Hundreds facing abuse and neglect contact Childline over last year

The NSPCC has launched a fresh appeal for funding to support its lifeline service as demand expected to rise over Christmas.

Childline has delivered 554 counselling sessions to children and young people from Scotland about abuse and neglect over the last year.

The service, which is run by the NSPCC, is also highlighting that of those counselling sessions in Scotland, 35 per cent (192) had a child say that Childline was the first place where they had spoken about their abuse.

Due to the confidential nature of the service, Childline only records the nation or region a child or young person is contacting them from if they volunteer that information.

Last year, in more than a third of all sessions (4,906) the child did not disclose that information.

The NSPCC is releasing these figures as it launches its Christmas appeal – 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 said there will be many vulnerable children at home facing increased risks.

December last year was the second highest month in the year for children from across the UK reaching out for support on emotional abuse.

A girl from Scotland, aged 15, who contacted Childline over the Christmas period last year said: “I’m struggling at the moment. I had an argument with my mum, who hasn’t been looking after me very well.

“She’s been drinking a lot lately – she’s currently asleep on the sofa. There are jobs that need doing.

“I do have other family, but I just don’t feel like I get the support I need. Social services are involved, but I worry about where I would go if my mum got taken into rehab or hospital.”

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.

The ad is inspired by real calls from children to the NSPCC’s Childline service, which is open for children every day, including Christmas day. 

In the advert a girl named Kara is sat outside on a park bench in the dark speaking to a Childline a counsellor over the phone.

Shaun Friel, Childline director said: “Although Christmas should be a time of happiness and fun for all children, at Childline we know that sadly this is not the case and that for many, it is a time full of fear, isolation and increased risks.

“For lots of children, Childline is the only place they can turn to for help when they are trapped behind closed doors feeling scared and alone.

“In the run up to this festive season, it is essential that the service continues to be here as a lifeline for those children who are in desperate need of support from our trained counsellors and those in immediate danger.”

To enable the charity to be there for all children this Christmas, visit the NSPCC website to donate – £4 could help a counsellor answer a call this festive season.  

Children can contact Childline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year on 0800 1111 or

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