Children's council launches mobile app against anxiety, abuse

Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 26 2021 09:11 PM

MANILA - The Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) on Tuesday launched a mobile application that would help connect children and parents in need of psychosocial help to concerned government agencies and services.

In a press conference, Jhie Mojica of CWC said the Child Protect Mobile App will cater to children who are experiencing anxiety, fear, and abuse amid the pandemic.

The mobile application was launched as the celebration of the 2021 National Children's Month in November nears.

The app is part of the CWC Child Welfare Hotline System, wherein citizens may get immediate information and response to their queries and concerns about their mental health, and if they are experiencing abuse, may it be physical, psychological, emotional, and sexual.

The app is available for free, downloadable through the Google Play Store.

Reports of abuse, anxiety

Mojica said based on the PNP's Women and Children Protection Center report last year, 2,117 reported cases of abuse against children. A total of 894 experienced physical abuse, 589 reported psychological and emotional abuse, while 508 said they were sexually abused.

Based on a report of the Anti-Money Laundering Council's Financial Intelligence Unit, there were also 20,448 cybersex-related transactions during the first semester of 2020, nearly twice from the 10,633 transactions reported in 2019. 

Meanwhile, the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) has reported an increase in suicide-related calls, including those coming from children. 

From just 308 suicide-related calls in January 2020, they said, the number rose three-fold this year at 1,090 in January alone. 

In July 2020, World Vision conducted a "rapid appraisal" on the effects of COVID-19, participated by 985 children and their families. 

The results showed that 54 percent of children experienced sadness, fear, and anxiety, while 41 percent of children were victims of physical and psychological abuse at home. 

A total of 84 percent of children, meanwhile, feared for their safety and their family's safety amid the pandemic. Nineteen percent of children, on the other hand, do not have sufficient knowledge on available services that can protect them.

Mojica said data on abuses and mental health issues encouraged concerned government agencies to ramp up their efforts to inform children and their parents of the services that they can avail, and to make them feel that they are not alone in their ordeal.

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