Our Safety, Our Rights!
In recent years, there has been an alarming increase in the reportage of incidents of crimes against children, especially of sexual abuse. The latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, published in 2016, revealed that incidents of children being raped has increased by over 82% when compared to 2015. The data showed that over 19,000 cases of child rape were registered across the country under the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO); and, a total of around 36,000 cases of child sexual abuse, including other forms of sexual assault, were recorded under POCSO alone.
Sexual abuse of children is a serious violation of child rights. The World Health Organization has recognized that the dynamics of child sexual abuse are often very different from adult sexual abuse. In instances of child sexual abuse, the abuse often occurs over a prolonged period and becomes increasingly invasive with every episode. The abuser is typically someone known to the child who tries to manipulate the child’s trust and hide the abuse. Such abuse can have a severe impact on the emotional and physiological well-being of the child, and its effects on the child may remain for her/his entire life.
In 2012, POCSO was enacted to protect children from sexual abuse including sexual assault, sexual harassment and child pornography. Laws alone will never be enough to curb child sexual abuse. We, as a community, as parents, as caretakers, as institutions and most importantly, as teachers, should take the responsibility to ensure that children in our care, are safe and secure. Keeping this in mind, we have conceptualized our campaign “Our Safety, Our Rights”.
Join the campaign and help empower children to speak out against child sexual abuse. Download our activity booklets and posters which are available in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu can be used at home or in a classroom with easy to follow guidelines and instructions!
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Our campaign primarily aims to create awareness among children to understand and identify the various forms of abuse, especially sexual abuse. The campaign also seeks to empower children to speak up and report abuse without fear. Towards this end, the campaign will provide guidelines, helpline numbers and other avenues that children could use to seek assistance.
While the campaign focuses on empowering children, it will also reach out to teachers, parents, communities, institutions and schools. It will encourage these key stakeholders to commit to building a safe environment for children. The need of the hour is for schools to be proactively involved in child protection and encourage protective behaviour among parents.
Please write to our team at [email protected] if you would like to coordinate activities for this campaign.
The campaign was launched on the 16 of August and will conclude on the International Day of the Girl Child on 11 of October. In collaboration with Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti (BGVS), People’s Association for Rural Awakening (PARA), Institute of Social Education, Amnesty International India will engage with children in 400 schools, across four Indian states (Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka) . Through this campaign, an estimated 50,000 students, parents, teachers and other key stakeholders will be sensitized on the issue of child sexual abuse. The activities will include creating a safe environment in schools and community by providing checklists to students, skits, poster making competitions, discussions and talks.