Scotland

Surge in calls to Childline over terrorism fear

Unhappy girl Image copyright Jupier Images
Image caption Childline said children as young as nine had contacted them over fears about terrorism

Children as young as nine have contacted Childline "petrified" about the prospect of a terror attack.

The NSPCC's round-the-clock service said it had handled 660 counselling sessions since the Paris attacks in November last year.

Counsellors at Scotland's two Childline bases in Aberdeen and Glasgow handled 111 of the calls from across the UK.

Many callers said they feared the outbreak of war or the prospect of a terror attack hurting their families.

Across the UK, one in five of the contacts to the free, anonymous service, were from young people aged 11 or younger.

'Bloody events'

The two Welsh Childline bases in Cardiff and Prestatyn received 71 calls from anxious youngsters.

The Paris attacks on November 13, 2015, and the atrocities in Brussels, Orlando, Nice, and Munich this year all triggered a higher volume of calls - with girls twice as likely as boys to contact the service - according to the charity.

Matt Forde, national head of services for NSPCC Scotland, said: "The past 12 months have been stained by these bloody events and it is little wonder that young people are so frightened about terrorism.

"Sadly we now live in a world where the months are punctuated by these attacks, so it is vital that we do not brush young peoples' fears aside.

"Instead, we must listen to their worries and reassure them that there are people doing everything they can to keep us all safe."

The charity said youngsters aged 12 to 15 were the most likely to speak to counsellors.

The NSPCC's helpline service helps parents by advising them on how to talk to children about terrorism.

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