Helpline and email support volunteers
Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre volunteers provide confidential emotional support via email and/or telephone to survivors of rape and sexual abuse. We support anyone who identifies as a woman, regardless of age and background. All our volunteers are women who have undertaken a comprehensive selection and training process.
Who we are looking for
Women who are:
• Empathetic, non-judgemental and good listeners
• Able to commit to volunteering for at least 18 months and a minimum of three shifts a month
• Able to maintain confidentiality and anonymity
• Open to discussing and learning about rape and sexual violence, and its impacts on women and girls
How to get in touch
If this sounds like you, or you would like to know more, email email@example.com and we will send you an information pack when we are next recruiting. We especially welcome applications from BME (black and minority ethnic) women, disabled women and LBT (lesbian, bisexual and trans) women.
We can contribute to childcare costs and reasonable travel expenses to enable women to volunteer on the helpline/email service.
Helpline and email support training takes place twice a year, usually in the spring and autumn.
I want to volunteer, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle listening to distressing calls and reading distressing emails. Should I apply?
We have a support system of debriefing and supervision which helps volunteers with the emotional side of the work. If after reading the application pack you still aren’t sure whether to apply, you can speak to the Volunteer Co-ordinator who will try to answer any questions you may have.
We trust your judgement about your emotional well-being and if you would be able to take calls and read emails without it being traumatising. If you would like to discuss this with our Volunteer Co-ordinator, this will be kept completely confidential. We would never ask you to share your personal experiences of sexual violence in the interview or training process.
No – all our volunteers are asked to tell us their availabilities for the coming month and we fill in the rota based on that. This means that you might do a Wednesday shift one week, a Thursday the next week, have a week off and then do a Saturday shift the following week, or any variation of shifts!
We do ask all volunteers to attend a monthly supervision, which runs on a Monday and a Tuesday to give people flexibility. We also have quarterly volunteer meetings and regular social activities.
There are ten sessions, usually on consecutive Sundays over the course of ten weeks. We cover many different aspects of rape and sexual abuse, including ritual abuse, childhood sexual abuse, prostitution, and police and court procedures. We don’t expect you to know everything there is to know about sexual violence before applying! We want to make sure that all our volunteers are fully prepared to support our callers and emailers with anything they want to talk about.
As the training is comprehensive, it is vital that you attend all the sessions. We understand that people can have unexpected issues that prevent them from coming to a training session so we would ask that you go to the session you missed when the next group begins. If you miss one of the first two sessions, we would ask you to re-join the next training group from the beginning.
We ask people to commit to 3 helpline shifts a month, all year round, so that we can ensure we have enough people to keep open for every shift. We understand that people have lots of different obligations in their lives and we can sometimes make exceptions. Just get in touch and we can see whether there could be an arrangement that works for you and us.
Unfortunately, no – we are a confidential and anonymous service, which means that our volunteers don’t tell anyone except close friends and family that they are part of the organisation.
We have an active and enthusiastic group of women who organise our fundraising events and come up with new ways of raising money for Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre. This is an essential part of our mission as the funds raised help keep our services running, as well as allowing us to develop new services to support survivors of sexual violence. The volunteers also help to raise awareness of our services within the local community.
Our fundraising events range from stalls at community events, such as the Pink Festival or Mill Road Winter Fair, as well as larger events, such as zumbathons, ceilidhs and fire walks. We also have people who raise money for us individually, by running marathons, organising their own events, baking cakes for our stalls, or even donating goods for raffle prizes. Women can be as involved as they choose!
A typical fundraising calendar might include the following events:
- A ceilidh
- Bag packing at a supermarket
- Stalls at various community events
- A charity comedy event
- A quiz night and book stall
- A zumbathon
- A spartan race
- A marathon
- Schools raising money through dress-down days and charity car washes
- Charity talks
If you are interested in helping to organise an event – or many events – with or for Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre, we would love to hear from you! Whether it’s helping gather raffle prizes, baking cakes, sourcing venues, talking to members of the public about the work we do or looking for opportunities to help raise our profile, you can do as much or as little as you have time for.
Our fundraising group usually meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month, from 6-7:30pm. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about joining the group or if you have an idea for an event.
We have an active and committed group of women who are Trustees for Cambridge Rape Crisis. While we are not actively seeking additional Trustees, if you think you would like to join our board and have the passion for our cause, then please do get in touch.
If you are wondering whether you are the ‘right kind of person’ to be a Trustee, let us reassure you that we have no rigid picture in mind. As with our volunteer body, we welcome women from all walks of life, with all levels and types of experience, provided that they have the time and commitment to make a contribution, and the skills to help them work as a team. Naturally, some positions require more formal experience and training, but in general what we look for is:
- Commitment to Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre;
- Willingness and ability to devote the necessary time and effort;
- Strategic vision;
- Good, independent judgement;
- Ability to think creatively;
- Willingness to speak her mind;
- Understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship;
- Ability to work effectively as a member of a team; and
- Willingness to uphold Nolan’s seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.