Childline annual review

Last updated: 15 Nov 2019 Topics: Safeguarding and child protection
Current report

What children and young people talked to Childline about last year

Our Childline service gives children and young people a safe and confidential space to talk, be listened to and get support.

Our annual review explores what children and young people are telling Childline during counselling sessions. It looks at who is contacting Childline, why, when and how. It includes a closer look at some of the biggest issues of the year.


Key findings from the Childline annual review 2018/19

How many children and young people contacted Childline

  • In 2018/19, Childline provided over 250,000 counselling sessions to children and young people.
  • The Childline website received over 3.5 million visits.

What children and young people talk to Childline about

  • The top three concerns young people were counselled about were mental and emotional health; family relationships; and suicidal thoughts and feelings.
  • The top three concerns on the Childline message boards were: sex and sexual health; self-harm; and relationships.
  • There were over 109,000 counselling sessions about mental and emotional health and wellbeing issues (including self-harm and suicidal thoughts or feelings).
  • There were over 5,100 counselling sessions about loneliness and over 5,900 counselling sessions about confidence issues.
  • There were over 19,800 counselling sessions where a child or young person’s main concern was abuse (this includes sexual, physical or emotional abuse and neglect).
  • There were 4,500 counselling sessions about child sexual exploitation.

How Childline is supporting children

  • Nearly 1,500 Childline volunteers gave over 170,000 hours of their time to supporting children and young people in 2018/19 .
  • New initiatives for 2018/19 included: a streamlined volunteering process to make it easier to become a volunteer; new volunteering shifts to increase capacity during peak times; and new tools on the Childline website to empower young people to develop coping strategies or to engage with us in different ways whilst waiting to speak to a counsellor.

Quotes

“I am so immensely grateful that you were there to listen without telling me I am lying, judging me or making me feel worse about myself and that is the amazing thing about these chats, they can save lives.”

Girl, 14, Belfast Childline base

“Little did I know that not only would being a part of such an amazing organisation be so rewarding, but it would also transform so many other areas of my life. Being at Childline has helped me develop skills that I am able to carry through all aspects of life and work.”

Matt, Childline volunteer


Citation

NSPCC (2019) Childline annual review 2018/19. London: NSPCC.

Previous reports

Previous Childline annual reviews

Childline annual review 2017/18: "The courage to talk”

Gives an overview of Childline data in 2017/18. Includes additional information on counselling sessions about: mental and emotional health and wellbeing, family relationships, bullying, sex, relationships, puberty and sexual health, and sexual and physical abuse.

> Download Childline annual review 2017/18: "The courage to talk" (PDF)

Childline annual review 2016/17: "Not alone anymore"

Looks at what children and young people are telling us about:, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and feelings and children and young people with special educational needs, disabilities or a health condition..

> Download Childline annual review 2016/17: "Not alone anymore" (PDF)

Childline annual review 2015/16: "It turned out someone did care".

Looks in detail at what children and young people are telling us about: mental health and wellbeing, sexuality and gender identity, and problems at school.

> Download Childline annual review 2015/16: It turned out someone did care (PDF)

Childline annual review 2014/15: "Always there when I need you".

Focuses on some of the biggest and emerging issues of the year: mental health, sexual abuse and partner abuse.

> Download Childline annual review 2014/15: Always there when I need you (PDF)

Childline annual review 2013/14: Under pressure.

Includes a closer look at some of the key topics of the year: mental health conditions, eating disorders, online abuse, school and education problems.

> Download Childline annual review 2013/14: Under pressure (PDF)

Further information

> See also Childline: 30 years of listening to children on the NSPCC Library catalogue

> Find all previous editions of the Childline annual review in the NSPCC Library

If you need more specific information about Childline, please contact our Information Service.

Thematic reports

Thematic reports

As well as the Childline annual review we produce more detailed reports throughout the year. These look at specific issues that children and young people are talking to Childline about and that adults are reporting to the NSPCC helpline.

What children are saying to Childline about coronavirus (2020)

Summarises what Childline counselling sessions can tell us about children’s experiences of the coronavirus outbreak.

> View and download What children are saying to Childline about coronavirus

Children living in families facing adversity: NSPCC helplines report (2018)

Looks at what Childline counselling sessions and contacts to the NSPCC helpline can tell us about how living in a family affected by domestic abuse, parental substance misuse or parental mental health problems impacts on children.

> View and download Children living in families facing adversity: NSPCC helplines report (PDF)

Is this sexual abuse? NSPCC helplines report: peer sexual abuse (2018)

Examines what Childline counselling sessions and contacts to the NSPCC helpline can tell us about how peer sexual abuse takes place, the impact it has on young people’s lives, how best to provide support after peer sexual abuse and how to prevent it from happening.

> View and download Is this sexual abuse? NSPCC helplines report: peer sexual abuse (PDF)

What children are telling us about bullying (2016)

Looks at what children have told us about the effects of bullying, the difficulties involved in asking adults for help and how young people use Childline’s online message boards to share support and advice.

> View and download What children are telling us about bullying report (PDF)

Getting help: what children tell us about accessing services after sexual abuse (2016)

Highlights what children and young people are telling us about their expectations and experiences of receiving therapeutic services following sexual abuse, and looks at contacts to the NSPCC helpline by adults with concerns about child sexual abuse.

> View and download Getting help: what children tell us about accessing services after sexual abuse report (PDF)

What should I do? NSPCC helplines: responding to children’s and parents’ concerns about sexual content online (2016)

Looks at what children and parents are telling us when they contact us with their concerns about online safety, specifically sexual content online. Focuses on viewing sexually explicit content; sharing sexual images; and online child sexual exploitation.

> View and download "What should I do?" NSPCC helplines: responding to children's and parents' concerns about sexual content online report (PDF)

Hurting inside: NSPCC report on the learning from the NSPCC helpline and Childline on neglect (2015)

Shares what children tell us about neglect to give a better understanding of the issues they face. Provides key statistics on contacts to our helplines about neglect and looks at how adults recognise, report and understand child neglect.

> View and download Hurting inside: NSPCC report on the learning from the NSPCC helpline and Childline on neglect (PDF)

Further information

> Find all previous thematic Childline and helpline reports in the NSPCC Library