The purpose of the study was to undertake research that would assist In safe helplines to develop their effectiveness and demonstrate their impact. This study looked at both the wider context in which helplines operate, the new and emerging risks that internet use may pose for children and young people, the support required and the resources needed to respond effectively, as well as the implications for operational effectiveness. Respondents in the research, which included helpline professionals and volunteers, contributed to a discussion of successes as well as gaps in order to assist in the identification of strategies to support better awareness and monitoring of effectiveness.
Case studies of helplines chosen for geographical spread and diversity of service type are included in the study. The report provides a brief profile of helplines in Belgium, Ireland, Malta and Romania with a discussion of their organizational structure and the services and activities provided. There are substantial differences across the In safe network in the nature and size of helplines. Most in fact are general service helplines with a smaller number of helplines of more recent origin specializing in internet safety issues?
Evaluating success and effectiveness is recognized as an important yet challenging task for helplines.
Given the sensitive settings in which helplines operate, the development of indicators must combine a range of quantitative and qualitative measures. Possible indicators considered include capturing log data of calls to helplines, the number of calls to the service, the number of successful or resolved calls, levels of public awareness of the helpline, and the quality of input from other stakeholders. Using feedback from callers to gauge the effectiveness of the service is presented as especially important. A third of the helplines who participated in the study do not currently record such feedback and recommendations are made about how to take this forward. In addition, the benefits of working within the In safe network and the capacity to share best practice on improving the evaluation process and enhancing the relationship between stakeholders and helplines is noted.