Volunteers are valued members of the Rape Crisis Scotland team, and essential to the operation of our National Helpline. We want volunteers from a range of backgrounds and circumstances, because we believe this helps us provide the best service and reflects the varied life experiences of those who access our helpline.
Most of our volunteers work on the helpline, but it’s possible to volunteer for us in other ways too – we understand that giving direct emotional support is not for everyone. We’ve created a booklet with some suggestions and examples of the ways in which people have supported our work if this is something you’re interested in.
Who are we looking for?
We want to have a staff and volunteer base that reflects the communities that we support, as well as those who we intend to continue reaching out to, and so we actively encourage applications from Black women, minoritised women and trans women.
We want to hear from you if you:
- Have some awareness of or interest in the issues around sexual violence
- Are committed to equality for all
- Are able to commit time and energy to working with Rape Crisis Scotland
“I have realised the hope and positivity there is for women who have experienced sexual violence. People used to say to me, ‘How can you do that? It must be so depressing?’ But I never felt that. I always found working the helpline to be rewarding and inspiring, which are attributes I try to bring to any situation requiring support now.”
Survivors as volunteers
Rape Crisis Scotland has always been a survivor-led organisation and survivors’ voices have always been central to the work that we do.
Some workers on the helpline are survivors of sexual violence and others are not.
If you’re a survivor we would recommend an interlude of 2 years between the end of any support you might be receiving around your own experience, and starting volunteer training.
What does volunteering involve?
The main remit of RCS helpline volunteers is to provide emotional support, information and signposting to anyone aged 13+ who has been affected by sexual violence, including survivors, family, friends or workers.
This takes place via phone, email and text. The helpline has access to LanguageLine services for those who English is a second language and a deaf access service for BSL users.
What kind of training is given?
Our induction training for women interested in volunteering with the RCS helpline lasts approximately 10 weeks and covers issues like anti-discriminatory practice, the impact and nature of sexual violence, telephone support skills, police and legal procedures, plus specific practice around issues such as self-harm, suicide, adult and child protection.
The training is assessed throughout and is followed by shadowing shifts where you get to know the existing team and listen to practice before starting on the line yourself with colleagues listening in to your calls.
There is a mid-way and a final review meeting to monitor progress and address any issues.
“As a teacher, I apply elements of the support skills I used at the helpline daily. I now realise there is so much more than what presents on the surface. Patience, flexibility, signposting and adopting a supportive and caring approach are deeply effective in my employment.”
When does recruitment take place?
We usually recruit for new volunteers every year. We’ve delayed our next intake of volunteers due to the restrictions around Covid-19, but we are keeping a list of people who may be interested to volunteer with us as soon as we’re able to plan another intake. If you would be interested in us contacting you when this happens, please contact Loraine Williams. Alternatively, follow us on social media or check on this page for updates.
Want to find out more?
Please contact Loraine Williams for more information about volunteering with Rape Crisis Scotland.