A successful collaboration between non-profit, corporate and government
A new phone can be a life-saving tool for a woman escaping violence, ensuring she can safely remain in contact with support services, and providing privacy and security as she manages her safety. Between 2015 and 2021, over 28,000 new smartphones with $30 credit have been given to women experiencing violence through WESNET and Telstra’s Safe Connections world first program.
The Australian Government funded WESNET to distribute the phones alongside safety planning advice through our national network of 276 frontline domestic, family and sexual violence services across Australia.
WESNET Tech Safety Specialists provide training and support to the frontline workers on how to recognise technology abuse, and to integrate tech safety into each client’s personal risk and safety plans.
Telstra Safe Connections Program
WESNET has partnered with Telstra since late 2014 to help women impacted by domestic violence to stay safely connected. Telstra donates smartphones with $30 of pre-paid credit to WESNET to give to women impacted by domestic and family violence. WESNET provides the phones through its network of specially trained frontline agencies across the country.
The program was externally evaluated by Curtin University in February 2018.
"In summary, Safe Connections is a shining example of multi-sector collaboration that is having a real impact on the lives of women and their children who have experienced family and domestic violence."
--Professor Donna Chung and Dr Kate Dorozenko
The program won an Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Award in 2016. The awards recognise and reward good practice in the prevention or reduction of violence and other types of crime in Australia.
In March 2016, Telstra announced that it would be providing 20,000 new smartphones to the program. The Commonwealth Government also funded WESNET to deliver training about technology facilitated abuse to frontline agencies so they can provide the phones safely to women who need them. The measure known as Safer Technology for women was part of the $100M Women's Safety Package.