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Frequently Asked Questions

What is NiteLine?

 We are an anonymous, confidential, non-judgemental, and non-directive helpline service run for third level students by third level students. NiteLine is affiliated with the following colleges: DBS, MU, NCAD, RCSI, TCD & UCD. Our phone and instant messaging service are open from 21:00-02:30 every night of the week during term-time.

What exactly happens when I ring?

Once you hear or read the words “Hello, NiteLine”, the call is completely in your control. You can say as much or as little as you want about any topic, no issue is too big or too small. We are here to listen to anything you have to say.

Is there a limit to how long calls last?

All calls on our instant messaging service have to be ended after 2 hours and phone calls have to be ended after 1 hour, if they haven’t naturally concluded before that. If you want, you can call us right back. However, we do not link calls so the volunteer will treat the call as a brand new call. We can’t guarantee that you will get the same volunteer as before, but all volunteers are trained equally and are there to listen to you.

What if I want to talk to a particular volunteer or specifically to a male/female?

All NiteLine volunteers are equally trained, and as it is an anonymous service, you can’t request a specific volunteer. However, if you would prefer to speak to a different volunteer you can hang up and call back. A trained volunteer will answer your call, but we can’t guarantee they will be of the gender you wish to speak to, and there is a chance your call may be answered by the same volunteer.

Will the volunteer give me advice?

As we are a non-directive service, we will not offer explicit advice. Instead, we will listen and talk you through your situation in a way that will hopefully give you some clarity and allow you to come to your own conclusions.

Who sees the instant messaging conversation?

Only the NiteLine volunteer you are talking to sees the conversation. All messages are transferred over an encrypted server where they will be permanently deleted.

Is contacting you confidential?

Everything you share when you call us remains just between you and the volunteer, no one else sees your conversation, and it is permanently deleted after it ends. All information is treated confidentially and is not disclosed to any third party, except for in some specific circumstances where a third party such as emergency services may be informed. Read more about when we do this (Disclosure of Information to Third Parties policy).

Is contacting you free?

NiteLine is completely free to call from all mobiles and landlines, and our instant messaging service is also fully free to use.

How many times can I contact you?

In general, there is no limit to how many times you can contact NiteLine overall or in a single night.

However, NiteLine will limit a caller’s usage of the service if the caller is persistently inappropriate or if the caller contacts the service very frequently over a long period of time to the point where this is likely to have a negative impact on the caller themselves, or to limit NiteLine’s capacity to support other students. This is a very rare occurrence. NiteLine is a volunteer service with limited capacity and we’re not in a position to offer long-term support to callers, so when we notice someone is contacting us very frequently over a long period of time, we encourage them to look at other services that may be more suitable for them and we may need to limit the number of contacts we can take from them.

Our Team

Are there any types of calls NiteLine cannot take?

Where the caller is being abusive towards the volunteer:

Callers will be warned at the first display of aggressive or abusive behaviour towards our volunteers. Where the caller continues to exhibit aggressive or abusive behaviour, the volunteer will inform them that they can no longer continue the call before the call is ended.

Where the caller is not a student of one of our affiliated colleges (DBS, MU, NCAD, RCSI, TCD, TUD or UCD):

NiteLine Dublin is available only for students of the above colleges. If you disclose your college and it is not part of this group, we will regretfully have to advise you of other services that are available to students of your college. If you would like your college to be part of NiteLine, please get in touch at

NiteLine Volunteers

Are NiteLine volunteers trained?

Yes. NiteLine is based on the Samaritans model, and we have over 20 years’ experience working with students in this way. All volunteers go through extensive training both before and during our time as active volunteers.

How do I become a NiteLine volunteer?

If you’re interested in becoming a NiteLine volunteer, learn more on our Volunteer With Us page

Is this service for me?

What sort of person rings NiteLine?

There is no ‘typical’ caller who rings us. Any third-level student from our affiliated colleges (DBS, MU, NCAD, RCSI, TCD, TUD & UCD) can ring, from postgraduates to undergraduates to exchange students. There is also no specific issue that we deal with – any student can call for any reason.

Do I have to be suicidal/depressed/ have mental health issues to call?

No, not at all. We are trained to listen to any problem and nothing is too big or too small. You don’t even need to have a problem to call – you may just want to chat, get something off your chest or tell someone about something good that happened to you that day. Some callers don’t talk at all, and that’s okay too.

I’m not a student from one of your affiliated colleges who else can I talk to?

There are many other services available to you. We hope our Useful Links section will help you find the one that’s right for you.

I’m a secondary school student who can I contact?

You may find the following listening services useful:

Childine (link to website)

-24hr free phone: 1800 66 66 66

-free text: 50101

Teenline (link to website)

-24hr freephone: 1800 833 634

Limits of Confidentiality

NiteLine is a confidential and anonymous service. However, in the following exceptional circumstances, NiteLine will report all relevant details of a call to the relevant authorities:

When a caller in danger requests emergency assistance or loses consciousness

In a situation where we fear the caller’s life is in immediate danger, it is our obligation to inform them that we can contact emergency services on their behalf at any point in the call, if they so wish. However, if a caller does not wish to avail of this option, we will continue to provide a supportive, non-judgemental, non-directive listening service. It must be noted that if we believe a caller’s life is in immediate danger and we learn details of the caller’s location, emergency services will be contacted.

NiteLine assumes no liability for any costs incurred by a caller who avails of emergency services.

Where a caller mentions that they have been a victim of a serious crime:

The caller will be asked if they would like us to report the crime – if not, NiteLine will not report the call unless requested to as part of legal proceedings. We will not actively seek information about the crime from the caller, and if the caller asks us to make a report, only relevant details about this crime will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Where the caller mentions a serious crime and is not the victim:

Where a caller gives identifying details about a past, present or planned serious crime NiteLine will report all relevant information of the call to the emergency services. In this circumstance callers will be alerted to our policy. We will not actively seek information about the crime from the caller, and we do not release a caller’s contact number or IP address unless required to as part of legal proceedings

What we consider “serious crimes” and “relevant information”

NiteLine defines “serious crimes” as:

 ● any incidents which involve loss of human life, serious personal injury, sexual violence, false imprisonment or a serious risk of any of the above;

● any incidents which involve the abuse of a child (including neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse).

      More details on what constitutes abuse of a child can be found in the Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017.

NiteLine defines “relevant information” as:

 ● any information which could aid the authorities in finding the perpetrator of a crime or abuse; or protecting existing or possible future victims.

This policy has been written in line with the Criminal Justice (Withholding Of Information On Offences Against Children And Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012; and with due regard to NiteLine’s commitment to confidentiality; the Children First Act 2015 (under which members of NiteLine are not mandated persons); and the Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017.

When NiteLine is required to present records or information as a part of a legal proceeding

Where NiteLine is obliged to provide information as part of legal proceedings, we may be forced to disclose information from our phone and instant messaging service providers which is not generally accessible to volunteers, such as phone numbers and/or IP addresses

Disclosure of Regular Inappropriate Caller Profiles to Other Helplines

If a caller persistently uses the service inappropriately, it may be necessary for NiteLine to make an individual caller profile and policy in order to limit the caller’s use of NiteLine or to ban the caller from NiteLine. In this extremely rare instance, NiteLine Dublin may share the caller profile and the policy which NiteLine is using for this caller with other helplines.

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