Crisis & Support Line Advocate Training FAQs

Q: Will I be volunteering out of a call center?
A: No, you will be volunteering from your home and have the option of using a pager or having our answering service contact you by telephone. Either way, you'll be in the comfort of your own home.

Q: So do callers call me directly at home?
A: No, callers call into our answering service and the answering service will then contact you either by telephone or pager. You will then have 10 minutes to call the answering service back to get the caller's name & phone number. (SARSSM also requires you to press *67 before each call so your name & number are blocked from those callers who have Caller ID).

Q: How often do I have to take calls, I have a very busy schedule?
A: SARSSM recognizes that people have numerous responsibilities and therefore only asks that you take one shift per week and one weekend shift per month. There are 3 shifts available per day, seven days a week. Our flexible shifts currently run between 7-9 hours, depending on your availability (contact us for more info).

Q: How many calls will I get during a shift?
A: This varies, you may not receive any calls during a shift or you may have a handful of call on other shifts. 

Q: I am a good listener but how will I be prepared to handle crisis & support line calls?
A: SARSSM will provide you with a free and comprehensive 42-hour training covering a wide array of topics to prepare you for all types of crisis & support line calls. We do not train you to be a therapist – your role is to listen, provide support, help callers figure out their options, and validate their feelings. We are here to empower the caller, not make decisions for them.

Q: What if I've taken a lot of calls during a shift or there is a difficult call I can't handle?
A: SARSSM has three people on call at any given time, a Level 1 advocate (you), a more experienced Level 2 advocate, and a staff person. If you need to take a breather or pass a difficult call onto your back-up then you are free to do so. This will rarely, if ever, happen. In addition to supporting Level 1 advocates, our back-up advocates also take calls from more frequent callers who may have more complicated needs.

Q: What about when I go on vacation, do I still have to take shifts?
A: Although SARSSM does ask for at least a year commitment from its advocates, we understand people take vacations, get sick, have busy times in their lives, etc. which makes it impossible for them to take a shift every single week. With that in mind, we allow for flexible scheduling.

Q: Why should I volunteer for a crisis & support line - won't it be stressful and depressing? Why shouldn't I volunteer somewhere else?
A: There are many great volunteer opportunities in our community. Working for a crisis & support line is not the easiest job, but it is one of the most rewarding. As an advocate you will directly help to impact a person's life who really needs someone to talk to. It would only be depressing if our services weren't available.

Feel free to contact us with any other questions you may have. We look forward to working with you to help survivors of sexual assault and concerned others.