Our helpline number is 01223 245888 and it is open Wednesday 7pm-9:30pm, Thursday 7pm-9:30pm, Saturday 3pm-5:30pm and Sunday 10am-12:30pm. An answering machine is available at all other times. If you leave a message on the answerphone to say that you would like to speak to someone, we will try to call you back the next time the helpline is open. If you’re having difficulty getting through to us, you might like to try on a Thursday evening, which is currently our quietest shift.
We offer a confidential service of listening support provided over the telephone. Our volunteers will listen to what you want to say. They will help you to find ways to express difficult feelings and talk about difficult situations.
Our helpline service is not a counselling service. We never tell you what to do, nor do we offer advice, or try to influence decisions. We do not claim to have any answers. Instead, we can raise questions and listen while you explore your options, and how you are feeling about managing your life. We can also provide information regarding other support services, and common ways of reacting to and dealing with the effects of sexual violence.
You can talk to us about anything in complete confidence. We will never repeat anything you say outside of Cambridge Rape Crisis. We do discuss our helpline calls with other volunteers at CRCC. This is to encourage each other to deliver a good and consistent support service. It also means that if you call more than once you are less likely to have to repeat anything you have said previously, when you speak to different volunteers. We ensure this information never reaches anyone else.
We do not report anything that is said to us to the police or any other outside body. Our confidentiality policy is available for download if you want further information.
If you are under 18, we will not pass along anything you tell us unless tell us your full name and address and ask us to report to the police on your behalf. We respect your right to make decisions about your own life.
You don’t have to give us your name or any identifying details about yourself, although if you find you’re ringing regularly you might want to give us a name or pseudonym (made-up name) to help us recognise you. The 1471 function is disabled on our phone line, so you can remain fully anonymous.
In order to make sure that we can reach as many women and girls as possible, we set time limits on your calls to us.
When you speak to us for the first time, the call can last up to 45 minutes. Even if you call near the end of the session, we will still talk to you for up to half an hour. After that you can phone us up to two times a week for a call lasting up to 30 minutes each time. Some callers speak to us only once, some phone regularly, others use our service sporadically over a period of years. Some calls last only a few minutes. This depends entirely on what you find most helpful.
We are happy to take an initial call from any male survivor, but are not able to offer on-going support.
While we recognise the experiences and pain of men who have suffered any kind of sexual violence, here at CRCC we have found that a women-only service provision is an invaluable environment for many female callers. We recognise the need for specialist services for men and are more than happy to signpost male callers to those services who can support them.
Our helpline is available for (self-defining) women and girls, including those with complex gender identities which include ‘woman’, and those who experience oppression as women. Self-definition is at the sole discretion of the individual in question.
Calls are charged at a local rate, and if you would like us to call you back please ask and we will happily do so. We will withhold our number when we call you back so that no-one else will be able to see who has called you (however if you have an itemised phone bill our number will appear on it).
Any feedback we get is treated anonymously, whether it is good or bad, and helps us to improve our service. We do sometimes use anonymous comments in reports to our funders so if you don’t want your comments to be used, please tell us.