Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds call Childline on Xmas Day

More than 1,200 children contacted a telephone helpline for distressed youngsters on Christmas Day, volunteers said.

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) said most of the children contacting its Childline service yesterday needed help with family problems or mental health issues.

Some 57 volunteers dealt with 1,208 calls, texts and other messages during the day.

More than seven in ten (73%) calls were from boys.

Margie Roe, Childline manager, said the time of year can bring a number of problems to the fore in homes around the country.

"The season can bring unwelcome stress on families and issues such as financial pressures and alcohol misuse in the home can have a hugely negative impact on children's experience of the day," she said.

"Children contacted Childline on Christmas Day for a variety of reasons but the majority of calls this year were from children who were experiencing family difficulties and mental health issues."

Ms Roe added: "While Childline will not be able to solve all of these children's issues and concerns on Christmas Day, what we can and will continue to do is listen to, believe and empower them and most importantly of all we will show these children that we care."

Childline faced an unprecedented funding crisis during the year, according to the service.

However, an emergency appeal raised 400,000 euro from the general public.

A recent agreement between Childline and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will also help maintain an overnight service, ensuring Childline remains open 24 hours a day, Ms Roe said.

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