We Are Here: How our Helplines Save Lives
Two years ago, Penny Appeal launched our Domestic Abuse Helpline.
Five months ago, we also launched our Coronavirus Listening Line.
Our dedicated team of Helpline Practitioners have been working hard behind-the-scenes, giving people a listening ear, a safe space to speak and even saving lives by helping give people safe routes out of abuse. We have been there for people for years, and we are still here.
Read more about the story so far: how our helplines have made a big difference to thousands of people right here in the UK.
Our Domestic Abuse Helpline
We launched our Domestic Abuse Helpline to serve all survivors of abuse, offering a safe space and confidential support. Our helpline practitioners also have training in Islamic knowledge and giving culturally sensitive support, which is especially important for Muslim and ethnic minority callers.
We had a slow but steady start during that first week back in 2018, where we only had 60 callers reach out. Fast forward 2 years, we just took 200 contacts from service users last week alone!
Our Domestic Abuse Helpline is a confidential and non-judgmental listening service, where our trained practitioners are available on email, web-chat and via our helpline. We serve both male and female survivors of domestic abuse, aged 18 and over nationwide and operate 7-days a week from 10am to 10pm via 0808 802 3333. All calls are free, and they won’t show up on any phone bill.
As a helpline we are proud to be a critical intervention. Together, we have prevented self-harm, reduced emergency admissions and signposted individuals to access culturally appropriate services.
Over the last 2 years our helpline team have supported over 13,000 people through:
- Identifying signs of abuse
- Exploring safety planning with women and children living with a perpetrator
- Supporting with finding a refuge
- Helping with legal information
- Gaining safe housing
- Supporting with financial concerns
- Providing information for those who have concerns regarding child contact arrangements
Our work has been more important than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, with many people finding themselves trapped under lockdown with abusive partners. We are proud to be here for survivors of domestic abuse through this difficult time, and it’s been incredible to launch our Listening Line for other people who are affected by COVID-19 so that we can support even more people.
Our Coronavirus Listening Line
When the coronavirus pandemic shook the world in March, we responded rapidly, providing hygiene essentials for the homeless, food for the elderly and setting up a hardship fund for families who’d been financially impacted by COVID-19.
But we quickly realised that there was another pandemic sweeping the nation; one of anxiety and loneliness. Millions of people were experiencing a mental health crisis, as they attempted to cope with this new and terrifying reality.
So, alongside Age UK Bradford, we set up a Coronavirus Listening Line to provide free mental health support and a listening ear to those who are isolated, anxious or lonely. Our Listening Line is welcoming of all, regardless of age or background. Our free listening service is available via 0300 303 1360, and we’re open 12pm – 8pm, 7 days a week (excluding bank holidays).
There is not one person in this country – and perhaps even this world – who has not been affected by the coronavirus. Since we launched last March, we’ve had calls from every person, and every situation, imaginable.
We’ve helped a single mother who was worried about losing their job, as she struggled to balance childcare and working from home. We’ve listened to an elderly man speak about his grief and loneliness, after losing his wife to COVID-19. We’ve supported a young girl whose eating disorder was triggered by the loss of control brought on by the pandemic.
With every call to our Listening Line, we learn a new lesson in empathy, charity and active compassion. Just being there for people – just listening – can provide an enormous amount of relief for the people who call both of our helplines.
So the next time you feel alone or afraid, remember that we are here for you – today, tomorrow, any time, any day. No call is too scary or too small. No one will judge you. No one will lecture. Simply, we are here.
FRIDAY 4 SEP 2020