Date:06/07/2009 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/07/06/stories/2009070654590500.htm
Tamil Nadu - Madurai
Joint effort to tackle child sexual abuse
MADURAI: A collective effort, involving teachers and officials of School Education Department, will be launched against child sexual abuse through all schools in the State.
P. Peruamalsamy, Director of School Education, told The Hindu here on Saturday that tackling child sexual abuse would be made a component of adolescent education and counselling. “This is a sensitive issue…and teachers/headmasters in all schools will have to be sensitised to prevent incidents of child sex abuse.” He was in the city to address the first awareness programme for District Educational Officers on ‘Prevention of child sexual abuse,’ organised by the Directorate of School Education, with UNICEF funding.
Earlier, addressing the DEOs, Mr. Perumalsamy said that the message to be vigilant against child abuse must reach teachers in every school. “Sexual abuse of children does not necessarily happen only in schools. It can take place on the way to school and at any other place. So, schools must have a mechanism to address the issue.”
The Director said that headmasters must immediately approach the police in case there was a complaint of sexual abuse. “The school must not try to cover up the issue…”
V. Raja Rajeswari, Joint Director (Vocational Education), said that this was the first time in the State that a special training session was conducted for the officials on sexual abuse of children. “The Department of School Education is taking steps to create awareness and a complaint cell is functioning at the Directorate office in Chennai. People call on the number 044-28273591 to lodge complaints.”
A similar training programme is being organised for Chief Educational Officers of all districts at Courtallam on July 11.
Nancy Thomas, programme facilitator at Tulir, a Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse, conducted a session on how schools could play an effective role in preventing child abuse. “Teachers must know how to respond to a situation. Children affected by sexual abuse need supporting adults to instil confidence.”
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