Open Forum - CHILD HELPLINE INTERNATIONAL
07 December 2016 - A Open Forum on in Guadalajara,Mexico
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: Good morning, everybody. Sorry on begin a little late. Thanks for being with us here today. I'm Sheila Donovan, executive direct of Child Helpline International. We are based ‑‑ we're not live streaming yet? Then I'll wait. We have participants coming in from Chicago and New York also to present, so we'll wait until we can get the live stream going.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: I'm told we're ready and live streaming. All right. This is going to be a nice, cozy session. All right. Shall we begin? Unfortunately, we don't have the room forever, and I can speak about this forever, but we can't do this. All right. This session is, I think, I'll give you a brief introduction how this is structured.
I will give you an introduction on what a child helpline does and what we do at Child Helpline International, and I'll pass this along to John Karr and Clara Sumrer (phonetic), speaking about a project that Child Helpline International undertook this year under UNICEF's global program.
We have participants coming in to present from Chicago from National Runaway Safeline in Chicago and from New York Crisis Textline. I will get started with this right away.
How do I even make this go? There we go. There we are. All right. I'm going to start with a very brief video to show you what a child helpline does. This is a video that was done by Childline NSCPP. Do we have sound?
There's an echo between the two speakers. They don't seem to be synchronized correctly. We can come back to that, and what I will do is then go back to ‑‑ (indiscernible conversation).
>> I can talk to anybody about anything, well, almost anything. My mom says I can talk behind ‑‑ I reckon I can chat to anyone about anything, almost anybody. My mom says I can talk the behind off a donkey, whatever that means. I had a problem because I didn't think anyone I knew would understand. It got bigger and bigger in my head, so I thought I might speak to child line. I heard you could talk to them about anything.
My cousin called them about bullying and said talking helped and it was completely free. I feel like I could chat myself, so how would I find out? Who would I talk to? What would happen? Would anyone else get to know about it? I didn't want the whole world knowing my business, least of all my mum. So I went on the Childline site and found loads of information. You can talk to Childline online as well call them. It works the same way on the phone.
You just type instead of talking. Either way, I'd be in charge of what was said and what was happen next. I could trust them with as much or as little as I wanted to say and whatever I preferred and I could give them a different name if it made it easier. I thought about chatting online, but I find it easier to talk about something. I checked when I could call, and it said anytime so I just went for it.
After I dialed the number, I felt really sick and thought about hanging out. I came this far. What did I have to lose? Someone answered and this man said, hi, you're through to Childline. I have this problem and I don't think anyone will understand. Would you like to talk to somebody about it? Yeah, I don't want my mom to find out. He said that was fine. The call is between me and the counselor unless they thought someone's life was in real danger. That was the only bit that might change things.
He said he'd put me in a cue, and I had to stay on the line a bit. I waited and thought how can I do this? After a while this woman, a counselor, came on the line. I couldn't get my words out first. It's more like me. She said don't worry, take your time. So I told her all about it. She was great. She didn't talk too much to start off. She just let me say everything.
Then she asked if it was hard to call. Yeah, I said, but this has helped. So what do you reckon I should do? She asked if I had ideas. We figured out I had choices and they could work out in different ways.
There's something I can do to change it after all. That was amazing, just doing that. All of a sudden it felt like I had a plan. It wasn't like I made an idiot of myself and hadn't blabbed to the entire world. The call wouldn't even appear on the phone bill. I felt like I was in charge and can trust them. They helped me decide what I wanted to do. It felt great.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: So you see that that is what Childline U.K. The Childline is there to help kids and empowers them and find a way to act forward. That was probably one of the audios we're going to get from our National Runaway Safeline in Chicago a little later.
Can we go back? So just as an indicator of some of the ‑‑ the Child Helpline International has 180 members in 140 countries around the world. Childline U.K. is, of course, one of our most important numbers. The data are very interesting in terms of the numbers of contacts that are received around the world by child helplines.
I've only got ‑‑ this slide only shows here what the contacts via SMS are and via chat, partly because that's growing so much. However, that being said, the greatest number of contacts received by child helplines around the world are by the telephone. So 2015, contacts that were answered altogether including chat SMS, e‑mail, regular mail and walk‑ins, were almost 20 million. So 19,500,000.
