DON’T LET CHILDREN SUFFER ABUSE LIKE I DID
MAN ABUSED 60 YEARS AGO TELLS HIS MOVING STORY AS M.E.N. AND THE NSPCC LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO HELP MAKE SURE KIDS TODAY ARE SAFE
FOR more than 30 years Childline has been there for children and teenagers in need, some of whom are facing their darkest hours with nowhere else to turn.
However, due to rising demand for online, evening and night-time counselling, Childline can now only respond to three in every four young people who need its help.
To help Childline reach the young people that are hanging up or logging off before they can speak to them, the Manchester Evening News is calling on our readers to make a donation by sending a simple text – with just £4 covering the cost of a counsellor responding to a child in need.
The NSPCC already helps youngsters from all walks of life who need emotional and practical support for issues such as abuse, neglect and poor mental health.
But last year, the charity’s dedicated team of call-handlers and experts were unable to respond to a total of 175,000 phone calls and online chats from young people, some who are in desperate need of help.
Now Childline, founded by TV presenter Esther Rantzen, need your support so they can be there for the one in four children and teenagers who hang off or log off while being held in a queue.
The NSPCC-supported service wants the capability to be able to respond to tens of thousands more young people who are contacting them via the website or on their phones during the peak hours of 4pm and 1am.
To do this requires employing extra staff to support volunteers to be there when children and teenagers need them most – all of which comes at a cost of an extra £500,000 per year.
In response, the M.E.N. is teaming up with the NSPCC to launch ‘Light Up Christmas for Children’ – a nationwide campaign to raise money for Childline and give all young people, no matter their circumstances, the chance of a brighter future.
The need for Childline has never been greater, with increasing numbers of children and teenagers contacting them about mental health concerns including many who are self-harming and even planning suicide.
John Cameron, who is head of helplines at the NSPCC, said: “Childline is there for children and teenagers day and night.
“However, developments in technology have meant that young people are now communicating with us in very different ways, which is placing the service under real pressure. “In particular we are getting more calls later in the evening and many more contacts online, with these counselling sessions taking twice as long as those conducted over the phone.” Last year almost 800,000 calls, chats and emails from young people were put through to Childline, with 625,000 of those getting to speak to a counsellor.
We are really excited that the Manchester Evening News is backing our efforts John Cameron from the NSPCC
Mr Cameron added: “We are really excited that a great campaigning newspaper like the Manchester Evening News is backing our efforts to get to young people in need of our help more quickly.
“We would also urge children and teenagers to keep contacting us and to always try and wait until a counsellor becomes available.”
Childline is also making a nationwide appeal for more volunteer counsellors, especially people who are willing to work in the evenings and overnight when many young people feel at their most vulnerable and are most in need of support and advice.
One Childline user, Melanie, who cannot be identified further for legal reasons, explained how the
service had helped her reclaim her life.
She said: “Between the ages of 12 and 13, I phoned Childline regularly as I was being sexually abused by my godfather. I was just so glad to be finally sharing things with someone.
“Childline made me feel confident that it wasn’t my fault and helped me to realise that I didn’t have to feel ashamed.
“The counsellors I spoke to just let me talk and it was such a relief.
“The way they talked made me feel like they were genuinely there for me and like I was important.
“Talking to Childline lightened the burden of keeping such a big secret. I felt more in control and I was able to get the support I needed on my own terms.”
If you are worried about a child call the NSPCC Helpline’s trained helpline counsellors for 24/7 help, advice and support on 0808 800 5000 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call Childline on 0800 1111 or visit www.childline.org.uk
Childline can only respond to three in four children because of rising demand
Childline founder Esther Rantzen