BIS #7022 CSA Awareness Begins in the Family

By Ms Perpetual Nazareth for BISMumbai

On 12 August 2023,   a group of teachers of Don Bosco High School, Matunga, who had previously undergone a comprehensive 2-day training by the Arpan NGO, organised an orientation session on Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) for the parents of students. The teachers of the different sections were involved in this orientation, ensuring that parents could attend the session relevant to their child's grade.

The parents were given an overview of CSA, its various forms, and the importance of raising awareness to protect children. The teachers elaborated on the different types of abuse, helping parents understand the various ways children might be targeted. This information was crucial for parents to recognise signs and act promptly. An explanation of grooming and its impact on children was provided, highlighting the tactics predators use to gain a child's trust and manipulate them. Shocking statistics on cases of sexual crimes involving children were presented to underscore the seriousness of the issue. This information emphasised the urgency of educating children about personal safety. 

The parents were informed about the upcoming third phase of the programme, where the students would be educated about personal safety in an age-appropriate manner. Parenting tips were shared to facilitate open and effective communication between parents and children. This would create a safe space for children to share their concerns. Strategies for handling disclosures of abuse were discussed, emphasising the importance of sensitivity, belief, and immediate action. Parents were educated about the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, its provisions, and the legal avenues available to address cases of abuse. 

The orientation session witnessed a significant turnout, with a large number of parents attending. Many parents expressed that the session was an eye-opener, as they had not been fully aware of the extent and implications of child sexual abuse. The statistics presented were particularly impactful, highlighting the need for proactive measures. The orientation session was a crucial step towards ensuring the safety and well-being of the students. 

By involving parents in the process, the school has fostered a collaborative approach to safeguarding children from abuse. The session successfully conveyed important information, empowered parents with knowledge, and prepared them for the upcoming Personal Safety Education Programme that will be conducted with the students. It is hoped that this initiative will contribute to creating a safer and more informed environment for the students.