Answer call

Establish a relationship with the caller.  The caller needs to know what your role and function are.  You need to be clear about this by responding appropriately to the caller.

Be supportive

Listen and validate the caller.  Be natural.  Reinforce that no one deserves to be abused.  Acknowledge that it took courage to call in the first place (huge step).


Challenge the caller to take steps to move forward.  Be careful not to suggest what you think might be best.  The caller always knows best what they should do.  Present them with possibilities and remember that no step is too small (even if their next step is to call back).

Every call is going to be different.  Every victim’s situation is going to be different.  It doesn’t matter how many calls you answer or how many victims you speak to.  It is very important not to fill in gaps of a story with assumptions.  Just because the last 100 callers experienced “x”, this caller may be experiencing “y”.  This information could mean the difference between life and death; between one safety plan versus another.

It is okay to do any of the following


This is taking what the caller said and giving a brief recap of what was said.


This is taking what the caller said and rewording it for the purpose of feeding it back.

Give feedback

This lets the caller know what you heard.  Ask appropriate questions or give relevant options.

Use “I” statements versus “you” statements

Doing this helps to not put the caller on the defensive.  When you use “I” statements, it suggests ownership for opinions.

When in doubt ASK!!!

It is okay to tell a caller that you do not understand, or that something doesn’t flow.  Callers like to know that you are listening.