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September 2010


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September 2010

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  1. FOUNDATION FOR SOCIAL WELFARE SERVICES • MALTA Graziella Castillo Service Manager September 2010


  3. MISSION STATEMENT • The primary mission of the Supportline 179 service is to provide, on a national level, immediate unbiased help to those seeking information, support and/or referral to social service agencies. • Supportline 179 main targets are to provide continuous ongoing crisis intervention, support, and information about local social welfare services through the telephone on a 24 /7 basis.

  4. HISTORY • This service goes back to when the Inter Agency Forum on Violence against Women identified the need for a Telephone Supportline for people experiencing domestic violence. • The Moviment Mara Maltija, an NGO tried to recruit volunteers to run a phone line. In the meantime, the Domestic Violence Unit of the Social Welfare Development Programme commenced operation and also identified the need for a helpline service.

  5. The beginning of Supportline 179 • The initial interviews were held in October 1995 and the inaugural shift of Supportline 179 commenced in January 1996 at 9.30a.m. • The year 2000 marked an important milestone in the history of Supportline 179 due to the fact that the service started working on a 4-shift schedule, starting from 8a.m till midnight. • In October 2003, the service was then extended to a 24hr basis, 7 days a week. • In 2008 the drug and alcohol helpline 151 was integrated with 179.

  6. AIMS • To offer a listening and emphatic ear in a confidential and anonymous environment • To provide information and empower the general public in recognizing social problems and making use of the appropriate services • To provide future help to callers by means of referrals. • To intervene in crisis situations mainly: domestic abuse, child abuse, homelessness, suicide attempts and rape.

  7. OBJECTIVES • To guarantee accessibility of the service by having professionally trained voluntary personnel available to receive calls twenty four hours a day every day. • To maintain development of the service through on-going staff training, new technology in communication, effective referrals and a good working relationship with other social service agencies. • To create awareness through marketing strategies which should include presentations to various groups in society, exposure on audio-visual media, brochures, posters and leaflets

  8. FUNCTIONS OF THE SERVICE • Supportline 179 operates to serve the society at large, providing information and support service, and the option of seeking professional help through referrals made to units within Agency Appogg and other services. • The service is operated by professionally trained volunteers. • The service operates on a 24-hour / 7days a week schedule. Volunteers work on a 4-hour shift (morning 8am-12am, afternoon 12am-4pm, evening 4pm-8pm, and night 8pm-12pm). Paid workers work from midnight till 8am.

  9. CODE OF ETHICS A caller needs • a) To be dealt with as a person rather than a case, type or category • b) To express feelings and emotions both negative and positive • c) To be accepted as a person of worth, with innate dignity, regardless of dependencies, weaknesses, faults or failures • d) A sympathetic understanding of and response to the feelings expressed • e) To be neither judged nor condemned for the difficulties or situation presented • f) To make his/her own choices and decisions concerning his/her own life

  10. RESPONSIBILITY OF VOLUNTEERS TOWARDS CALLERS • Commitment to Callers • Confidentiality (The caller’s right, however, is not absolute. This should be restricted to matters affecting the very survival of the data subject. It refers to matters of life and death. “Processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interest of the data subject" (Data Protection Act. Para 9 line D) • Individualization • Non-Judgemental Attitude • Acceptance • Caller Self-Determination • Controlled Emotional Involvement • Sensitivity When Recognizing a Caller • Explicit Permission for referral of an Adult

  11. Responsibility of Volunteers towards Colleagues • Respect • Confidentiality with Colleagues • Disputes between Volunteers • Sexual Relationships • Sexual Harassment

  12. Responsibility of Volunteers as Professionals • Competence • Private Conduct • Dishonesty, Fraud, Deception • Impairment • Performance • Commitment to the agency • Consultation and Supervision

  13. THE RUNNING OF THE SERVICE • Service Manager • Service Area Leader • Psychology officers • Administrative support workers • Support group facilitators • Supervisors on call • Volunteers • Volunteers Representatives

  14. The role of the Supervisors on call • Supervisors-on-call act as a back-up system to volunteers on shift duty by providing immediate, technical and emotional support to volunteers after office hours and weekends; • Provide guidance when volunteers need to contact other professionals such as the police, polyclinics, doctors and psychiatrists, shelters, the free-phone taxi service (for Abused/Domestic Violence Clients) and all other professionals during crises cases (Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Suicide, Homelessness, Rape) • Communicate with the callers when the request arises; • Report to the Supportline staff any feedback on the next working day. • Attend bi-monthly meeting and activities

  15. The role of the volunteer representatives • Attend meetings. • Giving feedback to Supportline 179 staff about any recommendations or initiatives that they wish the management will take on behalf of the volunteers. • Liaising with Supportline 179 staff on any decisions that would need to be taken that they may affect directly or indirectly volunteers. • Bringing suggestions about training needs of volunteers; • Coordinating with Supportline staff in the organizing of social activities. • Discussing difficulties with Supportline staff brought up by volunteers regarding procedures of the service. • Communicating with volunteers on a regular basis to remind then about the representatives availability. • At the end of their yearly commitment representatives should make a presentation about their work at the Annual general Meeting.

