A smart assistant named 'Salem' automatically responds to complaints.- Alamy Image
Sharjah - The vulnerable groups in the community, including the elderly, can also rely on the service.
Women and children in Sharjah can now report abuse and violence via WhatsApp, with the launch of Sharjah Social Services Department's (SSSD) 24/7 chatbot service.
Abuse victims can get help through the WhatsApp number 0097165015995.
Ahmed Al Meel, director of the department, said that with the chatbot, people will be able to file their complaints without having to course them through an officer, thus their privacy will be protected and their case shall remain confidential.
"The department is the first entity in the country to use WhatsApp for complaints," he said, explaining that this method is expected to improve the community's communication with authorities.
Hatem El Sayed, acting director of information technology at SSSD, said the WhatsApp communication system is linked to their call centre.
A smart assistant named 'Salem' automatically responds to complaints and guides a user through a process that would allow him or her to get help.
When a woman chooses 'protection helpline services' in one of the messages, for example, Salem immediately asks if her life is in danger.
Other vulnerable groups in the community, including the elderly, can also rely on the service.
El Sayed said the WhatsApp line is just one of the communication channels through which SSSD serves the community.
Should residents need to get in touch with the department to inquire about services, report incidents, send their feedback, or file complaints, they may call the department through the main hotline 065015555.
Other toll-free numbers include child helpline at 800700; 800800700 for women protection; 8007080 for household care; 8008007 for social welfare. They may also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.