Is your child safe at school?

Is your child safe at school?
Highlights

Is Your Child Safe At School. Children can be taught ‘good touch and bad touch’ at schools and at homes just like we teach them other things such as road safety, eating habits and hygiene Over 90 per cent of the rapes happen within the four walls of the home and school.

Child abuse is a naked truth in schools across the city. Knowledge and recommendations of POCSO Act, 2012, is absent

  • Schools present a prime target for sexual predators
  • Schools do not address facts related to sexual abuse and sexual predators
  • City schools show dismal rates of child protection policy implementation
  • Need to inculcate moral sense at school level: Charu Sinha, CID IGP

“Children can be taught ‘good touch and bad touch’ at schools and at homes just like we teach them other things such as road safety, eating habits and hygiene Over 90 per cent of the rapes happen within the four walls of the home and school. It is also reported that schools in the city have dismal rates of implementation of child protection policy and awareness about Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

Citizens Against Child Abuse (CACA), the brainchild of Telangana CID IGP Charu Sinha, is a platform wherein people from all walks of life – activists, NGOs, rescue centres, teachers, advocates and media persons -- have been roped in to jointly fight this menace. The forum which already registered more than 150 members started their mission to raise awareness about child abuse.

“Children can be taught ‘good touch and bad touch’ at schools and at homes just like we teach them other things such as road safety, eating habits and hygiene. Awareness in schools about good touch and bad touch should be imparted to children through audio visuals, modules in the presence of counsellors and teachers, so no physical element is involved,” suggest members of CACA.

Detailing the threat of child abuse, Charu Sinha said, “We should break this silence and raise our voice against sexual predators and spread awareness in every possible way because violence within the four walls of the house and school cannot be seen. Right from modern women to porn websites and CDs, everything is easily available here. So there is a need to inculcate moral sense at the school level."

As a first step towards the mission, the senior IPS officer screened a 45-minute poignant short film ‘Daughters of Mother India’ by Vibha Bakshi at Tivoli Theatre on August 14 which focused on the aftermath of the horrific 2012 Delhi gang-rape and murder.

Child sexual abuse is the naked truth in our society and the graph is on the rise. Not surprisingly, sexual predators seek access to children in places where protective barriers are minimum or nil. Schools present a prime target for offenders because almost all schools hardly have few or nil protective barriers in place. Unfortunately, most schools do not address known facts and risk indicators related to sexual abuse and sexual predators. Sadly most city schools do not take certain facts into account like sexual abuse awareness training and screening of staff members and appropriate criminal background checks.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had issued a circular notice on March 13, 2013, to all heads of CBSE affiliated schools in the country informing them about the POCSO Act along with the rules framed under it. The circular stressed that teachers, management of staff of educational institutions and persons in positions of Trust and Authority over children are liable for higher punishment as per the provisions of Section 5, 6, 9 and 10 of the Act. The schools are further requested to keep at least one copy of downloaded Gazette Notification in the school library for instant reference.

Survivors experience an array of overwhelming fear and hatred. The abusers who are sometimes neighbours, relatives and teachers may threaten or ‘bribe’ the children into not speaking up, they try to convince the victim to the point that he or she will never be believed.

“Awareness in schools is important because child abuse within the confined four walls of school goes unreported and concealed and the victims suffer the silence after surviving a sexual assault rather than being provided support and courage. Survivors of sexual abuse may feel guilt, shame and depressed. Around 90 per cent of the victims know their attackers,” Charu said.

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