Childline report 13% rise in calls from children with disabilities or special needs

Childline have reported a 13% rise in calls from young people with disabilities or special needs.

The charity helpline, which delivers support and counselling and is run by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), took 8253 calls from young people who either reported or were identified by counsellors as deaf, disabled, having special educational needs or a health condition.

The 2016/17 figures are a rise of 13 per cent from 7308 the year before. A total of 1527 of the calls were delivered by counsellors and staff at NSPCC Scotland’s two Childline bases in Glasgow and Aberdeen.

The charity fear that the number of disabled young people who could be facing abuse and neglect could be even higher with their research showing that disabled young people are three times more likely to be abused or neglected than their peers. They are also less likely to receive the protection and support they need when they have been abused.

Last week NSPCC Scotland’s ‘The Right to Recover’ report revealed therapeutic recovery services for victims of child sexual abuse are patchy and inconsistent across the country while children with disabilities have even less access to appropriate services than their peers, despite being at higher risk.

Among the issues that the young people sought help from Childline were mental and emotional health issues relating to their own disability, educational needs or health condition. Bullying, family relationships and friendship issues were also high on the agenda.

Some told Childline they were scared about their future and described feeling nervous about how their disability or condition might impact on achieving their ambitions.

Most heartbreakingly, some said they couldn’t picture themselves being in a loving relationship or becoming parents and feared they had no future because of their disability.

John Cameron, NSPCC Head of Helplines, said: “It’s extremely concerning to see so many disabled children and teenagers contacting Childline but this could be only the tip of the iceberg.

“We know that disabled young people are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect and we need to ensure that support and advice is available to all those who could find themselves in difficult or dangerous situations.

“Childline counsellors will continue to support as many disabled young people as possible to ensure that they have the ability to live without fear of prejudice.”

The disabilities or conditions most commonly recorded by Childline included autism, those with learning difficulties, a physical disability or mobility issues, and those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD).

39 services in the West of Scotland provide face to face therapeutic support to children following sexual abuse. Twenty-one are specialist services and the other 18 help children with a range of difficulties and adversities.

Further information on NSPCC Scotland’s The Right to Recover report is available on the NSPCC website.

You can also call Childline for help and support by dialling 0800 1111

Source: http://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/childline-report-13-rise-calls-13944914

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