The statistics on sex offences against children in India are grim. There is little clarity among citizens on how to prevent sexual offences against children and how to deal with the law. So, to come to the rescue, ‘Aarambh India’ launched first online resource portal on child sexual abuse. By demonstrating innovative ground programs on child protection, especially for the underprivileged, creates and shares knowledge with individuals and groups.
Uma Subramanian, founder and co-director, ‘Aarambh India’ informed, it is a joint initiative that brings together over 30 years of on-ground child protection experiences of the Mumbai-based NGO Prerana and the international ‘Break the Silence’ campaign of the Hong Kong-based ADM Capital Foundation. “The website was launched in the year 2014. The idea was to look at the happenings in the country and around the world. And fill in the gaps while we working on the issue.”
She added, “There was lack of basic information on protecting children from sexual abuse. “So, we decided put together India’s first online resource portal and train various stakeholders in more than 6 specialised modules on child protection. We also conduct research and advocacy on the issue. In collaboration with UNICEF in Mumbai; we are working strengthening child protection services and systems of the Government.”
‘Aarambh India’ works with child protection systems in Mumbai and Mumbai suburban’s. “We are currently looking at the cases registered under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO).”
“In the year 2016, we launched India’s first hotline to report child pornography. The reporting button will enable the citizens to report child sexual abuse images and videos in a safe and anonymous environment. Also, we are wrapping up a research on POCSO implementation status in Maharashtra,” said Subramanian.
According to Subramanian, “On an average, the website reaches out to 50,000 users and the new letters reaches out to 3,000 to 5,000 people, on fortnightly and monthly basis.”
She signed off by saying, “Information is first step, towards protecting ourselves. Child protection has to be a collective responsibility. We cannot tell children to protect themselves if we do not know how to communicate. As a country, we have to become a safest country for children to live in.”