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The University of Southampton

Impact of 30 years of ChildLine examined by historians

Published: 1 June 2016
30 Years of Childline
30 Years of Childline

Researchers from the universities of Southampton and Warwick are holding a special discussion event in London to assess ChildLine’s history, impact and legacy, three decades after its phones were first switched on.


Organised by Dr Eve Colpus (Southampton) and Dr Jenny Crane (Warwick), the witness seminar at the BT Tower in London (1 June 2016) will bring together historians with representatives from children’s services, the voluntary sector, government and the media, including ChildLine founder and president Dame Esther Rantzen, the charity’s longest serving counsellor Colin Butler MBE, former Secretary of State Rt. Hon Shaun Woodward and Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield.

Organiser and University of Southampton historian, Dr Eve Colpus comments: “This is an opportunity for people who have been involved in ChildLine from its inception in the 1980s to the present day, to reflect on the role it has played in raising consciousness of physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children and the support it has given to young people over the years.

“We hope that by gathering a range of people involved with the charity, children’s services and the media, we can learn from ChildLine’s experience and consider how its history can inform future directions of policy.”

Discussions at the seminar, supported by the Wellcome Trust, will range from how ChildLine’s structure and funding has changed, to its contributions to social policy, to its external relationships, including with other charities, businesses, government and the media.

The researchers also hope to explore how children’s position in society changed in the late 20th / early 21st century and how ChildLine, now part of the NSPCC, has been affected or helped drive this. In addition, it aims to look to the future, at how new technological innovations are impacting on the charity and the way it helps young people.

The researchers aim to publish a report later this year, based on the witness seminar, to coincide with the 30th anniversary of ChildLine in October.

For more information on the project, visit:


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