In 30% calls received at child helpline, callers sought emotional support and guidance. “I am alone and want to talk to someone; I do not want to go to school because I don’t like my maths teacher,” were common complaints of children.
The children also call up to complain about physical and mental abuse by relatives or parents.
Giving details, sources in the Childline Foundation who attends the calls at child helpline (1098) said children who feel lonely use the helpline to seek company. They also complain about their teachers and parents and also talk about petty issues. Children also discuss discord between parents at the helpline.
Other than the emotional support, the children also call up to seek shelter in case they are left deserted by relatives or known people. Apart from child labour, sexual and psychological abuse is also reported at the helpline.
Nishit Kumar, head of communication and strategic initiatives of Childline India Foundation, said, “We get calls from children all over the country. Last year, 440 genuine calls were received from Chandigarh and this year more than 100 children have called up so far.”
He added the aim of the foundation is to reach a child physically as soon as possible. The NGOs at the local level are approached so that the child gets help as soon as possible.
He added that, “There are three to four types of calls that we received. Bogged down by parents’ regular fights, children coming from middle-class families call up to tell that how this is affecting their minds.
Children also complain about abuse, excessive use of force by father. The number of such calls has increased in last one year. They also prefer talking to an unknown person about peer pressure.”
Nishit says more and more children calling helpline reflects how the communication between parents and children besides student-teacher interaction has decreased.
Another person working with the helpline says the number of boy callers is more than girls.