As schools close and many businesses begin to wind down for the summer holiday break, Victim Support’s Contact Service prepares for its busiest period.After almost eight years in the role, Contact Service Worker, Daniel Crooks knows what to expect.
“There is a higher volume of calls over the summer period for many reasons,” he says.
Victim Support’s Contact Service handles around 100,000 calls a year across six phone lines, 24/7. It is the gateway to support for tens of thousands of victims each year.
“This is the front door and we’ve got to make sure it’s open for people whenever help is needed,” says Daniel.
It’s a pressure cooker environment. Crisis calls can come in at any time from Police Communications and frontline Police. Daniel and the team assess each referral ensuring clients have the right support option provided.
He finds the summer holiday period particularly challenging. "I’ve sat here on Boxing or New Year’s Day, and a call will come in from Police Communications. Police are on their way out to a beach as someone has drowned. They will want one of our Support Workers out there. It is hard not to be affected."
I’ve seen what our Support Workers can accomplish and that’s why almost eight years down the track, I’m still here.”
“It’s important to take time for ourselves and be kind to ourselves so we can function and be there for the people we’re supporting.”
Ashley Field spent three years working in the Contact Service before moving into another role at Victim Support. She agrees it can be a tough time.
“The work hits home a lot more over the Christmas period,” says Ashley. “It can be anything from a break-in to something like a fatal motor vehicle crash or homicide. They all impact more at this time of year.”
As with Daniel, taking time out and self-care became particularly important for Ashley.
“Whether it’s an early night or a quiet weekend, a good book or spending more time with family and friends. It’s small things like these can make a big difference to wellbeing,” she says.
For Daniel the best summer would be one where his phone at the Contact Service didn’t ring at all.
“It would be nice if we weren’t needed,” he says. “But the fact that Victim Support is here is crucial. I’ve seen what our Support Workers can accomplish and that’s why almost eight years down the track, I’m still here.”
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