Prevention Is Better Than Cure: Massive Awareness Drives Against Child Sexual Abuse
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ACCORDING TO GOVERNMENT FIGURES, A CHILD IS SEXUALLY ABUSED EVERY 15 MINUTES IN INDIA. Child sexual abuse is a moral epidemic. 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. The National Crime Records Bureau shows that in 95% of all rape cases, the offender knew the victim.
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.
Mere outrage does not help in any way. CSA should be eradicated in a nationally-planned, systemic way. 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 Eradication.
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 with the help of NGOs and civil society bodies
1. Intense Training Programs- 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. Recognition and Awards- 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 special status to foster pride in residents.
3. Legal Mohalla Workshops- 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. Community Service and Participation- Legal experts should be requested to undertake training programs for CSA as a part of community service. These experts should be given government recognition for the maximum number of trainings. This will help foster interest in the program
5. Hiring Of Trained Professionals- People in professions such as Principal/Teachers, Doctors, Lawyers, Owners of day care centres, School staff and Sports coaches should undergo training and sensitisation programs. Hiring of such professionals should be encouraged
6. Self-Reporting- Additional child helplines should be set up with additional staff. Children should be trained to self-report to a child helpline
7. Massive Advertisement Campaigns- Advertisements on non-tolerance of Child Sexual Abuse or rapes should feature on television, radio and movie theatres
8. Mandatory Collaterals- 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. Research and Statistics- 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. 360 Degree Feedback- A feedback mechanism should be put in place to evaluate the NGOs who sign up for these trainings
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