Kids Helpline has announced that duty of care interventions to protect children and young people were 99% higher nationally from 1st December 2020 – 31st May 2021 compared to the same period a year ago.
The escalation over the past six months across Australia is largely related to suicide attempts (38%) and child abuse (35%).
Kids Helpline, thirty years old this year, is a national service provide by the charity yourtown. By 2018 they had answered over eight million calls. The service now also accepts calls for help via email and socials media.
Disturbing trends in NSW
Kids Helpline says that while they feared an increase in child vulnerability as a result of the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, the current spike in emergency interventions on behalf of children and young people in New South Wales was particularly disturbing.
NSW has seen an increase of 40% in duty of care interventions enacted by Kids Helpline on behalf of children and young people for the period 1 December 2020 – 31 May 2021 vs the same period a year ago.
For children and young people aged between 5 – 25 years of age, 44% of emergency interventions over the past 6 months in New South Wales have been in response to child abuse and 35% have been in response to an immediate intent to enact suicide.
Kids Helpline says despite the worsening threat situation for children and young people, they have successfully made 862 suicide prevention interventions nationally during the past six months.
Since the pandemic, Kids Helpline has employed an additional 100 counsellors to assist in dealing with the increased demand on the counselling service arising from COVID-19, through funding support from the commonwealth, state governments and community.
With clear evidence that prevention and early intervention can reduce the impact of mental health issues, children and young people who want to talk to someone about any issue of concern are encouraged to contact Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or use email or web counselling services via www.kidshelpline.com.au.