Inadequate funding for telephone counselling services place vulnerable Western Australians at further risk

Greens spokesperson for Children and Youth Hon Alison Xamon MLC has called on the Federal Government to urgently top-up funding for the Kids Helpline, since she revealed more than half of calls made to the essential telephone counselling service went unanswered. 

Ms Xamon said she was very concerned to learn through questions in Parliament that 56 per cent of calls made to the Kids Helpline in 2017 did not go through.

She said this was particularly concerning as the helpline is widely advertised and had an established reputation as a first point of contact for children and young people who needed urgent advice or counselling.

“If we are going to promote this as a crisis line, then we need to ensure we have the resourcing available to meet demand,” Ms Xamon said.

“Even though funding is at an all-time high, it is clearly not enough, because demand for these services are also at an all time high and are increasingly complex.

"The Government must look at this as a matter of priority to ensure children and young people who reach out get the support they need, when they need it.”

Ms Xamon said the revelations regarding the Kids Helpline further compounded her concerns about the overall landscape of telephone crisis lines within WA.

She said she still held deep concerns about funding pulled from the state’s Meth Helpline earlier this month.

“The Meth Helpline is accessed by users themselves, as well as parents, partners, friends and children looking to find out how to support loved ones through substance abuse and to get the support they also need,” Ms Xamon said.

“Many callers have already reached crisis point by the time they reach out.

“By failing to adequately fund these two crucial telephone services, the Government is placing some of the state’s most vulnerable people at further risk. 

"These are frontline services and need to be supported."