  16. Manual for volunteers • Administration Sign attendance Book Read Communication Book Access memo System on computer • Memos Memos are to be strictly read before the commencement of each shift. • Attendance Book Signing the attendance book is important.

  17. Cont – Manual for volunteers • Communication Book(The aim of the Communication Book is a means of continuous update to all members of the team.) • Reporting technical/computer faults • Handing over from one shift to the next (Approximately half an hour before your shift ends, it is important to contact the volunteers scheduled for the next shift.) • Case Handover Sheets

  18. RECRUITMENT OF VOLUNTEERS • In liason with the Marketing team a recruitment plan is set including talks on the media, articles, etc. • An Information meeting is held for all those interested in doing this voluntary work ( with Supportline or with another agency service who provides support and parental skills to families). • Group interviews are held based on a case study and discussion. An assessment is carried out by the facilitators. • Those selected will be given training spread over 12 weeks.

  19. VOLUNTEERS` TRAINING PROGRAMME First 6 weeks is joint training for all volunteers interested in doing voluntary work with the agency -COMMUNICATION SKILLS -ASSERTIVENESS SKILLS -TEAM WORK -UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL ISSUES -KNOWLEDGE OF THE VARIOUS -SERVICES THAT ARE AVAILABLE. An Assessment is carried out and volunteers will be divided to attend more specific training depending on their interest but based also on the facilitators` assessment. Further training will follow which will be specific about the Supportline. This includes also practical work and a written test is carried out at the end of the training course.




  23. Calls related to drugs & alcohol

  24. Case Scenarios CASE SCENARIO A Caller said that in the house indicated in the referral a mother with her children go there to take drugs Mobile squad police were informed as instructed by supervisor. The police were aware of this and they had to re-assess situation and take the necessary action. CASE SCENARIO B Caller said that his brother abuses from drugs. He had started a rehabilitation programme and relapsed after some months. His mother went to a psychiatrist due to the home situation. Agency was already involved in this case. Suggested to caller to establish contact with Sedqa (Drug and Alcohol agency).

  25. Case Scenarios CASE SCENARIO c The caller is a woman who is concerned about her partner and called 179 to ask for help on how to deal with his alcoholism problem. After a discussion, volunteer gave her the telephone number of Sedqa (Drugs and Alcohol agency) for more information. CASE SCENARIO D Adult female phoned to say that she found out that her 18year old son is using drugs. She said that when she asked him at first he said that it wasn’t true but then he admitted. He said that he can control the situation and will never be an addict. The mother is very worried and said that she is always searching his room.

  26. Case Scenarios CASE SCENARIO E Caller found suspicious substance in powder form hidden in his brother's drawer and asked where he can check what this is. His brother is 24 years old and according to caller does not seem to be taking any drugs. I gave caller the number of Sedqa and Caritas so they can guide him and also suggested he could talk to their family doctor to check substance

  27. 179 & other helplines

  28. Helpline 151 • 151 was run by professional staff at Sedqa during their operational time. • Service was amalgamated to 179 and all calls were directed to the Supportline. • Professionals working in the addiction field acts as consultants to volunteers when the need arises. • Training to volunteers was offered

  29. 179 & EU helpline 116 123 The 116123 – Emotional Support Helpline service is intended to enable the caller to benefit from a “genuine human relationship based on non-judgmental listening.” It should also offer emotional support to callers suffering from loneliness, in a state of psychological crisis, or contemplating suicide.

  30. EU helpline 116 123 – Emotional Support Helpline According to Article 2 of the Commission Decision this type of service, should meet common description across all Member States and answer a specific social need. Its objective would be to contribute to the well‐being or safety of citizens, or particular groups of citizens, and to help citizens who find themselves in particular difficult situations. The objective behind the introduction of these services is that European citizens, including travelers and disabled persons, would now be able to reach these services of social value by using the same recognisable number in all Member States.

  31. Implementation of 116 123 • 116 123 has been transferred onto the 179 system. • The current operation of the Supportline 179 will remain as it is.

  32. Child Helpline 116 111 • PARNTERSHIP BETWEEN AGENZIJA APPOGG, SOS-MALTA AND SALESIANS ORATORY – (YOUTHS) FOR THE RUNNING OF THE CHILD HELPLINE 116 111 AND ONLINE COUNSELLING FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE UNDER THE AGE OF 18. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES. • SOS Malta’s - recruiting, training, supporting volunteers. • Salesians - Stakeholders experienced in Youth. Providing premises as well. Overseeing day to day operations management of the project. • Appogg - Experts in public social services ( including the Supportline 179) and necessary for sustainability of service.

  33. Hotline – Be Smart online • Partners with Malta Communications Authority, Directorate for Educational Services and Commissioner for children. • Screen reports received through helpline and hotline (email) and work jointly with cyber crime and vice squad. • Volunteers on the 179 helpline will guide referrers how and where to report and works jointly with the hotline staff.


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