What we call responded to contacts, in other words, where there was a case, where there was a conversation of meaning apart from asking for information or even hang‑ups or pranks was about 3,600,000. So it's a lot of kids who are being ‑‑ a lot of children and young people being counseled by child helplines around the world.
As I was saying earlier, the growth in method of contact is growing in terms of online contacts. And I think that that is simply the beginning that started a number of years ago, but it's really growing almost exponentially, and I believe that that will continue.
So Child Helpline International, this is our belief statement.
That every child has a voice. When their voices are heard, children are empowered to participate in society and fulfill their potential. We believe that no child should be left unheard. So what do we do at Child Helpline International?
We make sure the world listens and do a lot of advocacy work and reporting based on the data from the member helplines. We do traumatic reports as well. You see one on sexual and reproductive health rights we did late last year, and we do every year a voices of children publication and a violence against children publication. We're trying to highlight some of the reasons why children and young people are calling helplines.
Apart from making the world listen or asking the world to listen to us, we listen to the listeners and help them help each other. We do a lot of capacity building, a lot of peer exchanges, a lot of meetings amongst helplines. We forge partnerships, which is one of the our most important elements, and we're extremely grateful to the member helplines because without them we wouldn't be a network, obviously. That's our value‑add, particularly for our members is part of the equation.
Here's some of the partners we work with. Some are in the room. I'm very happy to say UNICEF is an extremely important partner. You'll hear more about this program from earlier in year. We work with Facebook and Telenor, and we work in terms of training with INHOPE and there are a lot more than that. We wanted to highlight some of the more important partnerships that we have.
And I thought since most of this session today isn't just about Child Helpline, but it's about as well as child online protection and it's about the We Protect program that I would show this next video, which is one we just launched in Bangkok at our big international consultation last month. And it highlights some of the risks that young people are facing today within their online lives.
>> I have 106 friends.
>> I have this one.
>> This year, 27.
>> What you got there?
>> Hot chocolate.
>> We talk about anything.
>> My mom says I can do that.
>> That's cute.
>> What is?
>> The way you bite your lip.
>> Vodka tonic or whiskey cola?
>> Whiskey cola.
>> Oh, it's beautiful. How did you get my address?
>> You look different today somehow. No, no. Take the other one off.
>> This can't be.
>> Tonight. We had a deal.
>> I was just at my friend's house. I turned my phone off, but I did text you.
>> Don't turn your phone off. I never ignore you like that. Oh, where's daddy, then? Send us a better pic this time. We're getting impatient. Closer. Closer. Tell me why I shouldn't send it around.
That's not enough anymore, Mya. Send me another one. Send me another one. Who are you going to call? What about mom? No, I didn't think so.
>> Hi. You reached the Child Helpline.
>> AUDIENCE: That was creepy.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: Sorry. So, yes, it's a tough video to watch. It really is. And you'll see from what John and Clara are going to tell you about, the baseline work we did in 17 target countries as well as in nine other countries to look at best practices that a lot of the contacts that we received about online abuse tend to be of this sort.
So kids are calling about this kind of thing, and they're calling about sexual extortion and grooming a lot, and about cyber‑bullying. I'm going to turn this over to Clara and John.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. John Karr, as you know, is a world-renowned expert in everything. Of course, he's also, I think, as you remember, on the executive board on the U.K. Council on Child Internet Safety as well as an adviser to ECPAT and also many other roles. So John, if you would take this, please. Thank you.
>> JOHN KARR: I will. That's me at Lord's Cricket Grounds in England where you have to wear silly hats. Does everybody understand about cricket? We probably don't have time to explain it all right now. I'm going to be facilitating this next bit. So Clara, why don't you go first, and give us UNICEF's ‑‑ can you come through?
