Date:10/03/2006 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2006/03/10/stories/2006031008560100.htm
First local study on child sexual abuse ready
TOWARDS CHILD SAFETY: Andal Damodharan of the Indian Council for Child Welfare, Tamil Nadu, and Chennai Collector N. Murganandam release a workbook on child personal safety in Chennai on Thursday.
CHENNAI: The first comprehensive local study on child sexual abuse was conducted and presented by Tulir — Centre for the Prevention & Treatment of Sexual Abuse, at a seminar here on Thursday.
The study has found that 42 per cent of the 2211 children, mostly adolescents, surveyed have been abused. The data, collected by self-reporting anonymous questionnaires filled mainly by class eleven students in schools within the Chennai Corporation zone limits, shatters several myths about abuse.
The proportion of children abused in the higher income groups was found to be marginally higher than the proportion among children from families with income below Rs. 6,000. It was slightly higher among joint families than nuclear families.
Of the 1,364 girls and 847 boys, around 48 per cent of the boys reported abuse as compared to the 39 per cent of girls who did so.
The most commonly reported forms of abuse were abusers touching children's private parts, exhibitionism and forcing or tricking children into watching pornography.
Around 15 per cent of children reported severe forms of abuse. Family members, acquaintances and people well known to the child formed the larger percentage of those who perpetrated severe forms of abuse. `Stranger danger' was not found to be significant.
Around 62 per cent of children told no one for a variety of reasons. A significant number requested information on personal safety.
A personal safety handbook that helps children to express emotions and suggests alternatives to putting up silently with abuse was also released.
The report will be circulated among policy makers to strengthen an initiative to bring about a comprehensive law addressing child sexual abuse.
Tulir can be reached at 26207269 or 26632026.
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