In a country where over 50 per cent of children are reported to have been subjected to sexual abuse, it is necessary to sensitise students to tackle the issue, a top Delhi Police official said on Tuesday. Joint Commissioner Robin Hibu said it was important for educational and training institutes to include child sexual abuse awareness in their curriculum. He said such assaults must be addressed by the basic institutions of a victim’s life, including family, school, and places of worship.
“To address the issue of child sexual abuse you will have to make it part of the national curriculum at all kinds of training institutes, including police, civil, panchayati raj, engineering and medical.
“98 per cent of sexual abuse, of both children and women, happens through a family member or someone known to the victim. How do police intervene in matters if they are not reported? That is the role of institutions like family, school, places of worship and community leaders,” Hibu said.
He was speaking at the launch of a new campaign — ‘It Takes Every Indian to End Child Sexual Abuse and — by World Vision India.
The police officer also urged research students to carry out thorough groundwork to understand the severity of child and women abuse, instead of limiting themselves to classrooms and libraries.
“The courses at universities remain restricted to the boundaries of their classrooms and libraries. I say they should be asked to go out and do groundwork, to be with these people, to stay at a place on GB Road for one week or a month.
“If anyone wants to do research on how women and kids are treated, about their counselling, about shelter homes, they need to be out there to know the ground reality,” he said.
Joint director at National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD), K C George, stressed on the importance of family counselling in sensitising children about abuse.
“Counselling plays the most prominent role in addressing such cases. Addressing the issue of violence against children and counselling them about the same must begin at home.
“The moment my child steps out of the house, goes to his school, and spends time among strangers, I don’t know who he is coming in contact with. So I need to prepare him for any adverse situation by sitting him down and telling him about the good and bad touches,” George said.
Looking to impact 5 million children in 200 districts and 7,000 communities of 25 states and one union territory, the nation-wide campaign has been joined and supported by several ministries including home affairs, external affairs, women and child development, and social justice and empowerment.
Other stakeholders in the campaign are National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and SCPCR, NGOs and INGOs, universities and colleges, corporates, along with online and print media.
Cherian Thomas, national director of World Vision India, said that the campaign aims at providing a safe environment for children over the next five years.
“Despite one in every two Indian children being sexually abused, there continues to be a huge silence. The magnitude of sexual violence against children is unknown. This campaign will draw people from all walks of life to provide a safe environment for children,” he said.
The campaign launch also saw a mime performance by children on the subject of child sexual abuse and a panel discussion on ‘Ending Children Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in India’ attended by Sarita Jadav of UNESCO, Razia Ismail of India Alliance for Child Rights, and Shweta Tyagi of ChildLine among others.