Every child and young person has the right to be heard, the right to protection and the right to access essential services, free from bias or other barriers. Child helplines play a crucial role in enforcing and promoting children’s right globally. This was more true than ever as the Covid-19 pandemic gripped the world in 2020.
We surveyed our child helpline members in order to understand the impact the pandemic has had, not only on the children and young people who contact child helplines, but also on the child helplines’ operations. We undertook four quarterly surveys covering the whole year (January to December 2020). Our new report presents our findings, the conclusions that can be drawn from these findings, and key recommendations to ensure that child helplines can continue their vital work.
These special surveys revealed that, globally, our child helpline members received 25% more contacts in 2020 as compared to 2019. Violence and mental health were important reasons for contact globally in 2020, as they already were in 2019. However in 2020, requests for information about Covid-19, and contacts relating to family relationships, access to essential services and the caller’s own physical health emerged as the other main reasons for making contact.
The child helplines who participated in this research also reported that their operations had been noticeably impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. This impact related both to an increased demand from children and young people and to the various national restriction measures put in place in response to the pandemic.