Childline Supporting children for the past 30 years

2016 sees us celebrate 30 years of Childline - our free 24/7 counselling service for children.

Talking to Childline can be the first step that gets a child's life back on track.

Our trained Childline counsellors talk to children helping them with any problems they're facing.

More and more children are going online for support. This takes time, it takes more volunteers and it takes vital funds to keep Childline running.

In 2014-15, there were nearly 300,000 counselling sessions carried out between young people and Childline. The most common issues were family relationships, low self-esteem and unhappiness, abuse, bullying and online bullying and self-harm.

Childline 30 campaign - help us be there for every child

2016 is a big year. For 30 years, Childline has been a place for children to turn - even when it feels like no one else is listening. We've helped over 4 million children since we launched in 1986. And it's thanks to our amazing supporters and volunteers that this is possible.

But right now we can only answer 3 out of every 4 contacts from children. Will you help us to keep children safe now, and well into the future? That's what our Childline 30 campaign is all about, but we need your support to make it happen.

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30 years of Childline

1986

Main concern: sexual abuse

Childline was launched by Esther Rantzen in response to a plea from children who needed help. On its first night, a staggering 50,000 children jammed the phone lines.

1988

Main concern: sexual abuse

Childline completed training its 150th volunteer, and Childline Midlands opened.

1989

Main concern: physical abuse

Childline, with other organisations, successfully campaigned for the Children Act 1989 to promote the safeguarding and welfare of children.

illustration of umbrella

1990

Main concern: physical abuse

Wet Wet Wet released 'With a Little Help from My Friends' in 1988 raising money for Childline so we could open our first base in Scotland.

1993

Main concern: sexual abuse

Tom Jones shared his incredible voice with us, releasing his version of 'All You Need Is Love' and raising over £100,000. 

1994

Main concern: bullying

Childline opens an international freephone service for children of those in the Armed Forces.

1996

Main concern: bullying

Princess Diana helped Childline launch its 10th birthday appeal - raising an amazing £7 million.

1997

Main concern: bullying

Childline Yorkshire and North East open and Childline campaigns to reach out to boys.

1999

Main concern: bullying

Childline Northern Ireland opens and ChildLine counsels its 1 millionth child.

2000

Main concern: bullying

Childline joins the Home Office task force on Child Protection on the internet, providing advice for industry, parents and children about how to stay safe online.

2004

Main concern: bullying

Childline pilots email counselling for deaf and speech impaired children.

2006

Main concern: bullying

NSPCC and Childline formally join forces to support and help more children and young people across the UK.

2009

Main concern: bullying

Launched childline.org.uk offering help and advice to children online for the first time. In 2014-15 the Childline website received over 3.2 million visits.

2013

Main concern: low self-esteem and unhappiness

Zipit was launched - our first ever app. Zipit helps children and young people get flirty chat back on the right track. It's packed with killer comebacks and top tips to help people stay in control of their chat game.

2016

To make sure we're always where young people are, in our 30th year we'll launch a new mobile accessible website and a new app alongside a new Childline brand.

Watch Colin's story

Colin Butler is our longest-serving Childline counsellor.

When Childline went live in October 1986, he sat in a small office with a small group of fellow volunteers wondering aloud what was in store for them and whether anyone was going to call.

They soon got their answer. Over 50,000 children jammed the phone lines that night, desperate for someone to talk to.

Over the years we've been indebted to wonderful people like him, giving their time and energy to ensure we can be there for children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Esther Rantzen on 30 years of Childline

Esther Rantzen"Childline launched in 1986 and I remember that night vividly. Forty volunteers were valiantly trying to handle a staggering 50,000 calls. In an instant we could see just how essential the service was to the nation’s children. And it still is as essential as it ever was. Now nearly thirty years later, we still receive a million contacts a year from desperate children and young people who have nowhere else to turn. Childline literally saves lives.

"The dramatic growth of the online world means that the way children contact us is changing too. Now thousands of children reach Childline online, by email and 1-2-1 chat. That is a huge challenge for us. The problem is, when every question and answer has to be typed, it takes ten times longer to counsel a child online.

"We need to answer every child. That requires more volunteers and more investment so we can grow to meet the demand. Most importantly that requires your support. So, as we celebrate thirty years of Childline’s vital work, please help us protect children from pain and save precious young lives.”

Dame Esther Rantzen, Founder and President of Childline

Thirty years of Childline: 1986 to 2016

Dame Esther Rantzen talks about the history of Childline and how the service has helped generations of children.

Read more

ChildLine annual review 2014-15: "Always there when I need you"

The issues children and young people contacted ChildLine about in 2014-15.
Find out more

Help us be there for children

Volunteer for Childline

A child contacts Childline every 25 seconds and, right now, we can only answer 3 out of every 4. But we want to go much further than that. We want to be there for every child - and you can help make sure we are.

Volunteer for Childline

Play your part for Childline

Enter our Childline 30 raffle for just £1 per ticket before 28 October and you could win £10,000 or a Caribbean holiday!

Enter the raffle

Thank you to our partners

Thank you to our partners BT and SPAR for supporting Childline and raising more than £15 million combined to make sure we're there for children when they need us most.

Become a corporate sponsor

Childline posters and wallet cards

Our series of posters and wallet cards encourage children to contact Childline if they need to talk.
Find out more

Donate now

Join us in the fight for every childhood by making a donation so we can be there for children across the UK online, offline, any time.

Donate now