Charity sees 35% increase in calls from parents abused by children 

Charity sees 35% increase in calls from parents abused by children 

Parentline chief executive Aileen Hickie said: 'The biggest category of calls we are getting is without a doubt from parents really worried about the level of aggression being shown by their children.' File picture: PA

The pandemic has seen a sharp rise in the number of calls to a confidential national helpline about domestic abuse of parents by their children.

Parentline received 505 calls in the first three months of this year from people concerned about anger and aggression directed at them by their children.

That compares to just 58 calls made about the same category of concerns in the same period last year.

Children's anger and aggression towards their parents made up more than a third of the 1,642 calls received by Parentline in the first three months of 2021.

Overall, calls have more than doubled across all categories since the previous year.

This year’s figure compares with 726 calls made during the first quarter in 2020.

The volume of calls this year is on course to beat in just six months the number – 2,960 – the charity received throughout all of 2019.

The 4,144 calls it received in 2020 marked a 40% increase on the previous year.

The 642 contacts the charity received in March 2021 was the highest number of calls it has received in a single month in its 39-year history.

Covid-19

After anger and aggression, the second highest category of calls (15%) received in the first three months of 2021 were about Covid-19.

The third highest category was school refusal, at 14%, followed by anxiety at 12%.

Parentline chief executive Aileen Hickie said: “The biggest category of calls we are getting is without a doubt from parents really worried about the level of aggression being shown by their children.

“This includes anything from verbal to physical abuse of them in their own home.” 

On the calls about Covid-19, Ms Hickie added: “The principal reason for these types of calls seemed to be concern about whether or not their children are adhering to the restrictions in place.

The calls were also about how their children might be displaying anti-social behaviour and refusing to abide by the health guidelines.

“Parents were also worried about their children socialising too much during lockdown.” 

She believes the overall increase in calls was, in part, due to an increased awareness of the work the charity does.

The charity, whose helplines are manned by about 40 trained volunteers, is funded by Tusla.

It was set up in 1982 as a support organisation by social workers for parents who were having difficulties with their children.

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