25 Jan I’m often the first person they‘ve told
As a police call handler, you never know who will be on the end of the phone when you pick it up – or what they will tell you. I used to have a really strong emotional response when someone reported a rape, I used to feel incredibly bad for them and I’d spend a lot of time thinking about them after I finished work.
I don’t do that now. I still feel it’s a terrible thing to happen to someone – of course I do – but now I’m genuinely glad to be the one that listens and can help them through this first contact.
Sometimes the rape has happened recently and sometimes it happened many years ago. Either way, I’m often the first person they‘ve told. So I make sure that they know we’re here to help and we’ll be there every step of the way. I reassure them that they’ve done the right thing by reporting it. I don’t ask for lots of details, I just listen and write down what they say. I encourage them to take their time.
I try to be myself. I think if I was in that position, making that phone call, more than anything else I’d want to speak to a real human being who cared about what had happened to me.
Author: Kelly, Sussex Police Call Handler