Telefono Azzurro was set up in Bologna (Italy) in 1987.
Ernesto Caffo was associate professor of Child Neuropsychiatry at the University of Modena when he firstly set up the association. Since its inception, the mission has been to give children the possibility to speak and to be heard.
By Italian Presidential Decree of 18 December 1990, Telefono Azzurro gained recognition as a non-profit organization as a result of the important work it was carrying out to defend children’s rights. In 1990, the first toll-free telephone helpline for children (1.96.96 – which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year) was set up. It currently also takes calls from adults who want to report on missing or exploited children. The association’s foundation was a concrete response to the International Convention on the Right of the Child that was signed by the United Nations in 1989. Telefono Azzurro’s commitment to listen to children evolved over years and consequently has become more and more specialized: operators received full professional training and began to cooperate with other European organizations. Likewise, the association progressed as information technology evolved.
Telefono Azzurro’s National Listening Center has approximately a hundred volunteers and a call center service with specialized counselors and telephone lines.
The association later became involved in other activities and interventions to promote children’s rights and to prevent any kind of child abuse. These interventions include the project Tetti Azzurri, which offers facilities to abused children in Rome and Treviso but also emergency, research, and training teams, and international collaboration initiatives using new technologies such as the Internet and social media. The association also promoted “Carta di Treviso,” a protocol signed in 1990 by the National Register of Italian Journalists and the National Federation of Italian Journalists. The Protocol defends the identity, personality and the rights of minors and sets up the basis for other initiatives protecting children’s online privacy.
Telefono Azzurro has contributed to the international debate concerning the rights of the child by promoting and sharing knowledge concerning the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was signed in 1989 by the United Nations and ratified by Italy in 1991, and the European Convention of Strasburg that was signed in 1996.
In February 2003, Telefono Azzurro was entrusted to manage the pilot phase of the 114 Childhood Emergency Hotline, the outcome of an agreement between the Ministers for Communication, Equal Opportunities, Work and Social Policies. After signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of the Interior in May 2009, Telefono Azzurro has been managing 116.000, namely the hotline for missing children.
In 1987 Telefono Azzurro gave its first revolutionary response in order to help children and adolescents in need.
Children call Telefono Azzurro for many reasons.
On the one hand there is loneliness or the lack of a trustful figure, the fear of being judged by their peers or superiors, on the other.
1.96.96 – Hello Telefono Azzurro
Adolescents and children in need can call 1.96.96 to express their concerns. This is a toll-free and 24 hours a day service.
This service is also available to adults who want to talk about problems involving minors.
An expert you can trust, someone who knows and cares about children and adolescents, a person who does not judge you and who is able to listen to you.
Can you chat and remain anonymous?
You can either chat and remain anonymous or you can leave your personal data (first name, last name, address). You should bear in mind that the content of your conversation is private which means that information will be recorded but remains confidential. Since we are concerned about your well-being and safety, we may engage with other people to protect you and your rights.
Information is often transmitted through the Internet Protocols (IP), therefore it is possible to identify those involved in the reporting process.
Yet, data will be used exclusively to gather anonymous statistical information concerning the site and to verify that the helpline is being used correctly. Information may also be requested during legitimate police investigations.
114 – Childhood Emergency
The 114 – Childhood Emergency is the emergency number for children and adolescents in danger. It is a 24 hours-a-day service and it is available from both home or mobile phone number as well as through the www.114.it website.
The mission of the service is to offer aid and may involve alerting local authorities in those cases of emergency where the physical growth and psycho-emotional development of children and adolescents may be in danger.
116 000 – For Missing Children
116.000 is the number dedicated to missing children.
The service is available 24 hours a day to anyone who wants to report, or give information about sightings or finds of Italian or foreign children.
Calls can remain anonymous and operators can initiate search operation protocols that Telefono Azzurro has set up with law enforcement authorities.
Telefono Azzurro has also introduced an online and anonymous reporting system to report sightings or give notice of missing children through the website www.116-000.it
Defending the rights of the child
Every year, Telefono Azzurro’s volunteers are involved in different missions: from prevention campaigns throughout Italy to the implementation of projects in schools up to the creation of community projects to support children of prisoners.
Telefono Azzurro volunteers provide a concrete support to endangered children. Telefono Azzurro is also part of a bigger movement that strives to raise awareness over children rights and aims at strengthening youth empowerment.
Telefono Azzurro’s volunteers have a deep interest in helping others. If your neighbor is a child or a teenager, helping him means giving sense to the present and future of our society.
Telefono Azzurro has an evolving history: the association constantly commits to praise and train its volunteers. By engaging with the most diverse people, it allows to bring together groups that share a common and sincere mission. Anyone sharing our goals, anyone believing in a society is already a potential volunteer of Telefono Azzurro.
For this reason, Telefono Azzurro has believed in its volunteers and treated them as a big asset to the association. The same goals are motivated by the same conviction: if we ensure a peaceful future to children and teenagers we ensure a future to our society.
Since its inception, there has been a mutual cooperation between Telefono Azzurro and Italian schools. As a result, in 2005 Telefono Azzurro has become an educational institution and it has been further recognized by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR).
Telefono Azzurro puts serious efforts to inform, raise awareness and promote the rights of the child.
