LET TOUCH NEVER BECOME TROUBLE FOR ANY CHILD- WHAT SCHOOLS AND PARENTS CAN DO TO ENSURE THIS FOR EVERY CHILD
1. For schools- Ensure that staff appointed like drivers, attendants, bais, watchman are registered at the nearest police station or get their adhaar card, ration card, driving license copies with you.ensure that you have photos, documents copies of all your staff, this will help you in tracing them in case they abscond after an incident.
2. For schools- all teachers appointed, their background checks should be done. If they have joined you from anther school call that school and find out the reason they left.
3. For schools- conduct regular sessions about appropriate touch and educate all staff of your school about your ‘zero tolerance policy for child abuse’. Many staff are unaware about the strict ramifications of the POCSO ACT. Brief them, warn them and take their signatures.
4. For schools- every week conduct good touch bad touch sessions with children. Show the video or teach them the poem on good touch bad touch
5. For parents- screen all the staff that you appoint to take care of your child, including driver. Ensure you have their documents.
6. For parents- stop calling everyone an uncle, this makes kids trusting and comfortable with complete strangers.
7. For parents- use ‘safe and comfortable daily routine times’ like bathing, story telling etc. to talk to your child about how to handle being approached by strangers or what to do when someone other than your parents offers you something to eat or wants to touch you.
a. For parents- stop sharing your bed with your child. Or when indulging in your sexual activity with your spouse ensure that your child is not around. Even when kids are sleeping they can be aware of it. Many kids mimic adult behavior and may then find nothing wrong in doing it with others.
b. For parents-If children ask you about a kissing scene or a rape scene or a bedroom scene that they may have seen on television or movies or magazines and newspapers talk to them that is what adults do to adults not children to children or adults to children. You do not need to talk about this unless your child asks about it, remember if children ask about something it means their brains are ready to understand about it and are curious. It would be better that they get their curiosity satisfied from a known and trusted source rather than a source that can mislead them. Also talk to them about good touch bad touch especially when they ask you about rape.
8. For parents and schools- do not try to discipline children with threats. Remember a pedophile always uses threats to ensure that the child does not tell anyone. So if you have taught your child to be afraid or are regularly threatening your child then you are laying a negative foundation of fear and secrecy that is detrimental for your child. Refrain from threatening or asking your child to keep secrets from another parent, sibling or grandparent.
For parents and schools-Teach children about good touchbad touch in the same manner that you teach them about road safety rhymes. Your child is not going to cross the road or drive a car and yet we teach them about red light, green light or to cross at a zebra crossing, very likely that your child is can to be the easy target of sexual predators so teach rhymes about body safety and show video on good touch bad touch- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCgtNSU4kg4&feature=youtu.be
10. For schools and parents- always ensure that you are aware of who will be the ‘critical adult’ or ‘key person’ for your child at all times. Young children have to be supervised at all times, a critical adult is that person with whom the child will be at any given time. So if the child is in school, the teacher is the critical adult, if the teacher sends child to washroom, then the critical adult must know the whereabouts of the child and who is taking care of the child. In all three cases in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai the kids were abused in the absence of a critical adult, no one was responsible for the child during that time.
Issued in Public interest by Early Childhood Association and Podar Jumbo Kids. Get the poem on www.eca-india.org or www.jumbokids.com or @swatipopat