Child safety was on the agenda when London Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis visited ChildLine’s London base today. Marina visited the base to find out more about how children are counselled by the help line’s volunteers on issues from bullying to sexual abuse. ChildLine offers children and young people advice by voice, online and by text. Marina was joined by ChildLine founder Esther Rantzen CBE and Director of ChildLine Peter Liver.

Marina was the Member of the European Parliament following and reporting on sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography in the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (rapporteur). Marina worked on measures in the European Parliament to stop child abuse, block access to child pornography and criminalise the sexual grooming of children.

Marina said: “ChildLine gives children a much needed voice and is a powerful tool in the fight against child abuse. ChildLine has helped 2.7 million children since it was launched 25 years ago. This is a remarkable achievement, yet regrettably the challenge of stamping out child abuse remains.

“ChildLine UK has inspired other countries across Europe to set up similar help lines and I hope that by sharing best practice such as ChildLine we can help address child abuse across the entire continent.

“Unfortunately the scourge of child pornography has no borders and this is one of the few areas where I agree that we need EU-wide legislation. My work on the EU directive can make a difference and it is now easier to prosecute and prevent crimes against children as well as criminalising child sex tourism and online grooming.

Esther Rantzen, President of ChildLine and Trustee of the NSPCC said “I am delighted to welcome Marina Yannakoudakis on a visit to our London base. ChildLine recognises the importance of working with our European partners and as a member of Child Helpline International we are able to share the wealth of experience we have gained from helping thousands of vulnerable children every week.

“ChildLine as part of the NSPCC also recognises the importance of working with our European partners to protect children from abuse and we welcome the recent agreement on the EU directive on combating sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. The directive will ensure British children have the same level of protection from sexual predators where ever they are in the EU.”