>> SPEAKER: Thank you. So, yes, I'm Clara, and I'm a child protection specialist at UNICEF headquarters on violence and exploitation. I manage a global program to build capacity to tackle online child sexual exploitation last year. I wanted to situate a little bit this LEAP project within this program, and I think many of you actually participated in the We Protect yesterday, but for those who did not and who is not familiar with the We Protect global alliance to end online child exploitation initiative, former Prime Minister David Cameron in the United Kingdom hosted the first We Protect children online summit in London in 2014 we're building on the work against child abuse online.
At this summit it was ministry of interior and justice, law enforcement agencies, technology companies and international NGOs and national NGOs and Interpol and UNICEF participated at the summit. At this summit, governments, international organizations, and the technology companies signed up to statements of actions committing themselves to urgently end online sexual exploitation. Last year in Abu Dhabi a follow‑up summit was held in November 2015, and there will be another summit next year towards the end of next year.
In Abu Dhabi, the countries also signed up to what is called the We Protect model international response.
They signed up to have a coordinated national responsible at country level between the governments and private sector and NGOs and also in support of U.N. agencies. At this summit the U.K. government also pledged 50 million pounds to fund to end violence against children, and they committed 10 million pounds in the first year through a bilateral agreement to UNICEF for us to set up this global program to build capacity to tackle online child sexual exploitation that we implemented with many of the partners here in the room today. In 17 countries across six radio regions and activities at a global level.
Why I mention this global program is because it's the first ever multi‑national cross‑regional effort to address online sexual exploitation and it's instrumental too translate the commitments at global level on the ground and simultaneously calling attention to the issue at the global level.
My slides. So the global program has been implemented in 17 countries in five regions it says, but it should be six regions. That's okay. One of the regions is Latin America and the Caribbean. We had five countries there. Those are the countries of the We Protect program that UNICEF with other partners and they're the countries in yellow.
We had four countries in the Africa and two countries in the Middle East and northern Africa, and three countries in eastern Europe and one country in south Asia and two countries in eastern and southern ‑‑ eastern ‑‑ in the eastern Pacific. Sorry. I'm stumbling here.
One of the main pillars of the work of the global program and also the We Protect model national response is to ensure we identify and rescue the child victims, but also ensure they receive support services once they have been rescued and are identified. This was a key pillar of the global program, and that's where we started to work with Child Helplines on the ground we worked with nine helplines in the countries and we worked with Child Helpline International at a global level to really also ensure that we have reporting mechanisms to reach so children can call and report crimes and be referred to services. We know this is an integral part of child protection system at country level.
So in addition to these ‑‑ so what we did together with Child Helpline is that we decided that, you know, online sexual exploitation is a relatively new issue in many of these 17 countries, and in many of these countries the helplines might not be adequately addressing this issue, might not know how to address it and might not be familiar with it.
So we decided that it would be a good undertake a baseline assessment and a needs assessment of the capacities of the helplines in the countries, in these 17 countries. And that's, I think ‑‑ John will speak more about the findings of this baseline and needs assessment that was done through a survey and also through regional meetings.
In addition to the 17 countries, we also recognize that they're quite a lot of countries, these nine countries that you see in blue here, you know, United States, Australia, United Kingdom, et cetera, that already have helplines in place that are addressing the issue of online sexual exploitation, so also bringing in the experience with these countries and looking at what are the best practice models.
So here are the nine countries, so it was a Canada, Egypt, New Zealand, Palestine, Poland, United Kingdom and United States, and these are the helplines where they address it in different ways.
Now I hand it over to John to present on the regulations.
>> JOHN KARR: Because I can see Professor Livingston in the room and Jasmina, I want to assure you will there be a report published at some time. There is a report already with the data.
>> It will be ready very soon. We're putting the final touches on the full report.
>> We should also say already the regional reports are ready. They're in the public domain.
>> JOHN KARR: I'd forgotten that. There is a summary report en route available soon with all the numbers. Obviously, I'm from the United Kingdom, and even if you were ‑‑ even if you were not in any way involved with children's issues professionally as I am, you would know about Child Helpline. When they do these annual kind of market research things to test the awareness of brands, NSPCC and ChildLine is up there with Nike, Coca‑Cola, and the BBC in terms of awareness on the part of the British public.
