Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Does Childline call the police?

if you call childline, do you call the police

Ask Sam


Hi there,

​​Childline wants to make sure you're safe and sometimes we work with the police to do that. But most of the time we don't tell anyone what you say to us. Our confidentiality promise explains the situations when we might need to tell someone.

​​People talk to Childline about all kinds of things – nothing is too big or small to talk to us about. Our counsellors are here to listen and if something’s important to you, then it's important to us as well. Things can seem really big when you're keeping them inside but the counsellors won't judge you and they’re very used to talking about things that others might not be.​​

We have a confidentiality promise that covers everything you use Childline for - whether that's sending a letter to me, posting on the message boards, writing in your journal, making a picture using the art box or talking to a counsellor in a chat or email. Any time we see something you've said,we’ll use our confidentiality promise to decide if we keep that between you and us or if we need to tell someone.

​​We keep more things confidential than someone like your teacher or a social worker would. That doesn't mean those people are bad to talk to - trusted adults in your life are often the best people to go to when you need help - but it's important to know what they can and can't do. The same goes for talking to Childline.

​​We can keep it confidential even if you tell us you're doing something illegal like stealing or taking drugs - we don't work with the police in that way. We can also keep it between and us if you’ are being abused and don't want anyone else to know yet. But we would want to tell someone if the person abusing you works with other young people, like a teacher would.

​​There other things we can't keep between you and us. We want to make sure you are safe so no matter what you're telling us, if we think it's putting yours or someone else's life in danger, we'd want to get you some help. For example if you told us you were going to end your life, we’d want to tell someone so that they could keep you safe.

​​It won't always be the police who we talk to - sometimes we might call an ambulance for you if you needed it, or a social worker if you have one. We won't ever tell your parents or carer what you've said to us.

You can see the full confidentiality promise if you want to know more but I hope this has helped you understand how we work a little better.

​Thanks for your letter.

Take care,



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