This morning marks the launch of the 10th International Consultation of Child Helplines, taking place in Stockholm, Sweden and hosted by our Swedish child helpline member, BRIS.
International Consultations provide an opportunity for our child helpline members and our partners to meet, and they facilitate the sharing of experiences between child helplines and provide an international platform to discuss how and why child helplines should be seen as an essential tool for child protection.
The theme of the IC 2022 is Resilience – Children and Child Helplines during Times of Crisis.
The first part of this focus is on the resilience of children and young people, especially with regard to their mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic and during extreme crises such as the Russian-Ukrainian War; we will discuss how child helplines can further strengthen children’s resilience, and provide them with support to improve their situation. In 2021, mental health continued to be one of the two main reasons for contact reported by our Child Helpline Members globally, with almost one in three of all counselling contacts being related to this topic. This clearly shows that child helplines are at the forefront of addressing the global mental health crisis that children and young people are confronting.
At the same, the IC 2022 will also look at the resilience of our Child Helpline Members,who have shown tremendous fortitude in the face of global lockdowns, natural disasters and the consequences of armed conflicts, and the significant impacts on child protection services being able to operate as a result of these events.
Resilience has seen us all successfully overcome enormous pressures in this last period, and against these odds we have pushed on, further and further, with our work. With even more determination, we will now come together in Stockholm to support each other and to celebrate our movement and our work, which is done tirelessly each and every day and gives children and young people a voice that will truly be heard.
The IC 2022 will be opened this morning by Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, the UN’s Special Representative to the Secretary General on Violence Against Children. The consultation will take place over the next three days, offering a variety of plenary sessions and workshops to our delegates, and will culminate in the Stockholm Declaration by International Child Helplines. Watch this space!