Thousands of children contact Childline for support with abuse and neglect
News / Wed 22nd Nov 2023 at 07:34am
CHILDLINE has revealed that over the last year the service has delivered 14,080 counselling sessions to children and young people about sexual, physical, domestic, emotional abuse and neglect– an average of 38 children a day.
The service, which is run by the NSPCC, is also highlighting that of those counselling sessions, 15% had a child say that Childline was the first place where they had spoken about their abuse.
The NSPCC is releasing these figures as it launches its Christmas appeal.
Although Christmas comes with huge expectations of happiness, love and fun – for the more than half a million children experiencing abuse a year, it can also be an incredibly lonely and frightening time.
With schools closing their doors and children having reduced contact with wider support networks over the festive season, the charity knows that there will be many vulnerable children at home facing increased risks.
For those children and young people for whom Christmas means abuse, Childline is a lifeline.
On December 22, the longest night of the year, landmarks across the country will be lighting up NSPCC Green to show support for the charity’s appeal.
In the East of England and Thames Valley, landmarks will include Ely Cathedral, St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Oxford Castle and Prison, New Theatre Peterborough, the Key Theatre and Bedford Bridges.
Last year during the 12-day Christmas period between 24 December 2022 and 4 January 2023, counsellors delivered 400 counselling sessions on abuse and neglect.
December last year was also the second highest month in the year for children reaching out for support on emotional abuse (247).
A girl, aged 17, who contacted Childline over the Christmas period said: “My parents are drug addicts and don’t buy us any food. If they do get us any, it’s usually stolen from somewhere. They always ask me for my work money. I’d like advice on how to move out with my 12 year old brother. I feel like other people don’t get it when I try to talk to them. I’ve been thinking about contacting Social Services, but I thought I would ask Childline for advice first.”
In its new TV advert, the NSPCC highlights that on average a child will call Childline every 45 seconds and that for these children, Christmas can be the worst time of year.
Andrew Skea, NSPCC Assistant Director for the East of England, said: “For many children in the East of England and across Thames Valley we know that Christmas will be a time of happiness and fun, however for many children this time of year brings fear, isolation and increased risks.
“For these children, Childline is the only lifeline they will have over the festive period, when they will be trapped behind closed doors and away from support networks at school.
“In the run up to this festive season, it is essential that the service continues to be here for those children who are in need of support from our trained counsellors.”
To enable the charity to be there for all children this Christmas, the NSPCC is asking people across the country to Walk for Children on December 22, or another date that works for them. The 5K walk can be taken wherever the participant chooses, and could be planned to pass a lit-up landmark. The £10 sign-up fee includes an NSPCC t-shirt and fundraising pack in the post.
Additionally, Fleet-based job site CV-Library will be donating £1 to Childline per new CV registered between December 11-17.
The Childline service is here for children every day, even on Christmas Day. Children can contact Childline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. When a child needs help and Christmas means abuse, Childline is a lifeline and it is vital that our counsellors are here and ready to listen and support children across the UK.
Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or childline.org.uk
Broken parents = broken children.