This week marks the launch of our Men’s Advice Line Service Review, which examines the helpline’s rapid adaptation in the face of Covid-19. More victims needed help than ever before, and the helpline grew to accommodate that need. We asked Ippo (Head of Services) and Mervin (Helpline Advisor) to reflect on the last year and how it’s changed the way they work.

For Ippo, looking after the helpline team was a key priority,

“As the demand for Respect’s helplines increased dramatically during the first lockdown, our priority was the wellbeing of our staff. The work we do carries the risk of vicarious trauma, but the global pandemic was an entirely unique situation. No one had experienced such a crisis in their lifetime. I still wonder how we adapted so quickly and found ways to support ourselves, our staff and our service users.

“Personally, dealing with the lockdown restrictions was not the biggest challenge. The most difficult aspect for me was carrying out the activities we secured emergency funding for. The sheer volume of details to consider, questions to answer, problems to avoid and deadlines to meet for the additional activities, was at times overwhelming.
“Nevertheless, we pulled through. We did it. The legacy of the work we did in one year has the potential to keep future service users of our helplines safer from domestic abuse. For that alone I can put up with an inflated inbox.”

For Mervin, who supports people contacting the helpline, it was the volume and content of the calls that posed a challenge,

“Working on the Men’s Advice Line over the past year has brought some new challenges because of the increase in callers. Calls can often be quite intense as people are experiencing abuse, and that can have an impact on the advisor. Fortunately we have had more advisors due to the increase in calls, and this has helped a great deal.”

To read more about how the Men’s Advice Line has adapted to a world with Covid-19, read our full Service Review.

Respect is a registered charity in England and Wales, number 1141636, in Scotland, number SC051284 and a company, number 7582438. Registered address: VAI Second Floor, 200a Pentonville Road, London N1 9JP
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