Hotline 101: What to Expect When Calling Our 24-hour Crisis Line - (9/18/2018)
Calling a hotline can be an intimidating process. Telling a stranger what has been going on in your life is not always a comfortable thing to do, especially when you’ve been experiencing abuse from somebody in your life. Our staff is here to listen, and we want to help you as best we can.
One of the first things we will ask you is if you’re safe to talk. We want to make sure that nobody around you will get mad at you for talking to us, and it’s important that you can talk to us freely and safely. Everything you tell us, including the fact that you called us, is confidential. We don’t contact law enforcement, your family, your abuser, or anybody else without your permission.
During the phone call, we’re going to ask you some questions about what you have been experiencing. We’ll also ask about your current living situation, if you have children, who is abusing you, and some brief medical information. We ask these things so that we can help you come up with the best plan for what you’d like to do next.
Something else that you can expect is a reminder to bring any medication, keys, and personal documents (like ID) with you if you come into the shelter. You might want to start to gather these things, but only if it’s safe for you to do so. Gathering your belongings can be a big sign to your abuser that you are trying to leave him or her. We’ll also help you figure out a way to leave safely, and can help with transportation to the shelter if you have no way to leave your home.
Some people hear the word “shelter” and picture loud, crowded, and dirty places, but we do our best to make sure that our shelter is comfortable and private. The shelter has many separate bedrooms and large living spaces shared by all residents, including a large play area for children. We also have staff at the shelter twenty-four hours a day. We have some guidelines that we’ll ask you to follow during your time with us, which include respecting everybody else staying at the shelter, keeping the location confidential, and not using any drugs or drinking (or bringing any drugs, paraphernalia, or alcohol to the shelter). We’ll also ask you to complete an application for the Department of Social Services (we’ll help with this), and attend any appointments that DSS might require. You might be able to get some help even if you don’t think you’re eligible for benefits.
The shelter can only have a certain number of people staying with us, so it’s possible that when you call, we won’t be able to have you come into the shelter that day. If we can’t, we’ll give you some other resources, or work with you to get you into the shelter as soon as possible. Remember, just because there may not be room in the shelter doesn’t mean that you can’t work with our other services, advocacy and counseling, until we can bring you into the shelter.
It’s perfectly normal to be nervous about calling our hotline, but remember, we’re here to support you. Call our 24-hour hotline at (607) 754-4340 whenever you’re ready to talk. There will be somebody there to speak with you.
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