Childline, the ISPCC’s listening service for all children and young people in Ireland was open on Christmas Day and responded to 1,450 calls, texts and web messages.
This figure represents a 20% increase in contacts answered compared with last Christmas. This year Childline also celebrated 25 years of listening to children – and in May 2013 answered its five millionth call, illustrating how vital this service is for children in Ireland.
Seventy-five dedicated ISPCC volunteers from across Ireland who gave freely of their time throughout 2013 once again listened, and offered support to hundreds of children who needed to talk on Christmas Day. For most children, Christmas is a time to have fun and spend time with family. For many others however, the reality is very different and Christmas can be a difficult time to be at home; the season can bring unwelcome stress and trauma.
Margie Roe, National Childline Manager said: “Having been providing this service for 25 years, we know that for many children, Christmas Day is just another day. Children contacted Childline on Christmas Day for a variety of reasons but many of the calls were from those experiencing family difficulties, loneliness and mental health issues. The impact of alcohol abuse in the home over the Christmas period can also have a very negative impact on children”
While it has been another difficult financial year, the ISPCC, with the support of over 600 volunteers nationwide has been determined to maintain all current services and to ensure that as many children as possible are heard. Over the last year Childline has been struggling to answer all calls, with one-in-three calls going unanswered. This is of particular concern.
Ms Roe said: “The call figures received on an annual basis indicate how vital Childline is to children in Ireland and illustrates the deficit of accessible 24 hour services for children and their families. However as the demand continues, we are concerned about the calls that we are unable to get to. When a child reaches out for support it’s so important that they receive an answer. We continue to ask the public for their support in helping us to answer more calls going into the new year.”
The ISPCC wishes to thank members of the public without whose support the ISPCC and Childline would simply not be in a position to continue to provide its range of services. December proved particularly difficult with regards to ISPCC fundraising activities and we have experienced a significant drop in donations to the service.
If you would like to donate €2 to Childline please text the word CHILDLINE to 50300. Your entire €2 donation will help them take one step closer to answering every call, every time.
The staff and management of the ISPCC wish to acknowledge the tremendous work, commitment and dedication of all the volunteers who have worked tirelessly to bring about positive change in children and young people’s lives.