Worried over the state recording a high number of child sexual abuse cases, the Madhya Pradesh women and child development department is launching a drive to sensitise schoolchildren about such crimes.
The department plans to print and distribute literature that will help children identify sexual abuse, set up a complaint box in schools and hostels to report such crimes, and teach them about good touch and bad touch.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report of 2014, Madhya Pradesh topped the list of states for crimes against children with 15,085 cases. The cases of sexual harassment of children in the state (895) were the third highest.
“It has been our observation over the years that the number of cases in hostels and boarding schools is more as the child is away from the security of his/her home,” said Sanjay Bharadwaj, district women empowerment officer.
Bharadwaj said an award-winning short movie on child sexual abuse, ‘Komal’, will also be screened in the majority of government hostels and institutes to shake off the stigma associated with child abuse.
“A lot of children who are victims of child abuse are afraid to report the matter to their parents as they feel they are at fault. By using an animated character ‘Komal’ it is easier to disseminate the message,” he said.
Children even at the primary level are also being involved in this drive.
“We have put up a complaint box in areas where students from Class 9-12 can write and complain about the entire situation. These boxes will be opened once in 15 days and letters will be going directly to the child welfare department,” he said.
Crimes against children*
89,423 total number of cases of crimes against children in India
15,085 in MP (highest in the country)
4593 Cases of sexual harassment in India
895 in Madhya Pradesh
*NCRB figures for 2014