Saturday, January 23, 2021
Organisations and Influencers from across the country and around the world created awareness on the issue of Child Sexual Abuse during Child Safety Week 2020
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MUMBAI, India, Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- NGOs, Corporates, Government bodies, Schools and Institutions across the country and around the world joined hands to amplify conversations around Child Sexual Abuse and its prevention during Child Safety Week 2020. Initiated by Arpan in 2019, Child Safety Week is a people-led movement to raise awareness and encourage collective action towards addressing the issue of Child Sexual Abuse.

According to the National Child Abuse Study 2007,  one  in  two  children experiences some form of sexual abuse  in India. It is therefore imperative to create awareness on its prevalence, impact and means to provide support and care to people who have been victims of this. Child Safety Week marked its significance across three relevant days observed for children. 14th November - Children's Day in India, 19th November - World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse and 20th November - International Children's Day. The objective of Child Safety week 2020 was to break the taboo around conversations on Child Sexual Abuse and make such conversations mainstream through various digital media.

Child Safety Week 2020,  saw  22 NGOs and individuals, working on the issue of Child Sexual Abuse, come together to amplify conversations on Child Sexual Abuse and its prevention. 12 webinars were conducted on the topic with panelists from around the world. There was also a tweet relay organised by these organisations to share different perspectives on the issue on Twitter as a platform.

Pooja Taparia, Founder & CEO, Arpan, said, "Child Safety Week 2020 had a fantastic response with organisations from across the world; USA, UK, Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Ghana, China, Kenya and Vietnam joining in and lending their support. A total of 142 NGOs, Corporates, Individuals, Schools, Institutions and communities joined in as movement builders. A campaign called #ItCanWeCan was launched with 7 videos in 3 languages on the facts of Child Sexual Abuse and how we can play a role in preventing it. This was widely circulated on social media and the response was amazing. The movement also drew support from actors like Vidya Balan, Rahul Bose, Lillete Dubey, Tara Sharma, Sahil Salathia, filmmaker Onir, influencers like Shri Anil Swarup, Faye Dsouza and Harish Iyer and philanthropists like Mrs. Neerja Birla, Founder and Chairperson of the Aditya Birla Education Trust, Mr. Amit Chandra, Chairperson, Bain Capital India Office, Fiona Dias Miranda, Sexuality Educator with Seeds of Awareness and Luis Miranda, Chairman, Indian School of Public Policy. I am glad so many people and organisations joined in to spread awareness on Child Sexual Abuse and mainstream such conversations."

Mrs. Neerja Birla, Founder and Chairperson of the Aditya Birla Education Trust, said, "Together we must amplify the conversations on Child Sexual Abuse and the steps that we can take to stop the perpetrator and help survivors heal. The words Child Sex Abuse send a chill down my back. Am sure the pain it triggers in all of us really cuts us deep. The trauma can leave a deep and lifelong impact on the mental health of the sufferers. I firmly believe that it is our collective responsibility to bring this human horror to light. We must bring enough awareness to stop the perpetrators while supporting the victim to heal. We have to create a safe environment for them. We have to help them and rehabilitate them. We have to help them look forward to their future."

Shri Anil Swarup, Founder Chairman, Nexus of Good, Former Secretary, Government of India, said, "The first thing that needs to happen is to accept that Child Sexual Abuse exists though it may not be visible. Without accepting the existence of a problem, I don't think a problem can ever be solved. We are so obsessed with the marks that children get in the class, we push issues like Child Sexual Abuse under the carpet thinking it won't impact the numbers. I can tell you that it does impact the numbers. If a child is not psychologically settled do you think that he will be able to learn and appear in the exams? A psychologically hurt child will be much worse off. Conversations around Child Sexual Abuse has to become social conversations. It is the opacity that creates much of the problem. So break the taboo, make it a social conversation and a national movement."

Mr. Amit Chandra, Chairperson, Bain Capital India Office, said, "A large number of cases of Child Sexual Abuse go unreported for one reason or the other. How do we ensure that we dispel this darkness for thousands of children and usher in light in their lives? Having tough laws is not enough. All of us need to raise the bar by increasing the level of conversation in society on this one important issue. We need to be alert when we spot signs of trouble. We need to support wonderful organisations like Arpan when they work on this issue."

Ms. Vidya Balan, Actor, said, "I have been supporting Arpan in creating awareness on the issue of Child Sexual Abuse and how it can be prevented. Let's all break the taboo and start conversations on Child Sexual Abuse. Have conversations with your friends and family on it. Learn ways of keeping children safe from sexual abuse, make your colleagues and employees aware and share posts on social media. This is your opportunity to make a difference in a child's life."

Ms. Manjula Kalyanasundaram, Managing Director, SBI Foundation, said, "SBI was proud to be a part of this movement to engage in conversations to prevent Child Sexual Abuse. We believe that every child deserves a safe and happy childhood and one key step in keeping children safe is to engage in conversations and empowering ourselves with the knowledge on how Child Sexual Abuse can be prevented."

Ms. Manisha Arondekar, Principal of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan International School, Borivali and Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Vidyalaya, Borivali, said, "I am really glad to have been on the panel for the webinar on 'Educators and their role in Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse'. It gave me an opportunity to talk about how we have been teaching children personal safety as a part of the curriculum for over 10 years and have seen that when parents and children are aware, they are more vigilant and are better skilled to prevent Child Sexual Abuse. We believe that every adult and child should have access to this information and movements like Child Safety Week help in amplifying conversations around the issue."

Dr. Lois Engelbrecht  - Founder Trustee, Centre for Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse, Manila, Philippines, said, "We are glad to have been a part of Child Safety Week 2020. We think movements like these enable amplification of conversations around keeping children safe from Sexual Abuse not just in India but around the world. We hope that these conversations continue beyond Child Safety Week so that people can be more vigilant and proactive in their approach towards child safety."

About Arpan:

Arpan is an award-winning* organization working hard to address the issue of Child Sexual Abuse in India. Arpan has won 6 National-level awards and 2 International awards for its exemplary work. Based in Mumbai, Arpan is one of the largest NGO in India with over 100 social workers and counsellors providing prevention and intervention services to children and adults.

*Arpan won the India NGO National Award, 2011, Jamnalal Bajaj Uchit Vyavahar Puraskar, 2011, Global NGO Excellence Award, 2015, Dasra Girl Power Award, 2015, "The Most Committed NGO" in Early Childhood Care and Education, 2017, Spirit of Humanity Award, 2017 for its exemplary work in the social sector.  Arpan also won 2 international awards, C. Henry Kempe Award by ISPCAN,2017 and WISE Awards 2019 for doing significant work in the area of Child Abuse and education.

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