Anni Marquard

Grundlægger og Administrerende Direktør Mere om Anni

Principles and objectives behind the operational guidelines

The organization has been offering counseling since 2004.

In the counseling, children and young people can write anonymously with both professionals and each other. The counseling focuses in particular on children and young people in vulnerable and vulnerable positions, who take advantage of the anonymity and non-obligation in chats and online mailboxes to get help with things they would not otherwise dare to talk to their peers, parents, teachers / educators about.

The organization works methodically and constantly with a focus on how methods can be refined and adapted to the counseling to the needs of the young people.

Operational Guidelines: Ethics and values in the work of counseling

The aim is to support and motivate the child or teenager to move on with his or her life by listening and offering personalized advice. The work is based on the following ethics and values:

  1. Volunteering is a key element of CfDP’s consultations. Volunteering in itself helps to underpin the equal and credible relationship between the individual counselor and the young people.
  2. We believe that equal and trustworthy relationships are essential to creating change in one’s own life. That is why we work to give all children and young people the opportunity to express their own thoughts and feelings in a safe and trusting framework. A framework in which competent counselors curiously reflect on issues, resources and opportunities for action in collaboration with the children and young people seeking advice.
  3. We work from an understanding that the young people do their best in the concrete counseling. We take responsibility for meeting the young people where they are and, as far as possible, to create a positive relationship.
  4. We want to provide young people with support to create changes in their lives in relation to the issues they address. In our counseling, the goal is to create a safe, present and open-minded framework in which the young person can express themselves, and to support the young person to potentially reach one step further in an already ongoing process..
  5. We motivate the child or teen to take steps to make positive changes in regards to the issues or situation they seek help about. Either by solving the issues themselves, when given the correct tools,  or by seeking further help, when needed. 

Operational Guidelines: The counseling team

The organization’s  counseling is primarily staffed by volunteer counselors with a professional background in the social, psychological or health professional field.

The volunteers’ efforts are supported by paid coordinators, who support and spar with the volunteers, to ensure the individual volunteer’s security and development. The coordinators ensure the quality of the work by ensuring that the counseling is based on the framework and method adopted in the organization.

  • All members of the counseling team must have signed the Declaration of Confidentiality and a Child Protection Certificate
  • All counselors on the helpline are assured that the counselor is never alone on duty. Opportunity for professional sparring with an experienced advisor on all shifts is always present.
  • It is mandatory for volunteer counselors to work at least two shifts a month amounting to eight hours monthly to keep updated
  • After each counseling session the counselor has to fill out a registration form regarding the counseling session

Operational Guidelines: Training

All counselors must be trained in accordance with the training module. 

It is primarily the responsibility of the Coordinating Team to ensure quality and development of the counseling services.. However, it is also up to the entire team of counselors to participate in the training by contributing with feedback, constructive discussion, coaching, and inputs.

All counselors on the helpline receive a thorough introduction to and professional experience with digital counseling in writing and working with children and young people in vulnerable positions. All counselors are regularly offered training and the opportunity to participate in various presentations & courses so that they can develop their professionalism.

Professional counselors and coordinators are subject to group supervision, as a minimum on quarterly basis, and can at all times get professional feedback if needed

Training Module

The training module consists of: 

1. Initial conversation: A coordinator will outlay the job and present the helpline:

  • The function and virtual interior of the helpline
  • The advisory functions
  • Use of Registration Forms (registration of the type and length of interaction)
  • Function of the intranet: where work schedules, tasks, meetings and events are posted
  • The helpline’s values and focus points when meeting children and young people online
  • Routines of the counselling team in relation to shifts, guidelines, sparring, team meetings, and general expectations

Handouts:

  • Child Protection Certificate – a kind of equivalent to The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Enhanced Disclosure – listing convictions of assaults against children, sexual abuse of children, child porn and incest, a 
  • Declaration of Confidentiality, and contact information – all to be filled in and handed over to the coordinator before leaving the meeting. This is based on ethical considerations, and the counsellor cannot start working before the Child Protection Certificate is approved by the police.

2. Observation of counselling session

The trainee observes experienced counsellors at work. They will observe the counsellor giving counseling, and thus, acquire knowledge of how to advise children and teens, and how to approach different subjects and problems. At the same time, the trainee gets an idea of the routines and what it means to be a counsellor at the helpline. On the first day of training, the trainee, if still interested in continuing, is registered and receives login to the chat and intranet.

3. Counseling under close supervision: 

The trainee will give counsel under the supervision of a coordinator. The trainee is in charge of the session. The coordinator will advise the trainee, as needed and requested, and comment on content and the written form. The close supervision will take place until the trainee feels secure enough to counsel on his/her own. The decision is made between the trainee and the Coordinator Team, based on the evaluation of the trainee’s readiness to counsel with a lower level of supervision.

4. Ready to counsel:

When ready to counsel, the trainee will be integrated into the Counselling Team in line with the experienced counsellors. A coordinator is at hand at all timers and ready to help if any special or difficult situations should occur, or if the counsellors have any questions or experience doubts. 

Volunteers receive continuous coaching, evaluation and education. Also, volunteers who have long since completed their training receive continuous support and guidance in regards to the specific session in which they have engaged during their shift. So, they may always seek information on a certain subject with the coordinator responsible, and receive help to find the best options possible or referrals, regarding the person they are offering counseling.

