Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) based in Kochi, Kerala offers support (legal, counseling / therapeutic) and specialized assistance to children and teenagers who have been victims of child sexual abuse, and help their families to cope. CAC runs awareness programmes in schools as one of the foremost means to help in the eradication of child sexual abuse in the Kochi area. We give training to police, community workers and other organizations as well as doing public awareness campaigns.
In India 1 in every 5 children, both boys and girls, is sexually abused before the age of 18 across all social and economic classes. 90% of the abusers are known to the child and often trusted by the family... fathers, cousins, neighbors, teachers etc. Most often children can't disclose because they are either scared that they will not be believed or full of shame. As adults, we need to accept that child sexual abuse happens and we need to start protecting our children by educating ourselves.
We believe the solution to the problem is to bring an awareness of the issue to the public, while educating parents, educators, and children. AWARENESS: We have initiated the development of a 60-second animation video to be shown in cinemas, which will allow the public to understand the number of children affected by sexual abuse. EDUCATION: We have prepared a Personal Safety Workbook (8-11yrs) in which we discuss private body parts, safe and unsafe touch, assertiveness and secrets.
We have already had reports of child sexual abuse come to light through our awareness presentations to parents and teachers in some of the local schools. When adults start to listen and believe, children feel they have someone in who they can confide. In this way, we may be able to stop many more children from suffering. If in addition to stopping existing abuse, we could avoid it happening in the first place that would obviously be best. Through empowering children we believe we can do this!