More children calling ChildLine in middle of night

Counsellors from the nspccs childline service speak to children who contact them during the night

Figures show more children calling helpline in the early hours 

18th July 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Thousands of children and young people from around the UK contacted Childline counsellors based in Scotland in the middle of the night seeking help, new figures reveal.

In 2016/17, the helpline delivered 2,635 overnight counselling sessions from its Glasgow base – an 8% increase from the previous year (2,437 sessions) – with children seeking help for issues including bullying, family relationships, self-harm, suicide and mental health.

Childline is open 24/7, 365 days a year and counsellors at the helpline’s Glasgow base carried out 38,044 counselling sessions in total in 2016/17.

From the hundreds of calls, emails and live chats carried out between midnight and 7am, counsellors at the NSPCC-run helpline saw their busiest shift between midnight and 1am with a total of 844 contacts last year, up from 603 the previous year.

Dame Esther Rantzen, who founded Childline in 1986, visited the helpline’s Glasgow base today (18 July) and met night service volunteers, fundraisers and supporters.  

“This shows just how vital it is to have dedicated counsellors working throughout the night to be there for children and to listen to their concerns when they have nowhere else to turn,” she said.  

“These new figures demonstrate that children desperately need someone to support them and that support could be needed at any time.

“Children will not just contact us about their concerns during office hours and must know that Childline does not sleep and will always be there to help in any way it can.”

Dame Esther also used her visit to Glasgow to call for people to help protect and support children when they need it the most by volunteering for Childline.

She added: “Childline would not be able to function without the support of all our volunteers, who show true warmth and compassion by making such a difference to children’s lives.

“But there is still a huge demand from children, day and night, seeking help and so it’s crucial we have trained and dedicated volunteer counsellors available to listen and support those in need.” 

Childline’s night service operates a rotational shift pattern with bases across the UK covering different nights of the week. The Glasgow base runs a night service on Sunday, Monday and every third Saturday.

Childline service manager Jayne Laidlaw said: “The number of children contacting the service in the middle of night shows how children need our help around the clock.

“Our experience tells us that with technology increasingly making it simpler for children to contact the service, our counsellors are now needed more than ever throughout the day and night."