Bus stops, everywhere you go pretty much you see some kind of advertisement or placard about ChildLine. They don't record the fact that you made a call to the helpline, if that's what you do. So even if your parents saw the bill or saw the records of who had been ringing who, they would never see that because that's something that the phone companies do.
I was very much involved with ChildLine at the beginning, because there was a moment not that long ago when they didn't do any online stuff or they didn't deal with online cases. Today ‑‑ again, they published their annual reports. Online issues, sexting, online bullying, pedophile activity has been a very, very significant part of their annual ‑‑ of their daily workload. So for me, it was great to be involved with this project, because for me it was interesting to see how other Child Helplines were facing up to it.
The good news is all of them were aware of the fact that this was a growing issue, but for some of them, as we see in a minute when I get around to doing what I was asked to do, for some of them at the moment they acknowledge that their knowledge and understanding of this problem is very, very low, which is why it was great that UNICEF and the We Protect was able to embark upon this, because this is tomorrow ‑‑ I mean it's today for us in many of the richer countries, and it's tomorrow for everybody else.
It's great that we're all moving in that direction. So, yeah, some of the actual results ‑‑ oh, I can do it now. Just point at this? All right.
Actually, I can't see that screen from over there. I'm sorry. Okay. So there we are. So before we ‑‑
>> JOHN KARR: I missed the Cairo one. There's Paraguay and Nairobi. I have to stand over there because I can't see the screen very well. It's my age and these lousy glasses. I went to Paraguay and the one in Nairobi and the one in London. It was a very interesting way from the Child Helplines or people involved in child protection at each of these meetings. Indiscernible). These are the organizations. (Low volume) program in the near future. I think they were changing their minds at the end of the sessions, but that was the state of play at the point where we, as it were, intervened.
I mean, I don't think we ‑‑ it was true to say that everybody had some basic knowledge that this issue ‑‑ apart from the fact they were at this seminar that that's what we were talking about. Just the fact that they were there meant they have some knowledge of it. I have to say in some instances that knowledge was extremely basic, and yet, as we've seen from the videos and from what I know from the U.K., this is a really, really important bit of the child protection where I'm now absolutely convinced that just as every country in the world needs a hot line for reporting child abuse image material, every country in the world should have at least one major helpline, which has got an online component to it, because of the help that it can give to children, often in very, very desperate circumstances with nobody else to speak to.
It's a big deal to speak to anybody about these things when you're feeling so kind of worried and uncertain, to speak to the state or to your parents is just ‑‑ it just won't happen. Often it leads to tragic results. Suicide, self‑harm and all that kind of thing. So those helplines are a great evangelist for them, partly as a result in being involved in this work.
There's no point in me reading out what's on the screen, because I'm sure everyone in the room is capable of reading. When are these people going to ‑‑ so they're waiting for me now. I tell you what, is the link to the report in this presentation? I can't remember. We'll put link up in a minute so you can see the more detailed report if you want to, to see some of these findings. I think I'll stop now, and we'll ‑‑ we've got two people ringing in who are going to speak with videos. One from Chicago and one from New York.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: If I may, can you continue one more. Sorry, John. Generally, of course, what most of the findings from the 17 countries where we were ‑‑ where we did this project and looked to the baseline was primarily around capacity building for helplines. It's both for counselor capacity building. It's for, obviously, CRM capacity building, making sure the tax on my and terminology is correct. There was interesting feedback from the helplines about not understanding what some of these terms meant.
When we did the survey, it was very interesting. What is grooming? What is sexting? What does all this mean, and how do I translate that into my language? I thought that was a very interesting finding so people really did understand what kids were really calling about. Their counselors didn't know, and neither did the executives know.
We need a lot around terminology and awareness raising. They gave us interesting reasons why they think children and young people don't call. Primarily, it's so taboo that ‑‑ it's so shameful they won't speak to a confidentiality and anonymous source and anonymous counselor about these kinds of things. I think that's another interesting finding.
Just one second. Clara wants to say something as well.
>> SPEAKER: I wanted to add something. In Nairobi we had a discussion about streaming, online child sex abuse via streaming. There was a group there that worked ‑‑ I can't remember the name of that gigantic shantytown in Nairobi. It's the biggest in Africa. They're very actively working with children in there. They stood up and said in an innocent and straightforward way.
