Every region in Russia to have a helpline for parents and children
At a press conference, the chair of the Support for Children in Difficulties Fund, Marina Gordeeva, announced that from 1 September a nationwide helpline, 8-800-2000-122, would be made available for residents of the Ryazan, Voronezh, Kaluga, Kostroma, Volgograd, Leningrad, Murmansk, Rostov, Orenburg, Tyumen, Kemerovo, and Amur regions and the republics of Tatarstan, Buryatia, etc. From September 21 regions would be included and another 34 would be added by the end of October. By the end of the year it would be possible to use the helpline from any part of the Federation. She added that use of the line would be free of charge. Those staffing the line would be able to provide psychological counselling to parents and children. Further help would be available with the consent of family members. According to the Association of Children’s Helplines, there were 271 emergency psychological service centres operating in 56 parts of the Federation at the beginning of 2010. These were receiving calls from both parents and children. For example in the Altai region about 19,000 calls were received from adults and teenagers in the 12-14 age range. The latter were mainly interested in issues of relations between the genders and with parents and peers. Four percent of calls concerned the problem of violence. Ms Gordeeva went on to say that her fund was organising courses to upgrade the qualifications of 900 specialists working on the hotlines in order to enhance their effectiveness.
Evgeny Tsimbal, the director of Ozon, the Centre for Psychological, Medical and Social Support for Children Subjected to Abuse and Violence, took the view that the line might be one method of preventing family trouble. Children and parents would receive professional advice in the event of conflict arising in the family. If desired, help would be provided face to face.
Ms Gordeeva added that this autumn would see the start of an information campaign to let children know about the helpline with the aid of 'smeshariki' (amusing round cartoon animals that inhabit an imaginary world). Teenagers would be able to find out about the new service from comics. Commercials would also be made for television.