How children and their families are supported during the pandemic (EVA)
Child Support Services Amidst the Pandemic
Besides health concerns and financial factors, the COVID-19 pandemic also exacerbated the risks of domestic violence and violence against children. The quarantine not only imposed isolation on children and their families, but also caused certain services to be suspended, compromising thus access to social, education and health services. The isolation measures have further aggravated the situation of children already exposed to abusive, neglectful and unsafe environments. The support measures for children outside the family home, including protection and schooling services, were not always accessible to children.
However, the Child Helpline 116 111 continued to provide support and assistance around the clock, including during the pandemic, representing an important resource for children, adolescents and parents in need. The Child Helpline also represents a tool to report cases of violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and trafficking.
During the pandemic, from March to December 2020, the Child Helpline counsellors answered more than 3.500 calls.
Violence, child neglect, misunderstandings at school, or even sexual abuse, are just some of the problems that children and their parents raise via the Child Helpline service. Hundreds of children and adults seek and receive support every month.
Home isolation, lack of common interactions at school, the impossibility to seek directly professionals or services, the lack of privacy led to an increase in the number of calls to the on-line support channel of the Child Helpline service. To respond to children’s needs, an internal chat was set up since the beginning of the pandemic. It enables reporting and submitting written requests.
How does the Child Helpline work?
The Child Helpline 116 111 is a free, anonymous and confidential service that provides counselling and psycho-emotional support, guidance on child rights, consultancy on child protection, guidance and referral to institutions authorised to provide specialised assistance. It was created to protect children against any form of infringement of their rights. The service started operating in Moldova in June 2014 and it is available by phone by dialling 116 111, from all national phone numbers, by skype: TelefonulcopiluluiMoldova116111 or on-line on https://telefonulcopilului.md.
The cases reported to the Child Helpline concerning violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation, trafficking or any other situation threatening children’s lives and health are passed on through the case notification form to the local guardianship authority. The later is to undertake the necessary protection measures in accordance with the legislation.
Dina Sirbu, Child Helpline Manager
‘Male and female counsellors on the other side of the line employ all their resources to help children and adolescents who seek assistance, confidentiality being the key asset of this entire process’
The free helpline service for children – the Child Helpline 116 111 – was launched in Moldova on 4 June 2014. The Child Helpline is a service managed by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection and provided by the National Centre for Training, Assistance, Counseling and Education from Moldova ‘CNFACEM’.
In November 2018, the Child Helpline of the Republic of Moldova became a part of the Child Helpline International Foundation Network, which includes 193 child helplines in 146 countries.
This publication was developed with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents fall under the exclusive responsibility of UNICEF Moldova and do not necessarily reflect the point of view of the European Union.
This material was drafted under the EVA Project – ‘Promoting Gender Equality in Cahul and Ungheni Districts’, funded by the European Union, and implemented by UN WOMEN in partnership with UNICEF Moldova.