More than 1,000 children contacted Childline this Christmas Day

Alcohol abuse in the home has contributed to a "particularly busy Christmas" for the children's counselling service

More than 1,000 children contacted Childline this Christmas Day

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Volunteers at Childline have identified alcohol abuse over the Christmas period as having a significant impact on many children in the home.

More than 1,000 children contacted the counselling service on Christmas day this year.

Some reported feelings of fear and neglect over the holidays, while others were upset about the loss of a loved one during the year.

There were also a number of contacts from children experiencing family difficulties, loneliness and mental health issues.

Grainia Long, ISPCC chief Executive said too many children experience or witness alcohol abuse at home.

“It is the case that far, far too many children live with adults that simply do not exercise the kind of restraint in relation to alcohol that they should do when they are essentially looking after children,” she said.

“We have received calls from children who are worried about themselves or their safety and that of other children because simply too much drink is being taken at home and that is very worrying indeed.”

Ms Long said it has been a “particularly busy Christmas this year” for the Childline volunteers and warned that we need to separate celebration and alcohol in Ireland - especially when children are involved:

“It is unfortunately the case that for too many children, Christmas is a time that is too filled with alcohol and in some instances drug taking,” she said.

“That is really worrying and given how important Christmas is to childhood and to childhood experiences it is very sad and very unfair to those children that their childhood Christmases are associated with alcohol to such a degree.”

This year, a team of 61 Childline volunteers gave up their own Christmas and freely offered support to hundreds of children who needed to talk to someone.

The counselling service received 1040 contact from children across Ireland through its free phone, web chat and ‘live’ text services. 

“Some children who contacted Childline on Christmas day are experiencing loneliness, loss and domestic violence over this festive period which makes what should be a happy time very difficult for them but thanks to our dedicated volunteers, Childline is here to listen and support them,” said Ms Long.

“We would like to thank sincerely our volunteers for giving up their Christmas day in order to listen to these children.

Childline is here for children every day of the year and we couldn’t provide this essential service without the support of our dedicated, committed and highly-trained volunteers.”

How to get support from Childline:

By phone: Children and young people can contact Childline’s 24 hour phone service by phoning 1800 666666.

By text: Text the word: ‘talk’ to 50101 (service available from 10am to 4am)

Live online chat: Available from 10am to 4am, live chat on Childline.ie