Childline annual review 2015-16: It turned out someone did care What children are contacting Childline about

Cover of "Childline annual review 2015-16: It turned out someone did care"Childline provided over 300,000 counselling sessions to children and young people in 2015/16. Children contact us at all times of day and night by phone, email and 1-2-1 online chat.

Our annual review looks at what children talk about in counselling sessions. It looks at who we are counselling and how they are choosing to get in touch. It focuses on some of the biggest and emerging issues of the last year: mental health and wellbeing, sexuality and gender identity and problems at school.

Authors: NSPCC
Published: 2016

How many children and young people contact us

    • During 2015/16, Childine counselled 291,753 children and supported a further 9,660 who had serious concerns about another child. This brings our total counselling sessions to 301,413, a 5% increase compared with 2014/15.
    • The Childline website received over 3.5 million visits in 2015/16 and almost 140,000 new users registered for a Childline account.

Issues children contacted us about

    • The top 3 concerns counselled were low self-esteem/unhappiness, family relationships and bullying/online bullying.
    • 1 in 3 Childline counselling sessions related to mental health and wellbeing issues.
    • There were 26,764 counselling sessions about abuse. These included sexual/online sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, domestic/partner abuse and neglect.
    • Counselling about suicidal thoughts and feelings reached the highest ever levels with 19,481 sessions.
    • There were 11,253 counselling sessions relating to online issues including sexual abuse, bullying and safety.

Changes since last year

    • There was a 19% increase in counselling sessions about low self-esteem/unhappiness, replacing family relationships as the top concern.
    • There was a 47% increase in counselling sessions about sexuality and gender identity; and, a 115% increase in transgenderism or gender dysphoria.
    • There was an 87% increase in counselling with young people who were experiencing difficulties in accessing local support services, such as counselling, and a 34% increase in sessions expressing dissatisfaction with these services.
    • There was an 11% increase in counselling sessions about exam worries and a 12% increase in counselling about problems at school.
Foreword 2
Introduction 4
Key statistics 2015/16 8
Reasons why children and young people contact Childline 9
Referring children to external agencies 10
Mental health and wellbeing 11
Sexuality and gender identity 17
Problems at school 26
How Childline helped me 32
Appendices 35
1. How and when children and young people contact Childline 36
2. Who contacts Childline 37
3. Overviews by nation 41

"I talked to a counsellor a while ago about some things I was finding difficult. The counsellor I talked to convinced me to tell someone and I guess I just wanted to say thank you. Turned out someone did care".

Please cite as: NSPCC (2016) Childline annual review 2015/16: It turned out someone did care. London: NSPCC

Looking for something in particular?

Our Information Service can help you find the latest policy, practice and research in child protection.

Call 0808 800 5000 or email for more information.

Submit an enquiry

Related resources

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

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

On the edge: ChildLine spotlight report on suicide

This report looks at what young people have told ChildLine about suicidal feelings and what they need when they are already distressed and contemplating taking their own lives. Part of the ChildLine spotlight series.
Find out more

See all Childline reports

Find previous Childline annual reports and one-off in-depth reviews in our library catalogue.

Search for Childline annual reports

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

Volunteer for Childline

Volunteer for Childline helpline and be there when a child needs you most.
Volunteer for Childline

Services for children, families and professionals

We work face to face with children, young people and families who need our help across the UK.
View our services


Our Childline service offers help and support to thousands of children and young people whenever they need us. 
Read about Childline

Statistics on child abuse

View statistics and information on child abuse and neglect in the United Kingdom.
Find out more

Get advice and support

Talk to our experts on 0808 800 5000 if you're worried about a child or need advice or information about child protection
Get advice and support

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
Learn more

It's Time

We're calling on the government to make sure every child who's experienced abuse gets support. But we need your help.
Join our campaign

Helping schools protect children from abuse and neglect

Learn more about the information, advice and training we offer to help schools keep children safe from abuse.
Find out more


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.

CASPAR is currently being upgraded but you can still sign up by contacting our Information Service.

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

Your donation can take a child anywhere

Research like this helps keep children safe from abuse and free to dream – but we can’t do it without our generous supporters. 

Donate now

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.

New in the Library is currently being upgraded but you can still sign up by contacting our Information Service.

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 hub

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

Get expert 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 NSPCC Knowledge and Information Services 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)