86 percent calls in child helpline for physical abuse

February 19th, 2009 - 5:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) Of the two million calls a year received by Childline, the emergency helpline for children in distress, over 80 percent deal with physical abuse.
In 2005-06, this figure was an alarming 88 percent. Between 2006-07, this had dipped a little to 84 percent.

“On an average, 86 percent of the calls that we receive are those complaining of physical abuse. In that, 51 percent of the complaints are about abuse in workplaces,” Nicole Menezes of the New Delhi-based Childline said at a panel discussion on corporal punishment in schools Thursday.

“Although we don’t have the details of the kinds of workplaces abuse is reported from, this trend only pushes the need to raise the age bar of banning child labour from age 14 to 18,” she said.

The calls come in from all over the country.

Besides the workplace, 33 percent cases of physical abuse are reported by kids against their families, six percent from those in institutional care, seven percent against neighbours and 3.5 percent against the police.

“Another section of calls that we receive are from children seeking shelter - 10,475. Though percentages are low, the numbers are high and worth taking cognisance of; 12 percent calls have been because of abusive parents,” Menezes added.

Some children, however, complain that don’t have access to the helpline number.

Karan, who studies in a school run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and works for the upliftment of other street children like him, said children on the streets are not even aware that such a helpline exists.

“Children on the streets face all kinds of torture and abuse everyday but are simply not aware of such a helpline. Therefore, there should be more awareness in this regard,” Karan, who works for an NGO, said.

Childline, an initiative of the ministry of women and child development, can be accessed by dialling 1098.

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