Buddy Bear, A Malaysian Child Helpline To Help Abused Child

The whole nation is still in the grievance of a boy’s death, allegedly murdered by his own mother and stepfather. The murder shocked the country and what’s more disturbed is, there are more cases of such issues. The biological mother and step-father have been detained and remanded to assist with police inquiries after bruises and other injuries were found on several parts of the boy’s body.

Dedicated to filling for the now-defunct Talian Nur helpline, Buddy Bear is ready to help kids who are a victim of abuse at home. This comes after the news mentioned above, where there were renewed calls to revive Talian Nur, a helpline for children.

Talian Nur was active since 2007 and then revamped as Talian Kasih. The hotline service has now broadened to cover youth issues, domestic problems and welfare as well.

Noor Aziah Mohd Awal, the Children’s Commissioner of Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has remarked the helpline as insufficient and it is not dedicated to be a helpline for children.

During the MCO last year, there were a number of children that we’re experiencing emotional distress. Hence, Buddy Bear was initiated last year in response to the urgent need to support children affected. Under the helpline, children under the age of 18 who wish to speak to a Buddy Bear can call 1-800-18-BEAR (2327), between 12pm to 12am, seven days a week. Volunteers are able to speak Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin and Tamil.

The founder, Pam Guneratnam said that the helpline was needed to serve all children who needed help and protection.

“Our volunteers are all trained in Psychological First Aid, they have been screened and their background checked by JKM and are supervised by mental health professionals,” she said.

The country has taken the death of the boy as a tragedy and surely we don’t want to see another case like this happened again. For now, The Buddy Bear line is currently the only dedicated children’s phone service in Malaysia and we hope that there will be more options to handle these cases.

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