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Childline's 1,208 cries for help at Christmas

MORE than 1,200 children contacted the Childline support service on Christmas Day.

The listening service was busy dealing with telephone calls, texts and online messages.

Fifty-seven volunteers from the ISPCC offered support to children who reached out for help from all parts of the country.

They handled 1,208 contacts, down from the 1,450 on Christmas Day 2013. Last year's figure was a 20pc increase on 2012.

Seventy-three per cent of contacts on Thursday were from boys and 27pc from girls.

Childline's night-time service will remain open next year following a successful campaign for more funding.

In October, Childline launched an emergency appeal for €1.2m to cover a deficit.

It received public and corporate donations totalling €400,000 and the ISPCC secured a vital two-year funding agreement with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Childline national manager Margie Roe said the collaboration on funding between state bodies, business people, ISPCC ambassadors and the general public showed a widely held belief that all children have the right to be listened to, to be heard and to be responded to when in difficulty, including on Christmas Day.

"The season can bring unwelcome stress on families," she said.

"Issues such as financial pressures and alcohol misuse in the home can have a hugely negative impact on children's experience of the day.

dedication

"The majority of calls for help this year were from children who were experiencing family difficulties and mental health issues.

"The staff and management of the ISPCC would like to acknowledge the tremendous work, commitment and dedication of all of our volunteers nationwide."

Anyone wishing to make a donation to Childline can do so online at www.savechildline24.ie, or a €4 text donation can be made by texting CHILDLINE to 57911.

aokeeffe@herald.ie


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