Sensitisation of teachers and parents on Safe and Unsafe Touch


Sensitisation of teachers and parents on Safe and Unsafe Touch yields significant results in creating awareness around child sexual abuse
Panaji, 19 December 2023: With Goa witnessing an alarming rise in crimes against children, especially child sexual abuse, there is a need to sensitise teachers and parents on the safe and unsafe touch that can help curb such heinous incidents. The dedicated efforts of Arpan, an NGO providing comprehensive training to teachers to build a safety network around children and teaching them about safe and unsafe touches have been instrumental in increasing children’s knowledge on unsafe touches and help seeking behaviour. Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse needs to be at the cornerstone of efforts towards curbing sexual abuse of children. The first step towards prevention efforts depends on the empowerment of individuals and professionals to safeguard children from any harm. The NGO’s main focus is to inspire teachers and parents across various districts to provide children with Personal Safety Education (PSE). This proactive strategy, aims to reduce the risk factors associated with CSA and strengthen the protective factors for children.
Arpan’s initiatives have already reached many children and adults across various cities in India, as well as across Goa. A noticeable impact can be witnessed, giving youngsters more knowledge, skills, and self-assurance to disclose abuse. The program’s holistic approach is demonstrated by its emphasis on providing teachers, social workers, mental health experts, and government duty bearers with the tools they need to respond to CSA.
Endorsing these efforts, Peter Borges, GSCPR Chairperson, Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights says, “The state has witnessed growing crimes against children, especially child sexual abuse in recent times. Every child deserves to be safe and all of us have the shared responsibility of a child’s protection and safety from unsafe situations and people. Many children suffer silently from the trauma of it.
Organisations must move beyond symbolic gestures and implement effective child protection practices and policies. That would be a more meaningful way to honour our children under our care and protection”.
Arpan emphasises the significance of creating a safe environment for children.
Arpan’s PSE Program empowers children to identify safe and unsafe touch and seek help when needed. The program conducted in schools, communities, and institutions for children aged four to 15, is a comprehensive model that aims to reduce the risk factors associated with CSA and strengthen the protective factors for children.
Formal training is provided to teachers and parents to ensure that they in turn educate children on how to protect themselves.
The capacity-building initiatives have successfully trained more than 2,45,349 professionals, benefitting over 2.2 million children and adults in 2023. These programs are designed to equip teachers, mental health professionals, social workers, and government officials with the essential knowledge and skills to facilitate Personal Safety Education and effectively address cases of child sexual assault. Notably, a significant number of children who disclose abuse for the first time receive therapeutic support, leading to healing and recovery.
Arpan’s unwavering dedication to teacher and parent training ensures that they reach out to every child with the knowledge and resources they need to be safe from sexual abuse. The participation of teachers and children in this critical project is invaluable, serving as a beacon of hope for the children of India’s future.
Furthermore, Arpan actively engages in policy advocacy, collaborating with government entities to integrate their Personal Safety Education into national and state-level courses. This pioneering work ensures that child protection is not just a conversation but a concrete part of educational and policy frameworks.
To further address the concern of child sexual abuse, Arpan has been spearheading the collective movement, Child Safety Week, which occurred from November 14 to November 20, 2023. Arpan remained resolute in ensuring it was an impactful event this year as well spanning across Goa with the focused theme – #ItsOkayToSayNo. The range of activities conducted in Goa this year encompassed 1) A wall painting event to spread the message ‘it’s okay to say no’. 2) A street-play or role-play to initiate conversations on creating a culture of saying ‘No’. 3) A poster-making competition in schools where children could draw/paint messages related to personal safety and assertive refusal. 4) A poetry-writing competition where young writers could creatively share messages on how to say ‘No’ assertively.

Pooja Taparia, Founder and CEO, Arpan says, “It is important that we respect and follow our cultures. However, some cultural norms can be counterproductive to children’s rights to safety. While we teach children to respect elders, we should also empower them to say ‘NO’ if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe in any situation. During the Child Safety Week held in November, Arpan highlighted the need to address this cultural norm that very often becomes the reason why children don’t say NO or tell anyone about being sexually abused.”

About Arpan
Arpan is a globally-recognized, award-winning non-profit working towards the elimination of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in India.
Based in Mumbai, with a team of over 130 dedicated professionals, Arpan is India’s largest non-profit providing CSA Prevention and Intervention services for both children and adults. As a critical stakeholder for state and non-state actors, Arpan is a leading voice in the space of CSA Prevention and Intervention in India, and uses advocacy and research to push for policy and systemic change at the local, state and national levels.
Arpan is a global thought leader in the CSA space, with innovative impact models that work with a range of stakeholders, from children and parents to state bodies and teachers. Arpan’s key project focuses on Personal Safety Education in schools, teaching children and adolescents (ages 4 to 18) about personal safety so they can identify and seek help in unsafe situations. Arpan also trains and empowers teachers and parents with the knowledge, attitude and skills needed to prevent and deal with CSA. Since 2007, Arpan has impacted over 3.1 million children and adults, and has received 8 National and 2 International Awards for its exemplary work.

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