On Sunday the 23rd October the Sikh Helpline held a one day training event for all Sikh Helpline volunteers. The training included topics from Call Handling to Domestic Violence, Forced Marriages, Honour killings and Third Party reporting.

The Sikh Helpline are moving into new directions and are reaching new heights, as a direct service organisation the Sikh Helpline are consistently working towards providing a professional service to the community. The Helpline often works in partnership with great organisations and professional services to provide their volunteers with a better understanding of some of the most sensitive issues faced by people in society today.

The Sikh Helpline receives a high volumes of calls in domestic violence, such a sensitive issue is still perceived as a taboo subject within the Asian and ethnic community. Due to cultural barriers and protection of ‘honour’ within the local community, such victims often suffer in silence. The Sikh Helpline are taking positive steps forward to help break down such barriers, but are also providing professional training opportunities to all of their volunteers in order to provide a better quality of service to all those who access the helpline.

Over 25 volunteers attended the training travelling from all parts of the UK to participate in this brilliant training event.

The day was opened by the CEO of the Sikh Helpline Giani Sukha Singh who explained how the Helpline was established over 19 years ago; he continued to explain a background history of the organisation and why the service is much needed within the community. Gurneet Kaur the Senior Administrator and Project Co-ordinator of the Helpline provided an input about the current projects and initiatives that are being rolled out by the Sikh Helpline. Sonia Kaur Rai from the  Human Resource department at the Sikh Helpline also provided an overview of all the policies that are implemented and adhered to, she highlighted the importance and impact of such policies in relation to safeguarding, data protection and confidentiality. Sonia Kaur Rai continued to explain about the opportunities available to people not just to volunteer but to also look how there is room for personal development and to enhance professional expertise.

The West Midlands Police and the West Midlands Police Sikh Association played a very important role in providing training to all the volunteers throughout the day. Detective Jag Singh one of the main organisers of the event explained the overall importance of the days training and how the West Midlands Sikh Association work with local organisations to provide this much needed training to support the community. Suneeta Kaur and Hari Singh from the West Midlands Police services provided a great insight as to how the Police take and respond to calls from the public. Sergeant Harvinder Singh Rai provided his thought provoking input as to how each call is logged and taken seriously, he continued to explain the implications of the information provided by the public helps build strong evidence and cases. This training proved to be very valuable to our volunteers to encourage crimes to be reported, as many crimes go unreported due to cultural stigmatisation of the police services and the lack of understanding of how that information is used and processed.

Detective Sergeant Gagy Bedi talked about the signs and understanding of what is Domestic Violence, Forced Marriages and Honour killings. Detective Sergeant Bedi explained the clear and legal definitions of each subject providing real cases and of how reporting such heinous crimes are important. He continued to explain how the Police services respond to such cases and result in providing justice for victims and prosecution for those committing such crimes.

The Sikh Helpline, now a registered third party reporting station, received training of what hate crime is by Gary Stack. Sergeant Stack insight to what is ‘hate crime’ was an eye opener as to what consists as ?hate crime? he also provided the understanding of how the public respond to such crimes. Gary Stack?s presentation was brilliant in providing the Sikh Helpline volunteers the importance and information of hate crime and how such crimes are not always linked to race or colour.

Overall the day was brilliant and full of positive energy; one of the attendees Tanveer Kaur Bajaj said Thank you the event was very useful very warm and friendly, all persons were passionate about the work you do. The experience was very valuable, thank you for inviting me along I look forward to being a part of your mission?. The feedback received from many of the volunteers that attended the training was that the day was brilliant, informative, interesting, valuable and most importantly knowledgeable.

Some of the feedback received:

  • Had a very informative day enjoyed it very much thank you…p.s didn?t think I would learn as much as I have done …thank you again
  • The training for Sikh Helpline volunteer was very helpful and informative; all the talks were interesting and knowledgeable. I have gained a lot of knowledge of the helpline and look forward to helping and getting involved…Thank you
  • Thank you the event was very useful very warm and friendly, all persons were passionate about the work you do. The experience was very valuable, thank you for inviting me along I look forward to being a part of your mission Tanveer Kaur
  • Today was very informative, I have learnt a lot today and very grateful to all that came to participate. I think a bit more role plays and scenario?s on phone calls would have been useful. We could have put up scenarios and looked at ways to signpost the individual. ….other than that all was perfect.
  • Really enjoyed the day very informative. I now have a much better understanding of the work Sikh Helpline do. Looking forward to becoming all active volunteer
  • Very informative not at all boring, Enjoyed thoroughly feels great to know that I can be working for a fab organisation to make a difference in a society that?s needs it.
  • Overall the sessions were really informative some really good insights and interesting stats, having the WMP sections were great as their ?real life? stories also shows the impact volunteers can have 

The Sikh Helpline would like to take this opportunity to say a very big thank you to the West Midlands Police and West Midlands Police Sikh Association for all their help and support the day was great and the feedback received was very positive. Such opportunities will equip the SHL volunteers with not only a better understanding of Domestic Violence, Forced Marriages and Honour based killings, but will also provide volunteers the knowledge and understanding of how to support victims with such sensitive issues.

Visit the Sikh Helpline website at to make a donation you can also donate via cheque, please post donations to: Sikh Helpline 86 Birmingham St, Oldbury, West Midlands, B69 4EB