Sunday 26 January 2020

Almost 800 young people reached out to Childline for help on Christmas Day

Volunteers in the Childline office in Dublin city centre
Volunteers in the Childline office in Dublin city centre

Childline was contacted nearly 800 times by children and young people across the country on Christmas Day.

A total of 42 volunteers gave up their time to ensure that the ISPCC service was open for anyone under the age of 18 seeking a listening ear.

Contacts to the service dropped by 37pc compared with Christmas Day last year when the figure stood at 1,267.

A number of those who contacted Childline described how they were feeling distressed as a result of anxiety, grief, loneliness or substance abuse in their home.

The service said that, while many homes are filled with love, warmth and the company of family and friends at this time of year, the magic of Christmas does not reach everyone.

It added that for some children, what should be the most joyful of times can be the most frightening time in private.

"We know from the children who contacted us this Christmas Day that it was an upsetting time for many," said ISPCC chief executive John Church.

"Many who expected to enjoy the day awoke to a very different scene from that which they had imagined.

"Tensions can be heightened at this time of year and often children are left feeling frightened, or alone."


Mr Church said he was "hugely grateful" to everyone who gave up their time with their own loved ones over the holiday season to be there for children who seek support.

"Our fantastic Childline volunteers made sure every child and young person had somewhere they could turn - whether they felt most comfortable making contact by phone, online chat or text.

"We are hugely grateful to each of those who give up their time with their own loved ones throughout the holiday season to be there for children who seek support."

Mr Church said contacting Childline can be life-changing for a child or young person but its volunteers make that difference.

"Childline volunteers show tremendous dedication in working tirelessly and passionately to bring about positive change in the lives of all children and young people in Ireland," he said.

"The service relies on the sustained generous support expressed by the general public and for this we sincerely thank everyone who has supported us in 2019."

Childline volunteers also received contacts from children and young people eager to thank them for their valued support throughout the year.


On Christmas Day, the service received 793 calls, online contacts and texts from children and young people.

Childline is a free, non-judgemental and non-directive service which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

It is there to listen and support, regardless of what might be on a child's mind.

Its phone line can be contacted on 1800 66 66 66, while the service's online chat and text services can be contacted between the hours of 10am and 4am by visiting Childline.ie or texting 50101.

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