Delia Tekas: a day in the life of the Voice Introductions Team

My career spans about twenty-five years and has been quite varied, but it was mainly spent in Human Resources and staff development. I loved that work, but simply reached a point where I felt like I needed a new challenge, and I’ve always had an interest in psychology.

I subsequently undertook an Open University degree in psychology, but wasn’t entirely sure what to do with the qualification once I had it. Then, I spotted an opportunity to volunteer at Victim Support (VS). I did that for a couple of years, and when VS transformed into Voice, I jumped at the chance of taking a full-time, paid role.

Why I love helping people

I’ve always been a people centred person and I love helping others. I realised I could use my experience of dealing with people in HR and my love of psychology and mental health science to help those who have experienced crime or significant trauma.

My career in HR has helped so much with the role at Voice. Helping people develop in business is of course very different to providing support for victims and witnesses of crime, but there’s a similarity in the way each role revolves around helping people reach a stage where they can progress and move on with their lives.

Even though I’d previously been a volunteer support worker at Victim Support, switching to the full time role at Voice was a steep learning curve. Thankfully, I managed to climb it quite quickly, and it provided me with so much experience that I can now put to great use.

The first point of contact for victims and witnesses

I work in the Introductions Team, which means I’m one of the first points of contact for people who use the Voice service. We start each day processing the Automatic Data Transfer (ADT), which comes from the police. It includes all of the victims of crime who have agreed to receive support from us. Once the contact details are on our system, we begin by making the initial calls to each individual.

The call starts with an introduction from us, and we ask if they want on-going practical or emotional support. Some people say “yes”, in which case the introduction team will undertake an initial needs assessment with the victim and then transfer them to one of our specialist support workers for on-going emotional support. The first is a needs assessment which helps us match the right specialist to the needs of the person. If the crime is domestic abuse, we then perform a second assessment, which looks at the safety and safeguarding needs of the individual.

Sometimes we discover victims who require immediate support, which of course takes priority over the assessments, but, equally, we speak to plenty of people who aren’t ready to receive support. In those cases, we simply leave them with our contact details so they can contact us (if they want to) whenever they’re ready.

The practical advice we offer means we can often help straight away by providing things like personal alarms and guidance on how to secure property and personal belongings in the event of a burglary.

Every day is different, but they’re always inspiring

Some people are understandably nervous about picking up the phone and speaking to someone whom they’ve never met before about a traumatic event. That’s why the initial calls we make can be so effective; most people we talk to are just relieved to find out there are professionals available who have vast experience helping victims of crime cope, recover and thrive.

Sometimes, we understandably have to highlight the fact we’re independent from the police, because it might be the case that the victim or witness hasn’t reported the crime yet and is nervous about doing so. That’s why the Voice service is so valuable; it doesn’t matter when the crime took place or whether or not it has been reported – we’ll always be here to listen and support and do so completely confidentially.

The thing that inspires me the most about working for Voice is how grateful people are for us simply being there and carrying out that initial needs assessment. After that first conversation, they’re so relieved and no longer feel alone; they realise there’s someone out there who can help them.

If you feel ready to talk to our team, please do contact us– we’re here for you.

When I’m not at Voice…

Not many people know but I… used to be a National FEI equestrian dressage judge in Greece.

If I could watch one last film, it’d be… Love Actually

The person I admire the most is… Too many to name just one! I admire people with ambition and drive for what they are passionate about, who stand up and make a difference, whatever the subject.

If it’s my turn with the radio, I’ll tune to… Heart FM, always – unless it’s Wednesday at 6pm, in which case, ‘The Saints Show’ on Radio Northampton!

My favourite place on the Earth is… Sandsend, Whitby, Yorkshire.

What makes me truly happy is… Having a purpose in life.