How the Stop It Now! helpline works
Need someone to talk to?
Call our confidential helpline or send us an anonymous message.Find out more
Helplines for children are a key part of child protection services. But we can’t just leave it to children to protect themselves – it’s up to adults to keep children safe from abuse.
That’s why the confidential Stop It Now! helpline provides a safe space for people to talk about their concerns and get help to prevent child sexual abuse.
We can give you confidential advice
If you’re struggling with sexual thoughts and behaviours towards children, touching children inappropriately or looking at indecent images of under 18s online, we can help you manage your thoughts and change your behaviour.
Get help if you’re worried about your own thoughts or behaviour.
Are you worried about how someone you know behaves around children? Or about how they talk about children? Has someone you know been arrested for child sexual abuse offences, including viewing indecent images of children online? We can talk through the issues, help you take the next steps and make sure children are safe.
Get support if you’re worried about someone else’s behaviour.
Are you worried about a child or young person’s sexual behaviour around other children? Or maybe you’re not sure what is normal sexual behaviour in children and young people. Perhaps you’re worried about the possible consequences of saying or doing something? It’s important to remember that you are not alone – we can help you.
Get support if you’re concerned about a child or young person’s sexual behaviour.
We also support:
- Adults concerned about a child or young person who may have been abused
- Professionals calling for case advice
- Adult survivors of child sexual abuse
Our main purpose is to help prevent child sexual abuse.
Through our helpline, we:
- Talk through the issues, helping callers clarify their concerns;
- Explore any immediate child protection considerations;
- Provide information and support to help callers make sense of their situation and think about next steps;
- Discuss options available, including referral to another agency or our own follow-up services;
- Advise callers about actions to consider and agree one or more protective actions the caller will take.
We support people to take the steps needed to keep children safe.
Our confidential secure messaging service
Some people find it easier to send us a secure, anonymous message, rather than phoning. Or you might like to use both the helpline and email services.
What to expect when you call the helpline
As a child protection charity, the safety of children lies at the heart of the work of the helpline.
Our confidentiality policy is explained to callers at the beginning of their call, and these details are clearly displayed on our website.
“The helpline is confidential. We will not ask you for your name or any other details, but if you do give us any information that identifies a child who has been, is being, or is at risk of being abused, we will pass this on to the appropriate agencies. We will also pass on details of any criminal offence that has been committed.”
The helpline guidelines continue to be revised and developed for the use of helpline operators, in line with sound child protection principles and good practice. If possible, we put callers in touch with relevant local agencies and sources of help and support that they can access, and provide them with web-based resources where appropriate.
Mondays – Thursdays: 9am – 9pm
Fridays: 9am – 5pm
We’re closed on weekends and bank holidays.
Helpline management and operation
The Director of Stop It Now! UK & Ireland directs the work of both the Stop It Now! campaign and the helpline. Day-to-day running of the helpline is overseen by the helpline Coordinator, under the guidance and supervision of The Lucy Faithfull Foundation Practice Manager.
The helpline operates from an office of The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, in order to have access to LFF practitioners. These staff, with professional backgrounds in working with child sexual abuse in statutory agencies, undertake shifts on the helpline and provide peer support to other colleagues. They also provide a call-back and face-to-face service to callers who need ongoing advice or support in particular circumstances.
As well as utilising LFF permanent staff, the helpline is supported by a number of sessional staff from backgrounds that include teaching, working with children with disabilities and working on other telephone helplines (Childline and Samaritans).
Monitoring and evaluation
Clear and accurate record keeping is essential to the management and evaluation of the helpline service. Each call or email that the helpline receives is logged under a first name or pseudonym, with subsequent contact being recorded on ‘follow-on’ log sheets for clarity and continuity. 10% of all calls are audited on a monthly basis, to inform staff supervision, to ensure the quality of our service and to meet criteria agreed with the Ministry of Justice. An electronic database enables us to analyse call trends. Our recording and auditing systems are subject to regular review, to ensure accurate recording and good quality of service to our callers.
Increased caller demand
Since the helpline was established in 2002 callers have increased year on year. The graph shows the calls and callers we have engaged with over the years and shows the increase in demand we have experienced. Our experienced operators have been able, and continue to offer information and advice to a range of people calling with issues surrounding child sexual abuse including:- abusers and potential abusers; adults concerned about another adult, child or young person; adults concerned about a child who may have been abused; professionals and adult survivors.