Throughout August we’re supporting Kidscape with Papergang. We asked Kidscape to tell us a bit more about themselves, and Kat shared with us some great insights on what it’s like managing the Parent Advice Line.
My name is Kat and I have been managing Kidscape’s Parent Advice Line for almost four years. My background is in family support and safeguarding in various settings including charities, schools, and the Local Authority. As part of my role, I have attended training from the Helplines Partnership, YoungMinds, Papyrus UK, Stonewall and ACE-Ed.
At Kidscape's Parent Advice Line, we speak to parents, carers, and adult family members throughout England and Wales who are concerned about a child - either because they are being bullied, or because they may be involved in bullying others. Bullying can happen anywhere - inside and outside of school, in the community, in the home, and online.
Taking calls is the predominant aspect of the role and no two calls are the same. We may speak to someone seeking very specific advice on education policy, another who is not sure what they need, and many others contact us as an outlet to talk about the pain of the situation their child is experiencing. This unpredictability makes the job an interesting, fulfilling and challenging one. Another form of support we provide is via email or WhatsApp chats; these are really beneficial for those that struggle to communicate through the telephone.
Our aim is to provide a friendly, empathetic, non-judgemental response to all enquiries and to support parents and carers to find their way through a bullying situation, by listening to their unique situation and providing evidence-based up-to-date information.
Many parents whom we speak to describe feeling completely stuck about what to do next and worn down by the constant communication with the school. We can give them the information they need and empower them with the confidence to navigate the situation.
When managing an enquiry, we will explore support for the child and help in signposting to other appropriate agencies. Many families I speak to will subsequently book on to our free assertiveness ZAP workshops, which is lovely as I am then able to meet them virtually and further support them during the parent’s workshop.
If I could say one thing to anyone reading this, it would be please - follow us on social media, look at our website and sign up to our newsletter - tell your friends and family to do the same. Bullying is not something that happens to every child, but if your child does experience it, we want you to know that Kidscape are here to help.
Feedback for Kidscape's Parent Advice Line:
"I think it is brilliant that the email facility is there as well as a helpline. I would recommend it to other parents."
"Promote your good work. I wish I knew who to contact for advice, help and support. We often rely on schools but sometimes that is just not enough. We need your expertise."
"I would advise anyone in a similar situation to contact you. It is the way forward. Extremely helpful and polite lady."
"Wish I knew about it sooner."
"Advisor was very helpful and understanding without giving any opinions."
"Tremendous difference - to know we are not alone is comforting."
"Kat was able to offer support routes l did not know existed, so l feel there is help out there."
How to contact Kidscape's Parent Advice Line
The Parent Advice Line is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 9.30am to 2.30pm. If we are not available at the time you call, please leave a message and we will soon be in touch.
Call: 020 7823 5430
WhatsApp: 07496 682785
You can read more about Kidscape from 14 year old Hannah’s perspective.
Kat Fuller, Parent Support Manager at Kidscape