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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C

Childline answered 381,000 calls, texts and online messages from children last year

72% of phone calls answered by the charity came from males.

MORE THAN 381,000 calls, text and online messages were answered last year by the ISPCC’s Childine service.

According to the charity’s annual report, published today, volunteers had over 1,000 different phone conversations a day with children and young people all over Ireland.

This is a slight decrease on last year’s figure, but the helpline’s online and text options recorded a 33% increase in numbers. Over 11,000 new users registered for Childline’s online service for the first time in 2017.

In total, there were 381,911 contacts answered.

Issues pertaining to personal life (43%), abuse and welfare (15%) and relationships (10%) were most frequently raised by children and young people who engaged in two-way interaction contacts with the helpline service in 2017. Of the total number of two-way interaction phone calls answered by Childline in 2017, 72% came from males and 26% came from females.

Conversely, boys accounted for just 16% of those who engaged in two-way interaction contacts to the service by text and just 25% of those who chatted with Childline online, while girls made up 62% of text service users and 75% of online chat users respectively.

Childline answered 28,714 two-way interaction contacts in relation to abuse and welfare and an additional 3,122 calls in relation to substance use and abuse.

ISPCC CEO Grainia Long said the majority of contacts to the chairty helpline come when children, “regrettably, have no access to social workers and may have no-one else to call”.

“That remains the case today, as it was in 2017, and so we renew our calls for all-of-government consensus to prioritise child protection in this area.”

Long said the increase recorded this year in the number of contacts to our online service options is “indicative of the changing nature of children’s behaviour – as more and more children use online services, we need to ensure that we are meeting their needs”.

“We need to ensure that we can be there for every child and young person in Ireland over the next 30 years and beyond, through whichever means they choose to use to get in contact. For this reason, Childline, with the support of the Vodafone Ireland Foundation, is investing substantially in a new digital platform for Childline. We will be launching this new service in 2018 as part of our 30th birthday celebrations.”

Long said volunteers donated over 55,645 hours to the ISPCC to enable it to run services last year.

“We have, however, experienced some difficulty over the past year in recruiting volunteers to support the Childline service. We would warmly welcome interest from anyone who believes they could, with the support of our comprehensive and excellent training and development programme, play the hugely important role of listening to children who contact Childline,” she said.

ISPCC Childline costs €3.5 million to run every year and relies on public and corporate support for over 90% of this funding.

“We are very grateful, thus, for the generosity shown to ISPCC Childline by several companies in Ireland and by members of the public the length and breadth of the country who donate to our various campaigns run throughout the year.”

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