Jahangiri: Need for Effective Ways to Reduce Social Harm

Jahangiri: Need for Effective Ways to Reduce Social HarmJahangiri: Need for Effective Ways to Reduce Social Harm

First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri called for concerted effort by branches of the state and government to find workable solutions to social harms.

“Social issues in the country have reached a stage where all organizations and branches of government should poll minds and take practical measures to solve them,” he said.   

The vice president made the remarks in a ceremony held by State Welfare Organization on Tuesday to announce the launch of 150 new social emergency centers across the country.

Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabi’ie, head of SWO, Anoushiravan Mohseni Bandpei, Tehran governor general, Seyyed Hossein Hashemi, and other senior officials were present at the ceremony, ISNA reported.

Opening social emergency centers in all cities across the country is part of the SWO plan to identify and address social ills. The centers, operating in 197 cities before March of this year, respond to social abuse calls made to a hotline.

Those who want to report cases of social abuse, including domestic violence and child abuse, suicide attempts, runaway girls, and other social problems can dial 123 where experts offer counseling by phone or attend in person the scene of violence or abuse.

The vice president referred to “the difficulties of more than 11 million people living on the peripheries of major urban areas, namely drug abuse, high divorce rates, rural-urban migration, moral decline and crime-prone areas” as the five priorities the government is struggling to address.

Labor Minister Ali Rabi’ie in a speech highlighted the importance of alleviating poverty in the process of reducing social harms. “One of the government’s priorities is to eliminate extreme poverty as a major cause of social distress,” he said.

Over the years successive governments have come under fire for not doing enough to lift millions out of poverty and improve the quality of life of the deprived. Most the slack has been picked up by NGOs but the numbers in need of financial aid and other types of assistance have risen due largely to the bad economic conditions, drought, water crises and years of high unemployment rates.

President Hassan Rouhani, in an interview on state TV earlier this month, said he will declare war on poverty and narrow the yawning gap between the top and bottom deciles during his second term in office that ends in 2021.

“Those in the top deciles are earning 14 times over and above the bottom deciles. We want to bridge this gap,” he said.

According to Vice President for Economic Affairs Mohammad Nahavandian, currently 10 million Iranians live below the poverty line.

“People categorized in the bottom one and half deciles are assumed to live below the poverty line,” he noted.

The SWO’s Bandpei said his organization has employed 22,000 people in the social emergency centers to help curb social abuse.

“An estimated 5,231 cases of suicide attempts were prevented through prompt action by the centers during the last calendar year (ended in March) and 4,500 such attempts were prevented in the preceding year,” he said.   

The Social Emergency Office was established in 2008 to offer social and psychological counseling exclusively to people at risk of social harm.

Reducing the effects of personal, social or family instability, crisis intervention, providing social services and empowering vulnerable groups to resist the negative effects of harmful environments, and crime prevention are among the objectives of the program. 

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