What happens when I call the 24 crisis line?

July 28, 2016

Making a call to the DVCS 24 hour crisis line can a be a bit scary at first, especially when you don’t know what to expect.  We have put together a few frequently asked questions and answers to help provide a bit of information and background.

When can I call DVCS:

We never close.  We operate 24 hours, seven days per week, every single week of the year.  Because we are a 24 hour service, you are able to telephone us at any time of the night or day.

Between the hours of 11pm to 8am we operate with essential staff only, but are still able to take calls and attend at crisis visits if required.

Do I have to tell you my name:

No.  We invite you to provide your name, but you are not required to.  Some people prefer to remain anonymous and we respect that wish, but we do encourage callers to provide their name so we can keep records of your situation to avoid you having to repeat stories each time you call.

Do you record our conversation:

Sort of.  We do not have a recording system that will record the actual conversation with you.  We do keep notes.  If you call anonymously we will log the call in our database as “anonymous caller” with the notes we made during the call.  If you provide us with your name we will log the call in our database under your name with the notes we made during the call.

All notes are destroyed after seven years, except if the client is a child.

How long can I talk to you for:

You can talk to us for as long as you need.  We do not put a limit on how long, and certainly how often, you call us. 1T

There may be times when we need to call you back, but this all depends on the volume of calls coming in at that particular time.  We may also ask to call you back if we are operating with essential staff only (such as at 2am) and we are already on a crisis visit.  Before we ask to call you back we make an assessment of your, and our, current situation and whether it is safe to ask the caller if we can call them back.

How much does it cost to talk to you:

Nothing.  We do not charge any client, regardless of their financial status, to speak with us or to meet with us or to attend a support group.  The only service we charge for is community education and training.

What happens if I call back another time:

So that we can continue to provide clients with 24 hour high quality service, clients engaged with our crisis intervention service do not receive one on one case management.  This means that no client has one particularly case manager.  This is why we encourage you to share your name with us.  Each time you call our service we will make a file note and place it on your file.  If you call anonymously we will make a file note, but it will be filed under “anonymous” so won’t be matched up with your other calls.

Not using the case manager model means all our staff are involved with all our clients.  This allows us to assist more clients, clients are exposed to a variety of approaches, we are able to provide continuous service to clients when staff are on leave and quality control and staff development can be easily maintained.

If a client is involved with our Safe@Home, Room4Change or Young People’s Outreach Program, yes we do case manage and work one on one with that individual.

Will you tell me I need to leave my abusive partner:

No.  We are a client focused service.  This means we focus our assistance on the needs and desires of the client.  If the client would like to remain in the relationship, we respect that decision and assist the client with staying safe in that relationship.

If someone is in an abusive relationship, the last thing they need is another person coming in and telling them what to do and how to do it.

We will happily provide ideas and options to clients, but ultimately clients are the ones making all the decisions.

Will you tell anyone I have called:

No.  We will not advise anyone that you have engaged with us, whether that be us advising anyone or someone else inquiring.

We appreciate there might be times when we do need to speak to other agencies about our interaction with you, but this is only done so with your consent, or by Order of the Court.

Will you report it to Police:

No.  As stated above, we are a client focused service.  We also acknowledge sometimes it might increase the risk to a client if Police are notified.  We work with our clients to establish the safest course of action.

Although this has never happened, if a client discloses a criminal activity, we will advise Police.

Do I have to get a DVO:

No.  As stated above, we are a client focused service.  Sometimes obtaining a Domestic Violence Order (known in NSW as an AVO) can put the client at more risk, so we discuss all issues surrounding this course of action with our clients and assist them in making an informed decision.

Will you make a report to Care & Protection:

Not necessarily.  While we are not mandated to report a risk to children to Care and Protection, if we believe a notification is in the best interests of the child, we will make a report.

We purposefully declined being a mandated reporter to avoid the “tick a box” approach.  While studies have shown us exposure to violence, regardless of whether they are subjected to it, negatively effects a child, we assess every situation before reporting anything to Care and Protection.

We also have a more in-depth discussion with clients who have children surrounding our policy in this regard.