Demanding that sex education be made part of school curriculum keeping in mind Indian sensibilities and that children be encouraged to explore their doubts and feelings about such issues, a group of leading psychiatrists in the Capital have recommended that this could be the most crucial step towards slowing down the rapidly rising incidents of sexual assault against women across the country.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, leading psychiatrist and Delhi Psychiatry Centre (DPC) director Dr. Sunil Mittal noted: “Besides sex education for children, we also propose a national policy that advocates effective long-term sensitisation and reinforced gender equity and sensitivity.’’

“In India sadly, sex education is still a taboo topic which results in parents or teachers refraining from discussing it with children. It is essential that this changes. To inculcate this, training program and workshops for the community at large should be organised from time to time,’’ said Dr. Mittal.

Speaking about people who commit sexual offences, Dr. Mittal said: “Psychological profiling of the offenders states that personality characteristics and cognitions might play an essential role. Also a number of individuals have been victims themselves.’’

The group also noted that lower level of education, being ill-treated as a child, witnessing family violence, anti-social personality, abuse of alcohol/drugs and having an attitude towards accepting violence and gender inequality could be factors contributing towards people having an orientation towards committing crime.

Noting that an appropriate response from the health sector can play an important role in the prevention and response to violence, Dr. Mittal said: “Sensitisation and education of health and other service providers are an important strategy. There is an urgent need to address fully the consequences of violence and the immediate needs of victims/survivors. This requires a multi-sectoral response.’’