General Guidance for Crisis Lines

A System Response to Answering a Crisis Line During Non-Business Hours

  • All program collaborators should be aware of the answering service you will utilize through in-person communication and subsequent written correspondence.
  • Individuals answering the crisis line should receive basic DV/SA training including human trafficking training.  Individuals answering the crisis line should also receive basic mental health training including de-escalation suicide prevention as crisis lines often receive calls other than those related to DV/SA. Individuals should be familiar with crisis mobile response units and how a family member would go about committing a loved one involuntarily.
  • Individuals answering the crisis line should have a basic knowledge of community resources in order to refer DV/SA victims and other callers in crisis as the emergency may require. Individuals should know how to reach local law enforcement and the Department of Social Services to report immediate danger to the caller and his/her family members. Answering services should be able to patch calls through to the DV/SA staff, local law enforcement, and to the Department of Social Services.
  • Individuals answering the crisis line should initially use a scripted response that determines current safety and freedom to speak such as, “Are you in a safe place? Can you speak freely?”
  • Individuals answering the crisis line should manage calls to ensure that victims can speak to an advocate within 30 minutes.  DV/SA programs should develop an on-call schedule and provide that schedule to local law enforcement dispatch and local hospitals.