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24-hour helpline for TN teachers facing sexual harassment
The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday decided that a 24-hour helpline would be made available for female teachers facing sexual harassment soon. The helpline already exists for students.
The government initiative comes against the backdrop of reports highlighting female teachers getting sexually harassed and such cases not being reported.
In a first of its kind initiative in the country, the AIADMK had launched a round-the-clock helpline 14417 for students in March this year to offer guidance. Thereafter, Sneha, an NGO, had tied-up with the government for running the helpline, that would also counsel depressed students.
A senior official from the Education Department told DT Next that the helpline for students is busy only during the exam period. “Since we hardly get calls from the students during the non-exam period, we decided to put the same number to use,” the official noted.
According to him, the helpline is not only for the teachers working in government schools but also for those working in private institutions. “A separate team has been formed exclusively to handle these complaints,” he said, adding, identity of the teachers who lodge a complaint would be kept a secret.
He also said that if this initiative is a success, a separate phone line will be dedicated to teachers. “In future, the issues of male teachers will also be addressed through the helpline once official orders are passed, the official said.