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In October 1986 ChildLine – the first national helpline for children in the world – was launched. With it came a revolution in child protection. For the first time abused children had someone they could ask for help. The launch of ChildLine was broadcast on BBC TV on October 30th. Watching in her quiet, respectable home in a small rural town was Jo, a clever, troubled fourteen year old. Suddenly Jo, the silent victim of sexual abuse by her parents’ closest friend, no longer felt utterly alone. For the first time, she was being offered help, there on the screen. She was one of 50,000 children who tried to ring that night. In the end she got through to a counsellor and her life changed forever. In Running Out of Tears Esther Rantzen, founder of ChildLine, tells Jo’s story, together with those of many other survivors. Each of these tales is testament to the achievement of ChildLine in teaching the nation how to listen to children who are suffering abuse and giving a voice to the most vulnerable group in society. The book also details landmark events in the last 25 years of ChildLine’s existence: The crucial involvement of Princess Diana; The support from then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; The investigation into a school owned and run by a paedophile that would lead to a change in the law; The 250 other children’s help lines set up around the world with ChildLine’s help. Although these personal stories are disturbing they each have an uplifting, inspiring message. Hope and help is within a child’s reach – only a phone call away.

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