The Centre is looking to curb increasing incidents of sexual offences involving school children by creating awareness through a film offering tips on how to fend off inappropriate touching.
As part of the sensitisation campaign, women and child development (WCD) minister Maneka Gandhi wants government-funded schools across the country to screen the special film during morning assembly.
The film, titled Komal, which tells the story of a little girl who became a victim of sexual abuse by her father’s friend, won the national award for best education film.
“The idea is to make the children aware about the issue without making them uncomfortable. A seven or an eight-year-old needs to be told how to differentiate between a good touch and bad touch and who to reach out to in case they are victimised,” Gandhi told HT.
A 2007 WCD ministry study found that more than 53 % children in India have faced some form of sexual abuse.
To ensure that the message reaches out to a maximum number of school children, Gandhi wrote to human resource development minister Smriti Irani and minority affairs minister Najma Heptulla last week, requesting them to circulate the film in schools under their ministries.
“I would like to draw your attention on the problem of molestation and sexual abuse in school-going children. This abuse is done often by friends ... of parents or teachers and staff in schools. Therefore, there is a need to sensitise the children on what constitutes an ‘inappropriate touch’ or what is molestation and this needs to be done at an early age of seven-eight years,” says the letter to Irani and Heptullah.