How do Crime Victims Hotline specialists help victims of crime or abuse? Meet Heidy, a Client Advocate Specialist who guides people in obtaining help and services.
By Dana Rosenwasser
March 17, 2017
For victims of crime, help is just a phone call away. Safe Horizon operates three confidential 24-hour hotlines that are open seven days a week, 365 days a year. Heidy is one of the Client Advocate Specialists at our Crime Victims Hotline, 866-689-HELP (4357), where she guides victims of any form of abuse or crime in obtaining help and services.
Heidy’s warm personality radiates through the calm and friendly tone of her voice. This invaluable quality is especially important since hers may be the first voice a victim of abuse hears when they call our Crime Victims Hotline.
Often, a survivor’s journey to safety and healing begins with a phone call. Heidy is knowledgeable about emergency and long-term resources available from Safe Horizon and other agencies. “Although many callers have experienced domestic violence, we get calls from people of all genders and ages who need help with many different types of crime.” She explains. “For example, they have experienced a hate crime or had their property stolen.”
How Do Our Hotline Specialists Help?
Since every Hotline call is different, Heidy cites mindfulness as a crucial way to improve her response to the variety of concerns crime victims may have. Crime victims often experience trauma, which can elicit different physical and emotional reactions. These reactions can include body aches and pains, heart palpitations, fear, anxiety and hypervigilance. “Based on what clients present, I analyze the risk and help them prioritize what is most important at that second.” She says. “I then offer them information and available resources based on their concerns.”
Heidy stresses that meeting a client where they are is fundamental to helping victims of abuse. That means being non-judgmental and pursuing remedies that suit a crime victims’ circumstances. “Especially when someone is in crisis, it can be hard to figure out where to go or what to do. It’s my job to know about all of the services Safe Horizon offers and help the client choose what is right for them. That can be the beginning of the road to healing.”
How Heidy Became an Advocate
Heidy found her calling as a high-school student when she was personally affected by domestic violence in her community. “Domestic violence was something that I saw around me.” She explains. “I knew then that I wanted to pursue a career where I could make a difference by helping survivors of crime and abuse.”
While pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice at Morrisville State College, Heidy volunteered at a domestic violence hotline. That’s where she heard about Safe Horizon. This experience helped Heidy become attuned to victims’ needs without ever meeting them. “If I put myself in a survivor’s shoes, I often realize that this person is telling a complete stranger their whole life’s story.” She says. “That instantly forms a kind of trusting bond. It’s amazing because abusers often break trust, so it goes to show you how resilient someone has to be to call our Hotline and ask for help.”
The Crime Victims Hotline’s Impact
In 2016, our Crime Victims Hotline answered 9,354 calls from people in crisis. One of your friends or neighbors could have been part of these staggering statistics. If you, or someone you know, have been impacted by crime and would like to talk to someone to find help and options, please call 866-689-HELP (4357). Dedicated advocates like Heidy are standing by right now to help.
Your help ensures that Advocates like Heidi are able to answer the calls of victims of crime or abuse 24 hours a day.