They are employed to help save lives but operators at Sydney’s triple-0 call centre are being inundated with abusive callers, some even threatening violence.
A call comes roughly every 28 seconds but 10 per cent of them contain a mix of abuse, threats, and violent language.
“We’re dealing with people at the most emotive time in their life when they actually call for help,” call taker Jane Griffiths told 7 News.
Recordings from Sydney’s triple-0 call centre demonstrates just how abusive conversations can turn.
“F*** the nurse, I don’t want the nurse, she can’t do nothing for me,” one man can be heard yelling at the operator.
“I just got some silly b**** before that wouldn’t listen, now you don’t listen … what’s wrong with you people?” another asked.
Ms Griffiths said people often forgot they were talking to a human at the other end.
“We are doing the best we can and we would like them to talk to us politely and just tell us what’s going on so we can give them the best help and send the right response to them,” she added.
Tony Gately from Triple Zero Dogs said there was a small percentage who seemed to think it was OK to use the “most vile language” towards their call takers.
“Some of the more severe stuff is really distressing and we won’t hesitate to report those worse cases to police to make a complaint,” he said.
In a bid to relieve the growing stress of triple-0 call operators, specially trained dogs are being brought in to help workers take their mind off the job – if only for a moment.
Honey, a much-loved golden retriever, has had such a profound impact on her staff, her visits will soon become permanent.
She has already been trained not to go near the green lights where call takers are taking live calls.
“I just can’t tell you how wonderful dogs make me feel,” one call taker said.
“They’re just great to have around and it’s a great distraction from a busy environment.”