Maintaining high-quality professionalism
Finally, the Coordinating Team meet four times a year in order to evaluate the status of each volunteer counsellor, and planning joint information meetings. At the same time, the Coordinating Team uses these meetings to keep each other updated on current themes prevalent in the chatroom, along with any knowledge and information which is important to pass on to the volunteer counsellors.

Operational Guidelines: Method

Counsellors are to reach the objectives of the helpline by, at all times, focusing on being motivating, supportive, empathic, listening to the child and being present, explorative and disseminating.

The use of method
The organization’s methodological choices go across counseling activities and ensure uniformity and quality of the advice the young person encounters. The method consists of five concrete basic principles, which create coherence between the organization’s values, goals and practice, in the meeting between the young person and the counselor.

1. Present opportunities, rather than telling the young person what is the right thing to do. It is important that we leave it up to the young person to make the decisions about what he / she wants to do, because the young people are the experts in their own lives.

2. Be a reflective witness rather than putting your own interpretations into the young person’s words. In this way, we do not dictate what the young person says, does or thinks, but instead expresses how you experience it.

3. Externalize the problems so that the young person can understand his / her situation as something he / she can change. We often meet young people who almost experience themselves as a pseudonym with the problem they experience. We need to help them see that they contain a lot of other things.

4.Normalize when possible so that it becomes clear to the young people that what they are experiencing may not be as abnormal or strange as they think.

5. Explain your considerations so that it becomes clear to the young person on what background you are advising.

Special actions towards young people who are exposed to abusive and criminal acts The organization’s counseling is subject to notification and deterrence of children and young people under 18 who are exposed to abusive acts, criminal acts or neglect in the family. The counseling’s legal foundation in relation to notification:

SERVICE ACT § 153

Persons performing public service or public office shall notify the municipal council if, during the performance of the service or office, they become aware of or have reason to believe that

1. that a child or young person under the age of 18 may need special support

2. that a child may need special support immediately after birth due to the circumstances of the expectant parents

3. that a child or young person under the age of 18 may need special support due to the child’s or young person’s illegal absence from school or failure to fulfill their compulsory education, or

4. that a child or young person under the age of 18 has been abused.

In special cases where it is assessed that the young person or others around the young person are in acute danger of death, OR if a criminal act is imminent, employees in the organization’s counseling must avert by reporting to the police. It is subsequently up to the police to decide whether they will try to track down the young person and thus start an investigation.

It is always an employed coordinator from the counseling service who handles the urgent inquiries in the counseling service and contacts the police if necessary.

Operational Guidelines: technical and safety points

All helpline data is transferred via encrypted channels, and access to data is restricted to helpline staff members by password. It is key for any given counseling session, that as little data as possible is stored on the end users in order to ensure their anonymity. 

Approved by the Danish Data Protection AgencyThe helpline is approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency that oversees the Personal Data Protection Act. The registration of any personal information follows the legal framework regarding data protection. The helpline has implemented all necessary procedures to comply with data and privacy security according to the EU General Data Protection  

Accreditation of consulting services
Helplinen’s counseling service is accredited by the national accreditation unit ‘’Rådgivnings Danmark’’ which ensures that the advice complies with legal, professional and ethical requirements in its counseling. Re-accreditation takes place every 2 years.

Humans access to functions and data
Coordinators of the system will have access to the functions and data which are cited in the user management. Employees who need to access data in a computer system in connection with development, maintenance, and operations, may only be authorized to do so with a unique identification. The helpline uses volunteers in its counselling. All volunteers are at least 23 years old and are students in the social and educational field. All volunteers are approved through a certificate from the police. All counsellors sign a confidentiality commitment as part of the work.

Filing sensitive data in connection to reports to authorities 
In connection to reporting, all sensitive data are directly handed over to the appropriate authority, and since deleted from our system in order to maintain anonymity for the parties involved. No prints are made.  The only registration that takes place locally at the helpline in connection with a report to the authorities is a local registration that a report has been sent, which authority the report has been sent to and what the subject of the report has been.

Artificial intelligence
The helpline only uses artificial intelligence in its online services along with human moderation, when appropriate. The AI is used for example, by scrambling personal sensitive data on inquiries in the counselling, to protect the anonymity of users. The activity raises no concerns relating to human rights and values. On the contrary, it has a protective effect in terms of protecting the users of the helpline.

Processing and registration of personal information
The processing and registration of any personal information follow the legal framework regarding data-protection. All counsellors sign confidentiality commitments as part of the counselling in relation to confidential or sensitive personal information, including information on ethnicity, religion, social and health information. This obligation follows The Criminal Code § 152. Processing of personal data is done in accordance with applicable law, including the Act on Processing of Personal Data (Act No. 429 of 31 May 2000). CDYC has implemented all necessary procedures in relation to comply data and privacy security according to the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

CDYCs chat- and SMS applications are done through encrypted connections ensuring that conversations cannot be intercepted and read by third parties. The underlying software is kept constantly updated with security updates. The chat is designed to scale to large numbers of simultaneous users. 

To ensure possible police investigation content of counseling sessions are stored within the system for 30 days, and are since completely deleted. No personal data is saved, as these are removed by a digital scrambler.

Digital Agenda For Europe

The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Center for Digital Pædagogik and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union. 

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