Model turned actress Arshi Khan has joined the social forum Bharat Citizens Action Forum (BCAF) to support the campaign Stop Child Abuse in India. Arshi Khan did a special photo shoot for the campaign in Mumbai with fashion photographer Jude Fernandes. She also launched the official Facebook page for the campaign which is promoted online by IndiaNewsNetwork.IN. Over 500 aspiring models and actors in Mumbai are supporting the campaign along with Arshi Khan and posed for photographs at Starline Studios in Mumbai.
“The target of the campaign is to enlist 5000 models and actors to become part of the awareness drive online and share the message on their profiles and timelines on Facebook and on Twitter,”
said Flynn Remedios of IndiaNewsNetwork.IN.
Child abuse is a rapidly growing concern for India. According to the official UNICEF website, surveys indicate that a large number of children in India are sexually abused by known persons like relatives, neighbors, at school, and in residential facilities for vulnerable children. Thus far, the Indian government has failed to prevent much of the child sexual abuse from taking place. Additionally, the existing systems of child protection and the stakeholders involved including police, lawyers, media, teachers, parents etc. UNICEF defines violence against children as “physical and mental abuse and injury, neglect or negligent treatment, exploitation and sexual abuse. Violence may take place in homes, schools, orphanages, residential care facilities, on the streets, in the workplace, in prisons and in places of detention.” Such violence can affect the normal development of a child impairing their mental, physical and social being. In extreme cases abuse of a child can result in death.
World Health Organization estimates that 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 have been subjected to forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence. In 2002 there were 53,000 reported cases of child homicide. A Global School-Based Student Health Survey found that 20% and 65% of school going children reported having been verbally and physically bullied in the last 30 days. ILO estimates show there were 218 million child laborers in 2004, out of which 126 million were engaged in hazardous work. UNICEF estimated 3 million girls and women in sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt and Sudan are subjected to female genital mutilation every year.
Half the children reported facing emotional abuse with 83% of that abuse begin conducted by parents. Girl child neglect was assessed girls comparing themselves to their brothers on factors like attention, food, recreation time, household work, taking care of siblings, etc. 70.57% of girls reported having been neglected by family members. 48.4% of girls wished they were boys. 27.33% of girls reported getting less food then their brothers. Of the young adults (ages 18-24) interviewed, almost half of them reported having been physically or sexually abused as children.
Indian NGO Recovery and Healing from Incest (RAHI) conducted India’s first study of child sexual abuse. It surveyed 600 English-speaking middle and upper-class women, 76 percent of whom said they had been abused in childhood or adolescence, 40 percent by at least one family member, most commonly an uncle or cousin.
Tulir-CPHCSA’s study in 2006,conducted among 2211 school going children in Chennai, indicates a CSA prevalence rate of 42%. Children of all socio-economic groups were found to be equally vulnerable. while 48% of boys reported having been abused, the prevalence rate among girls was 39%.15 % of both the boys and girls were severely abused.
The highest number of FIRs regarding child abuse have been registered in Rajasthan followed by Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala according to data available with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The number of convictions is only 166 that is 2.4% of the total cases registered while in 389 cases accused were acquitted.
There is a rising trend of crime against children. This is also borne out by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data that has recorded 33,052 Cases, 38,172 cases and 58,224 cases during 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively. According to a study conducted by the WCD ministry in 2007, over half of the children surveyed of 50 per cent of the surveyed sample, reported having faced some form of sexual abuse, with their suffering exacerbated by the lack of specific legislation to provide remedies for these crimes.