The Smile of the Child
Member: NGO Premium
Voluntary Children's Association
10, Zinonos Eleatou Street, GR-151 24 Maroussi, Athens, Greece
The Smile of the Child: May 17: International Child Helpline Day
“Every Child has a Voice” is the main slogan of this year’s International Child Helpline Day
On the occasion of International Child Helpline Day, “The Smile of the Child” joins forces with organizations and partners from around the world by participating in a global awareness-raising campaign on the decisive role the operation of child helplines plays.
This year Child Helpline International (CHI), whose active member is “The Smile of the Child”, celebrates the International Child Helpline Day by focusing on the issues faced by especially vulnerable and underrepresented children. With “EVERY Child has a Voice” as its slogan, this year’s campaign spreads the message about the need for non-discrimination and for truly listening to every child.
In Greece, “The Smile of the Child” has been operating the National Helpline for Children SOS 1056 since 1997, the European Hotline for Missing Children 116000 since 2008, as well as the European Helpline for Children and Adolescents 116111, and, thus, contributes directly to preventing and addressing serious problems related to children victims of violence, abuse, neglect, disappearance, trafficking, exploitation, bullying or suicide.
The European Helpline for Children and Adolescents 116111 was inaugurated in 2016 and operates under the umbrella of CHI providing its services for all children in Greece, including refugee and migrant children at risk and in need of support. The services of 116111 are free, available nationwide on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, with 6 interconnected calling centers as one, staffed by social workers and psychologists, and a maximum waiting time of 11 seconds.
A Disaster Recovery Area at the Athens International Airport ensures the continuous operation of the helpline (similarly to the 1056 and 116000 lines) in the event of any emergency or crisis situation.
The lines are officially recognized as Emergency Lines and are interconnected with the European Emergency Number 112.
“The Smile of the Child”, active member of CHI and Trusted NGO partner of Facebook, utilizes innovative technological tools thanks to the support of international bodies and actors, as well as technology and telephone companies in Greece, which offer their services free-of-charge and, thus, play an important role in ensuring the necessary quality in the provision of holistic and effective support of children in need.
This International Child Helpline Day, and in light of recent tragic cases of children and young people in Greece who committed suicide, “The Smile of the Child” would like to highlight that children and young people in extreme distress can also receive immediate and effective support. In this regard, the specialized staff of the Organization activates its entire network of services and structures, and in cooperation with all the competent institutional actors the Organization can help children and adults who find themselves in a deadlock and need continuous assistance.
2018 Statistical data from “The Smile of the Child”:
On the National Helpline for Children SOS 1056:
- 271.996 calls were received. 32,8% of these calls were related to reports for children at risk;
- 729 reports on serious cases of abuse for 1.358 children in total;
- Direct interventions were carried out for 153 children at immediate risk. 72,5% of these children were in need of immediate removal from their family environment.
On the European Hotline for Missing Children 116000:
• 12.487 calls were received and 191 requests of support to operations of search and rescue of missing children. 148 children were traced.
On the European Helpline for Children and Adolescents 116111:
• 7.296 calls were received, whereas counseling services were provided to 4.092 individuals.
(Source: The Smile of the Child)
Some International data
- Every year child helplines answer nearly 20 million contacts from children and young people worldwide;
- 24,434,747 is the number of times children and youth found the courage to reach out to a child helpline last year
- In Europe 4,297,867 is the number of times children and youth reached the child helplines mainly through phone calls (3,782,633). Other means of communication include SMS, emails, online chat and messages or visiting the child helpline
- Children in disaster areas and conflict zones are at special risk;
- Gender based violence causes several forms of violence against children;
- Child helplines listen, counsel, refer, assist and provide other essential services to children in need.
(Source: Child Helpline International)