In India the children are the silent sufferers. They do not speak out and if they speak no one trusts them. Harmful traditional practices like child marriage ,caste system, discrimination against the girl child ,child labour and Devadasi tradition impact negatively on children and increase their vulnerability to abuse and neglect. Lack of adequate nutrition, poor access to medical and educational facilities, migration from rural to urban areas leading to rise in urban poverty, children on the streets and child beggars, all result in breakdown of families. This increases the vulnerability of children and exposes them to situations of abuse and exploitation.
The child abuse should be prevented at three levels:
At the primary level, the parents should be made aware of the rights of the child and the long term effects of the abuse on the personality development of the child.
At the secondary level, there should be early detection of causes of child abuse, quick intervention and provision of a supportive environment in schools and families.
At the tertiary level, there should be involvement of the police, courts, counselors, doctors and social workers.
The preventive measures in detail are as follows:
1. Awareness and Education
Proper education helps in creating awareness of the dangers of child abuse. Education on child abuse should be integrated in school and college curriculum. The mass media should provide enough publicity to the news of child abuse and try to generate a mass discussion on this topic.
2. Family Support
The family members of the child should understand that a healthy environment at home leads to a healthy child. A good parent-child relationship at home helps to create an environment where the child is confident, wanted, secured and where he can share all his feelings, his joys and sorrows. The parents should understand the intellectual limits of their child and they should keep their expectations from the child accordingly. The parents should not involve in useless comparison of their child with the other children. This will definitely create a positive impact on the personality development of the child.
3. Counselling Centres
The counseling centres may have helpline numbers for easy accessibility for the child to seek help. They may help the child to cope with traumatic situations. They help to improve the child’s ability to perform better. They also helps to improve te inter-personal relations and help to develop self-confidence.
4. Role of the NGO’s
The NGO’s should take active steps in preventing child abuse. They may work in areas like sexual abuse of child, street children , child labour etc.
5. Government Measures
The government should organize anti-child abuse campaigns. It should heavily fine and lay strict punishments to the offenders of child abuse. The government should gather support from the NGOs, the Police to find incidences of child abuse and should punish the abusers. The government should enact laws against child abuse. Infact in March 2011, the government has passed THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFECNCES BILL to protect the children from sexual abuse, sexual harassment and child pornography.