Q & A with AVP Hotline Volunteers

New York City Anti-Violence Project’s (AVP’s) Hotline helps survivors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as they look to find resources and support before, during and after experiencing violence or harm.  

The hotline is staffed by trained crisis counselors and provides direct crisis intervention services to LGBTQ+ people, as well as people living with HIV, who are survivors of all forms of violence. This includes, but is not limited to, hate violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and institutional violence.  

AVP supports survivors in all five boroughs of New York City and the surrounding area, and can provide limited support nationwide through our 24/7, 365 bilingual hotline.  

AVP’s hotline also connects survivors to legal services for LGBTQ+ and HIV-affected survivors in all five boroughs of New York City in Family Court, Housing Court, Civil Court and immigration matters. 

The Hotline always needs dedicated volunteers to help our communities heal and thrive and accepts registrations for training on a rolling basis. We spoke with AVP hotline volunteers Hina, Annie and Chris to learn more about their experience and to find out how volunteering has benefitted them both personally and professionally.  

Q: For any of you, what is something you might tell a prospective volunteer regarding the benefits of being a hotline volunteer? 

Hina: [Considering the nature of AVP’s work] “Staff is able to process heavy calls with volunteers, which allowed me to process things I might otherwise have not processed and let fester. Having Hank call me unprompted to check in felt so caring and made me feel supported in the work and really helped me process that call and reinforced that AVP cares for its volunteers and does not want volunteers to face harm on any calls/in the work.”  

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about attending the training? 

Chris: “The online connection with the cohort is really powerful, and the opportunity to meet AVP’s amazing staff and learn from them was really profound. From my first interaction with AVP, it felt like you were learning from and supported by really great people. Answering a call feels really scary, but after the training I felt prepared.” 

Annie: “Yeah, AVP staff are badass and good at what they do. Training was so comprehensive and thoughtful and getting to participate in AVP’s training was unique compared to other prof. trainings I’ve done.” 

Q: What is something you didn’t think you could do before becoming a hotline volunteer? 

Annie: “Taking on calls. By the end of every call, I feel so glad I get to hold space for community. Thinking about how to hold space in a virtual capacity is something we get from training. Volunteering is a heavy thing to do.” 

Q: How has training and working on hotline influenced other areas of your life? 

Annie: “I’m now in school for social work! This was a great way to explore and try out more clinical work and ways of supporting community.” 

AVP and the communities we serve are grateful to our hotline volunteers for the deeply impactful work they do, and as Hina mentioned, AVP will be there every step of the way to support your volunteer journey.  

To learn more about AVP’s hotline volunteering program, or to register for our Fall training, visit our Hotline information page.  

If you or someone you know is an LGBTQ and/or HIV-affected survivor of violence, please call 212-714-1141 or learn more about our services here.  

Follow @antiviolence on social media and check out avp.org for updates!