I thought I would share some of what happens “behind the scenes” since starting our Outreach program, just to give readers and potential clients an idea of what goes on when we take on a client. This post doesn’t pertain to any one case; it’s a general list of observations and streams of thought as I reach out to relevant organizations and facilities for help.
First, let me say that, from the first point of contact, we endeavor to respond to every request for help as quickly as possible. As someone who experienced the process of escape, I spent a lot of time waiting for people to get back to me with answers or results and, often, there were people I never heard from again. I know how frustrating it is when one’s life and well-being depends on a swift reply. We will not keep a client waiting and wondering what’s going on. We will let a client know if what we’re waiting for is a call-back and we will call back to give nudges, if necessary. Our aim is to get you information and contact numbers as soon as possible.
We will never ask for your address because it is not necessary. We only need a city to work with and may ask about proximity to a certain place to establish if it’s convenient for you to get to, but never more than that. Once we know the section of the town we need to be in, we start researching all the relevant agencies and shortlist the ones to call first. If I’m lucky, I reach the right person on the first try; unfortunately this doesn’t happen often and further calls are necessary. I work my way through the list of numbers and/or the numbers given during phone conversations until there are no more to call. At this point I usually have what I’m looking for but, if not, I go back to the internet to search more numbers to call. When I find the resources that work, I make a note of those for next time, should there be more clients from the same area.
One thing I have found to be frustrating is that some people don’t listen, which can be a real time waster. Many times, after I’ve explained what I’m looking for, I get a number to call for an agency that’s in a different city or one that offers a different type of service (rehab/counseling for substance abuse). Once, someone I spoke to at [Agency A] referred me to [Agency B] and I called only to find that the [Agency A] offers the same services as [Agency B] …and [Agency A] was closer to my client; [Agency B] was some 20 miles outside of the city where she lived.
Another thing that I commonly hear on a call is, “We can’t help you, but maybe [this place] can.” And it usually turns out to be the number I called previously. Sometimes I’ll find that potential clients must meet a list of criteria or that there are loopholes that affect qualifying factors. While I realize that people pass the buck all the time, I believe, with great certainty, that we will never get anywhere in the battle against domestic violence if more people don’t say “What can I do to help?”
It’s part of the reason we do what we do ~ to enhance the services provided by existing domestic abuse agencies and shelters. Abuse victims need to feel that someone who understands is on their side, willing to articulate their needs and be the voice they need because they’re not able to use theirs freely. We do not have a list of criteria that our clients must meet and there are no loopholes to worry about. We don’t charge for our services. We keep searching until we find what we need. Additionally, we brainstorm solutions to any issues that our clients might have and we have the same determination that enabled us to escape our situations. We are there for our clients for as long as they want us to be.
If you have any further questions about the Outreach program, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact form or you can email us.