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December 05, 2019 Thursday 04:34:09 PM IST

‘Good’ Touch & ‘Bad’ Touch

Guest Column

The best way to protect children is to teach them‘good’ and ‘bad’ touch, tell them to report instances of abuse to parents and teachers.


Children playing in the park suddenly stopped when their favorite actor Nivin Pauly entered the lawn. Kids gathered around their superhero and seemed curious to hear his words. The unexpected guest after a little chit chat, in a very funny, causal manner discussed various dangers surrounding usincluding water and road accidents and ways to prevent it. He then told them there are certain measures to protect our body too."There are parts of our body which no one should be allowed to touch. Do you know which are those parts?" he asked. Innocently, the kids replied, "lips, chest, buttocks and between legs". The discussion goes on.

 

This is from thetranscript of 'NO GO TELL- Bodhini,' a short film made by Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, which simply and effectively describes child body safety and how to tackle child abuse. This film effortlessly describes good touch and bad touch and the importance of three steps if any of the children encounters sexual abuses- First say ‘No’, then tell parents and then to five trustworthy persons about the incident. They can be teachers, grandparents and anyone else.Unfortunately, our kids lack this kind of guidance and hence they easily fell into the traps of sexual and other abusive predators.


In Kerala, the State Crime Records Bureau data shows a steep increase in the number of crimes against children since 2015. A total of 3,543 cases were registered in 2017 and 4,008 cases are registered in 2018.In 2018, among the total number of cases, the majority, ie; 1204 cases, were registered for raping the minors. In 2019, till September, 943 cases were registered. Most numbers of cases under the POCSO (The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act was registered in Malappuram district in 2019. A total of 342 POCSO cases were registered there till September.

"In the majority of cases, culprits are people known to the child, including relatives of the family, neighbors, teachers and non-teaching staff. Working professionals do not have time to interact with their children. Hence, those children are easily falling into the trap of sexual predators," said Muhammed Asharaf, officer, special juvenile police unit, Ernakulam Rural.

"Fifty per cent of the crimes against children go unreported owing to lack of awareness. In my opinion, parents and adults need more counseling. Parents should be more aware. They should enable their children to raise questions and say 'no' to such acts.  Instead of reporting incidents to the local police or to the special juvenile unit, parents are reporting such instances to Childline or other NGOs. Parents should report directly to police to book the culprits and take quick legal action," said Ashraf.

"Children do not know what is right and what is wrong, 80% of the crimes can be prevented by giving proper counseling and guidance from a very early age. Here comes the role of play and pre-primary schools.”


Role of Pre-Schools

Many pre-schools have started educating children as part of empowering them against abuse and how to deal with such situations. “At Rajagiri Kindergarten, we have been teaching children ‘good’ touch and ‘bad’ touch for the past eight years. A resource person Mary John associated with Rajagiri College of Social Sciences who had implemented such training in anganvadishad given training to our teachers too,” MsShiniCyriac, Headmistress said. Videos on the topic are also shown to kids in LKG and UKG and when human body parts are taught in Environmental Sciences (EVS) class, they use the occasion to enlighten kids about private parts and the need to protect them, said Bindu Thomas, a senior teacher in Rajagiri Kindergarten.

“Daily observation is necessary to understand changes in kids." said Kala Nair, who runs a pre-primary school in Kochi. Sometimes children may not tell others about abuse either because they are afraid, ashamed or find pleasure. If a child feels pleasure, he/she will cooperate with the abuser initially. The child may become aware of the abuse suffered in childhood at a later age and this may lead to substance addiction, relationship problems, sexual dysfunction, sexual addictions (porn), or having multiple sexual partners.

"Mind of a child is like a sponge. It will easily notice and absorb everything happening around it. Hence, if a child witnesses his or her parents having sex, the little one might think the father is hurting mother and this will negatively affect the child's relationship with the father,” added Kala.


Children learn wrong lessons about sex withexposure to pornographic and other vulgar online content. Hence parents need to keep a tab about what they are viewing on tv and internet.Reshma Pradeep, a counsellor at Punarjani Counselling Centre said that parents should suspect if their child is suddenly showing lack of interest, become less interactive and not attentive in class. A good psychologist can recognize a victimof abuse by the way they respond to questions and their body language.
 Crimes Against Children (All India)

Year

Crimes Reported

Pending Investigation


Pending Trial

2014

89423

35881


130925

2015

94172

45473


165853

2016

106958

55384


204100

Source: National Crime Records Bureau 

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has issued an advisory in June 2019 to all the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations for effective implementation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015 and the POCSO Act and has entrusted the supervision of child welfare in each district to the District Magistrate/District Collector. Further, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) are also mandated to monitor the implementation of the POCSO Act, 2012.



Neethu Sethumadhavan

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