The work of child helplines is vital for reducing children’s risk of harm and vulnerability and improving child protection and wellbeing. Starting in 1979 with the first telephone helpline for children – the Dutch De Kindertelefoon – child helpline services have spread across the world and are estimated at present to take nine million calls annually (Dinh et al, 2016).
Child helplines are now recognised as a key component of child protection services that contribute to creating accessible and child-friendly reporting systems and can help to ensure the implementation of child rights (UNICEF, 2007).
Understanding the evidence regarding the effectiveness of child helplines can inform improvements to helplines and related child protection mechanisms.
This review maps the existing literature on the effectiveness of child helplines in order to identify outcomes and approaches to measuring their effectiveness. Comprising an extensive search of 18 databases, the review is based on a systematic mapping of the evidence (Grant & Booth, 2009; Gough, Thomas and Oliver, 2012).