KOCHI: The Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown have proven to be a harrowing time for many but if the statistics with Childline are anything to go by, these past four months have been a boon for the children in the state. According to Childline authorities, there has been close to a 50 per cent decline in the number of incidents of atrocities against children reported during the lockdown as compared to last year. It is learnt that 2,269 incidents were reported to Childline in the past four months which is significantly lower compared to the previous year’s figures. As many as 3,993 cases were reported from April to July last year. According to experts, this establishes the fact that children are safer with their parents.
“There were reports that more children are getting abused during Covid-19. This is untrue. There has been a sharp decline in the number of cases reported which establishes the fact that children are safer with their parents than when the parents are away. Staying at home has created a protection net for the children,” said Jobi Kondoor, district coordinator, Childline Thiruvananthapuram.
However, there is no respite in the number of emotional abuse cases. As compared to 577 cases in 2019, Childline registered 584 emotional abuse cases in the last four months.According to former member of State Child Rights Commission J Sandhya, it’s too early to come to such a conclusion.
“A majority of the crimes against children are reported through third parties. It is possible that incidents are not coming to light as there is no scope for an outsider to know what’s happening with a family due to the lockdown. Several cases of incest and sexual abuse have come to the fore and I strongly feel that there would be a steep rise in cases once all restrictions are lifted,” said Sandhya.
She added that one of the reasons for the rise in emotional abuse cases could be the result of increased stress among adults due to financial constraints and the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic. Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KeSCPCR) chairman K V Manoj Kumar told TNIE that children may be safer at home with their parents but are facing increased mental stress because of the confinement. “The commission is planning to make interventions to address the issues faced by the children.
There are other larger issues which need to be addressed urgently. Children are facing more stress and emotional trauma as they are not able to share their problems with peers and friends. This could be one of the reasons for the spike in number of suicide cases being reported in Kerala,” said Manoj Kumar.The commission is planning to hold a meeting with the teachers and school counsellors. “We want to ensure that the teachers contact children and talk to them directly. We are also devising more proposals for emotional and physical wellbeing of the children during the pandemic,” he added.
Former member of State Child Rights Commission J Sandhya say a reason for the rise in emotional abuse cases could be the result of increased stress among adults due to financial constraints.
No of Cases ( April-July)