Almost 1,100 children called support line over Christmas period

ISPCC reports 20% increase in number of calls to Childline between December 23rd and Christmas Day

Volunteers manning the phone lines in the Childline offices last year. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

It was anything but a happy Christmas for close to 1,100 children who made contact with Ireland’s only 24-hour young people’s listening service between December 23rd and Christmas Day.

The numbers calling Childline, the support service run by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), rose 20 per cent on the same period last year.

St Stephen’s Day is likely to be busier still with in excess of 400 calls expected on December 26th.

Frequent themes raised by callers include neglect, loneliness, bereavement and emotional health.


The data compiled over the three-day Christmas period illustrates that “not every child or young person has the Christmas that they dream of and deserve”, the ISPCC chief executive John Church said.

He noted that “for too many children and young people, Christmas is sadly just another day”.

He pointed out that for some children, “the issues they encounter all year can worsen. It can mean abuse, neglect and loneliness. For others, Christmas can present new worries and concerns.”

He expressed thanks to Childline’s volunteers “who gave their time and continue to do so across the festive period; they leave their own families at Christmas to ensure there is always someone on the other end of the line when a child or young person needs them.”

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Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor