Biggest Fears As an Overnight Crisis Line Worker
I've been a crisis line worker at a domestic violence shelter on and off since 1999. We have a pull down bed and can, in theory, sleep during our overnight shift, but sometimes it's a challenge. (Rarely because of the phone. People are typically with their abusers at night. Bad time to call.)
- •An abuser shows upThis is rare, but sometimes it happens. There's floor to ceiling window about a foot & a half from the bed. This leads to the porch. It's a pretty thin barrier. At least we have security cameras now. Back in the day we had to get up and see who was at the door before we called the police.
- •A fireAlso rare, has also happened, so far not on my shift. When you're here overnight you're responsible for every woman and child in the house and making sure they get out safe. Groggy? In the middle of the night? The fire alarm going off is one thing, but an actual fire? No, please.
- •A physical fightBetween residents or between parent and child, this is a scary situation to have to mediate alone.
- •Finding a non-resident in the houseHaving to kick someone out, call the police, deal with feeling like the sanctity of the house was violated? Nope. No, thanks.
- •SuicideSo far this has not happened here. Not a successful one to my knowledge, but yikers, not on my watch, please.
- •Erratic behaviorI'm cool with depression, bipolar, anxiety, ptsd, but I do not want to deal with a psychotic episode on my own. Or any hardcore, voices-n-all schizophrenia.
- •Someone's crisis call being interrupted by abuser or someone call in middle of an altercation.Because women (or anyone) in an abusive relationship are in far more danger when their abuser knows they're trying to leave, we are not permitted to speak with women while their abuser is present, for their safety. Every once in a while an abuser walks in on a call or someone calls mid-fight. We have to offer to call police and get off the line asap. It's terrifying to hang up knowing a woman is in danger.