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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2007, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Children's help lines to get 30m
Children on mobile phones
4500 calls are made to Childline every day
The NSPCC children's charity has been given 30m by the government to expand Childline and other help lines.

It is the largest amount ever given by the government to the telephone help lines. The NSPCC and Childline joined together last year.

The NSPCC says 4,500 calls are made to Childline every day, but 2,000 of them cannot be answered.

Secretary of State for Children, Ed Balls, said helping the most vulnerable was a priority.

"Children are our most precious resource and we want to give them the best possible start in life," he said.

"We can't do that unless they are safe. One of my priorities as head of the new department for Children, Schools and Families is to make sure we help the most vulnerable - including those whose childhood is being ruined by abuse or bullying."

NSPCC director and chief executive, Dame Mary Marsh, said: "This announcement is great news for children and young people. We are delighted that the government has recognised the importance of these services in protecting children from abuse.

"Every day abused children call Childline for help, and for many this is the first time they have felt able to speak about the abuse they are suffering. For them, this service is a lifeline. Our aim is to eventually answer all calls for help."

She said the money would also be used to expand help lines for adults so that they could report worries about children.

The cash will also help integrate There4me.com, which provides advice online under the Childline name, and to develop a text messaging service.

The charity said that, in order to maintain the existing helpline services and expand them in partnership with the government, the NSPCC needed to raise more than 12m every year.

Childline is available free across the UK.

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