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#Justice4EveryChild Telethon: How We Can Help Provide Support To Children Who Have Suffered Abuse? Experts Discuss

#Justice4EveryChild Telethon: How We Can Help Provide Support To Children Who Have Suffered Abuse? Experts Discuss

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. Child victims and their families are usually not aware of their right to access mental health support, financial compensation and rehabilitation. Justice For Every Child campaign ensures 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 5-hour special telethon was organised, where experts, social workers and celebrities came together to discuss how the community can help protect the future of India - children.

Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi joined the campaign and explained the vision and importance of the campaign, he said,

Apart from the social awareness that has been created with Justice For Every Child campaign immensely, we have come out with a lot of individual success stories and data. In one year 8,261 interventions have been made in these POCSO cases. Around 1000 legal interventions are taking place and we have worked on 5000 cases, by appointing lawyers in more than 50 districts across the country.

Sanjiv Bajaj, Chairman and Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv said that the campaign is extremely important to ensure support to children who are victims. Mr Bajaj said,

This campaign is a very important campaign, Justice For Every Child, to ensure that legal and others support to children victims of sexual abuse, and families, happens quickly and happens fairly. As you mentioned, this is something that the Bajaj group, and led by my father and our Chairman Emeritus Rahul Bajaj, we've been closely involved with Kailash ji's work through our companies since 2015. We know that increasing the awareness through the programme, that this campaign aims to deliver, just the fast tracked completion of court cases, the development of child friendly police stations and other such legal institutions, will lead to prevention of crime against children in the future. Also what's important is that justice that is being delivered to every victim, it will also prevent crime for many other hundreds. Hence we believe that this is a very significant initiative, and we've been very happy to support the Justice For Every Child campaign.  

SS Ahluwalia, Founder, Dominvs Group, London also shared a message thanking the campaign and discussed his connection with Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation. He said,

As an Indian, I feel a deep commitment to help solve the problems that we face as a country. Today, I hope you will join me. It's been encouraging to see such strong support for this year's Justice For Every Child campaign. And this telethon brings much needed awareness to a crucial cause. I remember the first time I met Kailash, his passion, courage and conviction was really infectious. His work, and that of his charity, have made a difference to millions of children all over the country. The results speak for themselves. Over the last year alone, they have protected over 100,000 children from exploitation. But sadly, there is still so much more we can do. Millions of children suffer in silence every year. And we need to make sure that these children are not forgotten. We need to stand up and make our voices and actions heard. And we need to do everything we can to ensure every single victim of child abuse gets full support they need. Together we can make a difference. Our youth are the future of India, and the prosperity of our country depends on us nurturing the next generation. I'm doing my bit to support the Justice For Every Child campaign, which will provide legal, mental health to the child victims of abuse. Tonight I hope you will do the same. The need has never been so great. Thanks to everyone who has donated in supporting this campaign. Together we can build a brighter future for India. 

Sudhir Tangri, Country General Manager & VP, Keysight Technologies said that this campaign is a 'fantastic and powerful tool to empower children.' He added, 

Kailash Satyarthi ji's campaigns, especially the Justice For Every Child is a fantastic and a powerful tool to empower children. Specially the ones who are underprivileged, or who have been facing abuse. And we at Keysight are proud to work closely with the Kailash Satyarthi Foundation for the last two years. And our focus has been specifically on education, educating the girl child. We have been supporting children who have lost either one or both of their parents due to the pandemic. And through this programme, we are ensuring that these children continue with their education, and do not face any kind of exploitation due to their vulnerable position. So that's one thing that we are doing with the Kailash Satyarthi Foundation. The other thing that we are doing is we are also working with two Banjara communities. And again, we are trying to create a safety net around the vulnerable children and link them back to the mainstream education.

Brinda Adige, Social Activist, highlighted the role of education in terms understanding what the victims are going through. 

First and foremost comes education - what is the awareness that we have given to children and parents and institutions, because for a society of ours, that is patriarchal, creating awareness and education is important. It must come form all levels of politicians and schools, and most importantly our families. We need our schools, justice systems to be equipped as all of it is lacking. The pandemic showed us this is not a silent pandemic. We have a child helpline, but they wont use it because they are unaware and no one knows what the child goes through as a survivor, especially through sexual abuse as it remains throughout their life. They must understand the child needs different kinds of support form the family and the community or the institution where he or she goes for education.

