Over 440,000 calls have been received by the State Agency for Child Protection’s (SACP) national telephone line for children at 116 111 since it was opened on October 14, 2009.
For the past 5 years more than 88,000 consultations have been provided on various young people’s issues, of which nearly 77,000 calls have been from children and the rest from parents and other adults.
Statistics show that the line is contacted mostly by teenagers. They share issues typical for their age and development, from love relationships, relationships with peers, family and school problems to their fears and sources of anxiety.
In every conversation, consultants on line 116,111 estimate what the risk for the child caller is and immediately transmit the information to the authorities for child protection (police child protection departments). Since the beginning of its inception it has passed on over 1,600 referrals, mainly for physical and mental abuse and neglect. The data shows that many of the severe cases that require intervention by protection bodies are in small towns or villages.
Parents and other adult citizens seeking assistance with problems relating to children also often contact the line. They call seeking information, guidance, and in many cases – to communicate a risk to or violation of the rights of a child. This is a lasting trend that shows a higher level of effort by citizens to stop actions violating the rights of children or undermining their dignity. Such involvement is very important in cases where the children themselves have no way to seek help because they are too small or are in a situation where they do not realise they are victims of abuse – for example, when used for begging.
The State Agency for Child Protection’s national children’s hotline provides advice, information and assistance on all matters and issues relating to children. By phoning 116 111, boys and girls can talk about their problems with experts – children and clinical psychologists, educators and social workers – anonymously and for free. They have the opportunity to share what is unsettling them, to receive emotional support and to discuss possible solutions to their problems. The parents line provides an opportunity to discuss various developmental problems concerning their children, as well as conflict and the painful twists and turn in family life such as a separation or divorce.
Translator: Morgan James, volunteer
Photo: photl.com/Studio Cl Art