So if you really love Christmas, c’mon and let it show… by wearing a Christmas jumper for Childline

‘Tis the season, so don’t even try to resist… oh no, oh no… Instead embrace that Christmas sparkle. Don’t be a grinch saying ‘where’s me jumper?’, instead get it on for Childline this Christmas…

Getting dressed up is all part of Christmas fun. We’ve thought of the perfect way for you to show off your fabulously festive attire by hosting a Christas Jumper Day in aid of Childline your workplace, school, club or creche. You can even do it virtually for colleagues who aren’t in the office.

Everyone is invited to this fundraiser for Childline, Ireland’s only 24/7 listening service for children and young people.

Go to to set up your fundraising page. When you create your page, Childline by ISPCC will be in touch to help you pick a date for you and your colleagues, friends or family and can post out posters, stickers and balloons if needed!

We will also send you email signature, a zoom/teams background if needed as well as digital posters and proposed social media posts.

We’ve made our list, you see, and we’ve certainly checked it twice!

Together we can make a real difference for children and young people throughout Ireland.

ISPCC needs to raise over 75% of its funding through donations each year to ensure we can be there to support children and young people 24-hours a day, 365 days of the year.  We rely on the generosity of the public and are grateful for all support. We encourage children to reach out for any reason.

ISPCC CEO John Church appointed to the Board of Mental Health Reform

John Church, ISPCC CEO, has been appointed to the Board of Mental Health Reform (MHR) following the ratification of his nomination at today’s annual general meeting in Coleraine House, Dublin 7. 

John is a leading voice for advocacy for children and young people in Ireland. The areas of online safety for children and young people coupled with their mental health and well-being have been a particular focus for John since assuming the CEO role at ISPCC in 2018. 

Commenting on his appointment John said: “I am proud to join the MHR Board and I look forward to working with my fellow board members to tackle the mental health challenges currently faced by children and young people in Ireland. At ISPCC, mental health concerns are one of the primary reasons why children and young people use our services. I believe that the Government must commit to a policy of both targeted and universal investment in mental health service provision for all children and young people. 

“We reiterate our call for Government to commit with haste to the implementation of the Pathfinder interdepartmental unit on youth mental health in order to align and streamline the mental health responsibilities across various government departments.”

Continued Church: “This has been a key policy ask of the ISPCC since it was first recommended in the National Youth Mental Health Task Force Report in 2017, of which ISPCC was a member. There can be no further delay if we are truly committed to providing a world class mental health service to children and young people across Ireland.”

The ISPCC is a proud and active governing member of Mental Health Reform and looks forward to working with fellow board members to deliver on MHR’s new ambitious strategic plan. 

ISPCC partners with TU Dublin to combat child grooming

The ISPCC is proud to be a member of the GroSafe research team led by TU Dublin and funded under Science Foundation Ireland’s National Challenge Fund – OurTech. The aim of the GroSafe team is to develop a technology-enabled solution designed to build societal resilience against child grooming.

Grooming refers to someone building a relationship with a child or young person in order to manipulate, exploit and/or abuse them. It can happen both in person and online. Incidences of children and young people being targeted often go unreported and, consequently, we don’t fully understand the extent of the problem and how these acts are committed. 

A further consequence of this lack of understanding is whether the supports and systems in place are equitable in helping people to report such crimes against children.

The development of GroSafe will help to overcome the existing obstacles to increase reporting rates in our communities. This will enable the more effective allocation of resources and ultimately reduce harm to one of society’s most vulnerable populations.

Parents and caregivers want to keep their children safe but, unfortunately, it’s not possible to keep an eye on a child 24 hours a day and it’s even more challenging when they go online.

Some indications of children and young people being groomed include becoming secretive about how they are spending their time both online and offline, having gifts that they can’t or refuse to account for and demonstrating sexualised behaviour, language or an understanding of sex that isn’t age-appropriate.

Products and services built on end-to-end encryption can adversely affect the detection of such behaviour. This means that it’s crucial for children, young people and their families to be empowered to identify these harmful activities and to report such crimes.

Fiona Jennings, ISPCC Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said: “The grooming of children for nefarious means is a complex issue and can have devasting consequences for all involved. Awareness is crucial as often victims and their families don’t recognise when they are being groomed.  

“The GroSafe team proposes to develop a technology-enabled solution that increases this awareness and signposts to the appropriate supports, including reporting.

“The use of technology is ubiquitous among children and young people today. Therefore, it is important that we leverage this usage and develop an appropriate solution in this environment. This invaluable information will then help us to inform children, young people, their parents or carers about emerging and evolving threats and to inform and improve our policy responses.”

