More children calling hotline 1098 for help

Kathmandu, May 17

The number of children registering complaints with various child welfare organisations through hotline1098 has been rapidly increasing over the last two years.

According to Child Workers in Nepal Concern Centre, the number of children who called the hotline in 2015 for inquiry and to register complaints stood at 7,079. The number reached 12,693 in 2016 and 21,610 in 2017.

Children account for approximately 42 per cent of total 72,160 calls made in 11 district offices of CWIN and other child welfare organisations in Kathmandu, Morang, Makwanpur, Banke , Kaski, Kailali, Chitwan, Udaypur, Dailekh, Surkhet and Sunsari in 2017.

Similarly, 12,603 complaints were registered while the remaining calls were made for inquiry. The complaints registered with CWIN offices are related to physical and mental violence, physical punishment, trafficking, sexual violence, sexual misconduct, child labour exploitation, child marriage, kidnapping, and social media exploitation and violence.

Out the 12,603 cases registered through the hotline in 11 districts, child welfare organisations have been able to directly intervene in only 1,857 cases. The remaining complaints were handled through ‘vocal counselling’ and referred to child welfare organisations, according to a CWIN official.

It is estimated that more than 4,000 child care centres are operating in the country. Around 4,500 to 5,000 NGOs and INGOs are working actively for the welfare of children.

Similarly, all the local bodies, ministries and their departments, and security forces are also handling issues related to children.

According to CWIN Nepal executive director Sumnima Tuladhar, “A large number of children have started calling our hotline, which means they are aware of abuses they face. This number cannot be reduced until and unless adults start acting like humans and avoid violence against children.”