THE ALL India Working Group for Rights of Children (AIWGRC) has expressed its reservations about moving Childline 1098 services under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). They said it could lead to reduced use of the service by children and, in turn, inflict psychological harm and distress.
On March 15, Smriti Irani, who has additional charge as minister of women and child development, stated at a press briefing that there was a plan to move Childline to the administrative control of MHA from Ministry of Women and Child Development. Childline 1098 was designed to enable children to make calls in times of emergency or need.
A statement issued on Monday, bearing over 100 signatures from different organisations and individuals, has urged the government to reconsider the move. The statement read that the nature of calls received by Childline is not restricted to complaints needing police intervention and recording. Many are from children in mental distress and require immediate as well as long-term counselling and support, the statement further read.
The statement read a significant number of calls include requests for support for food, books, shelter, scholarships, to name a few. These calls require experts who understand children and their psychology and are trained appropriately to protect and guide children, the statement added.
Police are, therefore, not appropriate point of first contact for receiving these calls, and their primary role and training are not conducive or appropriate for this purpose, read the statement.