Muscat: Oman launched a 24/7 child protection hotline (1100) on Wednesday, which aims to combat any abuse against children in the country.

An official at the Ministry of Social Development said the launch of the free hotline is a very important step, which will facilitate abuse reports.

Oman registered 299 abuse cases against children in 2016. Forty-seven per cent of the victims were female and 53 per cent were males under 18.

Twenty-four per cent involved sexual abuse, 18 per cent physical abuse and 55 per cent neglect.

Dr Yahya Al Hinai, the head of the family development at the Ministry of Social Development, said that the toll-free hotline is a leading national project to protect children in Oman.

Al Hinai added that the new hotline will support children under 18 years of age who are exposed to various types of abuse.

Oman’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) will launch an awareness campaign about the new hotline to encourage people to report any abuse case via the hotline.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Social Development has formed child committees in all governorates, aiming to protect children from violence, exploitation and abuse.

The committees also follow up on those children who are exposed to abuses and voidance by providing the physical and social rehabilitation for them.