NEW DELHI: The total number of calls reporting various kinds of abuses against children in Delhi received by Childline 1098 — a toll-free, 24x7 emergency helpline service for children in distress — has increased by over 44 per cent in the last one year. In 2017- 2018, about 3,559 calls regarding child abuse in the city were received by the helpline, as against 2,467 calls received in 2016-2017.
The cases of abuse reported against girls increased from 871 in 2016-17 to 1,104 in 2017-18. However, the cases of abuse reported against boys remained higher — from 1,596 in 2016-17 to 2,455 in 2017-18.
“Over the year, a slightly higher number of calls were serviced by Childline in the city. Among the calls received, a large number was requesting for protection of children against various abuses. Although we have reached out more to vulnerable boys as per the data, it doesn’t mean the girls are less vulnerable. People still seem to be hesitant to report abuses taking place against girls,” said a Childline official.
The service is run by Childline India Foundation, a non-governmental organisation recognised by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) as India’s national emergency helpline for children.
According to the data obtained from the Childline, the maximum number of calls requiring ‘direct intervention’ — cases where Childline teams reached, rescued and linked them to institutions for long-term rehabilitation — was under the category ‘Protection from abuse’. The category involves cases related to child marriage, child labour and sexual, emotional and physical abuse. The number of calls received in 2017-18 regarding physical abuse was 480 while 169 calls of sexual abuse and 153 of emotional abuse were reported.
The emergency service also received higher number of calls in the ‘emotional support and guidance’ category — from 212 in 2016-17 to 477 in 2017-18. These relate to cases of children facing depression and having suicidal tendencies and problems. According to the official data, there are a total of 450 childline contact centres across the country which received 6.6 lakh complaints.