Helpline support officers (Information and advocacy) x 2

Brake is a road safety charity working with communities and organisations to stop the tragedy of road deaths and injuries, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and support people bereaved and seriously injured on roads. You can read more about Brake’s work at

This job is a highly intellectually challenging role central to the work of the charity in its delivery of services to people bereaved and injured by road crashes.

Working in a post part-funded by the Ministry of Justice, and with full support from an experienced supervisor and management team, you will be providing over the phone a one-stop-shop of support that meets bereaved and injured clients’ needs to exacting standards in line with protocol.

You will be liaising with clients who are facing their darkest hour. You will be required to do so in a highly sensitive and empathetic manner, providing emotional support alongside complex information and advocacy requiring high level diplomacy skills and confidence in desk-based research utilising the internet, phone and your natural tenacity and problem solving talents. People looking for a general support role should not apply.

More information about Brake’s support services for road crash victims can be found at and further information about supporting people who have been suddenly bereaved is available at



Part-time: 3 days (18hrs-21.75hrs, depending on availability)

Salary grade: £20k to £25k pro-rata dependent on experience

Location: Brake head office in West Yorkshire (Huddersfield)


Your duties

Working in one of the most demanding yet rewarding roles in the charity, you will be helping people bereaved and seriously injured in one of the most violent and sudden circumstances - through a road crash. Providing expert assistance over our telephone and email based helpline, you will: provide detailed and accurate information on complex topics; liaise on victims’ behalf with a range of professionals; and provide sensitive and empathetic support to people in deep despair.

Our helpline, which has been awarded the Helplines Quality Standard, aims to enable people who have suffered horrendous tragedies gain access to the information, help and support they need to recover and lead full and meaningful lives again.

Victims often have a wide range of complex emotional and information needs. Your role will be to get to the heart of what these needs are through intelligent, empathetic questioning and to provide support and help. You will be able to do this even when the client is in extreme distress. You will grasp complex issues, carry out research where necessary, and find fast and effective solutions that are individually tailored and really help, often in partnership with external agencies.

Many clients are suffering extreme trauma symptoms and some are suicidal. Your empathetic listening and emotional support skills will help clients through the most terrible time imaginable. While this is not a counselling role, it is essential that you can show that you have the emotional maturity, understanding and resilience to work with people who have suffered the worst imaginable sudden bereavement. Often calls relate to the death of someone at the heart of a family such as a parent or a child or teenager in violent and totally unexpected circumstances – as well as people who have suffered devastating injuries. You will hear these stories daily from people who will expect you to be sensitive to the full horror of what they are going through and respond with understanding, warmth and compassion.

The role involves providing clear and accurate information over the phone and via email to clients on wide-ranging topics: from criminal charges and coroner court procedures, to civil law and post mortem examinations. Much of this information will be at hand in Brake’s acclaimed guides, but some will require independent research with speed and accuracy. You will be a natural researcher and understand the importance of checking and double checking a fact before you relay it to a client.

Advocacy provided by you could mean a range of different challenges such as working with a council to negotiate the placing of a roadside memorial despite a council policy of generally not allowing such memorials; persuading an over-subscribed local counselling service to provide prompt support; or working with a GP to explain the symptoms of post-traumatic stress and seek appropriate therapy for a client. Tasks such as these are common and require high level diplomacy and negotiation skills, as well as a talent for real-world problem solving and persuading external agencies to go the extra mile on behalf of our service users.

The role therefore requires a high degree of sensitivity and empathy, professionalism and confidentiality, and the ability to work effectively with people in utter crisis, who are displaying a wide range of complex needs and strong emotions. You will be able to engender trust and partnership among clients and external stakeholders, and you will have the confidence and maturity to work collaboratively with colleagues in a fast-paced team environment and to ask for help and support when needed.

Given the complexity of the role and the need to ensure quality across all support provision, you will be expected to follow extensive protocols and comprehensively record full information of what you do on computer based records, including a Sage contact database and excel spreadsheets. Effective record keeping is an essential part of the role. A good working knowledge of IT systems, particularly Microsoft Office is therefore needed.

The successful candidate will be provided with full training to enable you to provide effective emotional support as well as do the critical information and advocacy aspects of the role. You will also be given full support including line management and occupational health debriefs and the opportunity to attend Brake’s acclaimed conferences and seminars on sudden death and injury, led by prestigious academics and practitioners in the field. 

As well as the day to day tasks, you will also be expected to be a team player and all-rounder who understands the pressures on charities and is prepared to get stuck in and help out with other tasks vital to the success of the service such as spending time marketing the service externally, giving presentations to other support professionals, helping improve our systems of operation, etc.


To apply:

Send your CV to, accompanied by a 500 word covering letter outlining what your employment would bring to the charity. Applications not in the specified format or submitted past the deadline will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 4pm on Monday 13th March 2017.
Interview dates: Interviews will take place on Tuesday 21st March 2017, and you may be called for second interview on Tuesday 28th March 2017.
Start date for the role: w/c 5th June 2017

Due to the high volume of applications that Brake receives per position we are unable to provide feedback on individual applications or answer questions from applicants. If applicants have not been contacted by 17/03/17 then they should assume their application has not been successful.

Brake is an equal opportunity employer.

Due to the nature of Brake’s work, we cannot consider applications from traffic offenders.

In line with our values, Brake will also not accept applications from people who intend to commute a significant distance to the office by car, and encourages employees to commute in ways that are sustainable and active; our UK head office is opposite Huddersfield train station which has cycle storage facilities.

Due to the nature of this role, the successful applicant will be required to pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (criminal records) check.

Person specification | job description