Do you talk to your child about what’s a good touch and what’s a bad touch? Well, even if you don’t, the government is doing it now.

The back covers of notebooks issued to children in government schools are now illustrated with personal safety messages.

These illustrations, besides teaching a child the difference between the kinds of touches, also give children some tips to safeguard themselves when approached by a person with the intention of sexually abusing them.

A School Education department official said this was part of a series of measures the government is undertaking to get children to be aware of, on specific instructions from the Chief Minister.

The department has taken to carrying various messages in public interest on the covers of notebooks and textbooks, printed by the Tamil Nadu Textbook Society. Child sexual abuse prevention has been chosen for notebooks, the official explained. The illustrations come with Tamil text in notebooks right from standard I to IX. “It’s undoubtedly a good thing. In fact, a slow convergence of sorts has been happening since May last year, with a government order prescribing punishments for teachers who abuse children,” says Vidya Reddy of Tulir.

More recently, the department came up with a reporting and action format in cases of child sexual abuse inside and outside the school. The official says the format is not final and changes will be made.

“All a teacher has to do is to merely follow the format, different pathways have been described for those who face abuse within schools and outside.”

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