Justice For Every Child
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#Justice4EveryChild Telethon: Experts, Social Workers & Celebrities Discuss How We Can Help Provide Support To Children Who Have Suffered Abuse

#Justice4EveryChild Telethon: Experts, Social Workers & Celebrities Discuss How We Can Help Provide Support To Children Who Have Suffered Abuse

Child sexual abuse and rape is a national crisis. Threechildren are raped and five children are sexually assaulted every hour in India. The horror of what they have gone through is multiplied many times over by what then follows the actual crime – a long & excruciating wait for justice. Do you know that the current backlog of cases of crimes against children will take over eight years to clear? And that is if no new cases are added. 

Often, child victims and their families are usually not aware of their right to access mental health support, financial compensation and rehabilitation. And they feel frustrated and harassed trying to navigate the complex criminal justice system without a designated support person. Justice for Every Child is a year-long campaign by the Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation and NDTV to support child victims of sexual abuse and rape who are fighting their cases in court. The campaign will ensure victims of child sexual abuse and rape get legal representation, mental health support, rehabilitation and compensation to enable them to heal and continue their lives with dignity and freedom.  

As a part of the campaign, a 2-hour special telethon was organised and experts, social workers and celebrities came together to discuss on how together the community can help protect the future of India - children. Joining the telethon with NDTV's Dr Prannoy Roy, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi explains about the vision of the campaign and why it is necessary today. He said, 

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Children who are abused they are India's children and since they are ours, we have to act with urgency and unitedly.

Farhan Akhtar, Actor & Campaign Ambassador also joined the telethon to lent his support to the cause. Stressing on the importance of campaigns like #Justice4EveryChildren, Farhan Akhtar said,  

I do feel there is large awareness as to this problem as to the prevalence of this problem. I am not sure to say that people are aware of exact statistics but the fact it is a serious social menace and a crime that is committed more often; than awareness exists. The larger issue is that are we as a society needs to desensitised it. People should make it a personal battle to end this crime that is committed so often against children.

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Farhan Akhtar further added that it is parents responsibility to create such an environment at home where children are not afraid of talking about these things with their own parents. He said,

If they feel that parents are in a bad mood, won't listen to them or scold them, if they feel they will be judged by parents then it is a problem. It is the duty of parents to create a safe environment at home where children can talk to them freely. Children should have the confidence to talk to their parents. They should not be afraid of parents cross questioning them.

Sanjiv Bajaj, Chairman and Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv who announced a generous donation of Rs 9 crore during the telethon said,

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Welfare and protection of children is a key common feature in many of our projects. The protection of children is an issue that should concern all of us. A child that is forced to work, or that becomes a victim of trafficking or sexual abuse, is not only denied of  good future but is also a grim reminder to all of us that we need to do a lot more to protect our children. As Gandhi ji once said, the real nation building is not only for today but for tomorrow. And the Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation pioneers in working for that tomorrow. Working to create a world where every child can live freely with dignity, thereby enabling his or her fundamental right to be free, to be safe, to be educated.

On the other hand, talking about the need of supporting such campaigns for our children, NR Narayana Murthy, Chairman Emeritus, Infosys added,

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I think this is a nation that has said 'matra devo bhava' about 200 years ago. Somehow we haven't been able to translate that to give respect to our women. Given the statistics, 8.5 years of delay. 34 per cent success rate in conviction, I think these are very serious issues therefore I believe every state has to look at these issues and increase the judicial capacity. Secondly, it is very important for the society to provide moral support to children and their families. The important thing is this is not the society that translates words into quick actions. Therefore, all that we can do is support campaigns like these and provide whatever help we can. Infosys has focused on nutrition of children in government schools, building houses, etc. this is an important issue which has to be brought to the front burner.

Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Group highlighted the importance of health, nutrition and education and said,

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I think the media has a very important role to play. I want to build on the point, how do we increase awareness of people on issues like these. We have to note that lack of education in this age group which makes young girls all the more vulnerable to different kinds of exploitation. Girls suffer to prostitution, child trafficking. About 150 million children are out of school and we have to worry about them and almost half of them are below the poverty line.  The Prime Minister had highlighted that 112 are aspirational districts which are far behind. We are worse on every human indicator. We are working in 28 of these aspirational districts. I think it is very important that we focus on education and health and nutrition. That's how we will uplift them and make them more aware.

Stressing how we as a country has failed in justice delivery,  Sunitha Krishnan, Co-founder, Prajwala said,

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Justice delivery is at the core of psychology recovery. We have failed in justice delivery. When a child doesn't get justice there is no psychology recovery. We have dealt with more than 230 minor rape victims, more than 89% of the cases are pending from 2015 onwards. Youngest is 4.5 year old, now this 4.5 year child doesn't have closure in life. We have to keep her memory alive, we talk about evidence but ultimately it is the testimony that will convict. We have less than 4% conviction rate. This is how system is failing every child.

Talking about mental trauma that these children go through, Dr Nimesh Desai, Director,  Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences added,

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Mental recovery depends on judicial delivery. On ground reality, it is deficient. Psychological recovery is needed for long term effect. For children over 6-8 years one can talk about psychological recovery, for children under 4, family needs support. One cannot do away with what the child and family has gone through. What we can do is reduce the impact by giving them psychological counselling and mental support.

Amod Kanth, Founder, Prayaas, Former Joint Commissioner, Delhi Police, Former Chairperson, Delhi Commission for the Protection of Child Rights said, 

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In 2005-07, there was a study conducted on child abuse and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 is a direct outcome of that study. About 18,000 were examined in that study. Every second child  reported some kind of sexual abuse under the study. India which is considered a very holy country but the startling result that every child was abused was shocking. We learned that child protection is the biggest issue.  About 32 million children happen to be out of school because they are unprotected. They happen to be children who are in need of care. It is a shame on country. The problem is very huge ad the support system that we are getting from the government is very small. We really expect CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) to come forward to support the cause.

Joining the telethon, Sanmeet Singh Kochhar, Vice President, India & MENA, HMD Global said that it is important to educate children, he added, 

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The work by Kailash Sathyarthi Children's Foundation (KSCF) is inspiring. It is incredible the way they are transforming lives. We are keen to play an integral part in helping underprivileged children and who have faced sexual abuse.

Ravi Prakash Verma, Former MP Rajya Sabha and National Gen Secy, Samajwadi Party also joined #Justice4EveryChild Telethon and said, 

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We have seen that this crisis is severe. About 92,000 cases were registered within one month of lockdown. We are worried about the increase in cases and the stigma associated with it. The trauma lasts long. I feel that today, accused's childhood was affected in some way because of which he/she is functioning in a particular way. Teachers should work on child psychology and without arguing they should understand that a child is traumatised and then teachers have to bring children out of trauma. I see this as a setback. People are sensitive about children but only about their children.

Actor and Social Activist Shabana Azmi also lent her support to the campaign and emphasised on the need to place children above all. She said, 

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When we talk about speedy justice, the government comes up and says, there are so many issues that require speedy justice. I say place children above all because they are our future.

Justice For Every Child campaign will work to ensure legal and mental support to child victims of sexual abuse and rape and their families, Donate Now

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‘Nikal Pade Hai!' Download the Justice For Every Child Campaign Anthem.

Written By: Kailash Satyarthi

Music Co-Composed and Arranged By Indian Ocean

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