Vietnam’s child helpline, 18001567, which was set up in 2009, has received nearly 1.5 million calls with 2,500 connected with emergency protection and aid services.

Children suffering from psychological trauma, violence and sex abuse have benefited from the helpline.
Deputy Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) Doan Mau Diep made the point at the policy dialogue and regional consultation for child helplines in Asia-Pacific that opened in Hanoi on November 26.

The event was co-organised by the MOLISA’s Child Care and Protection Department and Child Helpline International (CHI) with the participation of representatives from 24 regional countries and territories.

It evaluated the operation of such helplines in the region and the world in general as well as their impacts on national child protection systems.

The State of Vietnam has always considered child protection, care and education as leading tasks, Diep said.

He cited the National Assembly’s issuance of the Law on Child Protection, Care and Education in 2004 and the legislature’s ongoing amendments to the law in a bid to handle related challenges.

The Vietnamese Government has also ratified three programmes of actions towards Vietnamese children during the periods of 1991-2000, 2001-2010 and 2011-2020, he said.

Vietnam has created conditions for children to raise their voice and propose initiatives to promote their rights, Diep said, citing the biennial Vietnamese children’s forum, where children frankly talk with NA and Government leaders.

CHI Executive Director Nenita La Rose said child helplines in Asia-Pacific and the world at large have served as important bridges linking national child protection services.

Through the helplines, children have raised issues of their concern and received timely support, she said.

CHI statistics show that between 2008 and 2012, the number of calls to the helplines ballooned by about 20 percent, she said, adding that governments should increase resources and capacity for such services.

Child Helpline International is the global network of 173 child helplines in 142 countries (as of October 2012). It supports the creation and strengthening of national toll-free child helplines worldwide, and uses child helpline data and knowledge to highlight gaps in child protection systems and advocate the rights of children.-VNA