Shema Koli is here to help our callers deal with their experience of abuse – whether now or in the past.
Anonymity and Confidentiality
All calls to Shema Koli are anonymous and 100% confidential and the calls cannot be traced. For many, this is the first time they have been able to share their traumatic experiences and our operators respect that it takes them courage and effort to make the first call.
Abuse is generally not spoken about or discussed in the Jewish community. There is also much confusion about abuse and ignorance about its effect. Sadly, victims are often frightened to come forward and many have felt let down by the community. Our goal is to “give a voice to the victims of abuse.”
Callers to Shema Koli have the opportunity to “be heard” and for their painful story to be witnessed and validated without judgement. Many prefer to use our service because they want to talk to people who share their language and understand their religious and cultural background.
At Shema Koli we listen carefully to what is said to us and we appreciate that some stories are almost impossible to tell. Being heard is essential for the healing process to begin.
Some call Shema Koli because they want to take some action about their experiences. Many simply want the chance to express their feelings: pain, anguish, sorrow, hurt, guilt and shame. And there are those who want to begin to think about how they can make changes in their lives for the better.
Advice and Support
Our professional Shema Koli operators are trained to help and guide callers in response to some challenging questions, such as:
- Is this called abuse? Am I being abused?
- What can I do about it?
- I am worried about my son’s inappropriate behaviour. What should I do?
- How do I keep my child safe in school, cheder, Yeshiva, shul, at home?
- What shall I do if my spouse does not know about it?
- I feel so alone, but I know something needs to be done. What is my first step?
- I have tried to speak up before. Why will they believe me now?
There are no easy answers to these questions, but at Shema Koli we aim to help the caller find a way to move forward and make choices that work for them.
With discussion about abuse increasing in the media, the Jewish community has also had to contend with high profile cases of abuse. This has raised many questions in people’s minds, and encouraged many to consider their current situation and reflect on their past experiences.
The community now has a professional resource in Shema Koli where operators can provide information and guidance on a wide range of issues concerning abuse.
We also welcome calls from professionals, Rabbis, educators and clinicians who are looking for advice and for information about ways to help those who have turned to them.
While we encourage callers to turn to Shema Koli whenever they need a listening ear, we recognise that there are times when callers need additional support from other services or specialist input. We have built up links to other organisations and services to whom we refer callers:
Specialist and Jewish Community Services
- Counselling referral agencies – Nachas Ruach, Relief UK, Interlink
- Counselling services - Bikur Cholim, JMC, Chana, Ezer Leyoldos, Noa, Talking Matters
- Abuse specialists – JWA, Stop It Now!
- Mental Health charities – Chizuk, JAMI
- Social Care agencies - Norwood, The Fed (Manchester)
- Other helplines – The Jewish Helpline, Childline
- The Shema Koli Rabbinic Board, Beis Din
- GPs, Hospital A&E
- NHS, CAMHS, The Tavistock & Portman Clinics
- Crimestoppers, Police
- Social Services
Face to Face Counselling or Therapy
Telephone helpline support, such as Shema Koli, is often the first step to addressing past experience of abuse. Counselling and therapy can also be helpful when abuse was experienced in the past with some therapists specialising in addressing the trauma of sexual assault. For some survivors of abuse, long-term therapy assistance may be beneficial.
Callers to Shema Koli will be offered discussion about referral to face-to-face counselling and, if relevant, callers are referred to agencies who can provide therapeutic services.