The ethical guidelines
The advisory board for ethical guidelines regarding voluntary telephone and online help accepted the following guidelines at its meeting on 28 March 2006 (www.puheet.net) :
The ethical guidelines regarding voluntary telephone and online help:
1.The service and its quality is the responsibility of an administrator, such as an association,
foundation or a religious community. The operations are for the public good, and the
administrator does not obtain any financial benefit.
2.The users of the service are given the opportunity to express their opinions on issues
regarding the service in question. The service is confidential, anonymous and respects the
persons using it.
3.The person on duty is either a voluntary or paid employee selected and trained by the
administrator. The person receives support and guidance in the assignment from the
administrator. The person on duty is entitled to remain anonymous and can refuse to
communicate on any issues unrelated to the service.
1 The objective of the service
The users of the service are given the opportunity to discuss
The objective of a supporting discussion is that the employee listens to what the person has to say
and provides an experience of sharing things together, while respecting the right of the person to
make his or her own decisions without pressing her. If necessary, the user is steered forward to
2 The rights and obligations of users
First and foremost, users are entitled to be heard and engage in interaction and discussion that
promotes equality and human dignity. Users are entitled to remain anonymous.
The autonomy of the user is supported, taking the age and level of development into account if the
user is a child.
The user is entitled to receive information about the service administrator, the service, privacy
protection, the processing of personal data and possible fees.
The user is expected to behave in a matter-of-fact way towards the person on duty. The user must
also keep in mind the purpose for which the service is intended.
3 The rights and obligations of the service administrator
Service administrators can be associations, foundations and religious communities. The
administrator is responsible for the service, organising the operations and supplying the necessary
resources. The administrator monitors and maintains service quality. The administrator chooses,
recruits and trains the persons on duty, and also ensures their well-being and expertise.
The administrator determines the service’s form of activity and the target group. The administrator
provides the service within the limits of its resources.
The administrator is responsible for maintaining adequate privacy protection and information
security. The service must not produce any financial gains for the administrator.
4 The rights and obligations of the persons on duty
The person on duty participates in basic and advanced training arranged by the administrator. He or
she is also entitled to receive work-related support and guidance on a continuous basis. The person
on duty is entitled to remain anonymous and can refuse to communicate on any issues unrelated to
the service. If the situation so requires, the person on duty is entitled to limit the duration of the
contact according to the guidelines set out by the administrator.
The person on duty is obliged to follow the operational guidelines provided by the administrator
and the service. The person on duty is obliged to observe secrecy and is not allowed to benefit from
user-related information in any way. The person on duty must adhere to the values and guidelines of
the service in question and promote them in his or her work.
The person on duty is entitled to waive the obligation to observe secrecy for a very weighty reason,
such as a crime under consideration or a serious situation related to child welfare. When the person
on duty waives the obligation to observe secrecy, he or she must notify the user.
The person on duty must not exert pressure on the user. Operational guidelines include fairness,
impartiality, tolerance and respect for the user.
In conversation, the main task of the person on duty is to listen. The persons on duty must not
address their own personal issues in the conversation, express opinions on ideological questions or
make decisions on behalf of the user.