ChildLine campaign broke advertising rules

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A children’s charity has been criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority over its fundraising material.

Three people complained to the ASA about the campaign in which a letter asking for donations to ChildLine was accompanied by a mock log sheet of calls to the helpline.

The log sheet alluded to child abuse and domestic violence, while the letter said that many children couldn’t get through to ChildLine.

The ASA ruled that the campaign broke the code relating to fear and distress, truthfulness, and did not adequately identify the NSPCC as the advertiser.

Childline became part of the NSPCC in February 2006.

“We noted the letter did not make clear the calls on the counsellor log sheet were not genuine but considered that, even if it did, the log sheet could still mislead and cause fear and distress if it was read before the letter,” the ASA said.

200,000 households received the letter and mock call sheet – more than 140 people complained direct to the NSPCC.

The charity accepted the ruling of the ASA and said that the fundraising material will be marked more clearly as being from the NSPCC in future.

ChildLine receives thousands of calls from LGBT children and teenagers every year.

The latest figures showed that the helpline received nearly 2,800 calls in the last year about sexual orientation or homophobia.

60% of callers were 12-15 years old, 34% between 16 and 18.

6% of the kids who called for help were under 11.

The government announced in July that it will give a record amount to the NSPCC to help them run services for vulnerable children.

Among the beneficiaries of the £30m grant will be Childline. 4,500 calls are made to them every day, but 2,000 of them cannot be answered.

The charity is to develop a text service and a helpline where adults can report children they are concerned about.

The NSPCC was founded in 1884, and was responsible for getting Parliament to pass the first legislation to protect children.

It spends £60m a year on services for children and young people. The charity supported the equalisation of consent.