Yeah, it's happening, but it's not sex abuse because there isn't another person in the room. You're doing it by your own on a camera and getting money for it. So, for them, they didn't think of it as being a problem of abuse because they simply saw this as an easy way that didn't involve actual physical contact with anybody. You know, that shows you, again, the kind of sorts of things that this work was uncovering.
I'd never heard of ‑‑ obviously, I heard about cases in the Philippines and Cambodia and places like that where as far as I knew everybody knew immediately it was bad and wrong, but this is an innocent take on it coming out of Kenya.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: Thank you, John. Clara also wanted to mention something.
>> JOHN KARR: Maybe to add one of the main findings of all the meetings and the main report is that also most helplines didn't have specific protocols to deal with cases with online child sexual exploitation and abuse. They have protocols for dealing with violence, sexual abuse and exploitation, but they didn't know how to deal with these cases. That was one of the main findings where we need to work together to help the helplines to develop the protocols. It's really about capacity building and victim identification and data capturing and the data collection. That came out strongly as well from the report.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: It did. The other part around capacity building isn't just the training of counselors and getting the terminology correct. It's also building up their referral networks in their countries, and that's a very hard thing to do sometimes as we know. We talk about some countries where police can't be trusted. They don't have a reporting mechanism for child sexual abuse imagery, for example.
They do it, but they put everything under a cybercrime tip line. So it means that also the people receiving the calls on the end aren't trained either to receive the calls and do something about them. Some of the legislation is really very antiquated and not up to date.
So the purpose of these studies that we did was not just the Child Helpline but how do they work within their national context? And does it work or not? So the findings I think are very interesting on an individual basis, and the full report has individual country profiles as well. I have to say one thing as well, which I find ‑‑ which I always say, there are some countries in this study that don't have a Child Helpline at all. That's another area where I think we have light of work to do as well.
So I encourage you to look at the report of the I will send around the link. I'm sorry. I need to keep it going because we're sort of late. What I'd like to do is call in Gordon Vance from the National Runaway Safeline in Chicago.
Gordon is the director of programs for the National Runaway Safeline, and he's been with them for a long time. He's very ‑‑ he's extremely well‑versed in a lot of these problems, and he's going to, I think, be talking about the issue of a child or a young person being lured to run away, lured into being trafficked through Internet connections. In other words, mainly through social media. So Gordon, if you're there.
There we are. Yes. Gordon, can you hear us? Can you hear us, Gordon? Maybe not. You need to turn your microphone on. Hang on. I'll just send him an e‑mail, I think, or a text. Gordon, can you hear us? Is your microphone on? Can you please speak and say something? Gordon? Can you say something, please, so we see if we can hear you.
>> AUDIENCE: While we're getting connected can we have comments and questions?
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: We're going to take advantage. Poor Gordon is talking. Of course, let's take some questions.
>> AUDIENCE: Wait a minute.
>> AUDIENCE: Sheila, I think you have another question down there.
>> AUDIENCE: Hello. My name is Juan Pedro. There's outlines in Europe work alongside in safe youth ambassador. Why aren't these helplines included in the We Protect project? Even as a case study or perhaps just ‑‑ perhaps you could explain that.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: For safer Internet? Safer Internet?
>> AUDIENCE: Yes.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: My understanding is, first of all, safer Internet is primarily Europe, so most of the target countries are not part of the safer Internet network. We did use some of, I believe, as best practices those who are also members of the safer Internet program.
For example, Poland, which is empowering children foundation. So, yes, they were involved as best practice, but because the target countries are not part of the in safe network, then no. INHOPE is hot lines and not helplines.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you so much. This is wonderful work that helplines do. I want to mention in our research that Sonya and I did, we didn't do many countries but some of the countries are also members here and were included in your work as well. We found when children encounter something online that bothers them, they go to their peers and maybe the parents and maybe about 29% to teachers and fewer to professionals.
