Why in news?
One in every three calls made to the emergency helpline for children, ChildLine 1098, days before and during the nation-wide lockdown sought protection from abuse and sexual violence, according to a presentation made on 7th April 2020.
- Between March 20 and March 31, the helpline recorded a total of 4.3 lakh calls — 50% more than the average.
- Nearly 30% reported instances of abuse and violence, either experienced first hand or on behalf of a child survivor, as lockdown leaves children confined to their homes, rendering them vulnerable to physical and sexual violence, a majority of which take place within homes and families.
- Significantly, many who called the helpline also sought information related to availability of food and shelter.
- These calls were made for missing and runaway children, children stranded due to the lockdown as well as children of unemployed and migrant labourers who found themselves displaced.
Safety measures undertaken
- The video-conference on 7th April was to sensitise Child Welfare Committees, Child Care Institutions and District Child Protection Units, which primarily deal with orphaned, abandoned and missing children.
- NGOs were urged to share information about adolescent girls in temporary shelters provided for migrant labourers with District Collectors and Superintendents of Police to ensure safety and health measures, such as provision of sanitary napkins.
- Women and Child Development Ministry would work with the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure district authorities were sensitised to the needs of adolescent girls who have been displaced due to the lockdown.