Childline sees 20,000 rise in calls

 

The ISPCC Childline service recorded an increase of 20,000 calls in 2010, according to annual statistics published today.

Due to lack of resources, 35 per cent of calls to Childline in 2010 were left unanswered, the service said.

The 24-hour support service for those aged up to 18 received more than 830,000 calls last year.

Childline reported receiving more than 2,300 calls daily from distressed teens. There was a rise in calls related to mental heath, with a 15 per cent increase in web and text conversations connected to psychological issues, including depression, suicide and self harm.

In 2010 Childline also saw a higher number of abuse and welfare conversations - recording a 13 per cent increase in calls and a 9 per cent increase in web and text contact.

Today’s figures suggest the service, which runs entirely on the basis of donations and sponsorship, will need to obtain additional funding to stay open. It is operated by 500 volunteers providing support and counselling at eight centres throughout the country.

In reaction to these statistics, the ISPCC aims to encourage Irish people to join its manifesto in the fight for the rights of children across the country. The society has unveiled its summer campaign – "I Can’t Wait Until I Grow Up" – to coincide with the publication of the 2010 Childline report.

The campaign, which will run during May, focuses on the importance of a safe and happy childhood, with all donations used to support the ISPCC’s aim of ensuring no call goes unanswered in 2011.

Childline, which is free of charge, can be accessed by calling 1800 666666, texting "talk" to 50101 or by visiting www.childline.ie.