Junta launches new WhatsApp service to make it easier for children to report abuse

The regional government has received more than 2,900 complaints of child abuse in family situations so far this year, most of them related to abandonment and neglect, along with others about insults and threats

JOSÉ LUIS PIEDRA

The Junta de Andalucía has registered a total of 2,914 complaints of child abuse in the family environment, so far this year, according to the data provided to SUR by the regional government.

Calls to Junta's child abuse landline telephone service, 900 851 818, indicates that most of the complaints are related to situations of neglect and abandonment, as well as insults and threats against minors.

The highest volume of calls received, some 29.5 per cent, refer to situations of repeated verbal hostility through insults, contempt or threats, while it is followed, with 26.3 per cent, by complaints to do with lack of attention to the physical needs of minors such as lack of food, medical care, clothing or hygiene, as well as neglect in attending to school needs. Some 23.5 per cent of the complaints are related to injuries or physical damage to children in the care of relatives or carers.

In addition, the child abuse telephone service received 2,194 calls requesting information, guidance and advice.

"Silenced and made invisible"

To help reinforce prevention against this type of violence against minors to prevent them from being "silenced and made invisible", the Junta has activated a new communication channel using a WhatsApp service to facilitate reporting abuse. The 689 967 501 telephone number will be available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

With the incorporation of this new medium, an effective and immediate communication channel has been opened with the aim of providing minors with new access routes to the service, allowing them to send and receive images, screenshots, videos or audio files.

The service will be attended by staff at the Andalusian Telecare Service and the head of the telephone service, José Vargas, says the new system guarantees the privacy of the complainant and has many advantages for minors by making it easier for them to request help without the knowledge of the possible persons responsible for the abuse with whom they live.

Andalucía also has the landline telephone number 900 921 111 available for information on the resources, programmes and actions of the care and protection system for children and adolescents and, also the 116 111 telephone number, which operates throughout the European Union.