Not everyone knows this about us, but we have a 24hr, 7 days a week, on-call service. The purpose of the on-call service is to respond to emergencies experienced by our clients and to answer calls from external agencies and referrers.
I can still clearly remember the first time I was rostered on to do on-call. I was so nervous about the unpredictability of it and just not knowing who would be on the other end of that first call. I don’t think I slept at all that night.
Now four years later, there is one call that stands out above the rest. I was rostered on for my usual weekend shift. It was just after midnight on Sunday evening and I got a call from a past Bonnie’s client, Jane*. I sat up in bed and she talked me through what was going on.
Her ex-partner had found her, and he was outside her new house refusing to leave.
Jane was upset, expressing feelings of concern for the safety of her and her kids. While consoling her and getting the details, I dialled 000 immediately and told the police they needed to be at Jane’s house. Stat. I told them, that there was an apprehended domestic violence order in place and they were on their way.
I ended up staying on the phone with Jane until about 4:00am and while it was a scary time, there was a special moment during the hours we waited for the police together. We were able to really talk – we spoke about each other’s lives, our dreams and goals for the future, work ambitions and how far Jane had come. It was so nice to share with each other in this way and the sense of pride I felt for Jane and her journey was indescribable. Once the police got down her statement and sent her ex away, we put down the phone. Jane had work at 6:00AM and it was clear, this incident wasn’t going to stop her from living her life.
I went to work too, but had a bit of a sleep-in after getting off the phone. She came into the office later that day and we shared a big hug. We instantly had a mutual respect and appreciation for each other. The strength of Jane and the many who came before her, continue to blow me away. I am in constant awe of their strength.
This story is a perfect example of the importance of the work we do, why we need a 24HR on call service and a reason why our Domestic Violence Rapid Response Enhancement program was created. Domestic violence doesn’t stop after the 9-5 work day or stop on the weekend – and neither do we.
I hope one day our on-call program and service in general is not needed. But until then I will continue to reflect on nights like this and continue to grow from it.
*Name has been changed for privacy purposes
Blog written by Ciara
Image via CANVA