- The influence of unemployment and divorce rate on child help-seeking behavior about violence, relationships, and other issues
- Child Abuse & Neglect
- Volume | Issue number
- 37 | 2-3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam Business School Research Institute (ABS-RI)
This study examined the influence of community unemployment and divorce rate on child help-seeking behavior about violence and relationships via a telephone and Internet helpline.
Time series analysis was conducted on monthly call volumes to a child helpline (‘De Kindertelefoon’) in the Netherlands from 2003 to 2008 and on the topics discussed (primarily Violence and Relationships) from 1994 to 2008 in answered calls and chats.
As unemployment rises, the number of calls to the helpline increases. With increased unemployment, the share of conversations about Violence and about Relationships is found to be higher. When the divorce rate goes up, the number of calls to the helpline increases, but the share of Violence and of Relationships decreases. In addition, the share of contacts about Violence is increasing over time, while the share about Relationships is decreasing. Furthermore, the showing of violent movies is associated with fewer attempted helpline calls. Finally, seasonal variation in call volumes and the shares of calls about Violence and Relationships are found.
Our data provide a unique and direct perspective on child help-seeking behavior. Our results suggest that more resources need to be devoted to resolving children's problems during times of unemployment as they seek more help particularly with respect to violence. Increased training of counselors with regard to children reporting incidents of violence is particularly important, as the share of contacts about violence is increasing over time and during a recession. Resources are especially needed as, on average, less than half of the calls to child helplines are actually answered.
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