Childline Supporting children for the past 30 years

Our trained Childline counsellors are there for young people 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Talking to Childline can be the first step that gets a child's life back on track. And young people can get help and support with any issue they're going, no matter how big or small. 

Childline 30 - help us be there for every child

2016 is a big year. 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. Right now, we can only respond to 3 out of every 4 children who need our help. Will you help us to keep children safe now, and well into the future?

Donate now

30 years of Childline


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.


Main concern: sexual abuse

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


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


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.


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. 


Main concern: bullying

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


Main concern: bullying

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


Main concern: bullying

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


Main concern: bullying

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


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.


Main concern: bullying

Childline pilots email counselling for deaf and speech impaired children.


Main concern: bullying

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


Main concern: bullying

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


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.


In our 30th year, we launched a new mobile accessible website and a new brand. Our new app is also coming soon.

Visit our new website

Esther Rantzen on 30 years of Childline

Esther Rantzen"Childline launched in 1986 and I remember that night vividly. 40 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 30 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."

Dame Esther Rantzen, Founder and President of Childline

Hear more from Esther

Volunteer for Childline

Colin's story

Colin Butler has been volunteering since Childline opened in October 1986. Colin sat with a small group of volunteers wondering 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.

Become a volunteer

A child contacts Childline every 25 seconds and, right now, we can only respond to 3 out of every 4 children who need our help. But you can help make sure we respond to every one.

Just 4 hours out of your week can help thousands of children and young people in a variety of roles. Sometimes all they need is someone like you who has the time to listen.

Volunteer for Childline

Children's stories


"I had nowhere to go and I didn't know what to do. I came to a phone box and decided to call Childline. It was great to be able to talk and feel listened to."


"I was an 11-year-old girl wandering around by myself at night and I was scared. Luckily I saw the number for Childline and I spoke to a counsellor."


"I started to call Childline when I was 8. I was very angry and had a temper, so I talked to them about that and the violence at home"

Latest research

Childline contacted every 30 minutes about suicidal thoughts

Suicidal thoughts among many issues in the 2015/16 Childline annual report ‘It Turned Out Someone Did Care’
Read more

Childline annual review 2015-16: It turned out someone did care

The issues children and young people contacted Childline about in 2015/16.
Read the review

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

There were over 300,000 Childline counselling sessions with children and young people in 2015/16

Explanation: Childline provided 301,413 counselling sessions to children and young people in 2015/16. In 291,753 of these counselling sessions they talked about their own concerns and in 9,660 they contacted us with concerns they had for another child or young person (third party concerns).

For more information see Safer childhoods, brighter futures: keeping children safe today and for generations to come: annual report and accounts 2015/16 (PDF).

The most common reasons for Childline counselling sessions were low self-esteem/unhappiness, family relationships, bullying/online bullying, suicidal feelings and self harm.

Explanation: Childline provided 301,413 counselling sessions to children and young people in 2015/16. In 291,753 of these counselling sessions they talked about their own concerns and in 9,660 they contacted us with concerns they had for another child or young person (third party concerns). The most common concern was low self-esteem/unhappiness (42,072, 14%), followed by family relationships (39,075, 13%), bullying/online bullying (25,750, 9%), suicidal feelings (19,481, 7%) and self harm (18,471, 6%).

Businesses: supporting children

BT and SPAR logos

On behalf of all the children and young people we help every year, we'd like to say a huge thanks to our sponsors BT and SPAR for raising more than £15 million and to our Community Corporate supporters.

Your support helps us continue our vital work with the children who need us most.

Become a corporate sponsor

A special thanks to:

  • Stanstead Airport
  • Team Consulting Ltd – Saffron Walden
  • GBN Services Ltd – Harlow
  • Grand Central Restaurant - Ipswich
  • Déjà vu Boutique – Ipswich
  • KAT Marketing – Colchester
  • Blaze Cottages – Lavenham, Suffolk
  • SJ3 Outdoors Ltd – Norwich
  • Connells Estate Agents, Leighton Buzzard
  • Ductclean UK Ltd – Hertfordshire
  • Corriculo – Oxford
  • Active Outdoor Sport Ltd - Suffolk
  • Treatt - Bury St Edmunds
  • Foodcare Systems – Kings Lynn
  • GAP – Braintree
  • The Hawthorns Retirement Home - Braintree
  • Bentley and Lamborghini - Birmingham
  • Aviva PLC - Birmingham
  • North Midland Construction PLC – Nottingham
  • MHR - Nottingham
  • Moirae Creative Agency – Doncaster
  • Premier Partnerships – Doncaster
  • BHJ (UK) Food Ltd – Hull
  • Vic Graham Ltd Wholesale Potato Merchant – Manchester
  • Manchester Safety Services – Manchester
  • Ellis Whittam Ltd – Legal services to employers – Chester
  • Sussex County Football Association – Sussex
  • Places for People Ltd – London
  • Tinies Childcare UK – London

Join our 30th birthday celebrations

NSPCC Laughter Ball

Come and join the fun at this year's Laughter Ball to raise money for the NSPCC.
Read more

Childline’s Merry Little Christmas

Get into the festive spirit at Childline’s Merry Little Christmas special fundraising event.
Childline’s Merry Little Christmas