NEW DELHI: A helpline run by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) for reporting sexual offences against children has been defunct for over a month, leaving in distress hundreds of children and their relatives who needed to report cases.
Sources in NCPCR said the child rights body was forced to make the number — operated as Prevention of Children from Sexual Offenses (Act) e-box helpline — non-operational last month after it started receiving dozens of “vulgar” calls on it every day.
“The number was probably flashed on some porn websites after which the helpline was flooded with vulgar calls. It reached a point where it was difficult to manage the calls, so the commission got the number stopped,” a source told TNIE.
“But we are getting complaints that this has led to massive inconvenience to children in need.”
Another source said reporting the matter to police had not yielded any results in the last one month.
Yashwant Jain, NCPCR member (POCSO), said, “It is true that the non-availability of the POCSO e-box helpline number is leading to hassles to many children and others who wish to report sex crimes against children but we are taking it very seriously. From today, we have started a toll-free number where people can report such incidents.”
The toll-free number, however, was not functional till the filing of this report.
The helpline was started in August 2016 and had received about 3,000 valid complaints.
According to the National Crime Record Bureau, 106,958 cases of crimes against children were recorded in 2016. Of these, 36,022 cases were recorded under the POCSO Act.