International Child Helpline Day 2018: Child Helplines Key to Protection of Children’s Rights in the Americas and Caribbean

The Inter-American Institute of Children and Adolescents of the Organization of American States (IIN / OAS) and Child Helpline International are celebrating International Child Helpline Day 2018 with the launch of a joint publication focusing on child helplines working within the framework of integral protection systems in the Americas and the Caribbean region.

17 May also commemorates World Information Society Day, acknowledging the impact of ICTs in shortening times and distances in global communications. It is thanks to these technological advances, and the steps taken in recognition of the Rights of Children throughout the world, that there are child helplines preventing violations against children and the protection and promotion of childrens’ rights.

To mark this this special occasion, “In Line with the Region … Towards a Culture of Rights” has been launched. This report shows how, in the Americas and the Caribbean, child helplines have become a basic tool within integral protection systems, given that they are indispensable to access, promote and ensure the fulfillment of the fundamental rights of children.

Ana Alanis, Representative of the Youth Advisory Council of Child Helpline International, said: “The children who speak to the child helplines trust that every effort will be made to help them. They trust that the child helplines are looking for ways to make the processes more efficient, to have a better reach, to be able to react in a better way and to support them with the problems they have. Therefore, the collaboration between child helplines and organisations focused on the rights of children is absolutely essential. By sharing good practice and common experiences, the actors of the protection system contribute to the creation of a knowledge network, which will help every actor, and every network, be better equipped to help children. This exchange is very important.”

The partnership between the IIN/OEA and Child Helpline International was established with the purpose of reaching out to all children who have faced or are facing situations of vulnerability and offer them the opportunity to speak and be heard, by providing the necessary resources so that they can overcome their personal circumstances.

To achieve this goal, a special focus on gender and children’s rights must be implemented throughout all the activities carried out by child helplines. Active listening, counselling or referral to specialists, among others, are examples of the many services that child helplines offer. The individual situations and life experiences of children and young people are carefully considered so that an appropriate advice or response can be given, and the child helplines are continuously looking for ways to improve their services as crucial tools for the protection of children.

At Child Helpline International we are proud to work with IIN-OEA on the strengthening of child protection systems through the work of child helplines. Following our belief that no child should be left unheard, with this publication we strongly encourage American States, civil society and citizens to continue working together towards the improvement of child helplines’ services. Such partnerships enable important platforms for children and young people in the Americas and the Caribbean to be heard, participate and get access to different resources, leading to a better quality of life.

At present this report is only available in Spanish but will be translated into English in the coming months. You can access it here.