For children’s safety

Special Correspondent

International Day Against Child Sexual Abuse observed

CHENNAI: The International Day Against Child Sexual Abuse was observed in Chennai on Wednesday, with a number of organisations focussing on creating awareness among children about staying safe out of the clutches of sexual predators.

It was Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni who started the campaign this morning as he distributed safety flyers to school children at the Koyambedu Primary Corporation School.

At the function organised by Tulir - Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse, Mr.Lakhoni handed over the flyers and had an interaction with the children about the key aspects in the flyers. All the employees of Satyam Theatre wore awareness ribbons the whole day in order to throw in their mite to support the cause of preventing child sexual abuse. Television channels ran programmes, websites hosted online advocacy programmes on child sexual abuse.

Tulir organised a screening of The Woodsman, a film starring Kevin Bacon, about a paedophile adjusting to life after serving a term in prison. The floor was later thrown open to discussion. An awareness programme was also organised at the Chennai Central Railway Station and a prominent textile store chain displayed messages on child sexual abuse in a number of its stores.

Rotary International District 3230 launched the Personal Safety for Children Campaign to mark World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. Master storyteller and veteran radio dramatist Koothapiran advised children not to hesitate to reveal the identity of the abusers or the incident. Children must avoid staying alone and be careful in such circumstances, he said. He said teachers and schools had a key role in ensuring children’s safety as much as the parents. He also released posters and fliers on personal safety for children produced by Tulir.

Rotary International District 3230 governor A.Subramanian said sexual abuse would have a psychological impact on the children and affect their development. New Horizons, one of the Rotary Club’s wing was formed to identify new areas of needs and extend support.

Similar programmes were also being held in Vellore and Chengalpet on Wednesday to create awareness among the children about their rights. He also sought co-operation from the teaching community to address the issue.

New Horizons chairman Sudha Umashanker said children must share the message about personal safety with their peers. Similar programmes would be organised in 200 schools through Interact clubs. The posters on children safety would also be issued to non-governmental organisations. A street theatre performance on child abuse was also organised.

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