Saira Shah Halim, CPI(M) MLA candidate and Activist joined the 5-hour telethon and said, 

As far as child rapes goes or women rapes they are victim blamed and they get tormented which leads to the cases going under the carpet. The political will also adds to this and deters the case. 

Ananya Chakraborti, Chairperson, West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights,  says that most of the cases of child abuse go unreported. She said, 

We have helplines and we also have our own helplines where they can report to us but during my tenure the number of cases of POCSO has gone up and yet it is extremely under reported. Child sexual abuses are gen.rally in a family or someone close and they try and brush it up. Most children are now talking about it and going to the police, unless people talk about it and the perpetrators are punished the cases wont go down.

Niranjan Hiranandani, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hiranandani Group at the telethon syas that children should be taught about abuse. 

While being in Mumbai, we run 14 colleges and 6 schools. We have not got down to educating these children about such issues and corporate India needs to take up actions to this cause. I personally commit to starting such programs in the coming year so that every child has knowledge about what to do in these circumstances. I personally commit 6,00,000 children will be educated on this. I think we need to bring about more awareness and what you're doing through NDTV.  Child or women abuse is generally kept under the table but I think education and disseminating information is extremely important and we must commit ourselves.

Rituparna Sengupta, Actor and Producer says that we are all suffering the brunt off of child sexual abuse. She said that through cinema we need to spread awareness on the issue,  

"Cinema is the mirror of society and we are trying to delve into the aspect of these issues. The kind of cinema I'm into, we are trying our best to get into such issues, as well as you know in our society there's a lot of censorship but cinema is maturing by the day and whenever I read a script, I always try and support and be a kind of cinema where we can give new fodder to such issues. I have some experience with this since my friend's daughter went through such trauma and abuse. It's very important to get complete hold of mental health of the family. I think these kind of things need to be discussed more and we need to push these things more and make a statement of it. The legal system is not strong right now to punish such abusers who need such harsh treatment. Through cinema, we still need a rural push and directors feel threatened whether their subject will be well received or not, because child abuse starts in the family itself.

 Usha Uthup, Singer, joined the telethon as well and said,

I have been associated with the entertainment business but I truly think we must work from within to the periphery and unless we look into our own lives we will never be able to work on such issues and bring all of this into the open. Every second person has a story to tell and education is the most important thing, it's really wonderful if we could educate and for every solution, you give there are people looking for problems and we must look for a road where we can find the light, I have tried working for children whenever possible in the past 53 years, I think besides the fact that we need to open it, how do we open it up and the only way we can get justice for children is by starting with our own families and Satyrathi sir is showing us the light. There is a lot of hesitation to talk about this, what we can do is start by saying we are there for you endlessly, I have always been the first person to talk through music and we have lots of people to talk about the same.

Jiten Doshi, Co-founder & CIO, Enam AMC says that the children are the future of our nation.  

"The work being done by Kailash Satyarthi Foundation is extraordinary. This is the need of the hour for our nation, and supporting this movement allows children the freedom to blossom, and become future assets of our nation. Child sexual abuse, if not addressed properly, destroys the child by leaving behind a massive scar in the mind of the child victim. Sexual abuse is a national crisis that Kailash ji has been able to identify and address. We at Enam AMC are proud to be associated with the Kailash Satyarthi Foundation. The Justice For Every Child campaign is a great initiative to help those who can't fight for themselves, to get the right justice. We have joined hands with the Kailash Satyarthi Foundation to work towards preventing children from being exploited, by supporting the Bal Mitra Gram, and Bal Mitra Mandal programmes, that ensure that all children of the intervention area are in school, and protected from all kinds of exploitation - be it child marriage, child labor, child trafficking, or sexual exploitation. Creating a safety net for the children by involving not just their families, but also their teachers, community members, law enforcers, and public representatives can help children protect the children in the long term. I urge everyone to do their bit and join this campaign, which is a very, very solid campaign in this country. And it's the need of the hour to save the children of this country."

