Sunday 18 August 2019

More than 1,000 children contact Childline on Christmas Day with alcohol abuse at home among issues

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CHILDLINE got 1,040 contacts from children across Ireland on Christmas Day, the ISPCC has said, with alcohol abuse in the home one of themes rased.

"Children talked to Childline through its free phone, web chat and ‘live’ text services," it said in a statement.

"A team of 61  volunteers gave up their own Christmas and freely offered support to hundreds of children who needed to talk to someone.

"For most children, Christmas is a time to have fun and spend time with family. But for too many children across Ireland, being home at Christmas, is not a place of safety, warmth and happiness. It’s a place of fear, loneliness, pain and neglect.

"The festive season can be a tough time for some children and families. While some children contacted Childline to say ‘thank you’ for its support throughout the year, other children talked about difficulties they were having during the day. Some have experienced the loss of a family member or family break-up earlier in the year which can make Christmas a particularly sad time for them."

The ISPCC said there were also a number of contacts from children experiencing family difficulties, loneliness and mental health issues. The impact of alcohol abuse in the home over the Christmas was also evident in the calls.

 ISPCC Chief Executive Grainia Long stated: “Christmas should mean safety, warmth and happiness, but for many children that call our Childline service, this isn’t the reality.

"Some children who contacted Childline on Christmas day are experiencing loneliness, loss and domestic violence over this festive period which makes what should be a happy time very difficult for them but thanks to our dedicated volunteers, Childline is here to listen and support them.

“We would like to thank sincerely our volunteers for giving up their Christmas day in order to listen to these children. Childline is here for children every day of the year and we couldn’t provide this essential service without the support of our dedicated, committed and highly-trained volunteers.”

You can contact Childline by phoning 1800 666666 or text the word ‘talk’ to 50101 (service available from 10am to 4am)

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