News - Women's Aid Helpline

The Women's Aid Federation of Northern Ireland today have subscibed to thinkSMS in order to enhance the 24 Hour Domestic Violence Helpline

About Women's Aid

Mission - Women’s Aid is the lead voluntary organisation in Northern Ireland addressing domestic violence and providing services for women and children. We recognise domestic violence as one form of violence against women.  Women’s Aid seeks to challenge attitudes and beliefs that perpetuate domestic violence and, through our work, promote healthy and non-abusive relationships.

Our Work  - Women’s Aid  provides a wide range of services to women and children affected by domestic violence throughout Northern Ireland. We offer a safe place to stay in refuges or outreach support for those remaining at home. Children’s physical and emotional needs are met through many types of support from specialist play to group work..

Sonya Lutton, manager of the 24/7 Domestic Violence Helpline was very kind to answer a few questions about her experience with thinkSMS

1. What was your company's need?
We needed to get en email and text service up and running to offer
support to our helpline users in a safe way that we could guarantee
confidentiality and security. We wanted a user friendly system as well
for our staff and volunteers that would be easy to use.
We offer a listening support helpline and wanted to open up into other
channels of communication. We wanted to employ a company who had
experience in the area and also worked with ther charities. It was
important that they could create a product for us that they may not have
done before do that specification.

2. Which characteristics do you look for in a supplier / partner?

Due to the confidential and delicate nature of our work, we needed a
company we could trust, who could come in and deliver what we needed and
work to our time scale. We needed someone as well that we could contact
as and when needed and talked in our language as we are not IT experts,
by any means! This was more than delivered by thinkSMS.

3. How did you plan the project / service with thinkSMS?

They were easy to deal with, we met several times and discussed what our
requirements were, what we wanted from the service and what was realistic
then from an IT perspective. We planned the process together and it was
very exciting when it all came together. Everything we had asked for was
delivered on time and to a very high standard meeting more than our

4. How did you work together to achieve an optimum result?

Communication is key and during the process we were in close contact by
email and phone as well as face to face meetings. When it came together
Precept came to our offices and delivered training and helped us put
together training manuals for all our staff and volunteers. They are
never too far away for us to contact and one of their staff members always
gets back to us as soon as possible when we have a query, no matter how
big or small. When we went live, or course we had problems at our end
with the change in systems, but again the system evolved and we made
changes as we went along which was excellent and a great way to develop a
system. It is often now until you launch something that you find some
problems and with Precept they were quickly recitified or indeed they
often came up with another solution that we hadn't thought of ourselves.

5. What do you like about the outcome so far?

The outcome has more than met our expectations and we hope to develop our
service over the coming years and it is great to have thinkSMS there to
be able to help us grow as a service provider to so many people in
Northern Ireland. I would not hesitate in recommending thinkSMS to
other companies especially charities like ourselves. thinkSMS were
understanding to what we deal with and understood the delicate nature of
the work and had obviously did a bit of research in the area of domestic
violence which really impressed. Outcome so far is great and the system
is working 100% the way we want.

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