Vast majority of calls to Childline placed out of hours

ISPCC 2016 report shows number of calls, texts and online conversations at 385,600

Childline said growth in demand for their online and text service is strong, and they plan to invest in their IT infrastructure over the coming year to ensure children can contact them in whatever way suits them best. File photograph: Getty Images

Childline said growth in demand for their online and text service is strong, and they plan to invest in their IT infrastructure over the coming year to ensure children can contact them in whatever way suits them best. File photograph: Getty Images

 

Three quarters of all calls to Childline happen out of hours, when the State’s social work services are not available directly to children and they have no-one else to call.

The ISPCC’s annual report for 2016, published today, shows the number of calls, texts and online conversations answered by ISPCC Childline was 385,673 – more than 1,000 calls per day from children all over Ireland.

The vast majority of these calls (more than 75 per cent) took place outside of office hours .

• The total number of conversations with Childline across all platforms in 2016 was 405,255.

• 385,673 contacts were by phone (95 per cent) and 19,582 were online and by text (5 per cent).

• As in previous years, the majority of calls were from boys (71 per cent), while the majority of online and text contacts were from girls (72 per cent).

Childline said growth in demand for their online and text service is strong, and they plan to invest in their IT infrastructure over the coming year to ensure children can contact them in whatever way suits them best.

Significant intervention

The majority of calls were at the lower level of need, with a small minority, less than 1 per cent, categorised as Hardiker level 4 – requiring significant intervention.

This equates to approximately six calls per day from children at high risk and in need of protection and support.

Interim Childline chief executive Caroline O’Sullivan said there must be a “comprehensive, needs-led, seamless, out of hours social work system”.

“It is needed to support parents and to support and protects children – without this, we are failing today’s children and showing that Ireland has not learnt from past mistakes in the protection and welfare of children,” she said.

“After office hours we see a peak in the numbers of children who call us. This can be a time that children find themselves in situations where they feel unsafe, or need support,” said Ms O’Sullivan.

Last year had been good for fundraising, but income generation remains a key challenge for the organisation, she continued.

Almost 80 per cent of total funding is raised through donations from individual and corporate partners.

“Work has commenced on building sustainable income, which is a key goal for the ISPCC. The ongoing support of the public and corporate partners is essential to allow us to be there for children every day.”