Indian Medical Association (IMA), Punjab, will now initiate a programme to spread awareness on child sex abuse (CSA). Very soon the schedule and mode for the awareness programme will be launched in the state and the district branches by the IMA.
IMA state secretary, Dr Navjot Singh Dhaiya said, “In a state representative meeting held in New Delhi on February 7 and 8, many programmes were discussed. Awareness programme on child sex abuse was the major one and Punjab IMA will be implementing this programme very soon as we are finalising the mode of spreading awareness and the important points to be covered under the programme.”
As per the study by Ministry of Women and Child Development India, 2007, around 53% children have suffered sexual abuse of some kind, which is a large number. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act 2012 defines a child as any person below the age of 18.
Dr Dhaiya said, “Child sex abuse (CSA) is a widespread phenomenon but in a country like India, such cases remain undisclosed because of the social setup. CSA can take place at home, school, in the community etc and is a major public health concern.”
In the awareness programme, the doctors of IMA will reach out to the schools and colleges and make the students aware about sexual abuse. It will tell the them about good and bad touch, and how to protect themselves. In the programme, it is decided that all the doctors will inform the police about the abuse, if they come to know about such case during examination of the child.
IMA faculty for child sex abuse from Punjab and a Ludhiana-based gynecologist, Dr Narjit Kaur said, “This progamme holds importance in Indian context because here the sexual abuse of children goes unreported due to fear of stigmatisation. If a child goes through this and don't reveal it to anyone, it could lead to serious mental and physical health problems to him or her in the future.”
“In child sex abuse cases, it was noticed that most of the criminals remain the close relatives, neighbours or known person of the child and thus not reporting such cases only increase their confidence of repeating the crime. Thus only the awareness among children and parents could stop such incidents,” said Kaur.