What the Hotline Can Do

 
  • If you aren't ready to report abuse but you want to talk about your feelings and what is happening to you, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453), then press 1 to talk to a crisis counselor. Your call is confidential. (That means that the crisis counselors don't know who you are unless you tell them.) Sometimes it is easier to tell your problems to someone you don't know.
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  • If you need to report abuse but do not know what to expect in the process. If you are concerned about your involvement in reporting possible abuse, what can it mean to you and your family? What if it turns out to be not true, are you in jeopardy? The crisis counselor can inform you of the process and legal rights within your State.
  • The hotline is a crisis intervention model and is expertly staffed by professional crisis counselors to address critical issues and emergency needs with immediacy. In these instances the Childhelp crisis counselor will help you identify appropriate next steps, create a safety plan, locate relevant and local resources and assistance without breaching your confidentiality.
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  • Our hotline counselors can answer your questions. For example, if you think a friend is being abused but you aren't sure and you are nervous about saying anything to him or her, there are some signs you can look for that can be clues. Hotline crisis counselors can help you figure out what to say to your friend if you think he or she has a problem.
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  • Our crisis counselors can help you make a child abuse report. When you call, the crisis counselor may ask you if you want to report the abuse to the people who can check into what is happening. They can give you the phone number for the reporting agency—usually child protective services—in your community. Our counselors can also stay on the phone line and make a 3-way call if you are nervous about doing it alone.
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  • Our crisis counselors can help you with “system failure”. This is when you make a report to the appropriate authorities but they do not investigate. There are options and government agencies that are equipped to assist in these circumstances.
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  • The Childhelp Hotline crisis counselors can explain different option you have in dealing with your circumstances. They can also tell you what might happen as a result of each one.
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  • The Hotline crisis counselors will provide non-judgmental emotional support. They will listen and not blame.
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  • When you are feeling isolated or overwhelmed, Childhelp's Hotline crisis counselors can provide a safe outlet for your stress and anger.
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  • The crisis counselors can refer you to local groups who may provide additional help.
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  • The crisis counselor utilizes a database of thousands of emergency, social service and support resources. Using your zip code, he or she can look up local parenting groups, agencies that provide counseling, domestic violence shelters, legal referrals, and the telephone number to report abuse in your area. The crisis counselor can also suggest what to do next if you have already made an abuse report and the child is still in danger.
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  • The crisis counselors can help you work and cope with your child's problem behaviors by identifying situations that trigger behaviors, and helping you to determine effective discipline techniques that have been tried and tested by the experts. They will also recommend parenting books, suggest ways to improve communication with children, and discuss effective disciplinary techniques.
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  • The crisis counselors can help you understand what normal behavior is at different stages of your child's development. For example, babies sometimes cry for no reason, even after you have done all you can to comfort them. Two- and three-year-olds have tantrums. These things, while frustrating to deal with, don't mean you are a bad parent.

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