CHENNAI: Protection from abuse seems to be the topmost of the reasons why children make the SOS. And that too, South India leads the other regions of the country in terms of number of people making the call to Childline seeking protection, pointing to the better awareness of the helpline in the southern States.
According to the recent statistics provided by the Childline India Foundation, which operated the 1098 helpline for children, the number of calls from children seeking protection from child abuse has increased from 19,310 in 2014-2015 (financial year) to 23,195 calls in 2015-2016 (till date). Of this, nearly one-fourth of the calls (6,490) are from Tamil Nadu.
The northern region received the second highest number of calls registered: 14,338. There were 10,500 from East India and 8,549 from West India according to the 2015 -2016 data.
The second most important reason children called the helpline was seeking shelter. The southern region received 8,004 calls from children seeking shelter and 6,223 calls for restoration of children.
One of the key areas where Childline works is the area of indirect intervention where a team provides emotional support and guidance, and builds confidence. There were 10,043 calls from South India seeking emotional support guidance, which were 4,023 from East India and 1,972 from North and 1,790 calls are from West, according to the current data.
Speaking to Express, Emi, a child rights activist, explains that the reasons for the large number of calls from the south are the comparatively higher urbanisation it has seen and a widespread awareness of the helpline, compared to the other regions of the country.
Dr P Manorama, former Child Welfare Committee chairperson and Child Rights activist, said the Childline system is the same all over the country. In South India, more people come forward taking responsibility for reporting the cases, unlike in other parts of the country.
Taking about the child abuse cases reported, Manorama said the only way to address the issue was sensitising the child to good touch and bad touch. Again parents, teachers, community should take responsibility for teaching children about the issue. “A parent should tell the child, ‘don’t allow others to touch you, other than mother and others don’t have necessity to undress you.’ The child should be taught to report to parents or teachers if anybody tries to misbehave,” Manorama added.