A special hotline launched to support children and families amid COVID-19 pandemic
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Tbilisi, GEORGIA. 27 April 2020. A specialized hotline to help children and their families to receive the state services available in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic is being launched today. The hotline aims at responding to the immediate needs of children in Georgia during the COVID–19 pandemic. To reach the hotline, children and their families need to dial 111. The number is operational 24/7, and all calls from Georgia are free of charge.
The hotline is a joint initiative of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories of Georgia, Labour, Health and Social Affairs and UNICEF. The Hotline is operated by the Agency for State Care and Assistance for the Victims of Human Trafficking. UNICEF provides technical assistance and covers the costs of the line until the end of the year with support from UKAid.
"In this situation, the child hotline is a principle instrument for children and families to seek help and get the required support." - Ghassan Khalil
“I commend this excellent partnership to help children and families affected by the pandemic and thanks the Parliament’s Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee for initiating the project. School closures and other social distancing measures are disrupting daily routines, threatening children’s ability to play and learn and placing additional stress on parents, who may be struggling with a loss of childcare or income. These factors and the possibility of anxiety, stigma and discrimination increase the children’s vulnerability to abuse, exploitation and psychological distress. In this situation, the child hotline is a principle instrument for children and families to seek help and get the required support”, said Ghassan Khalil, UNICEF Representative in Georgia.
Hotline operators will provide necessary consultations and refer children and parents to local service providers, municipalities and state agencies. The hotline will also respond to calls regarding violence against children. In these cases, psychologists will get involved and social workers, the police and other relevant agencies will be notified. The hotline will continue functioning from the next year as well and will be funded by the state budget.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/georgia/