Helpline highlight: protecting children in Northern Ireland: 2012-13 Contacts to the NSPCC helpline

Woman on phoneThis report looks at the contacts made to the NSPCC's helpline service from Northern Ireland in 2012/13.

It considers the reasons people get in touch with the helpline, the length of time they wait before making contact, the number of contacts resulting in advice being given and the number of contacts resulting in referrals to children's services or the police.

Part of the Helpline highlight series.

Author: Margaret Gallagher
Published: 2014

  • Between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013, the NSPCC's helpline responded to 750 contacts from people in Northern Ireland, an increase of 8.5% on the previous year.
  • 424 of these contacts (involving 713 children) resulted in referrals to children's services or the police.
  • For the remaining 326 contacts, helpline counsellors provided information or advice, helping an estimated 652 children.
  • Neglect was the leading cause for referrals (44%, 167 cases).
  • 23% of referrals (86) were about physical abuse.
  • 13% of referrals (51) were about sexual abuse.
  • 11% of referrals (42) were about emotional abuse.
  • 289 children (45%) involved in referrals were under six years old.
  • In cases where the concerns were so significant we had to make referrals, 52 people (27%) had waited more than six months before getting in touch.
  • The majority of contacts leading to referrals came from members of the public, not from family members or professionals.
Executive summary 3
Introduction to the helpline 4
How the helpline protects children 6
What do people contact us about 8
Who contacts the NSPCC 10
How long do people wait to get in touch 14
Where did people contact us from 16
Northern Ireland helpline developments 17
Conclusion 18

Helpline highlight series

Helpline highlights is a series of reports looking at why people contact the NSPCC helpline and how we help.

View Helpline highlight series

Got a question?

Our Knowledge and Information Service answer over a thousand enquiries every year helping professionals find the information and resources they need to keep children safe.

Send us your enquiry

Related resources

Helpline highlight: Northern Ireland

Looks at the contacts made to the NSPCC from Northern Ireland during 2011-12. Part of the NSPCC's Helpline highlight series
Find out more

NSPCC Youth Witness Service Remote Live Link

Evaluation of a service to allow young witnesses to give evidence at Londonderry Courthouse from an NSPCC via a TV live link.
Find out more

How safe are our children? 2017

How safe are our children? 2017 is the NSPCC's third annual report that compiles and analyses the most robust and up-to-date child protection data that exists across the four nations in the UK for 2017.

Read the report

Helpline highlight 2012/13: more people speaking out to protect children

Finds an increase in people contacting the NSPCC to help protect children. Part of the NSPCC's Helpline highlight series.
Find out more

NSPCC helpline

Through the NSPCC helpline, we offer help, advice and support to thousands of parents, professionals and families.
Read about our helplines

Child abuse and neglect

Find out what child abuse is, how to spot the signs, who is affected and what you should do if you're worried about a child
More on abuse and neglect

Child protection in the UK

How the systems and laws of the UK and its 4 nations work to keep children safe from abuse and harm.
More about the child protection system

Signs, symptoms and effects of child abuse and neglect

The signs of child abuse aren't always obvious, and a child might not tell anyone what's happening to them. Sometimes children don't understand that what's happening is abuse. 
Spot the signs of child abuse


Our Current Awareness Service for Practice, Policy And Research delivers free weekly email alerts to keep you up-to-date with all the latest safeguarding and child protection news.

Sign up to CASPAR

Information Service

Our free service for people who work with children can help you find the latest policy, practice, research and news on child protection and related subjects.

For more information, call us or email

0808 800 5000

Submit an enquiry

How safe are our children? Growing up online

Our annual flagship conference is for everyone working in child protection.

Find out more

Follow @NSPCCpro

Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.

Follow @NSPCCpro on Twitter

Library catalogue

We hold the UK's largest collection of child protection resources and the only UK database specialising in published material on child protection, child abuse and child neglect.

Search the library

New in the Library

A free weekly email listing all of the new child protection publications added to our library collection.

Sign up to New in the Library

Helping you keep children safe

Read our guide for professionals on what we do and the ways we can work with you to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.

Read our guide (PDF)

Impact and evidence

Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.

Our impact and evidence

Training and consultancy

Grow your child protection knowledge and skills with CPD certified courses delivered by our experts nationwide and online.
Get expert training

Sharing knowledge to keep children safe

Read our guide to the NSPCC Knowledge and Information Service to find out how we can help you with child protection queries, support your research, and help you learn and develop.

Read our guide (PDF)