Keeping kids safe with a click of a button
Vietnam’s National Child Helpline (NCHL) has been instrumental in prioritising child protection across the country since its launch in 2004. The helpline receives over 500,000 calls annually and has recently upgraded its dedicated app, ‘App 111’ or ‘Tong dai 111’, to reach more communities and enhance its ability to keep children safe.
Vietnam’s dedicated safety app, App 111, is helping to protect children from harm.
Luu (11), from Hoa Binh province, says she feels much safer knowing that she can ask for help with just a click of a button: “It’s like I have another friend to protect me. I use the app to report issues such as bullying or violence. Plus, it’s really easy to use.”
Luu’s friend, Hai (11), says the app has taught them important safety skills, such as ways to deal with conflict, prevent abuse and who to contact if they feel unsafe or see a friend being bullied.
“I can now recognise and stand up for my rights and my friends as well. I have more tools to deal with tricky situations,” explains Hai.
The National Child Helpline has 32 counsellors who work in three shifts, 24 hours a day, to handle a continuous stream of calls related to child protection. However, the volume of calls can be a challenge, and the lack of communication channels and information-sharing platforms makes it difficult to coordinate with local authorities to resolve and support child protection cases.
“I can now recognise and stand up for my rights and my friends as well. I have more tools to deal with tricky situations.”Hai, 11
To address these challenges, ChildFund Vietnam, together with the Department of Child Affairs, has made important upgrades to App 111 to strengthen and expand the country’s Child Protection System and Service for children and their families. New additions include functions such as the document library where users can access materials focused on child online safety skills and how to prevent child abuse, plus a phone book with contacts of people who can support children and users. AI has also been introduced with a chatbot interacting with users (in the future the callbot function will be added to assist calls).
Ms. Thao, the Deputy Head of the National Child Helpline, says the upgrade is a significant step forward in improving the performance and features of the Helpline system: “The changes have created a better user experience and improved our working processes.”
“This app is great! Other than reporting concerns about children, my children and I have also gained child protection knowledge and skills through the document library.”Mr. Luan
App 111 is not only an invaluable aid to children and Helpline staff, but also to carers and parents like Mr. Luan, who lives in the Kim Boi district, Hoa Binh province.
“This app is great! Other than reporting concerns about children, my children and I have also gained child protection knowledge and skills through the document library,” says Mr. Luan.
In addition to upgrades to App 111, new case management software is gradually demonstrating the power of technology in enhancing the effectiveness of child protection work. Ms. Phuong, a Social Work Officer in Kim Boi district, says the case management software has helped streamline their documentation process.
“It’s much more practical. Instead of sending hard copies of documents, as was traditionally done, the software allows users to export data and store files of current and past cases,” she explains. “Now, I can easily monitor the status of cases and generate reports when required.”
The Department of Child Affairs will continue to enhance and expand Helpline’s App 111 and case management software to help create a safer and brighter future for children across Vietnam.
You can read more about the Helpline app here.