Erase Child Sexual Abuse, Not Children: Organise Massive Awareness Drives
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Prevention Is Better Than Cure
A survey of more than 45,000 children between 12 - 18 years, across 26 states in the country, revealed that one in every two children is a victim of child sexual abuse. Sexual offences and kidnapping account for 81% of the crimes against minors. ACCORDING TO GOVERNMENT FIGURES, A CHILD IS SEXUALLY ABUSED EVERY 15 MINUTES IN INDIA.
Child sexual abuse is a moral epidemic. This epidemic is rearing its ugly head throughout the country. Child rapes are becoming very brutal resulting in disfigurement and also death of children. Children who have been sexually abused experience a range of psychosocial problems and are affected in devastating and often irreversible ways, a study by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation has found.
Due to the overwhelming rise in the number crime against children the Union cabinet was forced to approve the death penalty to those convicted of raping children below 12 years.
The National Crime Records Bureau data on the proximity of offenders to victims shows that in 95% of all rape cases, the offender knew the victim.
A report by Human Rights Watch titled “Breaking the Silence: Child Sexual Abuse in India” stated that “While Great Awareness Has Been Raised About Sexual Violence Against Women In India, Much Less Is Known About The Problem Of Sexual Abuse Of Children". India’s Attitude Towards Sexual Abuse And Child Sexual Abuse Needs An Overhaul. We As A Country Need To Commit In Cultivating A Culture Of Zero Tolerance To Violence Against Children", says Komal Ganotra, Director Policy and Advocacy at CRY.
We are tired of reading horrific news on Child Sexual Abuse. We are not interested in mere outrage. We would like this issue to be eradicated in a nationally-planned, systemic way.There is NO simple solution to this issue and it should be treated as an epidemic. Awareness around Child Sexual Abuse should be done in the same manner as the government has done for Polio Eradication or is now doing for Tobacco. A budget for a massive consolidated campaign, across the country for the next 5 years, should be allotted towards creating awareness about Child Sexual Abuse and laws related to Child Sexual Abuse
1. Intense and aggressive government sponsored training and sensitisation programs on Child Sexual Abuse should be conducted for all schools across the country (Government and Private). Different modules should be designed for children and adults. This should be a mandatory training for all schools to follow, with continuous monitoring and a final audit through appointed field officers
2. These training programs should be conducted in villages (at village, block and district level) and cities (at corporation or municipality level). A village or ward which has completed this training for its residents should receive government recognition (certificate or award) and should be given a special status to foster pride in residents.
3. Mohalla workshops on laws related to CSA should be conducted. A target for minimum number of workshops has to be set for the Gram Panchayat and/or the Sabhasad (Corporator) and Nagar Panchayat/Nagar Parishad
4. Legal experts should be requested to undertake a minimum of 5 legal training programs for CSA as a part of community service. These legal experts should be given government recognition for the maximum number of trainings. This will help foster interest in the program
5. People in professions such as Principal/Teachers, Doctors, Lawyers, Owners of day care centres, School staff and Sports coaches should undergo both training and sensitisation programs as well as legal mohalla workshops. Hiring of such professionals should be encouraged
6. Additional child helplines should be set up (similar to 108 ambulance service which is available even in remote areas) with additional staff. Children should be trained to self-report to a child helpline
7. Advertisements on non-tolerance of Child Sexual Abuse or rapes should feature on television, radio and movie theatres (similar to what is being done for tobacco)
8. Posters and brochures should be put up and kept in all prominent locations such as schools, hospitals, and all public places, especially those with a high movement of children
9. The economic burden of mental health issues caused due to child sexual abuse should be quantified through proper institutionalisation and research on this topic, done in collaboration with legal authorities, NGOs and rehabilitation centres
10. A separate budget towards conducting these intensive training programs should be allotted and a feedback mechanism should be put in place to evaluate the NGOs who sign up for these trainings
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