Hyderabad: The marriages of 127 girl children that were to take place in the city were stopped last year, according to the Women and Child Welfare Department.
Four of the five children directly called the department’s helpline number. Complaints regarding child sex abuse and child labour are also frequently made via the helpline.
The laws regarding child marriage have become stricter. Earlier, parents who had arranged such marriages would be counselled and the girl would be rescued. Now, as soon as the child helpline gets proof of such a marriage, an FIR is filed against both families and they are arrested immediately.
Recently, FIRs were registered in Saidabad and Falaknuma and Tappachabutra police stations in the city regarding girl child marriages.
Cases have also been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act against men who tried to have sexual contact with the minor.
Madhavi Reddy from the Child helpline said, “We get at least four or five cases of child sex abuse in a month. Sometimes the victim and sometimes their friends in the same age group call and inform us.”
In cases of child sex abuse, it has been found that the parents do not lodge the complaint and often it is the children who are taking the lead in raising their voices against the abuse.
Sharing her experience, a child said, “I was not allowed to continue my education and was told to drop out of0ss school and be at home. I called the child helpline and they convinced my parents and now I am continuing my education.”
Another girl said she was being sexually abused by her brother-in-law, but she contacted the child helpline and got help.
Dr Himabindu Singh, professor of Paediatrics at Niloufer Hospital, says awareness regarding child abuse has increased and children know everything about child abuse.
“Gone are the days when parents used to hide such things. This awareness and conversation is much needed in the society today; only then the problems that children are facing would come to light. They should know what is safe and unsafe touch, and learn to differentiate.”...