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Children as young as five call ChildLine

16th August 2010

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has said that over 100 children are calling Childline every week with concerns about their parents' alcohol or drug use.


The charity said that 5,700 children had called the helpline and mentioned alcohol or drugs from March 2009/10.

The helpline's founder Esther Rantzen said there were probably lots more children who were too frightened to call.

Two-thirds of the children who telephoned the helpline talked about their parents' use of alcohol.

Children who spoke about alcohol also had an increased likelihood of mentioning child abuse.

Ms Rantzen said: "These are the children that know our number and ring us, but what about the many, many thousands of children who aren't, alas, familiar with ChildLine's work and who might be fearful of ringing us?"

A report by the NSPCC suggested that many of the children were trying to understand how to "look after" their relatives.

The helpline received over 150,000 calls in total over the course of the year. Over 4,000 of those calls concerned children worried about their parents use of alcohol.

35% of children who talked about their parents' drinking had also suffered physical violence.

Ms Minto said: "Some children told ChildLine about their parents' severe mood swings, episodes of violence and emotional instability."

"Some said their parents were regularly sick and that caring for them had affected their schooling, or prevented them forming friendships with other children."


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Article Information

Title: Children as young as five call ChildLine
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 15797
Date Added: 16th Aug 2010


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