The Childline India helpline received around one lakh SOS calls asking for protection from abuse and violence in 11 days, a sombre indication that the pandemic controlled restrictions have turned into extended captivity for children trapped with their abusers at home.
Of the 3.07 lakh calls received by the ‘CHILDLINE 1098’ helpline for children in distress across the country between March 20-31, covering the first week of the lockdown, 30 per cent were about protection against abuse and violence on children, said Harleen Walia, deputy director of Childline India. This comes to 92,105 calls.
According to Walia, the number of calls after the lockdown has increased by 50 per cent.
Two days ago, independent UN human rights experts have called on States to boost child protection measures to help safeguard the welfare of millions of children who may be more exposed to violence, sale, trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
At a time of lockdowns and home isolation, children are at greater risk of experiencing violence, exploitation and challenges to their mental health.