Programme on 'unsafe touch' untouched

Programme on 'unsafe touch' untouched

The need to have sessions on ‘safe and unsafe touch’ came to the fore after a six-year-old girl was sexually abused at Vibgyor High school at Marathahalli in June this year.

In less than four months, another episode of child sexual abuse has shocked the City but no lessons have been learnt either by the government or school authorities.

The parents of the three-year-old girl who was allegedly raped at Orchids The International School at Jalahalli say that they had received a circular in September about the school planning to conduct a session to educate children about ‘good and bad touch.’ However, the session has not been held till today. “I received a circular from the school on September 9. But my daughter tells me that there was no such class,” said a parent of the Orchids school student.

The Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) had tied up with an NGO, Enfold Proactive Health Trust, to set up Collaborative Child Response Unit (CCRU) and train people in safe and unsafe touch. Four centres were set up at Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, St John’s Hospital, Baptist Hospital and M S Ramaiah Hospital. However, officials from the DWCD withdrew after they found that the NGO had interfered too much in another child abuse case.

After the Vibgyor school incident, Enfold approached the DWCD to continue with the CCRU programme and train people to teach children on ‘personal safety education’ in schools. Subsequently, the DWCD officials sought a fresh proposal from the NGO. However, there were no further development on starting the programme.

Dr Shaibya Saldanha, founder of the Trust, said they have not heard from the department after the fresh proposal was submitted.

“There is a method of teaching children about ‘safe and unsafe touch’ and we have developed it. The CCRU units started in a good way, but they are not functioning as we are not holding any training programme now,” she added.

However, Shashikala Shetty, director of Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), under the DWCD, claimed they were yet to receive proposals from the NGO.  “I do not have information on why there is a delay in restarting the training programme to set up CCRU units,” she added.

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