ISPCC Childline has advised children, young people, parents and carers that support is available, following school closures announced in a bid to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The Childline 24-hour active listening service is available to every child and young person up to the age of 18 in Ireland who would like to talk about loneliness, tension, worry, or any other issue on their mind at this challenging time.
Any parent or carer who would like information, advice or support in relation to a child’s welfare can contact the ISPCC’s Support Line service between 9am – 1pm Monday – Friday mornings, by emailing [email protected] or calling 01 522 4300.
The organisation urged any individual with concerns in relation to the safety of a child to report these to Gardaí or the Child and Family Agency, Tusla.
ISPCC Director of Services Caroline O’Sullivan said: “Children, young people and their families have been through exceptional upheaval over the past 10 months since the Covid-19 pandemic arrived in Ireland. As soon as restrictions were first introduced last March, contacts to our phone, text and online services surged. Children and young people have since spoken with us about how they have felt isolated and anxious, with many worried about their school work and exams and some experiencing things which no child should ever have to.
“As we say at Childline, talking can make us stronger. Childline remains available 24 hours a day, every day, to any child or young person who would like to talk about any issue on their mind. Our volunteers are here to listen, to believe, to support and to empower all of those who turn to our service.
“The past few months have tested even the most resilient of families. Support, information and guidance is also available to any parent or carer, through the ISPCC’s Support Line service and at ISPCC.ie.
“We are particularly mindful that children and young people are at an increased level of risk while cut off from school, activities and other supports. A drop in child protection referrals was recorded when schools closed last spring. Child protection is everyone’s responsibility. We are urging any individual with concerns about the welfare of a child or young person to report these concerns to the Gardaí or Tusla.
“Public generosity has helped keep Childline open every day and night throughout the time Ireland has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic to date. We will continue to be here to listen and are hugely appreciative of all support which allows us to do so. Any individual who would like to support our work can do so by visiting www.ispcc.ie/donate-now. Thank you.”
Childline is available 24 hours a day, every day, to any child or young person.
The service can be reached in the following ways:
Call 1800 66 66 66
Chat online at Childline.ie