Childline received on average nearly one contact a minute on Christmas Day, according to the helpline’s providers, who said calls to the service were up almost a quarter compared to the same day last year.
The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children said Childline volunteers answered 1,267 calls, texts, and online contacts from children and young people across the country on December 25.
ISPCC said a number of those who contacted Childline on Christmas Day described tension in their homes, fraught relationships, and problems relating to alcohol intake.
Other callers contacted the service to speak of how they felt sad and lonely and missed loved ones who were not around.
Some volunteers also took calls from children and young people who called Childline to thank them for the support they received throughout the year.
ISPCC chief executive John Church said Childline volunteers are acutely aware that not every home is filled with Christmas joy.
“Many children contact Childline to share their thoughts and feelings. We are hugely grateful to each of the Childline volunteers who give up time with their own loved ones throughout the holiday season to make sure that children have somewhere to turn when they seek support. A call to Childline can be life-changing for a child or young person,” said Mr Church.
“Childline is there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for children and young people throughout Ireland who seek a listening ear.
“Our phoneline can be contacted 24 hours a day at 1800 666 666, while our text line and online chat services can be contacted between 10am and 4am by texting to 50101 or visiting Childline.ie.”
ISPCC said 45 volunteers gave up their time on Christmas Day to ensure the service could remain active for any child or young person who needed someone to talk to.
“Childline volunteers show tremendous commitment and dedication in working tirelessly and passionately to bring about positive change in the lives of all children and young people in Ireland,” said Mr Church.
“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 2018,” he said.
Volunteers help answer more than 380,000 contacts to Childline’s 24-hour phone, text, and web chat services throughout the year.
To support ISPCC Childline and help volunteers continue to answer calls from children and young people across Ireland 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, visit ispcc.ie/donate-now.
Childline’s freephone number is 1800 666 666, free text 50101, or live message on childline.ie.