The ACMA has registered a revision of the Handling of Life Threatening and Unwelcome Communications Code –an industry code, developed under the auspices of Communications Alliance - which regulates the handling of unwelcome and harassing calls.
The revised code now includes arrangements for service providers to suspend services to people who repeatedly make unwelcome calls - including harassing, offensive or nuisance calls – to helplines such as Lifeline. Such callers will in the first instance receive a warning but if the warning is ignored, service providers will now be able to take action to suspend a service.
Unfortunately, helplines, such as Lifeline which is staffed primarily by volunteers receive thousands of unwelcome calls annually. This is not only distressing to the volunteers but diverts resources from assisting genuine callers. Lifeline and other helplines provide a vital service to assist Australians dealing with mental health issues, relationship breakdowns and other life challenges.
The Code also still includes rules and arrangements for dealing with offensive, harassing or nuisance calls or text messages to individuals.
Communications Alliance also developed two industry Guidance Notes to accompany the revised Code. One is a Consumer Process Guidance Note to assist consumers and the other is a Helpline Threshold Guidance Note to assist Helplines and industry members.
1 March 2017