Over 3.4 crore calls received by child helpline in 3 years, 1.36 crore silent calls

Over 3.4 crore calls received by child helpline in 3 years, 1.36 crore silent calls
Highlights

Silent calls are calls where background sounds were audible and the caller remained on the phone for a few minutes but did not say anything, indicating a muted cry for help From over 34 crore calls received by the child helpline 1098 between April 2015 and March this year, more that 136 crore were silent calls

NEW DELHI: Silent calls are calls where background sounds were audible and the caller remained on the phone for a few minutes but did not say anything, indicating a muted cry for help. From over 3.4 crore calls received by the child helpline 1098 between April 2015 and March this year, more that 1.36 crore were silent calls.

The number increased from 27 lakh in 2015-16 to more than 55 lakh in 2016-17. In 2017-18, it was over 53 lakh. These calls are taken very seriously by those manning 1098 said Harleen Walia from the Childline India Foundation.

Walia added, “In case of silent calls, those manning the helpline have instructions to give inputs that generate confidence in the caller to speak or share details. A child rarely speaks in the first session and the counsellor speaks to build trust and draw out children. Similarly, the silent caller is seen to be in that sort of a situation and the aim is to build trust.”

The helpline’s intervention rose from 1.7 lakh in 2015-16 to about 2.1 lakh in 2016-17 and in 2017-18 it was 2.3 lakh. The number may seem small but they are a significant number of children who needed help. Out of the 6 lakh intervention calls, 2 lakh were in the category of “protection from abuse”.

All the calls are categorised including those that are blank, crank and abusive. Apart from the calls for rescue, shelter, missing cases and medical help for children, which is what 1098 has largely been associated with, a rise in “emotional support and guidance” calls were observed. The children from middle class and upper middle class families usually call this helpline number. More than 66,000 calls were handled by the helpline where the caller sought emotional support and guidance.

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