Thousands of children contact Childline for support with abuse and neglect
News / Sun 26th Nov 2023 at 05:21am
CHILDLINE has delivered more than 14,000 counselling sessions to children suffering abuse and neglect over the past year.
New figures come as the counselling service prepares for the Christmas season, continuing to be a lifeline for vulnerable children and young people
The NSPCC is urging people to Walk for Children on December 22 to help keep its vital Childline service open for children this Christmas
Penelope Red* (Berkshire) grew up with a mother that abused drugs, specifically heroin. This her Christmas story. “When you think of Christmas you think of family. I was never into Christmas until I met my partner. Christmas probably wasn’t as bad as it was for others.
We did have food. We generally went to my nans up north for a day then would come back. I couldn’t wait to get back to my friends and never really got excited for Christmas. Spending time with my family was a chore, but I did have presents to open and a warm bed to sleep in. It was the only time I saw my nan, and my mum would only stay for the minimum. It always highlighted the difference though, we would wake up go down and open presents and then go our separate ways. It wasn’t until I was with my partner that I realised what true Christmas was.
Playing games, the build-up, the family element, actually wanting to sit in all day with them and eat food. We had a tacky tree with hardly any decorations, I can’t remember once going Christmas decorations shopping let alone Christmas food shopping. New Years is worse for me. My mum and step dad stayed in EVERY SINGLE year.
All my friends parents went and saw their friends or went away, but they stayed in high off their face on the sofa which always highlighted how different they are. They didn’t go on any Christmas do’s with friends etc. We never left carrots or mince pies out and never had Christmas jumpers or PJs. I think the amazing thing about Christmas is the way it can bring people together, but when drugs are involved there will always be that void.
Addiction doesn’t do festive and there is more pressure to drink and be more social in a time I often want to hide. I am learning slowly how to enjoy Christmas, how to make traditions in my new life but every year I learn something new.”
Leah* (Bedford, Tuesday only) grew up in a household with parents that didn’t look out for her or keep an eye on her welfare. Because of this she was groomed by a man when she was a teenager. This is her Christmas story. “Christmas holidays brought me a lot of dread, saying goodbye to the sanctuary of school for a few unhappy weeks at home.
The school holidays brought unrestricted time with unpredictable parents made worse by the acceptability of festive drinking. This would cause an increase with episodes of verbal and physical abuse. Children like me who pretend to be happy for school, end up like a lot of other children, when all the season really brings is the gifts of stress, fear and trauma.”
*Names have been changed to protect identities.
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