Nearly two-thirds of the 325,488 calls by vulnerable New
Zealand youth seeking help went unanswered and more than 10%
of the calls were made from Otago.
A national Barnardos helpline answered 108,800 of the 325,488
calls made from distressed children last year.0800 What's Up
manager Rhonda Morrison said the calls were being missed
because of a lack of funding and staff members.
Of the calls to 0800 What's Up last year, 20,437 were made
from Dunedin - 3670 from landlines and 16,803 from mobile
And 33,074 calls were made from the Otago region - 5929 from
a landline and 27,145 from mobile phones.
Children and young people aged 5 to 18 called to talk about
several topics. The most common were bullying, personal
development, pregnancy and sexual activity and relationships
with peers, family and partners.
Most calls last year were from children aged between 12 and
The service existed because children and young people needed
someone outside their family and peer group to talk to.
''Children's voices need to be heard, and we offer a safe
place for children and young people to share their concerns.
We reach nearly 110,000 children each year and help them find
positive solutions to their problems.''
Annual operating costs for the service was nearly $800,000
and each call to the 0800 What's Up service cost about $7.50
More than 95% of funding for the service comes from
individuals and businesses, she said.
The service had recently received some Government funding and
was investigating additional ways to reach children and young
people, such as text and email counselling.
Of the 325,488 national calls, 42,029 were unanswered because
they were made outside opening hours.