NATION

Increase In Calls On The National Child Helpline, Akbar Reveals

The number of calls on the National Child Helpline has increased with 1459 genuine calls received in 2020 and 2021. This revelation was made by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar during the launch of the Child Helpline Mascot, Charlie at the Fiji Museum in Suva last Friday.
30 May 2022 12:09
Increase In Calls On The National Child Helpline, Akbar Reveals
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar with her grandson and the child helpline mascot, Charlie at its launch in Fiji Museum in Suva on May 27, 2022. Photo: Sheenal Charan

The number of calls on the National Child Helpline has increased with 1459 genuine calls received in 2020 and 2021.

This revelation was made by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar during the launch of the Child Hel­pline Mascot, Charlie at the Fiji Museum in Suva last Friday.

The helpline had received 67,091 calls and responded to 10,698 genu­ine calls since its inception in 2015.

Ms Akbar said those genuine 10,698 calls were related to reports on child abuse and exploitation, school-related issues including bul­lying, child negligence, and child behavioural problems from school, at the home setting and other re­ported locations.

“In 2020 and 2021, COVID-19 re­strictions were in place to ensure public safety and protection,” she said.

“Despite the restrictions, the child helpline was fully operating with 1459 genuine calls received not only by children, but also parents and members of the community.

“According to the Child Welfare Act National Database a total of 1518 cases were reported in 2021, with 49 per cent of the cases report­ed via the National Child Helpline, an increase compared to 2020 to which 31 per cent of the cases were reported via the child helpline.”

The minister said the increase in calls over the years was an indica­tion that children and members of the public were now more confident to report issues affecting their well-being and safety.

The launch of Charlie, the hel­pline mascot was launched along with its theme: ‘Hope for children for a better Fiji’.

The theme represented the objec­tive of the helpline being a source of hope for children who were in difficult situations that threatened their well-being.

Last month marked the seventh year that the helpline had been in operation.

Ms Akbar said over these years, the services provided by the hel­pline has been closely monitored, improved, and had become a source of hope for children who were victims of abuse, neglect, and dis­crimination, to call and seek profes­sional help.

“A major achievement for the es­tablishment of the helpline in 2015 was that this was the first function­al line for the Pacific region,” she said.

“In 2016 the helpline was upgrad­ed to a 24-hour service from being operating for only 12 hours at the initial stage.”

Feedback: sheenal.charan@fijisun.com.fj



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