A Listening Ear Down the Phone Line

18th of December, 2018

Recently we have launched an awareness campaign is ‘Let’s Talk’, encouraging all people to bring family and sexual violence out of the shadows by having conversations that question why violence is so prevalent in our society. An important part of that conversation is being there for people when they want to talk, because family and sexual violence doesn’t keep office hours or take holidays. It can happen at any time, on any day - even Christmas and New Year.

Lara Moses has worked on Aviva’s 0800 AVIVA NOW line for almost three years, first starting when she was volunteering at Aviva. Although she then became a full-time staff member, and now works at TÅ«ranga, she continued to undertake shifts on the after-hours line. The reason is simple –“It’s important that people have someone there when they need to talk” Lara says. “And you’re helping people - it’s a nice feeling when you know you’re making a difference.”

The needs of those who call during the day are different to those who call after hours she says. “During the day, people may be asking things like ‘can you recommend a good counsellor’, but after hours it’s because of more immediate needs. A crisis may have just happened. That is why it is so important to be there 24-hours a day. I’ve sat with people for an hour while they talk and cry. I wish that some other support lines were available 24-hours as well, because they may be more relevant for what’s occurring for this person – they just need someone to listen.”

Lara says it’s particularly common for women who call to minimise what has happened, commenting that they are being ‘over-emotional’, or ‘overdramatising’, whereas men are less likely to consider what has happened to them as abuse. In either case, an important part of Lara’s support is to validate their experience and the fact they have reached out. “Making that call is hard, but there is no judgement here. We really do understand.”

With the support of dedicated people like Lara, Aviva is committed to being available 24-hours a day to anyone who needs support, advice or help to become safe; our 0800 AVIVA NOW line can be literally a lifeline for some people. We received over 4,000 calls for support and advice last year (1 July 2017 – 30 June 2018) alone, but this lifeline is unfunded. If you want to make sure someone can talk and be listened to, any time of the night or day, please use the donation slip with this newsletter to ensure phone support is available 24-hours a day. #LetsTalk. Let’s listen too.