Center to plan Strategy For Schools To Deal With Cases Of Sex Abuse

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The HRD Ministry is roping in various NGOs and civil society groups to chalk out a strategy for dealing with cases of child sexual abuse at the school level, as the increasing number of such cases has set alarm bells ringing in the country.

Why this move?

The move comes following the alleged sexual assault of a four-year-old girl in a prominent Delhi school by a classmate.

There are several rules and guidelines in place but still several cases are reported where children are sexually abused.

Discussions have been initiated with several NGOs and civil society groups and we hope to have some suggestions soon to see how the problem can be addressed at the school level,” the official added.

The role of school authorities has come under scanner where last week a girl’s mother had approached the police and alleged that her daughter was “inappropriately touched” by a classmate.

What is sexual abuse?

  • A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities.
  • This doesn’t have to be physical contact and it can happen online. Sometimes the child won’t understand that what’s happening to them is abuse.
  • They may not even understand that it’s wrong. Or they may be afraid to speak out.

How do you define child sexual abuse?

There are 2 different types of child sexual abuse. These are called contact abuse and non-contact abuse.

Contact abuse involves touching activities where an abuser makes physical contact with a child, including penetration. It includes:

  • sexual touching of any part of the body whether the child’s wearing clothes or not
  • rape or penetration by putting an object or body part inside a child’s mouth, vagina or anus
  • forcing or encouraging a child to take part in sexual activity
  • making a child take their clothes off, touch someone else’s genitals or masturbate.

Non-contact abuse involves non-touching activities, such as grooming, exploitation, persuading children to perform sexual acts over the internet and flashing.

  • encouraging a child to watch or hear sexual acts
  • not taking proper measures to prevent a child being exposed to sexual activities by others
  • meeting a child following sexual grooming with the intent of abusing them
  • online abuse including making, viewing or distributing child abuse images
  • allowing someone else to make, view or distribute child abuse images
  • showing pornography to a child
  • sexually exploiting a child for money, power or status (child exploitation).

Consequences

Psychological 

Child sexual abuse can result in both short-term and long-term harm, including psychopathology in later life. Indicators and effects include depression, anxiety, eating disorders,  poor self-esteem,  somatization,  sleep disturbances

Physical

Injury

Depending on the age and size of the child, and the degree of force used, child sexual abuse may cause internal lacerations and bleeding. In severe cases, damage to internal organs may occur, which, in some cases, may cause death

Infections

Child sexual abuse may cause infections and sexually transmitted diseases.  Due to a lack of sufficient vaginal fluid, chances of infections can heighten depending on the age and size of the child. Vaginitis has also been reported.

Neurological damage

Research has shown that traumatic stress, including stress caused by sexual abuse, causes notable changes in brain functioning and development. Various studies have suggested that severe child sexual abuse may have a deleterious effect on brain development.

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