Hallock manages paid crisis counselors as well as volunteers, and estimated that between the two, the Trevor Project has more than a thousand people working on the crisis care phone lines (with the majority being volunteers). The organization has rapidly scaled up its crisis services in recent years; in 2022 it averaged ten times as many inbound crisis contacts as it did in 2017, Teen Vogue reported last year.Hallock said that people who provide direct crisis care are now regularly forced to deal with prank callers and worse. Some of those bad faith actors are people who start a call off with slurs, but can include people threatening violence against the organization, or someone attempting to get screen grabs of a conversation to share with conservative media or social media accounts, “to try to make it look like we’re doing something wrong in supporting trans youth that reach out to us.”
The organization has rapidly scaled up its crisis services in recent years; in 2022 it averaged ten times as many inbound crisis contacts as it did in 2017.
People who provide direct crisis care are now regularly forced to deal with prank callers and worse.
Victoria “VT” Tonikian, a goal setting manager who also co-chairs a transgender affinity group for employees at the Trevor Project, cited the 4chan attack as an example of the need for better support for workers who handle those calls. “Seeing that and understanding what our counselors and frontline agents have to deal with, it’s definitely imperative,” they said. Emma Turzillo, a training operations associate at the Trevor Project, also said that she wants to see “trauma-informed” policies for workers who deal with harassment such as the 4chan attack. “We need to account for that so that those people that are giving their time and energy to contributing to this mission can best support the overwhelming majority of good actor callers,” Turzillo said.
“It’s a hard job to do, and especially when we have these kinds of attacks on our service that are outside what we really came here to do, which is support youth in crisis.”