Stop it Now! Helpline

If you are unsure or worried about your own thoughts or behaviour towards children, or the behaviour of someone you know, whether they are an adult or a child, our experienced advisors can offer confidential advice on what steps you could take.

The Stop it Now! Freephone Helpline - 0808 1000 900 is available from 9.00am - 9.00pm Mondays to Thursdays and from 9.00am - 5.00pm Fridays.

Alternatively you can contact us for help and advice via email at the address below: help@stopitnow.org. E-mails received at this address are anonymised to preserve confidentiality and may not be replied to immediately due to high demand for the service. We aim to respond to all emails within 3-5 working days, but if your enquiry is urgent please call the confidential Helpline - 0808 1000 900.

Please see confidentiality statement (below) before contacting us. Please be aware that e-mails sent to office@stopitnow.org.uk or any related Stop it Now! e-mail address are not confidential. You can find out more at www.stopitnow.org.uk.

Confidentiality Statement

Our telephone Helpline offers a confidential service for people seeking advice and support.  This means that when contacting us you do not have to give any identifying information such as address, telephone number or last name.

However if you do give us identifying information and we are concerned that a child is at risk or a criminal offence has been committed which the police may not be aware of, we will have to pass on that information to the appropriate agencies.

We also offer a confidential e-mail service, help@stopitnow.org.uk, on which you can contact us.  Your e-mail address will not be displayed. Due to high demand for this service, we are unfortunately unable to offer an immediate response to your enquiry . We aim to respond to all emails within 3-5 working days, but if your enquiry is urgent please call the confidential Helpline - 0808 1000 900.

How the Helpline works

Telephone helplines for children are a key part of child protection services. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of adults to protect children from abuse. Helplines for concerned adults are a powerful means of protection and prevention.

Principal target groups:

Additional groups included due to caller demand:

The Helpline’s main objectives are to:

The Helpline Protocol

The sound child protection principles on which the Helpline protocol was originally formulated remain pivotal to Stop it Now! and inform the work of all Helpline staff. 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. For those who prefer to email, details of the policy are clearly displayed on our website and in our literature. Callers are told:

“The Helpline is confidential. We will not ask you for your name or any other details, but if you do give us any information that identifies a child who has been, is being, or is at risk of being abused, we will pass this on to the appropriate agencies. We will also pass on details of any criminal offence that has been committed.”

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.

Some people find it easier to contact Stop it Now! by email, rather than by phone. help@stopitnow.org.uk offers a confidential email correspondence service. Not infrequently, the emailer will go on to speak to an operator, but has the option of continuing to email. The Helpline undertakes to reply to each email within 3-5 days of receiving it.

Helpline hours

In 2002 the Helpline operated a single telephone line, with one operator taking calls. As demand for the service increased, our funders provided additional money for a second line and we were able to extend our opening hours to:

9.00 a.m. – 9.00 p.m. Monday to Thursday 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. Friday

Since 2008, The Lucy Faithfull Foundation has funded the provision of a dedicated third line. Callers can, by appointment, speak to a specialist practitioner in more depth about their concerns and agree a schedule of ongoing protective work.

Helpline management and operation

The Director of Stop it Now! UK & Ireland directs the work of both the Stop it Now! campaign and the Helpline. Day-to-day running of the Helpline is overseen by the Helpline Coordinator, under the guidance and supervision of The Lucy Faithfull Foundation Practice Manager.

The Helpline operates from an office of The Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF), 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 sessional staff from backgrounds that include teaching, working with children with disabilities and working on other telephone Helplines (ChildLine and Samaritans).

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. 10% of all 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 chart opposite demonstrates how many call and callers we have engaged with over the last ten years and shows the on-going increase in demand. 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.

More information

Visit www.stopitnow.org.uk for more information about the Helpline and the Stop it Now! campaign.