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Make Use Of The Helpline: Akbar

People have been encouraged to make use of the National Child Helpline toll free line “1325” to seek information and counselling services. The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation,
15 Sep 2015 02:16
Make Use Of The Helpline: Akbar
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar while advocating about the National Child Helpline at the Kinoya Children’s Day. Photo: Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation

People have been encouraged to make use of the National Child Helpline toll free line “1325” to seek information and counselling services.

The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar says that people can use the helpline to report cases and seek advices on any child welfare cases.

The National Child Helpline had been established by the Fijian Government early this year, in partnership with Medical Services Pacific (MSP) and three major telecommunications companies, namely Vodafone, Digicel and Telecom Fiji Limited.

Ms Akbar said that of the total 3409 calls received from January to July this year, 400 were genuine calls.

“The genuine cases identified have been referred to the relevant agencies for counselling, medical and legal advices.  The Helpline currently operates from 6am to 6pm, seven days a week to cater for the 12 hour operation, we have counsellors working in shifts and they speak English, Hindi, Fijian and Rotuman.  The Ministry is working together with MSP to extend the operations by making it a 24 hour helpline,” she said.

“All you need to do is pick up the phone and call 1325, because you are never alone when you are near a phone and you can help save someone’s life. So if you are aware that a child is being abused within his or her home or community please report these cases through the child helpline 1325.

An analysis was done on the Helpline showed that 63 per cent of the callers are women while 37 per cent are men. Most of the callers are over 30 years of age and majority of the cases were regarding child welfare, mental health care, elderly care, positive parenting and adoption processes.

Young people are also using the Helpline to report child welfare cases and seek advice on addressing issues like teenage pregnancies, peer pressure and family conflicts.

The line minister says that there is a need for more awareness on the Child Helpline particularly in schools and rural communities.

“The Helpline provides a platform for children to call and speak to the counsellors, confidentiality on the caller’s identity and information shared is always protected.

“We are encouraging children, women and families to use the helpline. The Ministry has plans to develop a similar helpline for domestic violence and till the time that is established, women are advised to use the child helpline to report cases or seek advice regarding any issues that may be affecting them and their families.

“The Ministry will also increase awareness programmes on the helpline, particularly in rural and remote communities, we hope more people will be able to access and benefit from the helpline.

“There are professional counselling service providers available within the community such as Empower Pacific and Medical Services Pacific; likewise, such services are also made available within faith based organisations. What is needed now is more awareness on these services and its visibility within the community. On the other hand people are also encouraged to reach out and make use of these services available to them,” Ms Akbar said.

Currently, there are only four incoming lines through the Helpline, so if the lines are busy, then the calls will go to a voice mail, which is then answered later or their call is returned later (if the caller leaves their number).

Ministry of Women,
Children and Poverty
Alleviation

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