A Day in the Life of…a Referral Co-Ordinator

31 March 2022

Here at Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid, we have a wide variety of staff who work across our teams in various job roles. Each woman who works with us contributes invaluably to the organisation, enabling us to provide support and guidance to women, children and young people when they need us most.

With our ‘Day in the Life’ blog series, we aim to shine a light on the many different roles within our organisation in order to celebrate the excellence of our team and give you, the reader, a little insight into our everyday work.

So without further ado, here’s a day in the life of one of our Referral Co-Ordinators…

Firstly, tell us how long you’ve been in your job as Referral Co-Ordinator?

I’ve been in my role since November 2021.

And what did you do before you came to work in Belfast & Lisburn Women’s Aid?

I was a Forensic Mental Health Advocate, a Housing Officer for young refugees and more recently I was teaching English in Spain.

So what made you want to come and work for Women’s Aid?

Women’s Aid have such an incredible reputation and I’ve admired the organisation since I was a teenager after hearing someone speak at my school about domestic abuse. Domestic abuse affects so many of us and supporting women to become free and recover from abuse is amazing. It has to be one of the most important jobs there is and it’s such an honour to be here today working here!

And what might a typical day at work look like for you?

We are so busy on the referral desk and it’s not just everyday that’s different, but every single phone call. We are answering the phones from 9am right up until (and sometimes after!) 5pm. Between calls we have to type very quickly to make sure the notes are recorded.

Calls come from a range of people – social workers, GPs and housing officers all make referrals, and we have many calls from women seeking advice and self-referring. Sometimes a woman will phone just for a bit of emotional support because something has happened, other times a woman will be in crisis and need to be referred into refuge, so we have to work quickly. We also answer webchats and emails – many of which come from the police.

We have to have a good understanding of what’s going on for a woman so we can decide how to best meet her needs. This involves asking the right questions and understanding the services we provide inside and out. It helps that we work so well as a team and genuinely get on so well with each other.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love connecting with other women day in day out. Our ethos of us being “women supporting women” rather than “professionals telling you what to do” makes the work much more authentic and real. We don’t tell anyone what they should do but we support women using the wealth of shared experience and knowledge we have. Once we share the knowledge and tools, women will have it for life. I love that we can support women to make real changes in their lives and that comes from within them – not from us.

What would you say to someone who is interested in working in a similar role to yours?

If you are passionate about supporting women who have experienced domestic abuse – you will wake up everyday excited to go to work!

Stay tuned for more in our ‘Day in the Life’ blog series in the coming months!

Here at Belfast & Lisburn Women’s Aid, we’re often looking for enthusiastic and passionate women to join our team. For more information and current vacancies click here.

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