Project/Organization Name: CHILDLINEs Child Sexual Abuse Awareness School Program
Initiated by: CHILDLINE India Foundation, Maharashtra
About the project: ‘Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Program’ is Mumbai’s largest communication initiative on CSA Awareness through toll-free tele-helpline service. The programme aims to reach 1000 schools and 1 million children and their families over the next one year. CHILDLINE Project across India is supported by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme. Launched by CHILDLINE India Foundation (CIF), the campaign involves training and certifying lady volunteers to deliver the story session in school classrooms. CHILDLINE found that though 53 per cent of Indian children experience sexual abuse, the reporting is extremely low since information about the possibility of abuse isn’t imparted to children. CIF’s Program aims to break the communication barrier about the issue between parents and children and encourages children to break the silence about a ‘touching problem’ and openly communicate on the subject with a trusted adult. Using a unique story narration format delivered in school classrooms, it provides parents with an understanding of CSA and methods to deal with it. A 30 minute classroom session starts with the volunteer introducing herself as a didi from CHIDLINE. Then she conducts the story telling session for approximately 20 minutes, which also includes review questions and clarifies any doubts that the children may have. The stories are told using the flipcharts as a visual aid. Post this, the volunteer conducts the Label Sheet exercise with the children and then hands out the sealed ‘Letter to Parents’ to the children. Since 2011, CHILDLINE has taken the programme to over 250 schools in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane through trained lady volunteers.
Scope of case study: India has the dubious distinction of having the world’s largest number of sexually abused children; with a child below 16 years raped every 155th minute, a child below 10 every 13th hour and one in every 10 children sexually abused at any point of time. A study by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) also showed that 53 per cent of the interviewed children reported having faced some form of sexual abuse and proved that boys were as vulnerable to abuse as girls. This state of affairs prompted CHILDLINE India Foundation (CIF) to act, as the need of the hour is a prevention and awareness program for the community i.e children, parents and schools.
Value proposition: CIF’s Program aims to break the communication barrier about the issue between parents and children and encourages children to break the silence about a ‘touching problem’ and openly communicate on the subject with a trusted adult. Globally, researches have shown that children who are taught about the difference between a safe and unsafe touch are empowered to prevent abuse and also are able to seek help if they find themselves in a situation of an unsafe touch. This is why age appropriate communication is extremely important in the fight against CSA.
Characteristics/uniqueness: The project highlights three pillars of Child Protectio that are Prevention, Intervention and Rehabilitation. Although CIF plays an important role in all three, the 1098 service is more geared towards Intervention and Rehabilitation. Specifically in the case of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), Prevention becomes the most important pillar, because if the case reaches the intervention stage where the child has been abused the damage is already done. The scars of abuse last a lifetime and affect many areas of the child’s life including relationships, professional life etc. The experience of abuse can lead to anxiety disorders, substance abuse and depression also. Though there are already a few programs targeting parents and schools on the issue of CSA, children, who are at the receiving end of abuse, are mostly ignored in preventive communication programs.
Learning from the Project: As a preventive tool, CIF launches number of informative and behavioural documentaries and videos for children as well as their parents. An animated film Komal by Childline India shows how it is important to talk to children and brief them how to identify good and bad touch of people. Online Video Channel: https://www.childlineindia.org.in/1098/online-videos.htm KOMAL – A film on CSA – English https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkY0xqtw6W8 CSA Session- https://dus-nau-aath.blogspot.in/2013/08/living-in-dark.html
Issues & Challenges: The primary limitation is that the program is volunteer dependent.
Account of the beneficiary: KritikaMakhija Bio: Pre-Primary School Coordinator, HVB Academy, Marine Drive, Mumbai, India, a CSA Awareness Program Volunteer says, “My experience during the Child Sexual Abuse Session held by CHILDLINE at school will be etched in my consciousness for a long time. With fervent team members from CHILDLINE and support from the principal of HVB Academy, Marine Drive- Mrs. Pathak, we were able to conduct this session with children from grade 1 to grade 4. I strongly believe that the use of flip charts and visuals were very effective and will have a longer lasting impact on the children. Apart from sharing concepts on safe and unsafe touch with the children and having them understand and respond to the sensitive subject of child sexual abuse, this session was an eye-opener and learning for the teachers and staff of our school.”
Project/Organization URL: https://www.childlineindia.org.in/