, supports the initiation of specialist therapeutic support where these factors influence help-seeking.
Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia's approach to online and telephone counselling.
There are multiple entry points to counselling services at Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia. Clients are encouraged to access the mode of service delivery that best meets their therapeutic need.
Each modality offers different strengths and limitations, and each client has different needs. At times, clients may be accessing more than one modality of service provision either within Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia or within an interagency service delivery network.
Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia offers a team based approach to telephone and online counselling. This means that each time a client makes contact with the service, they could be speaking to any one of our counsellors.
It is necessary for clients who contact our services regularly to have in place a robust therapeutic plan to ensure consistency in our approach. This ensures the client is not expected to repeat their story and makes sure their needs and wishes are respected.
Clients with complex needs who contact frequently or who are experiencing a trans-crisis may be allocated to a clinical lead supervisor who will hold oversight of the client's therapeutic plan. The supervisor will direct the team in the approach to any dilemmas in the client's therapeutic plan to ensure consistency across the team.
Online counselling at Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia is conducted as a modified face to face counselling model, with recognition of the limitations that this modality has in conducting therapeutic interventions.
Clients are encouraged to utilise the online service as an opportunity to build trust and motivation to gradually increase their engagement with telephone and/or face to face counselling services. As such, counsellors will usually encourage online counselling clients to contact the service via the telephone and eventually to access face to face counselling if necessary.
For clients with hearing impairments or any other condition which may prevent them from utilising the telephone counselling service, the online counselling service may be the ongoing mode of contact.
Clients who might benefit from individual counselling are identified by counsellors and supervisors in the negotiation with the client themselves.
Individual counselling at Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia consists of regular, booked telephone or online counselling appointments with a specific counsellor.
The timing, duration and content of these appointments will be determined by the counsellor and client according to a specific set of agreed goals.
The counsellor may do some case coordination and/or liaison with other involved agencies in developing and attending to these counselling goals.
You can read more about our feminist approach to specialist trauma counselling here.