The police is organising a number of activities to commemorate The World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse.

Do all children enjoy the same kind of happiness and freedom? Unfortunately some are robbed of the joys of childhood due to heinous acts — sexual abuse — committed by a few adults. Sexual abuse causes physiological damage to a child. The perpetrator is usually familiar to the child and has easy access to them. As a result these silent victims are subjected to a lot of trauma and humiliation. These crimes are often under played and many families are reluctant to report the offence as it involves their family honour. Should these children be allowed to suffer in silence? Can anything be done to curb the violence against the little ones?

Special Act

On June 20, ‘The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012,’ was passed. It protects children from offences such as sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography and provides for the establishment of special courts for trial of such offences.

With the aim to safeguard the rights of children, Tulir, a Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse (CPHCSA) and a registered non-profit Trust based in Chennai, has been working against child sexual abuse (CSA) in India since August 2004. To commemorate The World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse, the organisation along with the Chennai City Police is convening a number of activities for school children across on city from tomorrow (November 19).

Says Vidya Reddy, executive director, Tulir: “The purpose of the activities is to dispel the prevailing notion among children, due to social conditioning and the media, that the police are unapproachable and not child-friendly.

“As seen from the previous years, the activities help improve the image of police in the minds of children and the community; remove the inherent fear most children have for police stations, which may also be the reason for underreporting of violations of child rights; and finally assist the police to deal with child victims and children in conflict with the law. This initiative is especially significant as the police are on the frontline of reporting.”

The activities start with an ‘Open House’, where school children will visit their local police stations tomorrow, Nov. 19. This will be followed by a quiz on their civic knowledge and other relevant information, an oratorical competition later on in the week, and meeting with the Commissioner and other senior police officers.

In view of the celebrations, children of class IX from Corporation and private schools all round the city will be invited to visit two police stations in each police district (there are 12 in the city) along with their teachers. They will be enlightened on the functioning of the police machinery. But they will not be allowed to touch or handle fire arms.

Competitions

After the visit, two students from every district will be selected by the Deputy Commissioners of Police to participate in a quiz competition, which will be held on November 23 at the Modern Control Room, City Police Office, Egmore. An oratorical competition about the visit to the police station will be conducted by the Zonal Joint Commissioners. Two students will be selected from each zone (one in Tamil and anothere in English). The finals for the same will be held on November 23 at the Control Room. Winners will be honoured by S. George, Commissioner of Police, on the same day.

These events have been in vogue for the past three years and Tulir has been responsible for taking these activities forward. Their programme is grounded in a belief of prevention and awareness, and community and professional involvement. According to them, The World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse should be observed not only on November 19, but everyday.

More In: Chennai | Downtown