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Friday, 24 June 2022 12:07

Seventeen telcos take a stand against domestic abuse and family violence


Seventeen telco service providers whose stakeholders comprise the majority of Australian families have taken action against domestic and family violence.

Telstra, Optus, TPG Telecom, Vocus, and Aussie Broadband worked with Telco Together Foundation as part of the Industry Impact Hub to develop the Action Framework, released last April 2022.

ATN/Axicom, Uniti, MoreTelecom, TangerineTelecom, C9 Communications, Globe Telecom, Corp Centre, Emutel, Hungry Lab, Lightning Broadband, Multipli and Real World Technology Solutions have joined.

"There is no simple solution to the growing domestic and family violence crisis society is facing, but a telco industry framework is a step towards lasting change. We all deserve to live in a community that is equal and free, and Telstra is committed to ensuring anyone experiencing domestic and family violence has access to safe and secure communications,” said Telstra CEO Andy Penn.

The Action Framework has received support from growing telcos too.

“This issue is relevant to us all, as people and organisations. This Framework is a great help. It gives us a process to follow, and covers the subject from many angles. We want to support our customers and employees well and now have the means to continually improve how we do that,” said Lightning Broadband CEO Jeremy Rich.

Telco CEOs have also signed the Telco Industry DFV Pledge to support customers and employees who are either DFV victim-survivors or are supporting someone who is.

This commitment includes their creation of a DFV Action Plan using the Telco Industry DFV Action Framework to inform their approach.

The Action Plan is one of four commitments the CEO of each company has made by signing the DFV Pledge.

The other three being: dedicating resources, continuing to learn and review (particularly in relation to technology-facilitated-abuse) and collaborating, to further build best practice.

The DFV Action Framework brings together guidance and expertise from government, industry and DFV front-line agencies, into one practical and easy to follow process for continually improving support for customer and employee DFV victim-survivors.

The Adapt, Embed, Tailor and Influence Action Plan templates within the Framework enable telcos across Australia to better-support their customers and employees regardless of the telco’s current knowledge of the subject, company size or business structure.

Telco Together Foundation executive director Renee Bowker explained the motivation behind the development of the framework.

“Telcos are often one of the first ports of call for people experiencing DFV, looking to ensure continuation of service and appropriate privacy measures. This complex insidious social issue is often not visible, and technology-facilitated abuse is ever-adapting. It is essential that telcos and their employees understand the influence they can potentially have on reducing instances of DFV and supporting victims/survivors,” Bowker says.

“It was important for us to acknowledge and reference the extensive work already done in this area by Communications Alliance, eSafety, the TIO, Wesnet and others, but to add a framework that make it easier for telcos of any size to be able to understand the difference they can make in this important issue.”

Telco Together Foundation general manager Warren Sainsbury explained the approach of the foundation’s Impact Hub.

“Our members are unanimous that industry-wide approaches can be undertaken to create positive leadership to support victim-survivors and reduce incidents of domestic and family violence. This DFV Action Framework is the result of two years collaboration, consultation and research, to arrive at a tool that provides support to telcos, their customers and employees,” Sainsbury said.

This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 23 June 2022.

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Kenn Anthony Mendoza

Kenn Anthony Mendoza is the newest member of the iTWire team. Kenn is also a contributing writer for South China Morning Post Style, and has written stories on Korean entertainment, Asian and European royalty, Millionaires and Billionaires, and LGBTQIA+ issues. He has been published in Philippine newspapers, magazines, and online sites: Tatler PhilippinesManila BulletinCNN Philippines LifePhilippine StarManila Times, and The Daily Tribune. Kenn now covers all aspects of technology news for iTWire.com.

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