The Smile of the Child
Member: NGO Premium
Voluntary Children's Association
10, Zinonos Eleatou Street, GR-151 24 Maroussi, Athens, Greece
“The Smile of the Child” honors the 10th anniversary of the European Decision
This year is the 10th anniversary of the European Decision reserving the national numbering range beginning with ‘116’ for numbers for harmonized services of social value.
“The Smile of the Child”, as founding member of the European Federation for Missing and Exploited Children (MCE) had proposed the idea of a common 3 digit number for the support and assistance of children leading with other founding members the effort to convince the European Commission and other European Institutions on this need.
Today, “The Smile of the Child” honors the milestone decision of the European Commission together child helplines and hotlines for Missing Children from across Europe as well as policy makers from EU Institutions by participating to a celebrating event held in Brussels at the premises of the European Parliament. The event is co-organized by Missing Children Europe (MCE), whose member of the BoD is “The Smile of the Child” and Child Helpline International (CHI), whose active member is also the Greek Organization.
Following the important decision of the European Commission in 2017 “The Smile of the Child” inaugurated the same year the operation of the European Hotline for Missing Children 116000 in Greece, whereas in 2016 the Organization inaugurated the operation of the European Helpline for Children and Adolescents 116111 that operates under the umbrella of Child Helpline International.
In the course of 10 years the European Hotline for Missing Children 116000 received 53.431 calls on missing children cases, while the European Helpline for Children and Adolescents 116111 has handled 10.698 calls within the period of 2016 - June 2017.
In 2016 alone, the 116000 line responded to 6.149 calls and received 170 requests of support to operations of search and rescue of missing children. 136 children were traced. Respectively, the 116111 line received 7.581 calls, whereas counseling services were provided to 4.249 individuals.
According to international data, 1 out of 2 children are victims of some form of violence at a global scale, whereas Child Helplines respond to more than 3.500.000 contacts each year across the European Union. The main reasons that children contacted their national child helplines in 2016 were psycho-social and mental health, family relationships and peer relationships.
According to Missing Children Europe, children hotlines for missing children in the 28 EU Member States plus Serbia, Albania and Switzerland have responded to over 1 million calls between 2011 and 2016. On average, 50 to 60% of reported child disappearances concern children who run away from or are forced out of home or care. About 30% concern children abducted by a parent following a cross-border family conflict. While only an average of 5% concern children missing in the context of migration, it is well established that under-reporting of their disappearances is a huge issue and that these unaccompanied children are especially vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.
In Greece the 116000 and 116111 lines as well as the National Helpline for Children SOS 1056 that operates since 1997 contribute directly to preventing and addressing serious problems related to children victims of violence, abuse, neglect, disappearance, trafficking and bullying.
The services of 116111 are free, available nationwide on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, with 4 interconnected centers as one, staffed by social workers and psychologists. A Disaster Recovery Area at the Athens International Airport ensures the continuous operation of the helpline (similarly to the 1056 and 116000 lines) in the event of any emergency or crisis situation. The lines are officially recognized as Emergency Lines and are interconnected with the European Emergency Number 112.
In 2016 the European Hotline was certified following a thorough evaluation among all European 116 000 lines with the maximum score of 100%.