‘Hello?’, the soft and uncertain voice of an upset little girl says as I tell her she is through to Childline.
Jane is hiding, hoping to avoid another angry scene between her parents. Sometimes, their arguments get so loud it feels like her entire house is shaking.
She can’t let them hear her, but she needs to talk.
I tell Jane that Childline is a safe place, where she can talk about anything on her mind and where she will be believed.
Jane is a wonderful child. She loves dancing, baking and playing with her dog, Sam. She likes school, too. At least there, she knows what to expect. There’s a routine that lets her relax, if only for a while.
But this year, as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, she found out what life can be like when the sanctuary of school is not available. Tension and worry caused her home to be anything but loving.
Jane tells me that she tries her best to stay strong for her young twin brother and sister, Harry and Ellen. She creates imaginary worlds for them, where they can escape what’s really happening. But she knows this is only pretend. She cries herself to sleep at night wishing life would go back to normal.
Jane’s heart breaks when little Harry and Ellen’s eyes light up talking about Christmas. She can’t see anyone in her house putting up a tree or preparing a special dinner this year. Will Santy even make it?
Every child deserves to be a child – especially at Christmas.
Yet, as Christmas is one of the busiest days of the year that Childline, we know that love and warmth do not fill every home. For many, this ‘magical’ time of the year is anything but joyful.
When you’re feeling low, knowing someone really cares can make all the difference.
Today, you have the opportunity to help make sure that Jane’s and other children’s cries do not go unanswered this Christmas.
Childline receives up to 800 online contacts, calls and texts from children and young people every day. This Christmas Day, we are preparing to receive even more.
You can help to share a sense of hope with every child and young person who turns to Childline for support.
For the children, I thank you in advance for your generosity.
Deirdre H. ISPCC Childline Volunteer
Ps. Even when a child like Jane feels she has nobody else, your support will help make sure Childline is always there.