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Safeguarding for helplines – toolkit and tips

As organisations have had to change and adapt, swapping face to face services for online and over the phone, in the face of Coronavirus the need for safeguarding is more important than ever.

No matter what type of service you deliver, helpline, webchat, listening service or telephone befriending service, you have a duty to safeguard the welfare of children, young people and adults at risk of harm or abuse. 

We have written a short toolkit designed to help you consider what your organisation needs to think about to:

  • develop a safeguarding policy 
  • identify risk and practice 
  • the measures you need to put in place  
  • your statutory requirements 

What does safeguarding mean?

Safeguarding is the action taken to promote the welfare of children and adults at risk and protect them from harm. 

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and should be a key part of every helpline’s service. 

Helplines have a duty to protect their own helpline teams – helpline staff and helpline volunteers and, the organisation. 

Developing a helpline safeguarding policy 

Every helpline service needs to have a safeguarding policy. This is the document that sets out your organisation’s safeguarding procedures. 

Your helpline’s safeguarding policy needs to reflect the types of enquiries and contacts that your service receives. 

Safeguarding procedures 

Helplines services should have clear safeguarding procedures, that the whole helpline team know about and understand, whether they are office-based or working remotely.

Confidentiality and information sharing 

It’s important for helpline teams to remember that you are only responsible for sharing safeguarding information with the relevant agencies. 

You are not responsible for the outcome. 

Safer recruitment 

Organisations should have a safer recruitment policy statement that sets out a clear message to staff, volunteers and potential applicants that you prioritise the safety and welfare of children and adults at risk.

Helpline safeguarding resources

Our 'Safeguarding for Helplines Toolkit' contains much more detailed information about safeguarding, developing a safeguarding policy and helpline safeguarding procedures, as well as links to real helpline safeguarding policy documents.  Download a copy of the toolkit

You can also find more information about helpline products and services as well as other toolkits in the publications section of our website. 

If you would like to talk to us about training, helpline services or setting up a helpline please get in touch.