Emotional support volunteers

What do emotional support volunteers do?

Our emotional support volunteers offer vital emotional support to woman, girl and AFAB non-binary survivors of sexual violence and abuse by providing our helpline, email support and live chat services.

We are the only specialist service in Cambridgeshire providing dedicated support to woman survivors of rape and sexual violence.

These confidential and anonymous services would not exist without our amazing volunteers, who provide life-changing support to survivors in their local community.

Who are we looking for?

Women of all ages (18 years +) and backgrounds who are:

  • Empathetic, non-judgemental and good listeners.
  • Self-aware and emotionally resilient.
  • Interested in discussing and learning about sexual violence and its impacts on women and girls.
  • Able to maintain confidentiality and anonymity.
  • Able to work independently using initiative and also be part of a team.
  • Share CRCC’s survivor-focused ethos.
  • Ideally able to commit to three shifts a month (shifts are Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings).
  • Ideally able to commit to volunteering for at least 18 months.

We especially welcome enquiries from Black and racially minoritised women, disabled women and women from LGBTQIA+ communities.

This includes AFAB non-binary individuals who feel comfortable volunteering within a service run for women by women.

We can contribute to childcare costs and reasonable travel expenses to enable women to volunteer with us.

Comprehensive training and support will be provided for this role.

Next recruitment

We are currently recruiting.

Applications will close at midnight on Sunday 26 May 2024.

How to join us

Before applying, please make sure you have read through our application information pack and volunteer training schedule below. The full application process is detailed the information pack.

To apply, submit an equal opportunities monitoring form online. You can access the equal opportunities monitoring form by clicking the link below.

Then download and complete the application form below. Finally, the completed application form should then be submitted by email or posted to:
Volunteer Manager, Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre, Box R, 12 Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2AD.

If you would like us to post you paper copies of the forms, please email us.


If you have any queries regarding becoming an emotional support volunteer and when we will next be recruiting, please contact us on:

Other volunteer roles

Frequently Asked Questions

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 Sunday shift the following week, or any variation of shifts!

We do ask volunteers to attend a monthly reflective practice, which runs on a Monday evening and a Tuesday evening to give people flexibility. We also have quarterly volunteer meetings and regular social activities.

If you have used one of our support services, we ask you to wait 12 months before applying to volunteer for our helpline, email support or live chat services.

Otherwise, we trust your judgement about your emotional well-being and if you would be able to take calls, read emails and response to online chats without it being traumatising.

If you would like to discuss this with our Volunteer Manager, 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.

We have a comprehensive support system to help volunteers with the emotional side of the work that includes debriefing with another volunteer at the end of a shift and monthly meetings of small groups of volunteers with qualified counsellors.

If you have serious doubts about your resilience, or would like more information about our support systems for volunteers, please contact our Volunteer Manager.

There will be eleven initial sessions, mostly on Saturdays (10am – 4pm) over a two-month period. The training will be delivered in-person.

We cover many different aspects of rape and sexual abuse, including ritual abuse, childhood sexual abuse, prostitution and their impacts on women and girls.

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, emailers and live chatters 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 four sessions, we would ask you to re-join the next training group from the beginning.

Ideally, we ask that people commit to three shifts a month, all year round, so that we can ensure we have enough people to keep the services 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.

Since the pandemic, we have adopted a hybrid way of working for the emotional support services.

Volunteer shifts, supervision and other activities are a mixture of in-person and remote, and we plan to keep this in place long-term.

Please bear in mind that if you choose to volunteer remotely, you will require access to a private, confidential space (that isn’t your bedroom) to volunteer from.

Throughout the pandemic, all our training was done remotely. From Autumn 2022, we have returned to in-person training as there is great value in bringing women together to train in the same physical space.

If you have any questions or concerns about these arrangements, please get in touch.