Volunteering with the PARCS Helpline

  • A supportive & challenging volunteering opportunity
  • Further development/training
  • High quality on-site group supervision
  • Opportunities to develop both personally and professionally

The Helplines are staffed solely by volunteers and it continues to be the backbone of the service providing information, support and counselling.

It is often the first point of contact for women and men when taking the first step towards acknowledging the impact of sexualised trauma on their lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is PARCS looking for in a potential volunteer?

  • You need to be 18 years or over
  • You must be able to work within the policies & procedures of the service
  • You must be reliable
  • Be emotionally robust enough to work openly with issues of sexual violation
  • A team player
  • Openness to learning & development
  • Good listening skills
  • Life skills/transferable skills

What might stop me becoming a volunteer?

Existing clients are not able to volunteer

Ex-clients cannot volunteer for the help line, until they have had a 6 year break from counselling Please discuss with a member of staff if you wish to volunteer & your counselling ended 6 years or more ago

You cannot volunteer for the Helpline if you are in a relationship with a past or current service user

Friends, relatives or supporters of a current client are not able to volunteer

What commitment does PARCS ask for?

The successful completion of PARCS Selection/Training process.

Volunteers play a vital part in staffing the help lines, which operate

Monday afternoons (1.00 PM – 3.00 PM)

Wednesday & Friday evenings (7.00 PM - 10.00 PM)

Individual volunteers work the lines twice a month, answering calls from women & men who have experienced sexual violation/violence.

Group supervision of telephone work takes place fortnightly on a Tuesday evening for 2 hours. Volunteers are asked to attend supervision regularly to support their work.

  • Volunteers are asked to commit a minimum of 2½ hours per-week
  • Volunteers are asked to attend a minimum of 2 tutorials a year to provide support for their volunteering role and to identify areas of development
  • Volunteers are asked to complete a six month probation period following their selection as help line volunteers

I can't cover both Wednesdays and Fridays - is that a problem?

I could cover the help lines on a Friday evening but I am unable to cover it on Wednesday evening would this be a problem?

This is quite usual & will not be an issue.

Will I get paid expenses?

PARCS aims to pay out of pocket expenses whenever possible and as budgets allow.

What do I need to do to apply?

Complete an Application Form and return to volunteer@parcs.org.uk

Clinical Placements / Psychotherapy Placements

Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service offers a number of placements to trainee and qualified counsellors/psychotherapists who have completed their training and want to accumulate client hours or broaden their therapeutic experience.

PARCS welcome applications from volunteers seeking a placement at any time throughout the year. Our therapeutic work is long-term and consequently we ask for a commitment of several years. We accept applications from a wide range of theoretical backgrounds. Please note we require applicants to have at least 40 hours of supervised counselling hours.

Volunteer Counsellor

Principle Function:

To provide face to face counselling / psychotherapy; working with survivors of sexual abuse and for domestic abuse.


Interested applicants should apply using an application (available for download from this website) or by contacting the office volunteer@parcs.org.uk, 023 9266 9513.

All Volunteer Counsellors Need to Have:-

  • Completed / or be completing counselling / psychotherapy training.
  • Completed 40 hours of supervised counselling hours - if you do not have the required 40 hours of experience, please see our Volunteer Emotional Telephone Support role (ETS role).
  • Experience of being a client in counselling.
  • A 6 year gap from using the service prior to making an application.

It is PARCS Policy To:

  • Obtain two references prior to appointment.
  • Undertake DBS checks
  • Request original copies of any relevant qualifications.


  • To work face to face with 3 clients a week (it may be possible to meet with more clients in agreement with the PARCS Supervisor).
  • Attend individual hourly supervision on a fortnightly basis at the centre.
  • Attend regular training / CPD 

Reporting to:

Clinical Supervisor, Clinical Manager, Centre Director, Board of Trustees


By agreement with your Clinical Supervisor / Clinical Manager

What we offer

  1. In-house supervision in accordance with BACP guidelines.
  2. A comprehensive in-house training programme which runs throughout the year, at weekends. All of our workshops are designed to support and develop the skills required to work with clients addressing the legacy of sexualised trauma. Various issues are covered including how to work with self injury, traumatic symptomology, and the process of shame.
  3. Written ‘progress reports’ as required by training institutions.
  4. An opportunity to meet and train with other women and men who volunteer with the centre.
  5. Access to various articles relating to this area of therapeutic work.

PARCS undertakes Disclosure and Barring Service checks (DBS), we do not charge you for this.

What theoretical orientation does PARCS subscribe to?

We have adopted a broadly integrative model of working with a particular interest in developing more effective ways of working with the legacy of sexualised trauma. PARCS is able to accommodate volunteers from a variety of theoretical backgrounds. The agency will do its best to accommodate individual needs wherever possible.

What sort of commitment does PARCS require?

PARCS generally asks for volunteers to provide therapy for three clients a week, however, this commitment is negotiable. The organisation also requires volunteer counsellors to attend in-house supervision according to BACP/UKCP guidelines. Occasionally volunteer counsellors arrange and pay for external supervision with the agency’s agreement.

Do I have to attend the training?

PARCS provides high quality in-house training and although there is no obligation to attend workshops most volunteers attend at lease one workshop a year. The training provides an opportunity to meet with other colleagues and develop as a practitioner.

Do I have to pay for my own insurance?

PARCS provides the insurance cover needed for your work at the centre.

Will I be able to choose the hours that I volunteer?

PARCS will do its best to accommodate your needs. However, the organisation may not always be able to meet individual requirements due to the availability of rooms and staff supervision. The agency currently does not open at weekends.

