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Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) kicks-off volunteer para-counselling programme

Press release, 7 March 2015

For more information: Kristine Yap,

PETALING JAYA. Women’s Aid Organisation’s (WAO) has launched a programme to train volunteers to become para-counsellors, to help WAO expand its services for domestic violence victim-survivors.

Over 80 members of the public submitted applications to join the programme, and attended a briefing held by WAO today.

Kow Hui San, an undergraduate student in her final year studying psychology, submitted an application. “This programme is a great way for someone like me to help provide vital services to women facing domestic violence.”

“And as an added benefit, the training will provide me with skills and knowledge which I can use in my career,” she added.

Volunteers will benefit from 30 hours of training, which includes workshops and practicums, on skills like empathetic listening, risk and needs assessment, and understanding violence against women. Sessions are facilitated and supervised by WAO’s professional staff who have years of on-the-ground experience. A key emphasis to the training is that respect and autonomy of the client is of utmost importance.

After completing the training, para-counsellors will assist with WAO’s helpline (+603 7956 3488), acting as WAO’s first point of contact with women seeking assistance. The training will consist of six sessions throughout the next three months.

Sumitra Visvanathan, Executive Director of WAO said, “With a growing number of calls to our helpline, these volunteers will help ensure that WAO can continue to provide high quality services and reach as many women as possible.”

“We’ve received overwhelming response from the public–we want to thank each and every person who has applied to the programme.”

WAO provides a broad range of services for women survivors of domestic violence, including temporary shelter, face-to-face and telephone-based counselling, and social work services.



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