Charities report surge in calls for help over Christmas period

Thursday 27 December 2012 06.34
Childline says some children and young people feel they cannot talk to their families
Childline says some children and young people feel they cannot talk to their families

Charities have reported an increase in calls for help over the Christmas period with one charity responding to over 1,000 Christmas Day, calls, texts and messages.

Childline dealt with an average of 50 communications an hour from children on Christmas Day.

The listening service is run by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children for all young people in Ireland. 

It said that, in some cases, children and young people felt they could not talk to their families.

Childline volunteers heard and responded to 1,212 calls, texts and messages from children yesterday.

It said that while it had been another difficult financial year, the ISPCC had been determined to maintain Childline's current services to try to ensure that as many children as possible were heard.

National Childline Manager Margie Roe said: "Children contacted Childline on Christmas Day for a variety of reasons."

She said that: "many of the calls, as with throughout the year, were from those experiencing family difficulties, loneliness and mental health issues."

Ms Roe said: "In some cases these children and young people feel they can't talk to family and are not sure who to turn to.

"In these instances it is vital that services like Childline are there to offer listening support," she added.

Separately, the Samaritans charity said yesterday was one of the busiest Christmas Days it has ever had with a large number of calls to its helpline.

Chairman Pio Fenton said overall 2012 was the busiest year to date for the organisation, with an average of 1,100 calls a day to its helpline.

He added that in addition to those ringing in distress, some people called to thank the service for helping them out throughout the year.

Elsewhere, The Society of St Vincent de Paul has said all of its regions are reporting an increase in the number of calls for help over the Christmas period.

Although the society does not have its final figures available for 2012 yet.

It estimates the number of calls throughout the year have increased by 30 to 40% on last year.

The charity anticipates a further demand for their services in 2013.