‘Awareness is key to eliminating child abuse’

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‘Awareness is key to eliminating child abuse’

Sunday, 11 August 2019 | MUSBA HASHMI

‘Awareness is key to eliminating child abuse’

LINA ASHAR tells MUSBA HASHMI that it is important for everyone to fight against child abuse and that the education system needs to have a holistic approach to preventsuch offences

Child abuse is a serious issue which can only be tackled with the efforts everybody. The Government, by taking small steps, is doing it’s part but it is also the responsibility of every individual to contribute towards fighting the evil that should start from the school level.

Lina Ashar, Founder of Kangaroo Kids and Billabong High School says that there are many changes required in our education system to prevent offences against children.

 “First, the schools should have a holistic approach towards education where child safety and abuse should be talked about. There is an immediate need to inform and educate children that child abuse is real and it can happen to anyone. Proper awareness is the key to tackle this evil. It should become a part of the curriculum and can be introduced through stories to sensitise children to abuse.

“Second, the schools should also have  full time physiologists and counsellors available at all times for children. This  will build confidence in them to fight any abuse or speak about it. Third, another measure schools should take is to hire employees only after a thorough background check to avoid any untoward incident. Children come in direct contact with them and it is essential to make sure that the children are safe at all times within the school premises,” she tells you.

Apart from the school, parents should also take up the responsibility of teaching their child the differences between right and wrong and giving them sex education instead of shying away from such talks.

“In many cases it is seen that the child was abused by relatives or close family friends. Children are naive and do not know what is happening to them. They understand that something is wrong but would not know how to express themselves and the abuser will make sure they scare them so that they keep their mouth shut. Hence, it is important to talk to your kids and explain to them about good touch and bad touch right from the very beginning” she says and adds that one should consult a child psychologist to figure out ways in which it can be communicated to your children.

Parents should also reassure children that any kind of abuse is not to be tolerated and that they should come and inform them about any incident that they were not comfortable with. And God forbid if something happens to the child, parents should leave no stone unturned to provide, medical, emotional and social rehabilitation.

“Creating awareness and keeping channels of communication open is important. We need to have a strong child services system in the country where such complaints can be registered easily and instantly,” Ashar says.

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