How the Stop It Now! UK and Ireland helpline works

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! UK and Ireland helpline provides a safe space for people to talk about their concerns and get help to prevent child sexual abuse.

Call us on 0808 1000 900, use our live chat or send us a secure message.

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:

We work to 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 use our live chat or 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 anonymous and confidential, so you don’t have to give me any identifying information. If you do give me such information and a child has been abused, a crime has been committed or there is a risk of harm to anyone including children or yourself, then I would have to pass that information on.”

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.

Opening hours

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 and Ireland directs the work of both the Stop It Now! campaign and the helpline. The day-to-day running of the helpline is overseen by the helpline managers, under the guidance and supervision of The Lucy Faithfull Foundation senior helpline 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 trained advisors from backgrounds that include the criminal justice system, teaching, working with children with disabilities, working on other telephone helplines (Childline and Samaritans), counselling, and child protection.

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. 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.


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