Help lines, which also may be known as crisis lines or hotlines, are a basic service which should be available to women and girls in all communities. Although the terms may be used interchangeably, the scope of services offered by such telephone lines may vary greatly depending on the context and organization(s) providing the service. They are particularly important given the reluctance of many survivors to seek help or inability to physically access support facilities. Confidentiality is also easier to assure through anonymous lines, especially telephone communication, compared with visiting a facility or community office (Kelly, 2008).
Ideally, there should be at least “one 24-hour national emergency telephone line providing information, advocacy, support and crisis counseling" (UN Secretary-General, 2006a,b).
Help lines may be hosted by women’s shelters, or, depending on shelter resource constraints, they may be provided by other community based organizations supporting women.
Help lines operated by shelters are made available in order to:
These services may be provided by telephone, sms text or through the internet.
Next Topic Establishing and operating help lines