Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Counsellor's Notes

Hi Sam. I was just curious to know, when you ask a counsellor to read your notes, what exactly are they looking at? Is it notes made by other counsellors you've spoken to and/or previous conversations you've had with them? Thank you.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

When you talk to Childline, on the phone or online, we keep some notes about what you've said. There’re a few reasons we keep these notes. . Counsellors make them for other counsellors who might talk to you in the future, but the notes also help us to understand what young people are talking to Childline about generally.

If you've called us on the phone the counsellor will be writing down some of the things you're telling them -  like your age and name as well as the general facts about what's happening for you. As you've called us on the phone this isn't linked to your online Childline account. This means it's much more difficult for counsellors to look at your previous notes when you talk to us on the phone, but it's not impossible. If you feel it's really important or you don't feel able to repeat what you said before, you can ask for them to try and find notes of what you said. If you write down the time and date you spoke to us and the name and base of the counsellor, this helps  counsellors to find the notes about you next time you call.

If you talk online it's different because if you always use the same account , all your notes are there for the counsellor to see. They can also see the chat log so they can read exactly what was said, though there isn’t usually enough time to read these - which is one of the reasons the counsellors make notes. Having a summary of what you said is usually enough to help them understand what you’re talking about this time.

No matter how you talk to us, the counsellor won't be able to repeat back exactly what you've told us before - this is in case someone is trying to find out what you've said. So if someone calls and tries to ask the counsellor what's in your notes for your last call, they won't tell them. They won't do this online either just in case someone has got into your account. Your confidentiality is very important so these notes don't go outside of Childline, unless it's one of the times our confidentiality promise says we will tell someone else.

I hope this has helped you understand how we work and reassured you that what you say is kept safe.

Take care.


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