Childline provides a 24 hour listening service for all children up to the age of 18. The Childline phone service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and it receives thousands of calls every year. These are answered by volunteers and staff who are trained to listen and understand young people. Young people contact the service for a wide range of reasons such as bullying, sexuality, everyday chat and lots of other issues. This service is currently in danger of closing due to funding.
Childline has warned it will have to shut down its night-time service unless it raises more than €1 million over the coming months. Curtailing the service at night would “force 45,000 voices into silence”, the charity claimed.
“We have issued an emergency funding appeal as, for many children, Childline is the only support option available to them,” said Caroline O’Sullivan, the interim chief executive of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC). “ If Childline cannot continue to provide a 24-hour service, some children will be forced into silence. Only the generosity of the Irish public to our appeal can stop this from happening now.”
The charity said its night-time service has grown over the last 15 years to become a vital support to children in distress. It says that in many instances late-night calls are from children who, due to their domestic circumstances, cannot call at other times of the day.
Childline receives 1,800 calls per day with night-time calls accounting for about 11 per cent of all contacts.
Ms O’Sullivan said her greatest concern was for children in abusive situations who account for a significant portion of calls. “These children really need us on a 24/7 basis and thousands of these children will not be heard next year if we cannot raise the funds to keep the night service open,” she said.
Childline has launched a funding appeal through the month of November, seeking donations online, www.savechildline24.ie, or via a €4 text donations which can be made by texting CHILDLINE to 57911.