Phoenix, Ariz.) As part of a broad effort to assist victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse in the twin border communities of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, three organizations have formed a unique partnership to offer a toll-free telephone line dedicated to addressing issues of abuse.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and Childhelp USA have launched the “Safe Talk Helpline” (1-866-9-SAFE-99) to serve the region’s children, youth and adults who may need to talk with someone confidentially. The Safe Talk Helpline is staffed 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year by professional counselors who will listen, offer support, explain choices, and, as appropriate, provide referrals to additional resources. The line will be managed by Childhelp USA and answered by experienced counselors who also handle hundreds of calls daily through the Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD).
The Safe Talk Helpline is being introduced in the area through an informational campaign that includes flyers, posters, billboards and other materials, as well as local contacts and grassroots networks to spread the word about the service.
“ Our goal is to provide a safe and non-judgmental way for them to talk about their concerns, receive encouragement, learn about their choices, and become empowered to get the help they need,” said Casey Hines, national director of grant development at Childhelp USA. “In talking with people very familiar with those communities and their unique cultures, we realize that some may not consider themselves ‘victims of abuse’, yet they may still feel something is wrong in their family situations.”
Although the service was proposed by the Attorney General’s Office, the Safe Talk Helpline is not part of a governmental agency and all calls are anonymous and confidential. If the callers request specific assistance, the counselors will provide appropriate contact information or initiate contact with proper authorities.
The helpline is the latest in a series of initiatives from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Public Safety to reach out to victims in polygamous communities. The State of Arizona in partnership with Mohave County recently opened a multi-use facility in Colorado City to provide local support and victim advocacy services to anyone seeking help from state or county officials. Arizona officials are continuing to coordinate their efforts with their counterparts in Utah.
Founded in 1959 by Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, Childhelp USA is one of the largest and oldest national nonprofit organizations dedicated to the treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect. The organization's national headquarters is located in Scottsdale. Its Arizona programs include the Childhelp USA® National Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD®; the Childhelp Children's Center of Arizona and Childhelp USA® Children's Mobile Advocacy Center of Northern Arizona (which utilize a one-stop approach to the investigation and treatment of child abuse;) and the Childhelp USA Merv Griffin Village of Arizona, a residential treatment facility for severely abuse and neglected children.