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Paris attacks leave UK children terrified as 'avalanche' of youngsters call ChildLine in fear of Isis

By Francesca Gosling

Dozens of children have called ChildLine with fears that they will be victims of terrorist attacks following the Paris massacres last week.

The NSPCC's child helpline reported more than 100 calls from those as young as nine who told counsellors they feared something was going to happen to them, were frightened to leave the house, and struggled to think of anything else.

Some even said they feared the world was on the brink of a third world war.

One 12-year-old girl told a ChildLine counsellor: "I have heard that Isis are in the UK and are planning a deadly attack. I don't feel safe any more and am having nightmares. These worries are in my mind all the time and I can't get them out."

For some the issue is even more personal as a number of children from ethnic communities said they had been bullied following the attacks, with some even being told to "join Isis" - the terrorist group responsible for the weekend attacks.

A 17-year-old girl told a counsellor: "I am scared to go to college tomorrow because of racist repercussions following events in Paris over the weekend.

"People judge me because I am Muslim and go to mosque. I feel everyone thinks I am a terrorist even though I disagree with terrorist actions.

"I wear a hijab and have suffered racist comments most of my life but when something like this happens you just want to hide."

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "The attacks in Paris were atrocious, and our thoughts are with all of those who have been affected by these hideous attacks on innocent lives.

"The avalanche of calls to ChildLine about this tragedy only adds to the feelings of fear and sadness that these evil attacks have prompted around the world. Many of the victims were young people and that will have heightened the fears of those who have seen others their age brutally murdered.

"It is crucial that children can talk about their feelings following these senseless killings, and are given reassurance and support."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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