Sunday 15 December 2019

Childline is facing partial shutdown due to crisis

Childline has said it is at crisis point
Childline has said it is at crisis point
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

Childline is reaching breaking point due to the crisis that has hit the charity sector.

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) will warn today at its AGM that if the current trend continues, it will no longer be able to provide 24-hour nationwide support services.

At the moment, around one in three calls to its flagship service Childline goes unanswered.

It said recently it was recruiting additional volunteers to join the Childline team.

It costs €500 to recruit, select and fully train a volunteer to deal with all types of calls.


It is also seeking funding and support from corporate bodies to employ additional staff so that it can have greater numbers on the difficult to cover shifts, where volunteers may not be available, such as early mornings and overnight rosters.

Last year, the vital service received more than 664,005 contacts, and responded to 463,396 of those through its phone and web based services.

In relation to the telephone service, it has a small number of staff that cover overnight shifts because funding doesn't allow them to have any more than that. Volunteers man the phone lines up until 10pm.

Childline has been listening to children for 26 years.

However, many Irish charities have been hit by a drop in income, coupled with an increased demand for services.

A survey conducted by The Wheel, a national network of 950 charities, found that 59pc said that their overall income has fallen in the past year.

Irish Independent

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