It’s easy to forget that for plenty of Irish families, Christmas is not an especially happy time.
Bereavement, poverty, neglect, abuse – these are just some of the reasons that many children don’t get to enjoy the festive season as they should and the latest figures from Childline are a timely reminder of that.
While many of us spent time with loved ones and had plenty of other things to be grateful for on Christmas Day, the organisation’s volunteers took calls from 1,020 kids.
A number of those who called were witnessing or experiencing violence at home.
Other callers were anxious or felt lonely, as Grainia Long, CEO of the ISPCA, explained.
“Christmas is just another day for children and young people across Ireland who are scared, lonely, anxious, or upset.
“For that reason, committed Childline volunteers freely give of their time to be there to listen, to support and to empower. For this, we are extremely grateful.”
“Before I started I was afraid, as a mother, that I might find some of the calls too distressing – because knowing any child is in trouble is really difficult, and that part is hard.“But the training you get makes you realise no matter how bad the call is, when you put down that phone they are better off than before they rang.“Even if they are not going to get help, they know they have finally been heard, maybe for the first time in their life. It is extremely rewarding even if some of the calls are not easy.”