The NSPCC is expanding its free and confidential helpline for adults who have concerns about children. The leading children’s charity has announced the creation of seven new roles which will almost double the size of the local team.
The helpline, which has three bases across the UK, provides support to thousands of parents, families and professions each year. People can contact the service 24/7, by phone or online with any concerns they have about child protection and to get advice and support. The helpline is staffed by trained professionals with a wealth of knowledge from backgrounds including social work, counselling, teaching and health care.
Last year (2016/17) the NSPCC helpline dealt with 842 contacts from Northern Ireland and 563 of these were so serious they were referred to the police or social services. The new staff are being recruited so that even more adults can be helped to share their child protection concerns.
Helpline manager David Burns, said: “The helpline team works tirelessly taking calls from Northern Ireland and across the UK. We never know what exactly will be on the end of the next call, so we have to be prepared for any eventuality. We get contacted about a wide range of topics including neglect and sexual abuse to more specific issues such as gangs, abuse in football and FGM.
“The caller could be a mum saying their ex had not returned the children, or a claim that a child is being bullied. Drugs and drink are also common issues, either in themselves or as a trigger for other problems.”
However, the team doesn’t always deal with current cases, as David explains.
He said: “We could get a call from an adult who has suffered a trauma in earlier life but hasn’t yet been able to tell anyone and news stories such as high-profile football abuse cases can often bring a wave of phone calls into the helpline from adults who could be speaking for the first time about the lifelong consequences of being abused.
More detail on the work of the Helpline is available on the NSPCC website at https://www.nspcc.org.uk/services-and-resources/nspcc-helpline/