One in 10 calls on abuse to helpline made by children: study

Data show that help also sought for mental, physical health, addiction, and protection from family problems.

Updated - February 19, 2020 09:55 pm IST

Published - February 19, 2020 09:44 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Representational image only.

Representational image only.

Of every 10 calls made to the emergency helpline 1098 to report abuse against children, one was from a survivor desperately seeking help, according to data compiled by the CHILDLINE India Foundation (CIF).

The data is for 2018-2019 from the CIF, the nodal agency appointed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to manage CHILDLINE helpline 1098 — a free, emergency phone service for children in need of help. It is also the largest network of agencies involved in protection of children.

3 lakh cases

Last year, the helpline received a total of 62 lakh calls, which were converted into three lakh cases. The largest number of phone calls were made to seek intervention for abuse cases, which were at 53,696 or 17% of the total cases. This category of complaints was followed by those pertaining to child labour (13%), education (12%), runaways (11%) and missing children (11%), according to the details exclusively provided to The Hindu .

From the total 53,696 calls made regarding abuse against children, 6,278 calls were made by survivors seeking urgent intervention.

An analyses of the nature of abuse children suffered shows that 37% of the complaints were about child marriage, 27% about physical abuse and 13% regarding sexual abuse. The remaining 23% constituted emotional, corporal, domestic and cyber abuse.

Neighbours the culprits

CHILDLINE has also collated data to examine the profile of abusers. The analyses show that 35% of the total 8,000 cases of sexual abuse were committed by neighbours, 25% by strangers and 11% by family members. The remaining 29% of perpetrators were friends, relatives, teachers, institutional staff, hospital staff, police and step parents.

Eighty six per cent of survivors of sexual abuse were girls.

Children who dialled the helpline also sought intervention for emotional and mental health, physical health, addiction, family related issues, among others.

Within 60 minutes

“After a child or an adult contacts our helpline we reach out to our local partner who contacts the child in need of protection. Our target is to reach the child within 60 minutes of receiving a call. The child is then rescued and immediately taken to an open shelter and placed before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) within 24 hours. We then take action according to the directions of the CWC such as either filing an FIR or sending the child to a hospital or a childcare institution. Our ultimate aim is to reunite the child with his or her family, otherwise we ensure long-term rehabilitation,” CHILDLINE India Foundation’s Executive Director Anjaiah Pandiri told The Hindu .

A large majority of cases (33%) involved providing the child support in his or her existing set up or referring the case to CWC (12%). Only 13% of the cases required police intervention.

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