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ChildLine services

Media briefing April 2010

The NSPCC’s direct services are core to our strategy to 2016. We are strengthening our ChildLine service and our ability to provide advice, information and help to children across the UK.

ChildLine Services incorporates ChildLine, the Schools Service and our work to involve children in the planning and evaluation of what we do across the NSPCC. ChildLine is currently developing its online services.


What is ChildLine?

ChildLine facts and figures

About our schools service

Involving children and young people

What is ChildLine?

ChildLine is the UK’s free, 24-hour confidential helpline for children and young people. Trained counsellors provide comfort, support and advice about any problem to children on over the phone - on 0800 1111 - or via the ChildLine website.

ChildLine engaged with nearly 700,000 contacts online or by phone from children between April 2008 to March 2009 and counselled 165,000 individual children. 

Children can also contact ChildLine by email or one-to-one online chat.  ChildLine’s website provides children with a safe forum for peer-to-peer support on its message boards.

ChildLine was launched by TV presenter Esther Rantzen in 1986 and has since become a model for similar services in many countries including Hungary, the Ukraine, India and Trinidad and Tobago. ChildLine became part of the NSPCC in 2006.

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Facts and figures

ChildLine has counselled more than 2.3 million children since lines opened in 1986.

  • The most common problems children called about in 2008/09 were: bullying (17 per cent of all calls), family issues (12 per cent), physical abuse (11 per cent), sexual abuse (8 per cent), facts of life (6 per cent) and concern for others (5 per cent).
  • One call in five is about physical, emotional, sexual abuse or neglect. 
  • Girl callers to ChildLine outnumber boys by two to one although more boys are now calling the service and ChildLine counselled a record number of boys last year. 
  • Of those children who gave their age when calling ChildLine in 2008/09, 26 per cent were aged 16-18, 53 per cent were aged 12-15, and 21 per cent were aged 11 or under.
  • More than 1,300 volunteers provide counselling to children, overseen by professional supervisors.
  • ChildLine delivers a nationwide service from 14 offices across the UK in London, Exeter, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Prestatyn, Swansea, Belfast, Foyle, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

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Schools Service

We have refocussed our existing schools service to an awareness-raising service to primary age children only. We plan to introduce the new service in primary schools during 2011.

The new Schools Service will help children aged 5 to 11 years protect themselves from abuse and know where to go for advice and support when they need it.

Staff and volunteers will help children understand what abuse is, as well as bullying, how they can protect themselves, and who can help them, including ChildLine. 

We remain committed to children of secondary school age through ChildLine, including the enhanced online service.

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Involving children and young people

The NSPCC consults children and young people in the planning and evaluation of services, activities and governance to help ensure its work for children is effective.

Children’s views have helped shape ChildLine.org.uk, recruit a new NSPCC chief executive, inform government lobbying campaigns on domestic violence and internet safety, and much more.

This work is informed by the principle that children should be involved in decisions that affect their lives, as stated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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