Number of children calling Childline up 25% since schools closed

The number of children contacting Childline has surged by more than 25% since early March as young people remain home from school during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Number of children calling Childline up 25% since schools closed

The number of children contacting Childline has surged by more than 25% since early March as young people remain home from school during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 24/7 service is operated by the ISPCC and is still running from its six units around the country, with social distancing and other preventative measures being observed.

Since March 8, the service has had an increase of 25% in children and young people contacting Childline online. In that period, there has also been an increase of 143% in users of the Childline.ie website.

Statistics released by Childline last month for the week ending March 15 had also shown an increase in contacts across all service platforms when compared with the previous week.

There was a 19.8% increase in SMS contacts, an 8.9% increase in phone conversations and a 4.6% in online engagements.

Childline have pointed out that, in the past few weeks, some of the topics children and young people have spoken about with Childline most often have included family relationships, mental/emotional health, online safety and the coronavirus.

ISPCC director of services Caroline O'Sullivan said with schools closed, some children have lost their sanctuary from abusive situations at home.

"Life as we know it has been put on hold. But child abuse does not stop in a pandemic. For many children and young people, school is their sanctuary. Now they are at home - and in many cases, in close proximity to their tormentor. Difficulties and tensions may now be more acute than ever.

"More and more children and young people are turning to Childline online. Seeking support in this way means they do not have to fear being overheard," she said.

Ms O'Sullivan said Childline will continue to be there for children young people 24/7 throughout the pandemic but can only do so with the public's support.

Any individual can help keep Childline listening by visiting ispcc.ie/donate-now.

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