Nov 2021 2nd edition

Children can call 116 for help

Written by Allison Cooper

Childline South Africa has a new tollfree number, which is shorter and easier to remember. By dialing 116, children and adults can receive help with problems facing children, says Childline South Africa’s National Executive Officer Dumisile Nala. 

“The new number also works outside of South Africa, enabling us to join forces with other African countries to ensure the effective delivery of child protection services and strengthen partnerships with child protection agencies,” she adds.

Childline South Africa’s call-in counselling service helps children to communicate in their own way and in their own time.

This helps them to feel in control and free to discuss dangers and difficulties in a way that would be far too risky in face-to-face contacts.

Trained volunteer councillors run the 116 Helpline. They listen to children’s concerns, help them to understand what they feel and talk to them about issues that affect them directly. Children can talk self-harm, sexting, sexual abuse, children’s rights, exam stress and eating problems.

Children can also call 116 in an emergency. If necessary, Childline will refer them to the police and/or a social worker at the Department of Social Development.

 “Childline South Africa will continue to help prevent child abuse, promote and protect the welfare of all children and child support systems in South Africa,” says Nala.

For more information about Childline South Africa, visit

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