Even as questions are raised about the rising number of crimes against children such as abductions, abuse and murders, schools said children perhaps feel unsafe in the city as they are exposed to what’s happening around them and are more aware of the threats.
A Pratham survey of 1.04 lakh people across the city found that 89% found the city to be unsafe for children; of the 70,000 children surveyed, 90% felt the city was unsafe for them.
“Maybe children feel unsafe because they have a lot of exposure to television and the media,” said Pinky Dalal, chairperson, JBCN International School, Borivli.
“You can’t pin it down on just one reason. I feel that the government plays a big role in providing safety and helping institutes at every level. But it has to be citizens working along with the government. You can’t clap with one hand.”
“There is fear because a lot of things that happen are getting highlighted by the media,” said Rekha Vijayakar, director of Guru Harkrishan School in Santacruz. “What we need to do with our children is teach them basics about their own safety. This starts at a young age.”
While schools have introduced measures such as closed circuit television cameras, counselling sessions and awareness camps, parents also take precautions such as giving their children mobile phones, enrolling them in self-defence classes and ensuring that they know helpline numbers.
Pratham, along with other non-profit groups, plans to launch a campaign to help make the city safer for children.