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Wednesday, 24 January, 2001, 20:04 GMT
Pupils suffer bullying 'misery'
generic bullying
Many callers also reported being abused
Bullying remains the greatest "misery" for thousands of children who call Childline, the charity has said.

More than 22,000 rang the free, confidential helpline last year to say they were being bullied, it said.

This was the fourth year in a row that bullying was given as the main reason for children's calls.

ChildLine said its latest figures also indicated a "horrifying scale of physical and sexual abuse".

Last year its counsellors spoke to more than 14,000 children about physical abuse and 10,000 about sexual abuse.

Family trouble

In total, the charity fielded a record 1,362,000 calls - up 3.4% on the previous year, with many children calling more than once.

Other problems included family relationships, which accounted for 15% of the callers, and concerns about the wellbeing of others (9%).

ChildLine said it also helped 1,654 children who were "in crisis" to contact the ambulance service, police, social services or children's homes to get immediate help.

Its chief executive, Valerie Howarth, said: "These figures show just how important our service is to the children and young people we help.

"Children in the most desperate situations really do see, and use, ChildLine as their emergency service. And we do save lives.

"But the sad fact remains that many more children's lives are blighted by bullying.

"In response we have developed a schools programme in partnership with schools which involves young people in a whole-school approach to tackling bullying and other problems through peer listening, mentoring and support schemes.

"We now have a presence in over 1,000 secondary schools and the number continues to rise."

Childline's number in the UK is: 0800 1111.

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29 Aug 99 | Education
Primary school bullying 'on increase'
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