Child participation in the work of the helpline
- BIK Coordination Team
It is clearly important to implement and embed the UNCRC in all aspects of the work of helplines (which are services designed for young people) and ensure that the voices of children and young people are heard.
- Organisations need to map out the various areas where they work with children and young people and then identify those which would be strengthened by child participation.
- Ensure that everyone in the organisation has a shared understanding about what it means to be a child's rights organisation.
- Education is important – all members of the organisation have to buy into this and believe that they have a role to play.
- It is not enough for only the more confident and articulate to be heard. Those lacking in confidence must have a voice too and this requires more thought and planning. The Swedish helpline dedicated a lot of time and resource and put staff into schools to ensure wide representation from a range of young people of different abilities and backgrounds.
- It is important to be prepared for the unexpected – if young people don't like what you are proposing or suggest something different, then consider how this will be dealt with.
- If you involve young people in discussions and decision making, then be clear with them about what can happen as a result of their involvement.
- Accept that young people may not be able to commit to involvement on a long-term basis.
- EU Kids Online
The Insafe network of helplines is made up of helplines from 30 European countries, all dealing with online-related issues. In order to promote the effectiveness of helplines and to better understand the challenges they face, European Schoolnet (EUN), coordinator of the Insafe network, commissioned EU Kids Online to undertake a short, four-month study to identify some of the strategies which helplines can implement in demonstrating good performance and impact.