Cri­sis line in need of vol­un­teers

Marlborough Midweek - - FRONT PAGE - PAULA HULBURT

Marl­bor­ough Women’s Refuge ur­gently needs vol­un­teers to help staff its vi­tal 24-hour cri­sis tele­phone line.

Staff op­er­ate the cur­rent helpline but a growth in other ser­vices means more vol­un­teers are needed to take calls from women in des­per­ate need of help.

Man­ager He­len Lyons says the de­mand on all the refuge’s ser­vices has been steadily in­creas­ing.

The char­ity helps more than 300 women and their chil­dren ev­ery year.

Along­side the cri­sis line, the not-for-profit group sup­ports sur­vivors of do­mes­tic and sex­ual vi­o­lence via a safe house and other com­mu­nity help.

Lyons says the em­pha­sis is em­pow­er­ing women to make safe choices for their fu­ture.

‘‘Marl­bor­ough Women’s refuge have a real need to re­cruit vol­un­teers for this ser­vice, as it is cur­rently only op­er­ated by our staff.

‘‘Our staff will con­tinue to op­er­ate cri­sis line dur­ing of­fice hours, but the need for vol­un­teers has in­creased with growth in our other ser­vices,’’ she says.

Marl­bor­ough Women’s refuge cov­ers the cri­sis line for the Marl­bor­ough and Kaik­oura ar­eas.

Lyons says the Marl­bor­ough cri­sis line work­ers are the peo­ple who pick up the phone when some­one in cri­sis calls 0800REFUGE.

‘‘Our cri­sis line is an im­por­tant first re­sponse to sup­port the safety of women and chil­dren in our com­mu­nity.

‘‘Some­times it is pro­vid­ing a much needed per­son to talk to, other times it may be talk­ing about safety plan­ning, in­for­ma­tion, or be­ing re­ferred to safe emer­gency hous­ing.

‘‘Marl­bor­ough Women’s Refuge is also the key agency for sup­port­ing vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault in our com­mu­nity with a range of sup­port and ser­vices, this can be ac­cessed through cri­sis line at any time,’’ says Lyons.

A re­cent call for vol­un­teers on so­cial me­dia site Face­book met with a pos­i­tive re­sponse and staff hope to re­peat the re­cruit­ment process ev­ery six months.

Long term plans in­clude or­gan­is­ing a fundrais­ing group, help with sort­ing and dis­tribut­ing do­na­tions and sup­port at the refuge’s safe house, in­clud­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and main­te­nance.

‘‘We are look­ing for en­thu­si­as­tic Blen­heim and Kaik­oura peo­ple who want to make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of those af­fected by do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

‘‘We would also like to utilise any skills our vol­un­teers bring to host ed­u­ca­tion,ac­tiv­i­ties, art etc for clients to be in­volved in on a reg­u­lar ba­sis to form net­works and re­la­tion­ships in the com­mu­nity,’’ says Lyons.

The refuge needs at least 10 vol­un­teers who can com­mit to ei­ther one shift a week or four a month for at least six months.

‘‘We would also like to utilise any skills our vol­un­teers bring to host ed­u­ca­tion, ac­tiv­i­ties, art etc for clients to be in­volved in on a reg­u­lar ba­sis to form net­works and re­la­tion­ships in the com­mu­nity.

‘‘Women’s Refuge have many keen sup­port­ers in our com­mu­nity and we hear a lot of won­der­ful and much ap­pre­ci­ated feed­back about our ser­vices,’’ says Lyons.

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