Schoolteachers undergo sensitisation programme on child abuse

The role of schoolchildren in preventing sexual abuse of children was emphasised during a one-day workshop on “Child abuse: education and prevention” held in Seva Sangam Girls Higher Secondary School in the city on Wednesday.

The workshop was jointly organised by the Tiruchi chapter of Young Indians (Yi) -the youth forum of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Child Line foundation and Tulir (an NGO from Chennai).

Child Line is an emergency 24-hour helpline for children in the need of aid and reassurance. By dialling 1098, a child in distress will be helped by a volunteer.

The workshop was conducted to signify the launch of Project Komal that aims at creating awareness among children about child sexual abuse.

The project was essentially a series of workshops for schoolteachers, to teach children about good touch, and bad touch and sensitise parents about it.

“It is the responsibility of every individual in society to protect children. Many persons are not aware about the height of the problem of child sexual abuse. There is a need for large-scale awareness programmes,” said Nancy Thomas, co-founder Tulir.

R. Devika, District Child Protection Officer, urged teachers and parents to talk to children and encourage them to talk about their problems.

“It is time we all eliminate the stigma of openly discussing the issue and start spreading awareness. Schools play a very important role in this aspect,” said Leo Ananth, founder chair, Yi, Tiruchi.

Ms. Nancy involved the teachers in an interactive training session during which several misconceptions were dispelled, activities conducted and posters given away.

“In 90 per cent of cases of child sexual abuse, the perpetrator is known to the child,” she said.

Over 150 teachers from government schools were trained in the programme.

Members of Yi from M.A.M. College of Engineering, members of Child Line attended the event.