“My dad doesn’t care about us anymore. He doesn’t acknowledge me or my sister and goes out without telling us where he is going.”
These are the words of a young person who called the Salford base of ChildLine last Christmas.
They told a counsellor: “I am left to care for my sister who is only young and I have no-one to support me.
“I don’t want to speak to anyone about the situation because I am worried they will put me and my sister into care.”
This December ChildLine expects to counsel another 2,704 UK children and young people – a startling contrast to the many that will be cared for and care-free in the festive holiday.
As an NSPCC service ChildLine trains volunteers to offer advice and support during the festive season and throughout the year.
Kemi Olubodun, ChildLine service manager in Manchester, said: “Our ChildLine volunteers will be spending Christmas Day not with their families, but seeing the other side of the festive season.
“We’ll be talking to children and young people for whom Christmas can be a truly miserable time, listening to them, providing advice and support and being there for them when they have nowhere else to turn.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that ChildLine really could be the difference between life and death for some children this Christmas.”
This is evident in last year’s figures, which show 245 contacts were made to ChildLine about suicide and 273 about self-harm.
In addition, 276 contacts were made about bullying and online bullying and 363 about family relationship issues, including children wanting to run away from home.
The Christmas Call for Help Appeal supports this vital service for young people in need of guidance or just someone to listen, even on Christmas Day.
You can donate £4 by texting HOPE to 70744 or pledge online at www.nspcc.org.uk.
ChildLine’s free, confidential, 24-hour helpline can be reached on 0800 1111 and their online support service at www.childline.org.uk.
*Child is posed by model