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Confidentiality means not telling anyone else about what you’ve said. We always want to keep your contact with ChildLine confidential, which means you can feel safe talking to us, knowing that no one else will find out.

Is ChildLine confidential?

Yes. ChildLine is a private and confidential service.
This means that whatever you say stays between you and ChildLine.

We would only need to say or do something if:

  • You ask us to
  • We believe your life or someone else’s life is in immediate danger
  • You are being hurt by someone in a position of trust who has access to other children like a teacher or police officer
  • You tell us that you are seriously harming another young person

We will only tell someone if we feel it's an emergency and we will talk to you about this first - giving you as much control as possible. We understand the sort of situations you might be in. The last thing we want to do is make things worse for you. ChildLine are here to listen and support you.

  • Is ChildLine’s confidentiality different from school?

    Yes, ChildLine’s confidentiality is different from school. There are a lot of things that your teacher couldn’t keep confidential that ChildLine can. That means you can feel safe to talk about anything you need to.

    Some children and young people tell us that their teacher suggested that they call ChildLine because of this.

  • Do I have to tell you my name?

    You can tell us as much or as little as you want to. Sometimes a ChildLine counsellor will ask you if you want to give a first name, but it’s up to you if you want to do this.

    You can always make up a name if you don’t want to give us your real name. We would ask you to use the same name if you do get in touch with us again so that we know it’s you.

    When you go online, you will be asked to choose a username and a nickname, and it’s up to you what you decide to call yourself. It’s important that you don’t let anyone else know what you’ve chosen to call yourself.

    If you want us to get in touch with someone to let them know about what is happening to you, we will need to know your full name and some other information about you.

  • What happens if I do tell you my name?

    Just because we do know your name doesn’t mean that we would tell someone else about what is happening for you, even if we know your surname. You can feel safe to tell us as much as you want. If you think you might like to phone us back, sometimes it can be helpful if you tell us your first name (or the name you want us to call you) so that it is easier for us to find notes about what you’ve said in your calls.

  • What happens if I want ChildLine to tell someone about what's happening to me?

    If you want someone else to know about what is happening to you, you can talk to your ChildLine counsellor about what you would like to do next, and who else you want to know about your situation. We would need to know some more information about you, like your full name and address, your date of birth and the name of your school.  If you need time to think about whether or not you want us to tell someone else, just let us know. You can always get in touch with ChildLine again later.

  • Do you know my phone number or email address?

    No, we don’t know this information unless you choose to tell us it. If you want us to talk to someone else about what is happening, like the police or social services, we will probably ask you to give us your phone number so they can contact you.

    There may be times when we are very worried about your safety or someone else's safety and we need to tell someone about what is happening. If this is the case, there is a way that we can request your phone number or IP address (a number unique to your computer) which means that we can get help to you. We have strict guidelines about when we can do this and we would always try and talk to you first, before we pass this information on to an outside agency.

  • Will my call to ChildLine be on the phone bill, and can I call free on my mobile?

    ChildLine is an 0800 number, so calls are free and don't show up on a BT or cable phone bill. Calls to ChildLine on 0800 1111 are currently free from all of these networks: 3, BT Mobile, Fresh, O2, Orange, T Mobile, Virgin and Vodafone. We have been told that calls will not appear on any of these bills.

    The telephone number will still appear in your list of dialled calls on your mobile as a 0800 11 11.  If you don't want people to see the number in your list of dialled calls, you should delete this from your called number list.

  • Can anyone see that I’ve used my home computer to get in touch with ChildLine?

    No one will be able to read any messages you’ve sent to ChildLine or received from a ChildLine counsellor as long as you keep your password private. It is possible for someone to see the history of the sites you have visited on your computer, but not if you have deleted your history. If you want to delete this history see cover your tracks for advice about how to do this.

  • Who at ChildLine knows what I’ve talked about?

    Your contact with ChildLine is confidential between you and ChildLine. We keep notes about what you have told us that no one outside ChildLine will see. The notes are so that we can look back at them together if you contact us again. There are lots of different ChildLine bases in the country, and you may speak to a counsellor in any one of these places. We make sure that other ChildLine bases can see your notes if they need to, so you don’t need to go through everything again. ChildLine supervisors may listen into your phone call, or supervise your 1-2-1 chat to make sure that we can help you the best we can.

  • Do you record phone calls to ChildLine?

    When you phone ChildLine, we don’t audio record what you say. We do keep notes about your call, online chat or email which means that you don’t have to go through everything again if you decide to phone back. These notes stay safe at ChildLine.

  • I’ve got another question about confidentiality

    You can get in touch with ChildLine by phoning 0800 1111. You can ask ChildLine anything you want to about confidentiality to help you to feel safe and comfortable talking to us.