Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has announced a widening of access to a key support for victims/survivors of sexual violence in Ireland with its new helpline interpreting service.
The National Helpline 1800 778888 will now feature an additional option for people whose first language is not English, allowing them to speak to a crisis counsellor with the help of an interpreter.
Announcing the launch as part of DRCC’s campaign to mark the global 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, CEO Noeline Blackwell said the organisation had long wanted to offer support to people whose native language is not English, in recognition of the extra barrier that presents to people seeking assistance.
“We know that well over a tenth of people living in Ireland do not speak English as a first language. In our counselling & therapy services, we have long been able to provide support to non-English-speaking clients with the help of an interpreter, but that has not been possible for our helpline. We are therefore really pleased to be able to announce this very important news,” she said.
“It is already very difficult to talk about what is probably the worst experience of your life in your own native language. Imagine trying to express such a difficult topic in what may be your second or third language. And yet we know that availing of the Helpline support makes a real difference to the people who call us. So we are recognising a need that exists out there,” said Ms Blackwell.
The new Helpline interpreting service will make this important support available to a wider group of people. The caller will ring the National Helpline at the Freephone number 1800 778888 as usual but when they get through, they say what language they require and DRCC can then get an interpreter in that language on the line to facilitate the support session.
Commenting on the launch, DRCC’s National Helpline Manager, Michelle Grehan said: “Callers can be assured that their calls will be in confidence and, as ever, there is no charge. Our focus is to provide support, to listen and to believe our callers, in a non-judgmental way, offering information and helping them to think through options in whatever way they need.
“As Helpline workers, we hear how challenging it is for those who have experienced sexual violence, whether past or present, they describe feelings of isolation and fear. For those who do not have English as their first language, these feelings can be magnified. We can now listen and support these callers and be present for them in that lived experience,” added Ms Grehan.
The interpreting service is funded by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, and interpreting is supplied by Language Line, a UK-based company. For the moment the service will run on the National Helpline 1800 77 8888 from 8am to 6:30pm, Monday to Friday.