Meet Fawne Bello, DSVS Hotline and hospital accompaniment volunteer!
How long have you been volunteering? How long have you held this role in Fairfax County?
I volunteered somewhat inconsistently (orphanage in Haiti, prepping food for the homeless community in Arlington, etc.) until this role. I attended orientation for DSVS volunteering in July 2019, and after a series of comprehensive trainings, began the hotline and hospital accompaniments in October 2019.
I wanted to volunteer to help women when I was in school because it seemed as if we were at an extra disadvantage due to gender, but I didn’t have time given a host of other demands.
This program provides valuable information about a host of psychological theories surrounding trauma and power/control through how to safety plan and supply the caller or forensic examinee with a multitude of resources available to them. Listening, assessing, providing advocacy, and showing up for someone who is experiencing domestic or sexual abuse is rewarding because it touches every socioeconomic and cultural segment of the population, is extremely common, and this program helps.
What’s your biggest concern about being a volunteer?
My biggest concern when providing advocacy is when children are involved either as witnesses of abuse or a history can be inferred from their behavior.
What’s the most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing is the simplest: Either telephonically or in person, being able to ascertain the person is more at ease and confident that they have options when I say goodbye to them lends some optimism to my day (or night).
What have you learned while volunteering?
Volunteering your time is a luxury, and that time is never wasted. DSVS is impressive in the scope of services, resources and the breadth of help it extends to a huge community. Since starting to volunteer with DSVS, I’ve discovered I have a growing interest in the social work sphere and boundaries are key!
What advice do you have for someone thinking about becoming a DSVS volunteer?
Consider the time commitment. If you have worked through any past incidents [in your own life], know you may be triggered. Remember your primary role is to listen. And lastly, volunteering in this capacity may at times be the most gratifying part of your day.
This article posting is part of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Services' Volunteer Voices monthly newsletter for current and potential volunteers. If you're not already a volunteer, learn how to get involved. Find out about upcoming trainings, volunteer trainings, happenings around the DSVS office and information about articles, books, media recommendations and more.
Learn more about the Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (DSVS).