NSPCC NI report 8% rise in ChildLine calls

The number of calls about child cruelty or abuse received by NSPCC counsellors in Northern Ireland jumped by more than 8% in the year after the Jimmy Savile scandal broke.

The Belfast Telegraph has reported that 25,000 children – some as young as six – contacted the charity’s ChildLine operators for counselling between 2012 and 2013.

The charity revealed that the calls it received from the public reporting possible cases of serious abuse or child cruelty jumped by 8.5% in the 12 months after Savile’s crimes against children were exposed.

The statistics also showed that:

  • ChildLine counselling sessions between 2012 and 2013 about self-harm jumped by 75%, while calls about suicide rose by 45%.
  • Counselling about online bullying spiked by 88%.
  • The NSPCC’s own helpline logged 750 calls from the public fearing for the safety of children in 2012/13 – an increase of 8.5% over the previous year.
  • There were 424 calls involving 713 children which were deemed so serious by ChildLine they were referred to the PSNI or social services. This was a jump of 20% compared to 353 cases in 2011/12.
  • A quarter (27%) of callers who suspected incidents of cruelty waited over six months before raising concerns about cases which were so serious, they ultimately had to be referred on to children’s services or the police.

The charity has warned that the cases reported are “just the tip of the iceberg”.

The NSPCC has two call centres in Northern Ireland, which are staffed by counsellors trained to deal with serious problems.

The centres, in Londonderry and Belfast, take calls from all over the UK, although efforts are always made to put a child or caller through to someone in their own region. The charity also runs a service centre in Craigavon.