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  1. ITV Report

Childline celebrates 30 years of helping young people

Childine is celebrating 30 years of helping children and young people in Wales and the UK.

The free counselling service was launched in 1986 by TV presenter Esther Rantzen, with 50,000 children jamming the phone lines on the first night.

In 2006, Childline joined forces with children's charity the NSPCC to support more young people in the UK.

Today, a child contacts Childline every 25 seconds for advice on issues including physical and sexual abuse, bullying, pregnancy, anxiety and depression.

The organisation has helped more than four million children so far and says children's needs are changing as technology develops.

Two-thirds of young people now seek Childline's help online. Credit: NSPCC / Childline
  • In 2009, Childline launched its website, offering online help and support to children for the first time.
  • In 2014-15, the Childline website was visited more than three million times.
  • Today, two-thirds of young people go online to seek counselling, using Childline's email or online chat service rather than picking up the phone.

Thirty years ago, the only way to contact Childline was on the phone - and a lot of that was through phone boxes down the road. Now, in 2016, the vast majority of our contacts are online.

– Louise Israel, Childline supervisor

Eighteen-year-old Naomi Lea, from Denbigh, is studying psychology at Cardiff University.

Four years ago, she contacted Childline using their online chat facility after struggling with anxiety, panic attacks and self-harm.

Naomi Lea says Childline helped her through a difficult time when she was a young teenager. Credit: ITV News

I wouldn't have contacted them by phone as I had a phobia of talking on the phone. Online chat meant I could feel confident to talk about my problems without feeling pressured or judged.

At first it was just being able to talk about it, and that's a relief in itself - it's a weight off your shoulders. As things progressed, we discussed whether I'd feel able to talk to somebody in school, to be able to get some more practical support.

Childline would always listen to me and they were always there for me.

– Naomi Lea, former Childline user

For more information, or to find out how to volunteer, visit the Childline website.