The collaborative research team comprises TU Dublin researchers and the ISPCC as societal impact champions.

It is imperative that we all work together to ensure children and young people are safe and protected, however we know from those who contact Childline that this is not always the case.

The Childline guide to a healthier, happier summer

Summertime and the livin’ is easy… well, that’s the plan but, for many children and their parents, the thought of the long weeks of the holidays without the safety net of the school regime can be daunting.

At Childline, we know that children and young people can feel anxious during the summer. They miss their usual routine, their friends and, sometimes, the safety and structure of school.

Parents tell us they are worried about keeping their children entertained for such a long amount of time on a budget. They can be concerned about older siblings minding younger ones, children being lonely or being in potentially unsafe situations when they play outside or online.

Work through some scenarios, suggests ISPCC Clinical Lead Bree O’Neill, and that way both parents and children will be more prepared for whatever challenges the summer may bring.

It is a different dynamic over the summer and parents need to gear themselves up for that. Think of the family and consider what each person might need – the aim is to try to ensure everyone’s needs are met and everyone’s limits are accepted.

Don’t judge yourself, says Bree. Chances are your children will have more treats and screentime than usual, but it is the holidays and that is normal. However, she does recommend that parents try to stick to some form of routine over the summer. This helps provide structure for children and parents, many of whom are trying to juggle work and childcare.

Despite the long days, children still need their sleep. Yes, it’s good to have fun on holidays, says Bree, but it will be a nightmare trying to get children back on track three days before school starts. Instead, she recommends bringing bedtimes back about a fortnight before the return to school.

For those children who suffer from anxiety, the long summer holidays can exacerbate these feelings, says Bree. ISPCC and our volunteers on the Childline 24/7 listening service are always here to help.

Bree believes that the summer offers a very good opportunity to focus on mental and emotional health for both children and parents. The time away from the usual constraints of school, exams and activities offers children, young people and their parents an opportunity to take stock, breathe and put steps into place that help to bolster wellness.

ISPCC offers three free online Digital Mental Health programmes designed for teenagers experiencing anxiety and parents/carers of both teens and younger children. These early intervention programmes are fully supported by volunteers, take one hour a week and can be completed at the user’s leisure within a 12-week timeframe.

For more information on ISPCC’s Digital Mental Health programmes, go to

Krystal & The Queers come out in support of ISPCC ahead of fabulous Cork fundraiser

On May 19, Cork will be buzzing as Krystal & The Queers take to the stage at the city’s Gaia bar on 98th Street for a night of fun and frolics with all funds raised going to ISPCC. 

The Cork drag scene is thriving and the unforgettable performances of Krystal Queer and her fellow drag queens Liam Bee and Kia Koke are inspired by the New York club vibe of the 1980s and 1990s. 

Prepare to be surprised as Krystal Queer herself has said that you never know what you’re going to get with her. Characters such as Meg Griffin and Marge Simpson may even make special guest star appearances…

All will be revealed on May 19th. 

ISPCC, and its suite of Childline services including the 24/7 listening service, is a cause very dear to Krystal Queer. 

“This fundraiser holds a special place in my heart as when I was younger, I was deeply affected by the suicide of a friend. Unfortunately, a legion of others can say the same. We want to turn that grief into a positive force and aid Childline by doing what we do best – laughing, dancing and celebrating life. 

“Countless young people suffer in silence and darkness so we are pledging to be as loud and as bright as we can be. Everyone’s mental health matters – whether you’re a dentist, a driver or a drag queen.”

Doors open at 6.30pm, the performance starts at 7.30pm and will be followed by a DJ. Tickets priced at €10 are available on Eventbrite or at the door. 

A raffle on the night includes such fantastic prizes as one night B&B at the luxury four-star Kingsley Hotel, a €50 Spitjack voucher and much more.

ISPCC needs to raise over 75% of its funding through donations each year to ensure we can be there to support children and young people 24-hours a day, 365 days of the year.  We rely on the generosity of the public and are grateful for all support. We encourage children to reach out for any reason. To donate to ISPCC,

ISPCC’s free Space from Anxiety programme is the right prescription for increasing numbers of young people suffering from anxiety

“This programme really helped me to overcome my feeling of depression and low self-esteem,” said one user of ISPCC’s free Space from Anxiety programme, who added that “I could identify the possible triggers and take the necessary actions to relieve them, as opposed to them spiralling out of control and morphing into a mass of negativity.”

Volunteers at ISPCC’s 24/7 Childline Listening service have experienced a rise in conversations amongst children seeking support in relation to anxiety and feelings of low mood and unhappiness. Anxiety is a topic frequently discussed by children who speak with Childline both online and on the phone, says ISPCC Chief Executive John Church. 

