Volunteer for the 24hr National Freephone Helpline
"A wonderful eye opening and inspiring experience." ~ Women's Aid Helpline volunteer
About the Women's Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline
The Women's Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline offers confidential information, support and understanding to women in the Republic of Ireland, who are being abused by current or former boyfriends, partners or husbands.
The Helpline aims to empower women to identify what is happening for them within their relationship and support them to stay safe and support the safety of any children living within the relationship. The Helpline aims to at all times ensure that the responsibility for the abuse is placed firmly with the perpetrator of the abuse and not with the woman.
The Helpline also acts as a referral to the Women's Aid One to One Support Service and Court Accompaniment Service, local domestic violence refuges and support services, legal aid and other agencies, both statutory and voluntary, which are helpful to women experiencing abuse within a relationship.
Our Helpline volunteers are committed and dedicated individuals whose contribution to Women's Aid is vital to the high quality support and information that Women's Aid provides to those who ring our Helpline.
For many of those who contact the Helpline, the volunteer who answers the phone may be the first person they have told about their abuse. It may have taken years to finally speak about their experience. Therefore, it is essential that the person who answers that call is able to listen to and support the caller, as well as provide them with accurate and appropriate information. The response they receive from the volunteer can mean that calling the Helpline is the first step in the journey to a life free of violence.
Helpline volunteers give support in a non-judgmental, non-directive approach, and work from the model of self-help and mutual aid. This model of work is about empowering callers to make their own decisions rather than about "helping" them.
By volunteering you will:
- play a key role on the Helpline which supports those experiencing abuse in Ireland.
- join a team of committed and dynamic volunteers.
- develop an understanding of domestic violence through in-depth training and continued vital support while volunteering on the Helpline.
- If an application is successful, candidates will be asked to make themselves available for one of the group interview dates. Group interviews will then be followed by individual interviews.
- If you are offered a training place to volunteer on the Women's Aid Helpline, we will ask you to provide 2 written references.
- The Helpline Volunteer Training includes a number of modules which allow volunteers space to learn and think about the issue of domestic violence including the root causes of domestic violence, the range of effects of domestic on women and children, obstacles and options for women seeking help and listening and support skills.
- The training involves a significant time commitment and takes place on Saturdays and evenings (5 x Saturdays and 4 x evenings).
- The training is delivered in a highly interactive, dynamic environment. It is carried out by the Women's Aid Training and Development Department and the Helpline Manager.
- Women's Aid Helpline Training has an excellent reputation and is recognised as one of the best given by a Domestic Violence Service Provider in the Republic of Ireland.
- Following successful completion of the training, volunteers undergo a comprehensive induction into the helpline before taking calls.
- The requirement thereafter is one shift per week for a minimum of two years, following training.
- The Helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What support is available for volunteers?
- The Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline is co-ordinated by the Helpline Manager and the Volunteer Co-ordinator and employs a small team of experienced support workers. Women's Aid recognises and acknowledges how difficult the work can be and there is consistent support available to enable volunteers to continue the work.
- An on-call and de-brief space is available to all volunteers. Monthly support and supervision meetings are held with all volunteers to provide extra support. Monthly meetings also include outside inputs to continue building on volunteers’ skills base.
Who should volunteer?
- Our volunteers are women who are over 18 years of age, have a warm empathic manner, are good listeners with fluent English (essential) and who have an interest in the issue of domestic violence.
When is the next round of volunteer training?
If you are interested in volunteering for the National Helpline, please contact Laura Brennan, Volunteer Co-Ordinator, Women's Aid, 5 Wilton Place, Dublin 2. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.