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Survey reveals 90% parents rely on schools for info on child sexual abuse

Parents have complained about the lack of reliable material to get additional information.

mumbai Updated: Apr 11, 2018 11:00 IST
Shreya Bhandary
Shreya Bhandary
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,child,sexual
While awareness level amidst parents is above average, the survey also reveals the discrepancy in knowledge of laws in place when it comes to child sexual abuse. (Pic for representation)

Parents of young children have poor knowledge about the law against child sexual abuse and most information that parents have about the crime is through programmes conducted by schools, revealed a recently survey.

The survey by College of Home Science Nirmala Niketan states 82% mothers and 52% fathers defined child sexual abuse as molesting or harming a child in the form of physical, verbal, mental or sexual harassment/exploitation or torture. While 80% mothers and 88% fathers believed that child care providers including teachers, assistant teachers, staff employed at daycare centres, etc., to be the predators and 70% mothers and 86% fathers also believed that relatives could be the culprits in such cases.

“90% parents know about child sexual abuse only because of workshops conducted by schools, but there isn’t anything beyond that for them. Even with technology at hand, parents are not sure if they can rely on information they get off the internet. Irrespective of their educational qualification, mothers and fathers seemed to be at an equal level of awareness when it came to protection of children against sexual offences,” said Manasi Bist, a student of the College of Home Science Nirmala Niketan, and researcher of the survey.

However, parents have complained about the lack of reliable material to get additional information. While awareness level amidst parents is above average, the survey also reveals the discrepancy in knowledge of laws in place when it comes to child sexual abuse. While 58% mothers and 46% fathers were aware of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, only 12% mothers and 28% fathers knew the full form of the Act. What’s worse is that their awareness of the Act was also very low.

There was also difference of opinion amongst the interviewed parents on the age at which a child should be made aware of this problem. 34% mothers and 28% fathers thought that such discussions could be had with a child between the age of three to four years while 42% mothers and 38% father indicated that four to five years was the more apt age to share knowledge on personal safety with the child.

“Our goal should be to build and maintain a proactive environment that protects children by either preventing child abuse before it occurs or by ensuring its earliest possible detection, intervention and reporting,” said Dr Kamini Rege, professor, department of Human Development.

First Published: Apr 11, 2018 11:00 IST