Volunteers’ Week 2017

Rape Crisis praises essential work of its volunteers

Kathryn Royal, Helpline Volunteer

I’ve been volunteering for Rape Crisis Tyneside & Northumberland nearly three years now, I’d had my “feminist awakening” and was eager to start doing something when I learned about the work RCTN do in the area. They’re a feminist charity and offer support to all women who have been affected by sexual violence – I knew straight away I wanted to volunteer for them.

My role is on the helpline, which is a free service provided Tuesday – Friday staffed entirely by trained volunteers. Women can call us to talk to our team and get some support.

It has honestly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, not only has it made me more confident and aware it’s also led to an academic interest in researching sexual violence. All volunteers go through a comprehensive training programme first, which equips you to support women in the best possible way and prepares you for what is disclosed to you on the calls themselves. Of course, it can be really difficult and emotionally draining, but all of the volunteers are really supportive; we look after each other. The staff are also incredibly helpful and caring. The helpline is a hard thing to do, but it’s a vital service, and I’m really proud to help to deliver it.

“Volunteering is just a part of my life now – I can’t imagine not doing it…”

One of my most memorable occasions at RCTN was the benefit we hosted at the Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre: Stand Up For Rape Crisis, where Sarah Millican and Jo Brand both performed, it was an incredible evening!

More recently, I participated in the highest abseil in the North East to raise money. That was pretty terrifying, but it’s such a great feeling knowing that I’m making some difference.