Childline has delivered 363 counselling sessions where children have experienced physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect in the past week, a five times increase on the week before.

In light of the coronavirus lockdown extension, Childline, which is run by NSPCC, has revealed the dramatic increase of children contacting them.

In the past three weeks, they have carried out 1,700 counselling sessions.

NSPCC has now launched an urgent fundraising campaign saying it is concerned about the number of children who will experience abuse or neglect due to the impact of coronavirus.

With many families struggling with lockdown, job losses and school closures.

Money raised through 'We're still here for children' will go towards supporting children and families across the West Country.

Today (Sunday 19 April) the Department for Education announced it was giving £1.6million for NSPCC's national helpline.

NSPCC welcomed this move saying it is thankful for the funding

We’re thankful for this funding which will enable us to expand the capability of our NSPCC helpline, allowing our trained professionals to deal with the rising number of contacts we’re receiving about children who are currently at risk of abuse and neglect.

NSPCC

Despite increased demands, Childline has been forced to axe its overnight service.

It says a lack of volunteers due to counsellors self-isolating has caused a 30% drop in volunteer hours.

However, it says it is still battling to be there for children across the UK.

The NSPCC is urging the public to donate £10 to help fund vital services like Childline. Credit: PA images

The NSPCC is urging the public to donate £10 to help fund vital services like Childline.

The money will mean volunteers can continue to take calls from children in desperate need.

In the West Country, staff that would usually deliver school based counselling for the NSPCC are adapting the way they work.

They have been retrained to help the charity's Childline service.

Kevin West usually delivers the charity’s Schools Service assemblies in primary schools across Bristol and Wiltshire.

The range of issues that young people are facing is vast. I’ve answered queries around online safety, sexuality, family issues, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Kevin West

In the past few weeks Childline has heard from children whose parents have lost their jobs and are under growing financial pressure, as well as from young carers struggling to look after their siblings whilst their parents fall sick with Coronavirus symptoms.

At this uncertain time when children’s lives have changed so dramatically the NSPCC needs to be there as a reassuring voice for those worried about their children and for the most vulnerable in our society.

Peter Wanless, CEO of NSPCC
In the past few weeks Childline has heard from children whose parents have lost their jobs and are under growing financial pressure Credit: PA images