Awareness Session on Child Sexual Abuse and Disability

 On 2nd of August 2014 An Awareness Program on “Child Sexual Abuse and Disability” was organized at our centre at CBD, Navi Mumbai from 10 am to 12pm.
 The seminar was conducted by members of FACSE (Forum Against Child Sexual Exploitation) Ms. Sangeeta Punekar and Ms. Kavita Bhatia both Social Workers and Psychologists working in the field of Mental Health.
There were 63 participants in all consisting of Principals and Special educators from various Special schools of Navi Mumbai and Raigad District.
Following were the Schools which participated in this seminar.
1.      Skills and Ability, Nerul
2.      Sunshine Special School,  Vashi
3.      Aai day Care Centre, Pen
4.      Helen Keller Institute for Deaf, deaf Blind, Mhape
5.      Sulabha Special School, Chembur
6.      Chetana Foundation
7.      Datar Institute for Special Education and Human Activity, Panvel
8.      Raj Mata jijau Vidya mandir, Alibaug
Staff members of all the three units of Swami Brahmanand Pratishthan were present for the same. Also present were members of Inner Wheel club of New Bombay Hillside and Mr. Sanjog Adke Investigation Head NCR Corporation, Mrs. Kala Sundarvedha Educational Consultant of SBP and media people form NMTV.
The session began with a welcome address by the Principal Mrs. Sukanya Venkataraman followed by Ms. SangeetaPunekar who made a power point presentation on the following topics:
·         Who is the child
·         Do children have rights
·         Different types of abuse against children
·         Types of sexual abuse- Touch and Non touch
·         Identifying the abuser
·         Immediate effects of child sexual abuse (CSA)
·         Long term effects of CSA
·         action to be taken in case of abuse
·         Protection of Children against Sexual offences act 2012 (POCSO)

Ms. Kavita Bhatia addressed the audience next and spoke to all regarding the attitude of teachers towards sex education and the discomfort they face in using appropriate terms in the presence of children.

The Program ended with an interactive question answer session.
A question was put up by a special educator: why untrained teachers are employed in a special school? Are there no RCI regulations regarding the same?

Mrs. Shirish Poojary the Managing Trustee of the Organisation replied saying: Every special school should have a license to carry on its activities. All teachers appointed have to be trained in B Ed, D Ed, and other courses recognized by RCI. The teachers should be registered with the RCI. In case of Rural areas it is difficult to have trained staff, in such a situation the permission from the Social welfare department must be taken to employ efficient teachers who have to undergo training within a specified time limit of two or three years.

Feedback given by the participants:
Ms. Reshma Mathews Principal of Skills and Ability Special School,Nerul and also a parent of a special child felt that the session was very informative and such awareness program should be conducted more often.  She felt that all schools should have CCTV so that one is aware of what is happening in the school premises.

Mr. Sanjog Adke Investigation Head NCR Corporation:
He spoke about his experiences of conducting Investigation on safety and security in many countries. He found the session to be very informative and educative. As a parent of two daughters  he took personal interest in the safety and security measures taken in the schools where he admitted his children. He thanked the faculty and the Management of Swami Brahmanand Pratishthan for holding the seminar.

Mrs. Kala Sundervedha- Special educator and counselor: She being a consultant in many schools was interested in carrying out such sessions in all these schools. She said that the faculty had just touched the tip of the ice berg and that a lot is to be done in this area. All individuals in the community have to work together.

Helen Keller Coordinator expressed that having spent more than 26years in the field of special education She considered the schools as  temple and children as God. The teachers serve the community of special children with devotion and selfless service. But she felt that every teacher should be worthy of the pure love given by the children.

 With a vote of thanks by Principal Sukanya Venkataraman the session ended.