With over 26 years of activity, Telefono Azzurro has developed strong expertise in the field of child protection through training projects and engagement with parents, teachers, educators, law enforcement agencies, healthcare professionals and many others.
Today, the Education Department of Telefono Azzurro counts on a dynamic and multidisciplinary staff with significant experience as well as on trained volunteers. To this end, Telefono Azzurro now operates effectively at national level to promote the well-being of children.
Psycho-educational activities of the Education Department involve topics such as:
Upon request of institutions, schools and local agencies, Telefono Azzurro trains teachers and parents. Telefono Azzurro relies on donations to organize workshops or training activities in order to partially cover related costs.
For many years the Association S.O.S. Telefono Azzurro Onlus has been working to promote the rights of children and teenagers in compliance with the principles enshrined in the 1989 UN Convention.
Moreover, Telefono Azzurro has organized training courses for teachers and worked with schools by organizing educational programs for children and teenagers.
Workshops are also addressed to kindergarten, primary and secondary schools in order to cope with the different stages of development.
To this end, Telefono Azzurro uses interactive teaching methods. This approach entails the development of activities such as group sessions, role-play,use of graphic tools, problem-solving activities, discussions, storytelling and debate moments.
Bearing in mind our commitment to protect vulnerable children, Telefono Azzurro has implemented the project “Children and Detention”. The former aims at protecting children of detained parents.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Prison Administration, the project was born in 1993 in the prison of San Vittore (Milan).
The project aims at supporting children that are exposed to the prison environment and it has a double structure: the first part is called the Crèche Project and the second one is the Playroom Project. The Crèche Project takes place in female prisons and it addresses 0-3 years old children who are detained together with their mothers. The purpose of this project is to facilitate mother-child relationship.
The Playroom Project aims at supporting children who enter prisons in order to meet a detained parent. Minors visiting a detained parent are about 100,000 every year. Thanks to this project, in 2012 Telefono Azzurro reached almost 10,000 children. Through the creation of open spaces, children have the opportunity to meet their parents in a peaceful and positive environment.
The Playroom Project is divided into three parts:
The project "Children and Detention" is ran by both volunteers and consultants from Telefono Azzurro, and it is now active in 16 Italian Detention Centers.
The international debate with other associations, institutions and services for the prevention of situations of abuse and promotion of rights is a key element in the activities of Telefono Azzurro.
Given the international scale of the problem, there is a need for cross-country cooperation. It is not possible to fight phenomena such as online child pornography or child trafficking at a local level.
The dialogue on best practices managed in Europe can promote their activation at national level. The establishment of operating networks allows to offer high quality and effective help and at the same time, to promote a culture where the rights of the child is at the forefront with a view not only to prevent difficult situations, but also to the improve children’s well-being.
Telefono Azzurro participates actively in some of the main international networks in defense of children's rights.
Safer Internet Centre II - Italy (SIC II)
co-funded by the European Commission under the program The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) – Since 1999, Safer Internet is a program through which the European Commission promotes strategies aimed at making the Internet a safer place for younger users, by promoting a positive and aware use. The project gives continuity to the experience developed during the biennium 2012-2014 with the SIC ITALY I, improving and strengthening the role of the Italian Safer Internet Centre as a reference at the national level with regards to topics that are related to the Internet security and to the relationship between young people and new media.
co-funded by the European Commission under the Daphne Program, the project aims at preventing unaccompanied migrant children from the risk of being missed. This is done through the development of best practices and the creation of training modules on strategies for collaboration between different actors involved in the sector.
"Reducing violence through quality control: monitoring and evaluation of the 116000 hotline to prevent, support and protect missing children". The project, co-funded by the European Commission under the Daphne Program, aims at offering full support to beneficiaries of 116000 by developing common standards of quality for the service in Europe.
Children Helpline International
Global network of 192 helplines for children present in 145 countries (November 2014), which together receive more than 14 million contacts per year by children and young people who need care and protection.
Missing Children Europe
European Federation for missing and sexually exploited children, representing 30 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in 24 countries in Europe.
INHOPE - International Association of Internet Hotlines
International network that promotes cooperation between hotlines on the Internet, bringing together 51 hotlines in 45 countries, supporting them in responding to reports of illegal content to make the Internet more safe.
ICMEC - International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children
It leads a global movement to protect missing and sexually exploited children
European network made up of the Safer Internet Centre in EU Member States. The objective of the Insafe network is to empower positively, safely and effectively children and young people responsibility when using the Internet, as well as other online and mobile technologies.
Your donation can keep on the light of Telefono Azzurro: It will help to listen and provide assistance to children and adolescents living in solitude, indifference and fear.
You can make a bank transfer to an account held in the SOS Il Telefono Azzurro, at:
If you do not want to leave anonymous your contribution, please indicate your name and contact information (email, address, phone number) in the notes of the allowance.
You can avail of a postal order indicating the bank account: 550400 to SOS Telefono Azzurro Onlus;
By postal allowance, using the IBAN IT77I0760102400000000550400 to SOS Telefono Azzurro Onlus.
You can send a bank check in a sealed envelope to SOS Telefono Azzurro Onlus - Via Emilia Est 421, I – 41100 Modena