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Reporting child abuse? Dial 1929

President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the 'Child Helpline' (1929) introduced by the Child Development and Women's Empowerment Ministry yesterday by forwarding the first call.

Child Development and Women's Empowerment Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena ceremonially opened the new office of the child helpline at the ministry, 177, Nawala Road, Narahenpita.

Launching this latest facility available for all Sri Lankan children and the public free of charge, President Rajapaksa inquired about the different services available through this telephone number which can be dialled free through fixed lines and mobile networks.

The President extended his best wishes while forwarding the first call. Children, parents and the public can report child exploitation incidents such as child abuse, child labour and about vulnerable children to this number. Needy children can also obtain assistance for education by calling this number.

The newly introduced child helpline is not just an emergency number but a well organised network of several organisations such as the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), Children's and Women's Bureau, Probation and Child Care Services Department, the Department of Health, Legal Aid Commission and Child Development and Women's Empowerment Ministry.

This type of child helpline is available in around 100 other countries.

It was launched with the assistance of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), Forut and a few other organisations.

The SLT has spent over Rs. 3 million only for the equipment while Forut has come forward to sponsor salaries of two persons attached to the child helpline staff.

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