For those children and young people suffering from low to moderate anxiety, ISPCC can offer a solution – Space from Anxiety. This is a free online CBT-based programme created by SilverCloud, a leading digital mental health provider. ISPCC provides three separate but complimentary Digital Mental Health and Wellbeing programmes, one of which is designed for teenagers experiencing anxiety and two are available to parents/carers of either anxious children or teens. 

Space from Anxiety is aimed at 14–18-year-olds, and it is designed to empower young people who experience low to moderate anxiety. Supporting an Anxious Child and Supporting an Anxious Teen are programmes that will help users to understand anxiety and better support their child or young person. 

The programme includes interactive tools, activities, mood monitors and journals to encourage users to apply CBT to their own lives. Throughout the duration of the early intervention programme, users will be supported by fully trained ISPCC volunteers. 

Dee Higgins, an ISPCC volunteer, believes that the programme is empowering for users of all ages. “It gives parents and young people a chance to deal with their anxieties before it becomes a huge issue,” she said, adding that “if parents can understand what their child is going through, that’s a huge step.” 

Users have 12 weeks in which to complete the programme under the guidance of a volunteer and can benefit from an unsupported version of the programme for one year after this time. 

There are several ways to access the programmes including making a self-referral through a GP, CAMHS or school.

Dee Higgins says that volunteers build a relationship with users as they support them. “It’s a great resource, there are so many children and young people suffering from anxiety and it gives them a chance to learn the skills to introduce into their day-to-day life and help them deal with anxiety, recognise how they are feeling and understand the physical effects they feel from anxiety. 

“Following the programme starts them on the journey to learning the skills to help themselves and others and that’s something they can use for the rest of their lives.”

ISPCC welcomes the official establishment day of Coimisiún na Meán


ISPCC welcomes the official establishment day of Coimisiún na Meán which has been set up in accordance with the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act (OSMR).  

It is a great development to see Niamh Hodnett take on the role of Online Safety Commissioner. ISPCC has campaigned for the establishment of such an office since it was recommended by the Law Reform Commission in 2016. 

We commend Minister Catherine Martin for empowering the Online Safety Commissioner to develop binding online safety codes that hold designated online services to account for how they deal with harmful online content.

John Church, ISPCC CEO, said: “The establishment of Coimisiún na Meán and the office of Online Safety Commissioner is a crucial step in improving the safety and experience of children and young people in the ever-changing digital landscape. This is an extremely positive day for children and young people and we look forward to supporting the Coimisiún in any way we can.”

Family relationships, mental/emotional health, and sex, relationships and puberty among the challenges faced by children who turned to Childline this Christmas

Family relationships, mental/emotional health, and sex, relationships and puberty among the challenges faced by children who turned to Childline this Christmas

Family relationships, mental/emotional health, and sex, relationships and puberty were among the issues spoken about by children and young people who turned to the Childline listening service for support over the Christmas period this year.  

Over 70 volunteers across Ireland gave of their time across the period to help ensure no child or young person had to face their challenges alone.  

The 24-hour active listening service is one of the suite of Childline services provided by ISPCC. It is free, non-judgmental and non-directive. 

Childline answered almost 600 online contacts, calls and texts from children and young people across Ireland across December 23, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.   

ISPCC Chief Executive John Church said: “While Christmas is often a magical time for children and young people, we know from those who turn to Childline that this is not so for many children and young people. They experience challenges to their mental and emotional wellbeing more acutely now than at any other time of the year. They can often feel very alone.

“This year, many children did not wake up the kind of Christmas Day they had dreamed of. They told us of the impact of alcohol or substance misuse in their home, they told us how alone and anxious they felt and they told us how they were missing loved ones. 

“Many children and young people in Ireland felt lonely, stressed and upset this Christmas. Their feelings were exacerbated as they saw families and friends celebrating together and it’s not like that for them. They turned to Childline for a listening ear and a supportive voice to hear them. And our amazing Childline volunteers were there for them 24/7 over December 23, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – as they are throughout the Christmas period. 

“We are so thankful for the incredible dedication of our Childline volunteers. They leave their own families at Christmas to ensure that there is always someone to listen when a child or young person needs them. 

 “On behalf of all the children and young people who Childline supports, we would like to say thank you to the people of Ireland for all they do to help keep the service here 24 hours a day, every day. We are sincerely grateful to you for helping to ensure children and young people have someone to turn to, always.” 

To support Childline and help keep volunteers listening to children and young people 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in 2023 and beyond, visit 

Childline’s 24-Hour Support Line can be reached by: 

Chatting online at 

Calling 1800 66 66 66