ENDING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
Updated: Aug 5, 2020
By Abhay Anand & Kumar Sanjeev, Law students at CNLU, PATNA
It is the responsibility of society to help children to thrive as children are of paramount importance to society. Around 120 million children in the world suffer violence and ‘Violence against children takes many forms, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, and may involve neglect or deprivation. Violence occurs in many settings, including the home, school, community, and over the Internet’. The children deserve a positive future which is free from the peril of child sexual abuse and if children suffer from sexual abuse then its impacts are long-lasting and often devastating.
In India ‘Prevention of Child from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012’ describes various forms of sexual offences which are penetrative or non-penetrative: sexual harassment, child pornography, penetrative sexual offence, aggravated penetrative assault. A recent medical study mentions that Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in America, Europe, and Asia is 10.1%, 9.2%, and 23.2% respectively.
In India around 72.1% of penetrative sexual assault is not reported, a study report published by the Ministry of Women & Child. The study ‘Crime in India: 2016’ indicates that 94.8% of accused of the penetrative sexual offences under POCSO Act, 2012 is perpetrated by the “family members” or “known accused” and due to this the parents of the child feel reluctant to report the incident because of social pressure & they think that it might demean the reputation of their family in the society.
Introducing reform in mechanisms of police framework and reform in the judiciary to ensure free & fast trial will increase the conviction rate. By introducing fast track courts, awareness programs on CSA, ensuring the safety of witnesses & victims, advanced equipment for evidence collection and modern forensic gathering, establishing a child-friendly or safe environment and certainty of conviction rate will thereafter generate a deterrent effect in society thereby help in reducing the CSA. Implementation & enforcement of existing laws or statutes appropriately will also have a deterrent effect against CSA. The statistics say that it is “The certainty, uniformity of punishment & not severity of it and fast trial of proceeding will help in reducing the crime against a child”.
The study on “No Means No”, a campaign in Nairobi and Kenya shows that the cases of rape in both countries decreased by 50%. It is an anti-violence teaching program in which both girls and boys are taught ‘how to identify risk early, how to say “No” effectively, how to run away- if words fail and how to use physical self-defense’. The program also seeks to transform the patriarchal mentality. It also helps in creating awareness about CSA and helps in educating the society about its severity. 
Also results of programs like “REAL Father Initiative” show that the violence against children decreases significantly in the post-conflict region of Northern-Uganda. The initiative aims at establishing positive partnership & parenting that should be practiced among young fathers (age 16-25) and to reduce intimate partner violence and physical punishment against children. Shreds of evidence show that the involvement of the father in initiatives has a significant positive outcome and risk factors of future perpetration and violence occurred in the family reduce significantly. 
Parents or caregivers' support to the child helps in creating a safe environment. One of the prominent steps is to establish parenting training, especially for young parents. From the beginning of childhood, as one teaches the child name of body parts, they also have to teach them about their genitals and the privacy of the body parts that some body parts are private and nobody can touch them. Talking about this at an early age helps the child to talk about this clearly and the dread that they cannot talk about this will end. Creating a friendly relationship between the child and parents and ensuring that the child feels comfortable in sharing anything with his\her parents be it ‘good or bad’, ‘sad or fun’. Tell the child that the ‘body secrets’ is not okay and that they can never be in trouble if they share ‘body secrets’ with them. A clear distinction between ‘good touch’ or ‘bad touch’ is embedded at an early stage of the life but it is often confusing as the term bad touch sometimes don’t feel bad or hurt, so instead of using the term bad touch we should use the term ‘secret touch’ as it is an exact portrayal of what may occur. Create an environment at home in which sexual topics should be discussed comfortably. 
We are not credulous enough to say that these discussions will help in preventing CSA but by making people aware of the violence against a child and arming children with the knowledge we can prevent them from being victimized. Violence can occur to any child at any point in time.
Recognize it. Report it. Help #ENDviolence
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(Disclaimer- The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Child Rights Centre.)