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Childline’s crisis line, a source of hope for child victims of abuse and bullying, or those suicidal, is in danger of folding.
The organisation’s KZN director Linda Naidoo, said funds would run dry in a few weeks.
An estimated R100 000 a month is required to fund the crisis line, which receives more than 25 000 calls a month.
Each calls costs Childline about R3. It costs almost a R1 million a year to run the crisis line.
“We are in the midst of Child Protection Week and the winter school holidays are almost upon us. If we do not get the necessary funding by the end of June, it could spell disaster for the crisis line,” Naidoo said.
“This financial year we did not get funding from Lotto. Businessman Vivian Reddy has helped us for the past three months to fund the crisis line, but his donation comes to an end in June. If we do not get more money the crisis line will have to close.”
Naidoo said the crisis line
helped children with a variety of concerns they might have.
“This week we had a case where a parent, under the influence of drugs, doused his three children with paraffin and attempted to set them alight,” she said. “A neighbour contacted Childline and we were able to avert a disaster.”
“Children who are being stalked on social networking sites also call us.”
She said calls like these showed community confidence and the need to keep the crisis line open.
“It has become frustrating to have to divert our attention to fund-raising,” Naidoo said.
“Thankfully, the more than 58 staff at 12 satellite offices in the province are motivated and continue to work in spite of the many challenges we face.”
Naidoo said KwaZulu-Natal reported the highest incidents of sexual abuse in the country.
“The Department of Social Development only funds the salaries of five social workers. We have to raise funds for our projects and the crisis line.”
She said this had been the case for the past five years.
“I have sent detailed proposals about the crisis line and our projects (to the department) but funding was only approved for the salaries.”
She said they were hoping for urgent intervention from the department.
Department spokeswoman Ncumisa Fandesi, said processes were under way to address the crisis.
“A meeting will be scheduled to discuss the issues at Childline,” she said.
“It would be premature for me to say what the outcome will be.”
Director of legal administration for the Department of Justice, Pat Moodley, said Childline offered a critical service and that closing the crisis line could have disastrous consequences.
“We monitor child victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse. These children require counselling and Childline is the only accredited service provider in the province. We rely on them heavily. They need to be fully operational.”
Moodley also stressed that KZN had an extremely high prevalence of sexual offences and the crisis line was a life-line to many children.
In an effort to raise the R70 000 urgently needed, Childline will be hosting a dinner at the Oyster Box Hotel on June 8, at a cost of R1 500 a person.
For further information telephone 031 303 1788. - Daily News