Private schools are hesitant to conduct classes on measures to prevent child sexual abuse stating that parents might lash out against them for dealing with such topics.

Associations representing private schools say even in Pollachi, where two minor girls were raped recently, parents in the locality have not shown any inclination to hold classes on protecting children from sexual abuse.

“Private schools in Hyderabad, and New Delhi have been conducting classes on protecting children from sexual abuse for the last five years. Such classes are not taking place in Coimbatore, and Pollachi because there is no support from parents,” says R. Lakshmanasamy, president of Pollachi Private Schools’ Welfare Association.In such programmes, even five-year-olds are taught about ‘good touch,’ and ‘bad touch,’ avoiding strangers, and ways to protect themselves. Parents here consider such programmes taboo, and object strongly, says Mr. Lakshmanasamy.

Maya Devi Shankar, president of the All Private Schools Welfare Association, says it is high time the State Government made conduct of awareness programmes on child sexual abuse mandatory in private schools. She calls for holding these classes at least, once a week.

In most cases of child sexual abuse, the perpetrator is often someone close to the child, or a person of authority, which will make the victim hesitant to complain to parents.

If children are made aware of such issues, they will have the courage to approach their parents, she says.

Holding such programmes for children below five years might not have a desirable impact, says G. Krishnaraj, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and Higher Secondary Schools Welfare Association.

“Taking such classes to children at this age will have a negative impact,” he says.

It is better to caution parents, and ask them to keep a close watch on their children to know with whom they interact.

Keywords: child sexual abuse

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