Do I have to be in personal therapy?

Most volunteer counsellors are in personal therapy to support their development as clinicians.

Emotional Telephone Support Volunteer

Principle Function:

To use counselling skills within a short term model providing support for the client.

To provide a safe and containing environment in order to build a working alliance with the client and make an agreement about the focus of the work.

The focus of the work may be about reinforcing and building resources and coping strategies/regulating emotions, psycho-education about trauma, identifying triggers and discussing how to respond, identifying appropriate support, raising self esteem, supporting a client with coping through a court case.

To help the client identify their needs for face to face counselling.


Please download and complete the application form available on this website and return to volunteer@parcs.org.uk


  • To work with agreed number of clients providing emotional support over the telephone.
  • Attend fortnightly supervision
  • To keep supervisor/ETS Co-ordinator informed of any circumstances that impact on the client work.
  • Once a volunteer makes a commitment to offer a client 6 sessions this needs to be honoured unless there are exceptional circumstances.


3 hours. Working with 3 clients per week, plus note keeping.

1-2 hours fortnightly for supervision

Other volunteering opportunities

There are many areas that already benefits from the time, energy & experience that the volunteers bring to our service. We are aware that whilst some people may want to volunteer for PARCS they may not necessarily want to work/have the necessary skills for the help line or client work. We are continually developing the role of the volunteers & are now looking to expand into other areas including:

  • Fundraising
  • DIY
  • Gardening
  • Administration support
  • Promoting the work of PARCS locally
  • Working with young people in an educational setting

If you would like to volunteer for PARCS and have not found something listed that you want to do, then why not email us at volunteer@parcs.org.uk or call  02392 669513 to discuss other possibilities?

PARCS Volunteer Prevention Mentor

PARCS has been working alongside young people (aged 11-24) in the Portsmouth area a delivering sexual abuse prevention programme for over 20 years.

The workshops and creative projects have been informed and designed based upon years of experience, research and the recommendations made by the young people we work with.

The PARCS prevention team draw upon a number of models and approaches including the Bystander Model (Banyard 1997) a whole community/pro-social approach, co-created learning and an empathic relationship. PARCS facilitate creative and bespoke workshops and run a variety of co-produced projects.

The long term aim of our work is to prevent sexual abuse and reduce impact of sexual abuse within the lives of young people in Portsmouth.

The Volunteer Prevention Mentor Role

PARCS are offering this new role to individuals who have an interest in preventing sexual abuse in our communities. This role is varied and works primarily out of the local area - workshops are often held in high schools, colleges, youth clubs and within the University of Portsmouth campus.

This role offers an individual the opportunity to work alongside the PARCS prevention workers, developing and facilitating workshops, consciousness/awareness raising at events and has a particular emphasis on supporting the process of collecting and collating information and feedback to demonstrate impact.

If you would like to apply, please complete and application form and return to volunteer@parcs.org.uk

To become a Volunteer Prevention Mentor

In this role you will receive 10 extensive training modules along with ongoing support and supervision. You will be able to shadow the prevention work and there is potential to develop as a co-facilitator of the prevention programme. You will also be trained in safeguarding and in handling disclosures of abuse. As a PARCS volunteer you will have access to all PARCS in house training.

What prospective Volunteer Prevention Mentors can expect

An initial interview following a successful application with an opportunity to meet the PARCS prevention team.

A 4 day essential Assessment Training module, which includes training and exploration around issues such as consent, boundaries, rape myths, victim blaming and definitions of abuse.

A further 6 day Training module which includes training around group work skills, listening skills, working with trauma and young people, disclosure and safeguarding.

An opportunity to work as part of a team of volunteer mentors

An opportunity to meet existing staff and volunteers at PARCS

An opportunity to work with a model which aims to prevent sexual abuse and interpersonal abuse

An opportunity to learn about PARCS work and other services and projects

An opportunity to decide whether or not to volunteer with the organisation if selected

The PARCS Volunteer Prevention Mentor Assessment training

The 4 day Assessment Training must be successfully completed by a prospective volunteer mentor hoping to join the PARCS team. All 4 days must be attended.

The Assessment Training is an opportunity for the PARCS prevention team and any prospective volunteer mentor to explore their suitability for the role

The Assessment Training is an intense 4 days, packed with information and resources which can help a prospective volunteer mentor to determine whether they want to continue with their application

The prospective volunteer mentors are invited to keep a reflection journal, practice self-care and begin to explore some of the issues faced by young people who have been sexually abused and/or exploited.

The reflection journals also form part of the assessment.

Feedback will be offered to participants who have not been successful.

Feedback will also be collected and collated throughout the 4 days which will be used to inform further PARCS training.

The commitment of the PARCS Volunteer Prevention Mentor

You will need to be aged 18 years or older

If you have used PARCS for support it is our policy that all potential volunteers have not been supported by the service within the past 6 years

You will need to commit to the 4 day Assessment Training

You will need to commit to ongoing training following the 4 day Assessment

You will need an empathic and curious mid, be able to remain calm under pressure and be able to develop respectful and boundaried relationships with young people

You will need good listening and general communication skills

You will need an ability to work as part of a team (i.e. able to listen to others and to participate in group discussions)

You will have an awareness of diversity and how issues such as race, culture, religion and gender may impact on an individual's experience

You will need an ability to appropriately question personal attitudes and beliefs

you will need a willingness to work within PARCS policies and guidelines

You will be able to commit to the role of PARCS Volunteer Prevention Mentor for a 6 month period following completion of shadowing with a 3 month probationary period.