So, obviously, there's a need for an outreach so the children speak more to available professionals and helplines, given that a few of them would consider that. Also, my question was, do you have peer services, peer‑to‑peer support services through these helplines? Children may feel more at ease talking to somebody of their own age who can in a way help them, if it's at all possible.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: Indeed, that's a really good question, and there are helplines that do that have. ChildLine U.K. does, and the Dutch Kinder telephone does as well. Those are the two I know of specifically.
Gordon, unfortunately, we can't hear him right now. He has a young person who is also a counselor with him. At the National Runaway Safeline are under 18. I think 16 is the youngest that people use.
At Child Helpline International we would like to encourage that and to spread that practice to other helplines. It's more difficult in other cultures, I think. There's ‑‑
>> JOHN KARR: In the U.K. ChildLine is ‑‑ even in the U.K. where ChildLine is a massive organization, like a Rolls‑Royce organization in some ways, I still think it's the case that kids will speak to each other first very often, and ChildLine probably gets the harder or more difficult ones. Even though it's outside of framework of helplines, there's a lot of peer‑to‑peer stuff going on. ChildLine does have that peer network as well.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: The other element is I worked at the Spanish helpline, and I know from the reason they know from helplines is from each other. They speak to one another, and very often they pass along that advice if you need help I can't give you, call the helpline. There's an element of passing along the world from peer‑to‑peer. I'm just trying to see if we can get a chat.
>> AUDIENCE: I tried it on Skype.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: You did? I really do apologize for this. Let's see.
>> AUDIENCE: Oh, technology.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: What I can do ‑‑ I did it in, in fact.
>> JOHN KARR: We have about three minutes left, and Gordon even for two minutes is worth listening to. So let's see if we can resolve this. Put it up, yeah. Go on. Yes. Name and number.
>> SPEAKER: The credit card number, yeah. Hi. I'm from the IPU and I apologize for being late here. I know many of the people in the room and I can count them as friends. So I was in another session, so I just couldn't come. Maybe this was only covered, but let me reiterate.
We launched this campaign on partnering to protect children and youth primarily to recognize good practices and collaborators on Child Helplines and thank you for your collaboration and friendship and a couple of reports. We received case studies from many different parts of the world for several months, and they were evaluated based on various criteria. I think there are people in the room who are judges and this culminated finally in a session. We recognize some of these cases, and the criteria were improving access to Child Helplines and improving the quality of service and raising the international level. It was a very interesting session, and we hope we will do it again and repeat the exercise in the future. Thank you very much.
>> SPEAKER: Any other questions or comments? There's something there. Spit it out.
>> AUDIENCE: Hello. I'm Marcela from Argentina and an NGO. We were called by Facebook. I don't know if there's somebody here from Facebook? No. Hi. To help them to organize a protocol, you say, to help the Child Helpline in Argentina in Internet child issues. I would like to know if there is another country in Latin America that is already doing that, and if there is some examples we can get them to help to learn more and to help the Child Helpline.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: I didn't know you were from Facebook. I'm glad you're here. Facebook and Child Helpline got together from the LEAP project and put together a training for African lines for the counselors on the privacy settings on when kids call about Facebook and the counselors know what to do with Facebook.
As a result of the work Child Helpline International did with UNICEF in Argentina for the national Child Helpline in Argentina and Facebook, I believe Facebook will try to repeat in in a large part of the continent. You have the mic right there.
>> AUDIENCE: We were doing this work with Child Helpline Internationally, and there was a request to replicate the model in Argentina as well. I think we've seen a lot of success in us being able to work with the people taking the calls to, you know, orient them with our safety tools and features and privacy features and how people report content. We found that useful as well and we would love to do that in many more countries around the world.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: That's a very good question. Thank you. It is something that we are coordinating with Facebook as we speak. We are coordinating with Facebook now.
>> AUDIENCE: Yes, yes, I know.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: Yes.
>> SPEAKER: Any other questions? We're out of time.
>> SHEILA DONOVAN: We're out of time. I have to apologize to the people participating at a distance. Elana Jacobs from Crisis Text Line in New York and Gordon Vance from National Runaway Safeline, I'm sorry we couldn't bring you in. Thank you to all of you for paying attention and being here today. Take a bookmark.
(Session ended at 10:00 a.m. CT)