Kamna Chhibber, Head, Mental Health, Dept of Mental Health & Behavourial Sciences, Fortis Healthcare also joined the telethon and highlighted the importance of mental health of the child victims. 

I think its very important to talk about the mental health well being of children especially those who have gone through these, what we have been working on is with adults to know how to pick up these signs to know what they're going though and we are working on this with schools, teachers and parents and everyone around children to pick up indicators to find w=out what the child is going through, its important to give basic counselling and there's a dearth of experts in the country and we are unable to give adequate help at the time hence it can lead to severity which leads to more suicides, so we are trying to create more resources and telling children how to use them , information regarding where you can seek help and those are places where you actively work on for children. 

Vasvi Bharat Ram, Joint Vice Chairperson, The Shri Ram Schools also joined the telethon and talked about the role played by schools in children's lives.

Children spend their time either at home or in the school. The first point of help and care, are parents and families and caregivers at home. And the second one is the teachers and their friends in school. And they're the people actually who are the first ones to pick up if there is any difference in behaviour of a child. So if a child goes from a happy go lucky child, to somebody who becomes quiet, who doesn't want interact with their friends, who wants to sleep more than usual, whose grades are slipping, whose normal behaviour is changed in a particular way, they're the first ones whose antennas actually should be up, to be able to pick up signs of trouble. And then it's only a caring, nurturing, and believing environment where a child will actually open up and speak if they are having some trouble. So that is the kind of child friendly, nurturing, loving spaces that we need to create in our schools and in our homes. And also when a child comes to us, you know, encourage them to speak and believe them in whatever they are saying. I think those would be the most important things that we can do to actually help children to open up. 

Sunita, Constable, Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, Delhi Police at the telethon said that she has been working towards tracing children especially those who have been missing.  

I have traced around 90 children till now. I first take intel from stations about the same, about kids from other states we find out if they are missing from their homes.

Manoj Abraham, Nodal Officer, Kerala Police Cyberdome explained the tool they use to track child pornography and the perpetrators. 

Grapnel is basically a tool that we developed with the assistance of ICPF, through hackathon, basically where we called all those people who work in this hackathon to develop this tool, because dark net is one area that we found that a lot of CSAM material, that is Child Sexual exploitative material. It was being sold there, bought there and transmitted. So the tools that were available with the police were not enough to really break into the dark net, because of the encryptions that were there and the inbuilt system. So Grapnel is basically a tool for crawling into those systems, where it indexes whatever keyword searches that we give in that. For example, in Kerala, we are looking for Kerala children videos. So Grapnel will go and really search the entire dark web, and bring back everything which is connected to that keyword. So it is then working on that, and looking into the aspects of who is sharing it, who's transmitting those images also. So the Grapnel is basically a crawler with all these artificial intelligence, in-built into the system, which helps the investigator to really crack these crimes against children in the dark web. 

Madhukar Pandey, Addl. Director-General, Maharashtra Police talked about the Operation Blackface.

We have operation blackface launched in 2020, it was in a two hour surprise that we have all these tools, in a period of 18-19 months, 11,000 reports were generated and 200 cases were registered. We have found to our surprise that this issue of child pornography is very serious and that there's a perception that this happens abroad and in Germany, but we have found that this does happening in the country. The pandemic has led to an increase in cyber crimes, the way people have been interacting even with families, the exploitation has been happening in the family itself in some cases. We have been following some forensic tools called peda, hunt for pedophiles, child pornography and this is such a case where the victim doesn't report the crime. So we go for dark net monitoring and do old fashioned intelligence we look for signals, sometimes we are successful, we had a case recently with help from KSCF, we found a person selling pornographic material.

Sutapa Sanyal, Former Director General of Police, UP at the show said, 

We want to provide comprehensive solutions and we divide this into awareness and deterrence and response and support, we try and provide tech solutions like automatic filters. Similarly at awareness level we have to disseminate information for trends that are emerging or grooming, video streaming content. Youngsters feel its ok to share nude pictures online and these trends are being seen online. These things are actioned by the youth, we must constantly monitor that, when we looked at things like these, there is an unprecedented explosion of unfiltered content and we cant normalise child pornography hence proper awareness and knowledge is extremely important.

 

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Written By: Kailash Satyarthi

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