THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a move to generate awareness among children, the Social Justice Department under the 'Bhadram' scheme will impart a two-day awareness session in fifty schools in the state.
The event will be held on February 13 and 14 and will focus on child rights and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act. A special team has been created consisting security project coordinators, voluntary organisers and 'Sarana Balyam' rescue members. According to the officials of the Social Justice Department, it's been organised in the wake of the increasing number of child abuses being reported across the state.
"Violence including mental and sexual harrasment against children is on the rise. The focus is to make them feel more comfortable in the school, home and public places. Children should not be ignored or humiliated and they need to be taken care of emotionally and mentally, said Bindhu KK, joint secretary, Social Justice Department.
A special resource team headed by two members will conduct the classes. Resource team members are selected on the basis of their potential to guide students and provide them with the right information regarding child rights.
"Children will be provided with a platform where they can open up about their past incidents on sexual assault or mental torture. All types of harassment including verbal abuse, which destroy their mental equilibrium can cause long-term difficulties in behavioural development. We will be teaching them to raise their voice against harassment," said an official in charge, Social Justice Department. One of the key focus areas is depression among school children.A recent report by the World Health Organisation shows that India is the sixth most depressed country in the world. One out of every five children in the age group of twelve to nineteen in Kerala suffer from psychological distress,it stated. The suicidal tendency among children is on the rise.
Prevalence of physical abuse
Studies conducted in 2018 by the Indian Psychiatric Society across the state have revealed the prevalence of physical abuse (75 per cent), emotional abuse (85 per cent) and sexual abuse (21 per cent) among school-going adolescents.