Are You Ready To Take The Call?
If you want to make a difference for America’s families, women and men who are experiencing abuse, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is just the place for you to get involved! Hotline volunteers are trained to offer support, guidance and resources to victims and survivors of domestic violence, as well as their concerned parents, friends and loved ones.
Volunteer Advocate Position
This is a key position where much is demanded, but in return lots will be given back. You will be working side by side with some of the country’s leading domestic violence advocates and learning first-hand about this critical work in the domestic violence field. Volunteer advocates answer calls for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Operation hours are 24/7, 365 days a year. They provide crisis intervention, guidance, support and referrals to callers who are experiencing domestic violence as well as to their family, friends and loved ones. You must live in the Austin, TX area in order to volunteer for this position.
What is the volunteer advocate training like?
The training is 40 hours in duration and usually takes place over 2 ½ weeks. We meet Saturdays 9:00am-5:30pm and Tuesdays & Thursdays 6:00-10:00pm.
It covers topics such as: the dynamics of abusive relationships, crisis intervention, active listening, safety planning, protective orders, supporting friends and family, women with immigration issues, custody, effects of dv on children and callers who identify as abusive among other topics. The training is very interactive with lots of activities and videos and we encourage lots of class participation.
What are the qualifications in order to volunteer?
Potential volunteer advocates must:
- be 18 years of age and older.
- have an ability to listen well and compassionately.
- have a friendly, flexible personality.
- be comfortable working in a social change environment.
- be able to work within the agency’s guiding principles to empower callers.
No prior domestic violence or crisis intervention experience is needed — just empathy, compassion and a desire to help.
What if I don’t know what to say?
The training will give you a basic foundation from which to draw upon when talking to someone in crisis. Our goal is not to give someone the perfect solution or even fix their situation, but rather to empower them with options and resources and to provide empathy and support.
Before you take your first call you will spend 6 hours monitoring other advocates and 3 hours doing practice calls. The first time you go “live,” someone will be sitting with you to offer support and answer any questions you have.
What does a typical shift look like?
It depends since some calls can last up to one hour, but the average call is usually 15 to 20 minutes. So, on a 2 hour shift, you can answer as many as 8 calls or as few as 2 calls. No matter how long your shift is you will have a Volunteer Ambassador or other advocates available to provide mentorship and guidance. We also have an instant messaging system so if you’re on a call and unsure what to say, you can message for helpful advice.
FAQ With Amalie
What aspects of volunteering are most satisfying?
So many! After every phone call, I know that even if the caller doesn’t use the resources I’ve given them, at least they’ve made the phone call, which is a positive first step. Hopefully after the call they know that there’s hope for change.
I like taking the time to speak with the callers — for callers to receive any kind of validation can be huge. I am not there to fix the callers problems or tell them what’s the right path. I can only try my hardest to provide the callers with safe resources and avenues to do this, so they can gain back the quality of life and respect they deserve. If I can help the caller with this in any small way, I have been rewarded in an invaluable way.
How did you become interested in advocating for victims and survivors of domestic violence?
I’ve volunteered for the past 5-6 years. I worked for a citizen review board that monitored children that had been in foster care or in homes with domestic violence — so I had seen a lot of domestic violence before in families. I knew that this was an area I wanted to pursue further.
What are your thoughts on answering the calls here?
These callers re-ground me constantly and I am constantly blown away the incredible strength within these women and men. I am grateful for what they’ve taught me.