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0800WHATSUP head chairs global advocacy taskforce

0800WHATSUP head chairs global advocacy taskforce

Promoting children’s rights and child helplines globally are the top priorities of 800WHATSUP Executive Director Grant Taylor in his new role as chairperson of Child Helpline International’s Advocacy Taskforce.

“Children and young people are among the most disadvantaged and disempowered in any society,” says Grant, who was appointed to the role in October.

“Access to help through the telephone has proven to be of tremendous value to kids who may be abandoned, neglected or mistreated by those who are supposed to be responsible for their welfare or just need someone to listen to their concerns.”

Child Helpline International was set up four years ago to help child helplines share information, experience and resources It has more than 100 members including 0800WHATSUP.

“The advocacy taskforce plays an important role in promoting child helplines as a tool for child protection on a global level,” says Grant. “It does this by supporting the child advocacy efforts of individual helplines and by providing input and direction to CHI’s international advocacy efforts.”

“One of CHI’s most valuable resources is its database on the concerns and status of children world-wide. It’s created from the call information and statistics of its member helplines, which receive more than 10.5 million contacts globally each year.”

CHI uses this information as the basis for speaking out on children’s issues in international political forums such as the European Parliament and the United Nations.

“And it has an impact,” says Grant. “The United Nations Study of Violence against Children 2006 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, both recommended child helplines as an important tool in child protection, following submissions from Child Helpline International.”

As well as speaking out for children, the taskforce will continue to promote child helplines with telecommunications regulators and service providers at an international level, as well as in partnership with donors and media.

“We are also investigating whether it is possible to set up a uniform global number for all child helplines so that a child can reach help using the same number in any country. This would be of particular benefit to children who are migrants or being trafficked across borders.”

The taskforce is made up of child helpline leaders from Greece, Ireland, Italy, Palestine, Peru and South Africa. It meets twice a year.

“It’s inspiring to work alongside such a talented and passionate group of people who care deeply about children’s needs and believe in the value of child helplines in serving children in their countries.”

ENDS

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