Code of Conduct
Our mission of helping texters in their most vulnerable moments is at the forefront of what we do. Crisis Text Line is committed to providing a healthy and respectful environment for everyone involved in bringing this mission to life. This is a collective effort that thrives off the generosity and commitment of all the staff and volunteers. This Code of Conduct models the kind of community we want to be a part of — a community that centers the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Every one of us is responsible for recognizing and being accountable for the impact of our own actions. When we receive feedback that we have (even unintentionally) made someone uncomfortable, we commit to immediately incorporating that feedback, and to respect the reasonable requests of our staff to maintain an appropriate and inclusive atmosphere on the Platform and on Our Network. Cooperation and an open mind are expected.
SUPPORTING THE NEEDS OF TEXTERS:
- Volunteers commit to striving to serve their 200-hour volunteer commitment while abiding by Crisis Text Line’s training, policies, and procedures, including incorporating feedback and further learning.
- Community members may not share their personal information, other than their first name, with texters.
- Engaging with — or seeking to engage with — texters outside of the Platform is strictly prohibited.
- Additionally, engaging with texters on the Platform that a volunteer knows personally is also prohibited. If a volunteer becomes aware during a conversation on the Platform that a texter is personally known to them, they are required to transfer the conversation as soon as possible.
- Integrity matters deeply to us. We will not tolerate any misconduct meant to serve a dishonest or nefarious purpose, including but not limited to excessively transferring or closing conversations to level up or accrue time on the Platform, misrepresenting one’s identity to circumvent wellness breaks or disciplinary measures, or other deceptive acts.
- Volunteers commit to being on the Platform for at least one hour per shift, so as to minimize transferred conversations.
- It is the responsibility of everyone in the Community to stay up to date on training content by utilizing training materials and reviewing tip sheets on the Platform.
- Crisis Text Line offers volunteers the opportunity to benefit from professionally trained staff members, specifically Supervisors and Coaches for questions and support regarding any activity on the Platform. This relationship is a vital part of our ability to offer service to texters and must be respected at all times. In order to enjoy these benefits volunteers need to engage, respond and collaborate with their assigned Supervisors and Coach.
- We are a diverse Community made up of individuals of different backgrounds. Anything that harms one of us, hurts all of us, including but not limited to bullying or harassment of any kind. We will not tolerate racism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, bigotry, or other hateful behavior.
- We will treat all members of the Community with respect and accept personal responsibility for our own conduct on and off the Platform (e.g. the Network, Crisis Text Line social media sites, etc.) and be considerate about the feelings of others and how our words or behaviors are impactful.
- The Platform must be focused on supporting texters in crisis. Chat may be used to seek support in a conversation, debrief, or to engage in casual and respectful conversation with other Community members. Conversations related to religion, politics, and social stances are important to our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion but should not take place on the Platform in order to preserve the texter-first focus.
- Address all members of the Community by their correct names and pronouns; if their pronouns are not evident we recommend the use of gender neutral pronouns (they/them/theirs/elle).
- External groups (Facebook groups, Discord channels, etc.) formed by volunteers are not to be affiliated with Crisis Text Line in any way and are not able to be moderated by our staff.
COMMITMENT TO YOUR WELLBEING:
- If debriefing after a difficult conversation is needed, volunteers may use the following means of doing so, as appropriate:
- (i) speaking with a Supervisor or Platform Coordinator on the Platform,
- (ii) posting in the debrief chat on the Platform,
- (iii) emailing their Coach, or
- (iv) posting in designated Debriefing groups in Our Network
- Debriefing through appropriate channels limits triggering content for community members and ensures the best level of support for volunteers.
- Volunteers are encouraged to communicate with their Coach if they need an extended break from volunteering due to a personal crisis.
- We understand that we all have personal struggles, so we encourage volunteers to seek support from their personal networks and text in anonymously if they are in crisis. Volunteers must not seek emotional support or share triggering experiences unrelated to conversations while using their Platform account or Our Network.
- Occasionally, staff may require a volunteer to take time away from the Platform to refresh their skills.
- Everyone in the Community must use a secure computer in a private space.
- Taking and/or sharing screenshots or photos of the Platform, conversations with texters, training materials, or comments made on Our Network is forbidden unless taken to accompany a misconduct report that will be shared exclusively with staff ( see below ).
- Sharing personal information (such as name, age, location, or other personal identifiers from a conversation) of texters, volunteers, or staff with anyone outside of our Community in any form is strictly prohibited.
- Sharing information, including about events, that are designated for members of the volunteer community is prohibited.
In the event that Crisis Text Line staff learn of conduct by a volunteer that violates the Code of Conduct, an escalation process will result that follows the guidelines below:
- Quality/Policy Escalation
- If a volunteer is struggling to incorporate appropriate training behaviors and skills in their conversations, a Supervisor will escalate quality/policy concerns to the volunteer’s Coach. After reviewing the escalation, a Coach may reach out to the volunteer to provide notification of the escalation, specific instances that were in violation of the Code of Conduct, and recommend next steps including Coach feedback on the conversation. Volunteers agree to utilize Coach and Supervisor feedback in an effort to improve and learn, according to training.
- Emergency Escalation
○ In the event that an emergency escalation has been submitted for an egregious violation of our Code of Conduct (usually involving privacy or safety risks) or a repeated pattern of conversation quality issues, the volunteer will temporarily be removed from the Platform while the Crisis Counselor Policy Review Committee (“CCPRC”) investigates the report.
- If the behavior occurs during a conversation, a Supervisor may take over the conversation and lock the volunteer’s account.
- The CCPRC consists of a cross-functional team of leaders in the organization who are tasked with reviewing severe violations of our Code of Conduct and related policies. The severity of the response by the CCPRC will be proportional to the seriousness of the misconduct, up to and including dismissal from the Community altogether.
This Code of Conduct is a living document and will be reviewed on a quarterly basis, as well as periodically updated.
Last updated March 17, 2023