The Listening and Counselling Helpline 19696 has been the first response to children’s and teenagers’ needs to be heard.
The 19696 helpline is:
- Active 24/7, every day of the year through the phone line and the chat on the website www.azzurro.it
- Completely free
- Accessible from both landline or mobile from all over the country
- Aimed at providing psychological support to children, adolescents and adults through listening and counselling
- Collaborating with local services with the aim of safeguarding children and teenagers
- Managed by qualified personnel
- Equipped with IT tools able to gather data and manage information related to the cases
- Daily monitored according to the standards of the Carta Europea delle Linee Telefoniche per l’Infanzia (?)
Helpline 19696: model and objectives
The listening and counselling offered by the helpline operator to children and teenagers aim to establish a relationship based on trust in which children can express their feelings, emotions and needs. Regardless the reason behind the request for help, it is important to consider every situation as a unique case without comparing it to others which might seem similar, giving priority to the child’s own story, thoughts, needs and feelings.
Counselling to adults
The space offered to adults has the objective to guide them and help them practically manage situations of uneasiness or discrimination involving children and adolescents; professional workers offer emotional support to cope with these situations, and where necessary, guide them through reports and/or help access to the right local services.
The listening and counselling offered by the service are aimed at supporting the growth process of children and teenagers, strengthening their personal resources and promoting the protection of their rights.
The intervention is represented by the counselling itself, by the listening space provided to allow children and teenagers to express themselves and feel understood. Sometimes, however, it may be necessary to get the local services involved in order to activate processes that can protect, safeguard, educate, support or prevent, with the end goal of achieving the wellbeing of children, teenagers and their families.
The path of help
The helpline operator receives and listens to the needs and distress calls of children and adolescents. He or she looks into the situation together with the minor, tries to understand their story and offers emotional support.
The operator builds with the minor a path to offer support while respecting their timing and wishes but without losing track of their need for protection and safeguard. The helpline worker strengthens the minor’s personal resources and where possible involves the adults of reference.
When deemed necessary, the operator involves the experts from the local services and checks the case periodically through follow-ups.
The Service operating model
The Helpline National Centre, based in Milan, receives all the calls addressed to the 19696 helpline (children, teenagers and adults) and it manages the requests for help from children and adolescents; while the requests made by adults are managed from Rome, where phone counselling sessions are offered and scheduled through appointments.
Since reports of situations of risk and/or discrimination involving one or more minors, of situations requiring the immediate intervention of emergency services (Law Enforcement, Police, Court, Ambulance) or presenting risks of reiteration in the following 24 hours fall within the 114 Hotline expertise; when adults report any of the above-mentioned situations they are automatically transferred from the 19696 helpline to the 114 hotline to be dealt with.
Thanks to specific software solutions that can manage dispatch and data, it is possible to transfer the call directly to the 114 Childhood Emergency operators, as well as to analyse and digitalise the contents.