Staff Reporter

Help can be sought for children by dialing 1098

KANNUR: The Childline service, a toll-free 24-hour helpline for children needing support in distress situations, is being extended to Kannur and Kasaragod districts.

Kannur and Kasaragod will be among the four northern districts that are now being brought under the Childline service that has already been introduced with the support of the Union Government in different cities and towns in the country. The other districts in the State where it is now being extended are Malappuram and Palakkad. The facility allows the children to get connected to the round-the-clock helpline by dialling 1098 for seeking support.

An official press release announcing this here said that the toll-free telephone number could be dialled not only for getting support to overcome crisis situations but also for securing protection, help or follow-up actions.

The Childline service could also be used by adults to pass information on children in need of support.

Anyone could utilise the service to bring help to children who were victims of physical and mental tortures, sexual abuse, domestic violence, beggary and child labour.

The Childline, an initiative by a non-governmental organisation, envisages provision of medical treatment, shelter, reunion of missing children with their families, legal aid, finding sponsors, guidance and counselling.

The Childline is functioning under the Union Government's Woman and Child Development Ministry.

At present Ernakulam, Thrissur, Wayanad and Thiruvananthapuram are covered under the Childline service. The Childline facility in the State is being initiated under the Social Welfare Department.

District Social Welfare Officer E. Soman said that the service would be implemented through voluntary organisations. Efforts were already under way for identifying a nodal agency to coordinate the Childline activities in the district.

He also said that a sample survey before launching the Childline service was already on.

The survey was to collect information on the existing condition of children in the district, number of street children and working children, rehabilitation, abandoned children and those engaged in beggary. The information would be used as data before setting up the service.

The press release said that a sum of Rs.11.33 lakh was sanctioned for implementing the service in the State. The ultimate aim of the service was to equip children to know about their rights.