Childline has 16 calls a day about sexuality issues

Charity sees 40% increase in sessions about 'coming out'

Published on 5th June 2019

Sixteen children a day call ChildLine about issues relating to sexuality and gender, the charity has revealed.

The helpline carried out 6,014 counselling sessions with young people last year about gender and sexuality issues such as coming out or homophobic bullying, which averages at 16 sessions per day.

Dame Esther Rantzen, President of Childline said: “I've met young people who were desperately unhappy because they couldn’t talk to anyone about issues regarding their sexuality or gender, and often turn to Childline because they fear they'd lose their friends and be rejected by their families if they disclosed their feelings to them. I'm glad that they felt able to talk to Childline and reveal their feelings without being judged or stigmatised."

The figures from the charity show that 12 and 15-year old young people were the most common age group to contact the helpline about gender identity and sexuality.

Childline also revealed that 409 of the counselling sessions were with 11-year-olds or younger. There was also approximately an 80% increase in the number of views of ChildLine's gender identity webpage in the last year.

Coming out and homophobic bullying are key concerns for young people.

Among counselling sessions about issues relating to gender and sexuality last year, Childline saw:

- 2,110 counselling sessions were about coming out, a 40% increase from the previous year.

- 573 counselling sessions included reference to homophobic bullying.

- Children as young as 11 who spoke to Childline about their gender or sexual identity spoke about experiences of bullying and issues with their mental or emotional health.

During Pride month, Childline is raising awareness of LGBTQ+ issues among young people. The service is reminding young people that they can get support from Childline by phone, email or online whenever they need it.

Dame Esther Rantzen concluded: "I know that some adults feel uncomfortable talking about these issues with young people. But if we create a taboo around them, that can make children feel guilty, rejected and in some cases has even led to depression and even suicide. We all need to listen sensitively and support young people and protect them from this profound unhappiness and loneliness."


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