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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Schools wake up to sexual abuse in Chennai

Quite a few cases of sexual abuse of children have been reported in schools in Chennai over the last few months. But perhaps for the first time, school authorities are seeking the help of NGOs to create awareness among their students.

The anger among parents may have subsided but the initial outcry has forced schools to take steps to protect students from the threat of sexual abuse.

”The guilty will be punished. We will jointly work out a strategy to prevent such offences,” said Prabhakar, Assistant Commissioner, Kendriya Vidyalaya.

”These offences can take place anywhere, so I am not scared now. It’s good that the school is addressing the problem,” said Kannan, a prarent.

For a start, a tie up with NGOs to create awareness among children about what is inappropriate behaviour by adults on campus or outside is being worked out.

”The most common place of child sex abuse is the home and the most common offenders are people known to the child like an uncle or neighbour. We are keen to educate children about their rights and will be going to schools for this,” said TULIR Director Vidhya Reddy.

For far too long school authorities in Chennai have been living in denial. Perhaps for the first time now they have openly admitted that the problem does exist. They are viewing NGOs as partners instead of criticising them for blowing up cases.

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