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Childline introduces Ukrainian services for families and children in need
In a time of great turmoil and change, Childline is here for every child and young person – including those making a new life in this country.
Childline has updated it’s extensive suite of services to accommodate the growing number of children, young people and families seeking refuge in Ireland from the war in Ukraine.
New additions to our services include the following:
- Selected sections of the Childline website have been translated into Ukrainian including sections on what Childline is; limits of confidentiality; how to access all Childline services, our privacy statement and in particular, how to register and login for live chat and text services online.
(As part of this translation, there will be an explanation that while the phone service is English-speaking, we can engage in their language through the 24 hour text and chat service)
- 24 hour active listening Text and Chat line available on a 24-hour basis to engage with the child in their language
- Provision of a 24-hour helpline to children – English speaking only – 1800 66 66 66
- A Parent’s Support Line that will operate from 9am – 1pm Monday to Friday
- Parenting Supports – in particular the development of content / articles translated into Ukrainian on topics of particular interest to this particular group and made available on the Parenting Hub of ispcc.ie e.g. How to create happy moments for your child during stressful times
- E-therapeutic support (one-to-one support) delivered to children virtually. Interpreters where required will be utilised during these sessions. We have recruited Ukranian, Hungarian and Russian-speaking volunteers who are currently going through garda vetting – these volunteers will be utilised in Teams therapeutic sessions with children and families
- Future plans include the expansion of the Ask Alex service for children arriving from the Ukraine who cannot speak English. Within this service “Alex” responds to a selection of questions posed by children on Childline.ie. All these questions and responses are publicly available at Childline.ie for all children and young people to see. This is very beneficial to some children who may not be ready to take that first step of reaching out for support. This service will be made available in Ukrainian
- We also plan to develop video content (in Ukranian) on coping skills and mindfulness practices which will be available on Chidlline.ie and shared widely (via social channels).
Director of Services, Caroline O’Sullivan said:
“Childline services are available 24 hours a day to any child living in Ireland. We are delighted that we are able to extend these services to children and families who have arrived or are arriving from Ukraine.
“We are very grateful to St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services for their financial support in the development of these services and for the positive response we received to our call for volunteers who speak Ukranian. It is through this volunteer effort that we can provide this extension of services nationally.”
ISPCC cautiously welcomes pivotal moment for children’s safety as Online Safety Commissioner set to be established this year
ISPCC has cautiously welcomed a significant step forward for children and young people’s online safety in response to the Government’s publication today of the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill.
The bill will see an Online Safety Commissioner established to regulate online services whilst reducing the proliferation of harmful content through binding online safety codes.
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts and Media, Catherine Martin, will be establishing the Online Safety Commissioner on an administrative basis which will allow for recruitment to take place immediately and not result in an even lengthier period before there is a regulator in place.
Whilst the bill does not include the provision of an individual complaints mechanism, which ISPCC has campaigned for over many years as a means of ensuring children and young people who suffer the devastating impacts of cyberbullying can have their experiences heard and addressed appropriately, the Minister has chosen to establish an expert advisory group to examine the issue and report back to her with recommendations on how best to address the matter.
John Church, Chief Executive of ISPCC, said; “When we presented to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport and Media in May last year, we shared the story of one such young person, Kate, who told us she felt driven to self-harm by the targeted, persistent and all-encompassing bullying she was experiencing across multiple online platforms daily. Individually, the messages Kate was receiving did not meet the investigation thresholds of many of the platforms and sites she used to warrant any action. Viewed in their totality, however, the damage they caused was clear to see.
“Key stakeholders, including ISPCC, went to great lengths in highlighting this substantial flaw in the General Scheme of the bill, including sharing a legal opinion obtained by us clearly showing that the Government is legally obliged to provide for such a system.
“Children and young people have a right to be safe and a right to be heard. Yet, we know these rights are being systematically violated online. Ireland has a bleak history of not listening to children and young people and not acting in their best interests. It is reprehensible thus to see that these failures are continuing into 2022, with the Government approving the publication of such a bill without provision for an individual complaints mechanism. Rather than ensuring those who experience cyberbullying will have access to meaningful redress, this legislation will instead facilitate their continued harm unless and until it includes such a procedure.”
The ISPCC has been to the fore in campaigning for children’s protection online for many years now and will continue to do so until children are able to avail of all the benefits and opportunities being online offers, in a safer and better supported manner. We will take some time now to review the details of the bill and look forward to continuing to contribute to it as it makes its way through the Houses.
Childline is always here for every child and young person in Ireland, for whatever might be on their mind. The listening service can be reached at any time of the day or night online, by phone or by text. For service details, see Childline.ie.
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