One third of phone calls go unanswered, children's crisis charity warns


Thousands of calls to crisis charity ChildLine are going unanswered

Thousands of desperate children's calls to crisis service ChildLine are going unanswered, official figures reveal.

Research released by ChildLine shows that a third of the 2.3 million calls made to the charity last year went unanswered due to lack of staff.

Figures revealed that 39% of referrals from ChildLine to the emergency or social services happened between 7pm and 7am, and the young people calling between these times were 'often in a state of distress and need emergency help.'

The charity said more night-time calls were being made as mobile phones made it easier for youngsters to call privately in the evening.

ChildLine has now teamed up with BT to raise funds for the night service.

BT will donate 5 per cent of revenue generated via online searches to ChildLine which, the charity said, will enable more counsellors to be recruited.

This funding would be the equivalent of another 1,000 calls being answered.

Esther Rantzen, founder of ChildLine, said the night service was a 'key priority' for the charity.

She said: 'We receive some of our most serious calls at night from children running away from violence or abuse, or from children who feel they simply cannot cope with their own despair.

'As people are increasingly spending more time online, this is a fantastic way to generate funds for a vital lifeline for children and young people across the UK.'

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