Kerala

Childline registers fewer calls on sexual abuse

Children seek info on COVID-19, complain about ration delays

Increased vigil by the police and an alert civil society, it seems, have saved significant number of children in the State from atrocities during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

There has been a significant fall in the number of child sexual abuse cases during the past 20 days, going by the number of distress calls reaching the Childline helpline number 1098. The numbers dropped by around 60% in most of the districts during the period, compared to the same period in the previous months.

The number of calls received at the 24×7 helpline dropped to around 25 from the average 60 during the period earlier. Yet, one could not say that the children were absolutely safe during the period as complaints of both physical and mental abuse poured in to the helpline, said Chidline sources.

There could be a possible increase in the number of complaints once the restrictions were eased, the official said.

Corporal punishment

In some instances, children complained against their parents, who reportedly resorted to harsh corporal punishment for disciplining them. A few parents rang up the helpline to complain that their wards were being provided obscene and inappropriate content through phone.

Missing children

Six cases of missing children were reported during the period. Luckily, all could be traced within no time.

In some of the missing cases, the children had left their homes without informing the parents or seeking their permission. Though they were found from the homes of their friends or relatives, the parents and the volunteers had to undergo severe trauma, which lasted for a few hours, said a senior volunteer of the organisation.

Being forced indoors, some children turned restive forcing the parents to call up the volunteers. A few others were caught in between fighting parents and had to seek the support of the volunteers to cope with the domestic situation, said a volunteer from central Kerala.

Some anxious callers sought medical information on COVID-19. Some others made use of the helpline to invite the attention of the authorities about the delayed supply of essential commodities through ration shops. As many as 80 calls were received from children on the delayed supply of provisions. On receiving the calls, the volunteers alerted the civic authorities concerned who followed it up with the Civil Supplies Department. Most of these calls, it is presumed, were made by children after being prompted by their parents, said a volunteer.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 8:26:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/childline-registers-fewer-calls-on-sexual-abuse/article31367512.ece

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