Prank or abusive callers

A helpline volunteer will end a conversation if they believe they are dealing with a prank or abusive user.


What if the helpline is busy?

If your call isn’t answered immediately (within 10 seconds of the pre-recorded message ending), it means all of our call-takers are on calls, and we encourage you to hang up and try again later that session.

It is possible that you may not be able to get through to us if we are very busy. We understand that this might feel difficult or disappointing, and we encourage you to try again the next time we are open.

We are unable to accept voicemails or text messages, however you can send us an email any time via our email support service, and we aim to respond within 7 days.

See also ‘Where else can I get support?’.


Are the calls recorded?

We never record helpline calls. Your voice is only heard by the volunteer you are speaking to at the time.

We do keep brief notes of calls which include your first name, if you choose to give it to us. These notes are shared within the volunteer team, to help us provide a good and consistent service. It also makes it less likely that you will have to repeat yourself if you call more than once and speak to different volunteers. These notes are kept strictly confidential within Cambridge Rape Crisis.


Will you see my phone number?

We do not see your phone number when your call comes in, and we do not trace calls. Your phone number will be held by our phone provider, unless you choose to withhold your number when you call us. If you have an itemised phone bill, our helpline number will show up on it.


What if I’m too emotional to talk?

We understand that talking about sexual violence can be really difficult. We won’t rush you to speak, and if you can’t talk very much or at all we can stay on the phone quietly with you. Sometimes having a human connection can really help.


Can I always speak to the same volunteer?

If you contact us more than once, your calls will be answered by different volunteers.

Our volunteers are all trained in providing support to survivors of sexual violence, and we do discuss helpline calls within the volunteer team. This is to encourage each other to deliver a good and consistent support service. It also makes it less likely that you will have to repeat yourself if you call more than once and speak to different volunteers.


What happens when I call the helpline?

When you call us during our opening times, you will hear a pre-recorded message letting you know that you have got through.

After this, the phone will ring and if your call isn’t answered immediately (within 10 seconds of the pre-recorded message ending), it means all of our call-takers are currently on calls, and we encourage you to call back and try again later that session.

If you call us outside of our opening times you will hear a pre-recorded message giving our opening times. We are unable to accept voice messages or text messages.


What if I’m not sure what’s happened to me?

We treat all forms of sexual abuse seriously and are here for you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not sure how to name it, if you don’t fully remember, or if aren’t sure how you feel about it, we will listen and talk this through with you.


Call I leave feedback/make a complaint?

You are welcome to send us an email, letter or call us at the office (full contact details are available in our contact us section), and our feedback form is also available for download if you want to give more detailed feedback on your experiences.

If you wish to make a formal complaint about the helpline service, our complaints policy and procedure is available to download here.

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.