Disabled children fear for their future

Child on phone web

Childline has revealed that thousands of disabled youngsters are getting in touch, with many worried about how their disabilities will affect them

23rd November 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Thousands of children with disabilities required emergency counselling last year.

Childline delivered 8,253 support sessions last year to young people who either said they were disabled or were identified by counsellors as deaf, disabled, having special educational needs or a health condition.

Concerns raised by callers included fears about the impact of their disability, and some youngsters said they worried about never being able to have a loving relationship.

In 2016/17, the number of contacts from disabled children and teenagers across the UK rose by 13% from 7,308 the year before, with volunteer counsellors in Scotland's two Childline bases in Glasgow and Aberdeen handling 1,527 calls.

The NSPCC-run service fears the number of disabled young people who could be facing abuse and neglect could be even higher.

Research has shown that disabled young people are three times more likely to be abused or neglected than their peers and they are also less likely to receive the protection and support they need when they have been abused.

John Cameron, NSPCC head of helplines, said: "It's extremely concerning to see so many disabled children and teenagers contacting Childline but this could be only the tip of the iceberg.

"We know that disabled young people are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect and we need to ensure that support and advice is available to all those who could find themselves in difficult or dangerous situations.

“Childline counsellors will continue to support as many disabled young people as possible to ensure that they have the ability to live without fear of prejudice."

Last week, NSPCC Scotland's The Right to Recover report revealed therapeutic recovery services for victims of child sexual abuse are patchy and inconsistent across the country while children with disabilities have even less access to appropriate services than their peers, despite them being at higher risk.

Concerns raised during calls included mental and emotional health, issues relating to their own disability, educational need or health condition, bullying, and family relationships and friendship issues.

Some youngsters told Childline they were scared about their future and described feeling nervous about how their disability or condition might impact on achieving their ambitions. Most heartbreakingly, some even said they couldn't picture themselves being in a loving relationship or becoming parents and feared they had no future because of their disability.

The disabilities or conditions most commonly recorded by Childline included autism, those with learning difficulties, a physical disability or mobility issues, and those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD).